U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program, housed within the agency's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), safeguards national security by preventing sensitive U.S. technologies and weapons from reaching the hands of adversaries.
Counter-proliferation investigations specifically target the trafficking or illegal export of:
- Materials used to manufacture weapons of mass destruction,
- Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials,
- Military equipment and technology,
- Controlled dual-use commodities and technology, and
- Firearms and ammunition.
"HSI has unique border search and broad statutory authorities that place us at the forefront of the United States' export enforcement efforts," said Craig Healy, deputy assistant director of ICE HSI's Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program. "By conducting export enforcement investigations, we can penetrate and dismantle illegal technology procurement networks."
ICE HSI recently partnered with other law enforcement agencies to conduct a counter-proliferation investigation focused on a group of individuals and companies involved in a smuggling conspiracy. The group allegedly purchased and illegally exported 6,000 radio frequency modules and military antennas through Singapore and Hong Kong to Iran. Department of Defense personnel identified sixteen of the 6,000 modules in Iraq, where they were being used to remotely detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Five individuals and four companies were indicted for their alleged involvement in the export conspiracy.
"The threat and scope of these national security investigations require a coordinated government response," said Healy. "HSI regularly works with its partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Justice, as well as the intelligence community to ensure a coordinated and unified approach."
In fiscal year 2011, ICE HSI initiated 1,878 investigations involving illegal procurement of weapons, defense articles and sensitive dual-use technology. During this same timeframe, the Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program was responsible for 532 criminal arrests, 92 administrative arrests, 460 indictments and 289 convictions of individuals and entities involved in violating U.S. export laws. Additionally, the program made 1,244 seizures of sensitive controlled commodities that were being illegally exported from the United States. The Department of Justice's most recent Summary of Major U.S. Export Enforcement Prosecutions cited that more than 74 percent of the government's most significant counter-proliferation investigation prosecutions were either led by ICE or had a significant contribution from ICE HSI agents.
Learn more about counter-proliferation investigations.