ICE at Super Bowl 52

A Super Week

While the Philadelphia Eagles were the big winners on the field in Super Bowl 52, off the field, HSI put together a championship effort securing the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area during Super Bowl week. From seizing counterfeit sports merchandise to providing security at the Minneapolis Convention Center, HSI and its federal partners worked together in what was the largest interagency force deployed to a Super Bowl site in history.

Game Day

Mobile Command


Super Bowl 52 was played in US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Before any equipment entered the security zone on Sunday, it went through a screening process lead by CBP.

HSI’s Mobile Command Center served as the headquarters for CBP’s operation at the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) site. The technology employs gamma rays to produce images of tankers, commercial trucks, sea and air containers, and other vehicles for contraband such as drugs, weapons and currency. In short, CBP was able to look at the inside of the trucks carrying equipment without taking out any items.

HSI’s command center provided Internet, satellite, phone and other communication capabilities to CBP. At large scale events like the Super Bowl, working together to support interagency partners with manpower or equipment is a key to success.

Game Day Operations

Day 6

DHS Teammates


Just as the Eagles and Patriots have been working together all week to prepare for Sunday’s game, Team DHS has been exhibiting effective teamwork in Minneapolis to ensure a safe and exciting Super Bowl. The interagency coordination of personnel from ICE, CBP and others has been essential to the support of fellow law enforcement partners on the ground. The preparation and training of DHS’ partners has played a key role in the successful security efforts of Super Bowl 52.

HSI at Super Bowl 52

Day 5

Operation Team Player


Operation Team Player is a year-round effort developed by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) to crackdown on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and entertainment merchandise.

On Thursday, Feb. 1, in Minneapolis, the results from the operation were revealed at a press conference hosted by the NFL, with participation from ICE, CBP and the Minneapolis Police Department.

“Over the course of the last year, HSI and CBP’s efforts have led to the seizure of approximately 171,000 sports and entertainment-related items worth an estimated $15.7 million,” said IPR Section Chief Lamar Jackson. “Our joint investigative efforts have also led to 65 criminal arrests and 24 convictions.”

During Super Bowl week, HSI has been tasked to assist local law enforcement in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs are among the counterfeit items confiscated this week by, HSI, CBP and other state and local partners.

As one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy, the IPR Center is not only committed to closely coordinating with its 23 member agencies, but also collaborating with industry and anti-counterfeiting associations to develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft.


Eyes in the Sky


HSI’s Special Response Team (SRT) has been working to provide security in and around Minneapolis, during the days leading up to Super Bowl 52. SRT members are highly-trained in the use of specialized firearms and defensive tactics, and are prepared to work in any weather conditions, such as the low temperatures expected throughout Super Bowl week.

As one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy, the IPR Center is not only committed to closely coordinating with its 23 member agencies, but also collaborating with industry and anti-counterfeitOne of the tactics SRT members are using to provide surveillance is a black hawk helicopter. As an “eye in the sky,” the Aerial Quick Response Force, supported by HSI Detroit SRT members, can get a lay of the land, see where crowds are gathering and let fans and area citizens know that law enforcement is out there to protect the city.

Operation Team Player Featured Photo Gallery

Day 4

Public Safety


The NFL held its public safety press conference Wednesday, Jan. 31, in Minneapolis. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, along with HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge and Super Bowl Federal Coordinator Alex Khu, NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier and other law enforcement officials spoke about the collective efforts being made to provide public safety and security during the days leading up to Super Bowl 52.

“Cheering fans can be sure that DHS and our federal partners are here to support our state and local officials in securing this site,” Secretary Nielsen said. “DHS works closely in these instances and events.”

According to Khu, the interagency partnerships allow numerous capabilities to be in play when working to secure to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Some of the key efforts of law enforcement include advanced cargo and vehicle screening technologies, special response teams that rapidly deploy to public safety incidents, air assets that secure the skyways, fans and venues on game day and direct engagement with the intelligence community, among many other tasks.

Public Safety Featured Photo Gallery

Virtual Walk Along

HSI and its law enforcement partners have been hard at work to provide public safety and security for Super Bowl 52. One of the main points of emphasis has been the Minneapolis Convention Center. This virtual walk along gives an up close look at an afternoon in the lives of HSI special agents on site at the Super Bowl Experience.


