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05/08/2014

Panamanian, Honduran students graduate from elite federal training program

Panamanian, Honduran students graduate from elite federal training program
Panamanian, Honduran students graduate from elite federal training program

GLYNCO, Ga. — Twenty-seven law enforcement officers and prosecutors from Panama and Honduras have joined the fight against transnational criminal organizations after graduating Friday from an elite training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Ga.

The International Taskforce Agent Training class, conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), provides vetted foreign law enforcement officers with training very similar to that of the agency's special agents. The students, including 12 Honduras National Police officers, 12 Panama National Police officers, two prosecutors from Honduras and one prosecutor from Panama, began their training April 22.

"Transnational criminal organizations recognize no borders, so it is imperative that law enforcement organizations around the world work together as seamlessly as possible," said Eddie Agrait, ICE deputy assistant director for the Western Hemisphere. "The students graduating today have taken their first steps in the fight against the criminals who victimize and exploit citizens in communities across all of our nations."

Both Honduras National Police Commissioner Ramon Antonio Sabillón and Panama National Police Commissioner Jorge Miranda spoke at the graduation ceremony, recognizing the tremendous efforts their students have made throughout the rigorous training.

'Transnational criminals are always changing the way they work to attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement,' said Commissioner Sabillón. 'This excellent training is very valuable for my officers because they are better able to adapt and improve their investigation skills in the fight against these criminals.'

"As a result of the International Taskforce Agent Training given to Panama's Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit, Panama has increased security controls over the transnational movement of illicit goods thought Panamas robust ports and airport," said Commissioner Miranda. "The impact of this strengthening is reflected in a dramatic increase of seizures of illicit merchandise and the identification and dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations operating in and through Panama. These successes have been recognized by the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime and the international private sector companies."

HSI instructors delivered a tailored curriculum developed to strengthen the students' ability to conduct criminal investigations. Classes covered investigation and interview techniques, evidence processing and warrant execution. The graduates were also exposed to physical training, defensive tactics and weapons practice.

The graduates are now part of an international law enforcement community that facilitates information sharing and the bilateral investigation of transnational criminal organizations involved in a variety of crimes, including weapons and narcotic trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, money laundering, cyber crimes and more.

FLETC serves as the largest law enforcement training organization in the United States, training a majority of the federal officers and agents in the country. In addition to providing training for more than 90 federal partner organizations, FLETC also provides training to local, state, tribal and international police in select advanced programs. Approximately 70,000 students graduate from FLETC each year.

The International Taskforce Agent Training class is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of State.