U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) role in national security extends far beyond our country's borders. The agency relies on partnerships with other countries to investigate and dismantle criminal networks across the globe.
Earlier this month, military, political and law enforcement leaders from across the world traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the inaugural Border Control, Airport and Seaport Security (BCASS) exposition. The conference focused on how nations can pool knowledge and resources to make the world a safer place.
ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble spoke at the event and highlighted how ICE combats criminal networks by building partnerships with countries across the world.
"Sharing law enforcement intelligence with our international partners and conducting joint transnational investigations leads ICE to unfathomable criminal networks," said Kibble." "We intend to share best practices in law enforcement techniques, arrange joint investigative teams and offer investigative and prosecutorial assistance in the pursuit of convictions and prosecutions of customs violators."
Kibble shared successes from a recent investigation called Pacific Rim where ICE and its foreign counterparts disrupted an international money laundering and drug trafficking network that spanned every continent on Earth except for Antarctica. Drug smugglers - responsible for 42 percent of Colombian cocaine entering the United States from 2003 to 2009 - brought tons of cocaine into the United States on yachts and semi-submersibles along the Mexico/United States maritime border. As the result of international cooperation, Pacific Rim netted five guilty pleas, 16 indictments and 18 arrests along with seizures totaling approximately $155 million in currency, 3.3 tons of cocaine, $37 million in criminal forfeitures, and $179 million in property. These seizures helped to identify previously unknown smuggling routes. In addition, the operation's success significantly impacted the flow of drugs into the United States and smuggling of illegal proceeds out of the country.
"Pac Rim exemplifies how smuggling and laundering illicit cash is the grease that keeps these slick operations running, and how important our global partnerships are to stopping them. ICE is determined to dry up and deprive these criminals and criminal organizations of their sole motivator-money," said Kibble.
Kibble also discussed establishing similar partnerships in the UAE to bring down criminal networks. New this year, ICE established a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Customs Administration (ADCA) and the UAE Minister of the Interior for a new immigration academy.
Major General Khamis bin Hasher Al Mehrezi from the UAE Ministry of Defense echoed Kibble's call for global partnerships, "Modern technologies have recently played an effective and very important role in detecting threats, defining them, tracking them, tackling them and preserving security. Yet cooperation and coordination on both national and international levels is equally important."