BOSTON - A veteran special agent assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston was among several law enforcement officials from Massachusetts and North Carolina honored Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder for their leadership in protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. The honors were presented at the 2011 National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation in San Jose, Calif.
ICE HSI special agent Greg Squire and three others, including the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, were nominated for the honors by the U.S. Attorney's Office for their extraordinary work in an "outstanding multi-agency operation." The efforts led to the rescue of a six-year-old child exploitation victim and successful prosecution of the sex offender.
E. Michael Smith Jr., special agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Joe Exum Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, were also honored.
"Through their work in urban, rural and tribal communities - and through cutting-edge online efforts - these individuals are advancing bold, innovative and collaborative solutions to keep our children safe from all forms of exploitation and abuse," said Attorney General Holder. "By focusing on prevention and intervention, as well as proven enforcement and prosecution strategies, these award recipients are strengthening our ability to protect children in need and at risk."
"ICE prioritizes child exploitation cases with a firm commitment to provide the highest level of investigative support necessary to successfully prosecute them," stated Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston. "The relentless effort of Special Agent Squire exemplifies the unwavering determination of my office to bring these cases to justice."
Â "We have worked with Special Agent Squire for several years on numerous child exploitation investigations in Massachusetts," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz. "His work is always exceptional, and he is very well regarded among his colleagues here in this district. We congratulate him on this honor."
In collaboration with state, local and federal authorities, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina prosecuted and convicted a sex offender for exploitation of a six-year-old child, obtaining the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.
While the sentence is significant, the most compelling aspect of the case is the apparent seamlessness with which Special Agent Squire in Boston coordinated with a state law enforcement agent in North Carolina, who then worked with state, federal and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to follow through on the lead.
This group exhibited exceptional cooperation and a swift response so that a child in rural North Carolina could be rescued quickly. Focused on protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation, the conference in San Jose brought together more than 1,000 investigators, agents and prosecutors from all levels of government to receive state-of-the-art instruction in investigative techniques, court room advocacy, digital forensics, behavioral profiling, victim advocacy and community outreach.