Virtual Walk Along 1

Virtual Walk Along 2

Virtual Walk Along 3

Virtual Walk Along 4

Virtual Walk Along 5

Virtual Walk Along 6

Virtual Walk Along 7

Virtual Walk Along 8

Day 3

Intercepting the Fakes


HSI, working in partnership with the Minneapolis Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), conducted a mail operation during Super Bowl week to seize narcotics, counterfeit goods and other items being smuggled into the United States.

HSI special agents discovered numerous counterfeit NFL jerseys during the operation.

“This is the front line of goods entering our commerce,” said an HSI special agent working the operation. “We are able to stop some of the more nefarious goods coming in before it hits the supply chain.”

A Unique Location


Every Super Bowl host city presents its own unique challenges for law enforcement. According to Alex Khu, HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge and Super Bowl 52 Federal Coordinator, this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis, has three primary differences in comparison to Super Bowl 51 in Houston – a smaller local police force, stadium location and weather.

“Houston had in excess of 5,000 police officers,” Khu said. “Minneapolis is the 15th largest metropolitan area in America, but the police force is much smaller, so right of the bat, the workforce is different.”

Sunday’s game with be played on US Bank Stadium, a downtown facility surrounded by public streets and sideways that creates congestion, making it harder for law enforcement to secure the perimeter. With cold temperatures common for this time of the year, Khu and his team face winter weather challenges that other Super Bowl cities such as Houston, Atlanta and Miami, don’t encounter.

Inspecting the Fakes Featured Photo Gallery

Day 2

A Secure Response


There are many events that take place in and around the Super Bowl host city leading up to the big game. As a designated Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) 1 event, Super Bowl 52 was assigned a federal coordinator and federal coordination team to work together with the NFL to protect fans attending those events from any potential vulnerabilities and provide critical assets where needed.

“We have collectively gathered a tremendous amount of federal resources to support the Minneapolis Police Department,” said Alex Khu, HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge and Super Bowl 52 Federal Coordinator. “We have combined assets here that make it the largest interagency force deployed in Super Bowl history.”

HSI has partnered with more than 40 law enforcement agencies from around the country this week. With thousands of public safety and support personnel currently in Minneapolis, teamwork will be the key to success with Khu serving as the quarterback.

Public Safety Featured Photo Gallery

Day 1

Spotting the Fakes


Counterfeit cell phone cases, t-shirts, lanyards and more.

That’s what HSI special agents seized during a counterfeit enforcement operation at the Northtown Mall in Blaine, Minnesota on Monday. The operation was part of HSI’s ongoing efforts during Super Bowl week to crack down on the illegal selling of counterfeit sports apparel and merchandise to unsuspecting fans.

“What we tell consumers is that if it’s too good to be true, 100 percent of the time, it is,” said an HSI special agent working the operation.

IPR Featured Photo Gallery


Why is HSI at the Super Bowl?

HSI has been a constant presence at the Super Bowl for many years, having formed an effective partnership with the National Football League. This year, led by St. Paul Special Agent in Charge and Super Bowl federal coordinator Alex Khu, HSI will work with its law enforcement partners throughout Super Bowl week to provide public safety to all in attendance and combat many of the threats the league and host city face leading up to and during the big game.

Why is HSI involved in combatting counterfeit products?

The illegal manufacturing and sale of counterfeit goods is one of the primary concerns of HSI, CBP, and the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which includes many federal and international partners. The practice endangers public health, the economy and restricts the competitiveness of U.S. products in the global market.

As part of those efforts, Operation Team Player, an ongoing effort developed by the IPR Center to crackdown on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and merchandise, has worked through the year to identify warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors selling counterfeit and game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the country. The IPR Center leads coordinated efforts with major sporting leagues to target contraband that impacts the economy, enables additional criminality and poses health and safety hazards to the public.

Teamwork will be the key to success on and off the field during Super Bowl LII. For HSI, the enormity of the task will be met with personnel who will be prepared to successfully execute the agency’s game plan.

Super Bowl 52
Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/19/2018