Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy
Over the last two decades, transnational organized crime (TOC) has transformed in size, scope and impact – posing a significant threat to national and international security. TOC networks are proliferating, striking new and powerful alliances, and engaging in a range of illicit activities as never before. The result is a convergence of threats that have evolved to become more complex, volatile and destabilizing.
The TOC strategy seeks to build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat TOC and related threats to our national security – and to urge our foreign partners to do the same.
It is organized around five strategic objectives:
- Protect Americans and our partners from the harm, violence, and exploitation of transnational criminal networks.
- Help partner countries strengthen governance and transparency, break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, and sever state-crime alliances.
- Break the economic power of transnational criminal networks and protect strategic markets and the U.S. financial system from TOC penetration and abuse.
- Defeat transnational criminal networks that pose the greatest threat to national security by targeting their infrastructures, depriving them of their enabling means, and preventing the criminal facilitation of terrorist activities.
- Build international consensus, multilateral cooperation, and public-private partnerships to defeat transnational organized crime.
The Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS) is U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) strategy to support the White House’s TOC strategy.
Through IPAS, ICE will:
- Extend operating borders.
- Prioritize networks and pathways.
- Maintain robust interagency engagement.
- Coordinate with foreign partners in specific regions.
- Support efforts to combat crime through laws and policy.
ICE’s IPAS efforts will initially focus on combating human trafficking and smuggling. Future phases of the strategy will focus on weapons trafficking, intellectual property theft, cybercrime, money laundering and counter-proliferation.
Intelligence and Information Sharing
To support the Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS) on Western Hemisphere human smuggling, ICE will create an IPAS Intelligence Unit in August 2011 to enhance intelligence and information sharing across agencies and with key international partners. The unit will be comprised of analysts, agents and support staff at the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center in Washington, D.C. The unit will analyze and disseminate intelligence and information to support investigations focused on high risk smuggling and trafficking organizations and pathways. It will work with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to collect and analyze actionable information from detained and non-detained aliens. The unit will also support ICE's partner agencies to combat transnational criminal networks engaged in human smuggling and trafficking.
Financial Systems and Strategic Markets
By targeting the profits generated and used by criminal organizations and not just targeting the contraband being smuggled, the Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS) will protect financial systems and strategic markets by addressing how criminal organizations earn, move and store illicit proceeds. IPAS will target financial institution abuse, bulk cash smuggling and trade-based money laundering and aggressively pursue asset forfeiture.
Interdiction, Investigations and Prosecutions
The Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS) relies on interagency cooperation. ICE has created two steering groups to aid in implementation of IPAS.
The leadership steering group consists of ICE and key agency partners like U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of State (DOS). This group focuses on high-level policy issues like investigative priorities, information sharing, and creation of memorandums of understanding. Participants ensure the success and continued momentum of IPAS.
The operations coordination group consists of key ICE operational partners like DOJ and CBP. Members will meet regularly to ensure that investigations are well-coordinated, receive proper resources and are supported for prosecutorial success.
Drug Trafficking and Facilitation
Regardless of the commodity – drugs, people, counterfeit goods, etc. – transnational criminal organizations often rely on the same pathways, the same money laundering techniques or contacts to move or hide their illicit profits, and the same corrupt government officials to facilitate or permit the movement of the contraband. The Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS) can aid the White House in its efforts to combat transnational organized crime by targeting not only the drug trafficking organizations, but also the linked networks that permit the movement of drugs, weapons and money.
Transnational Criminal Investigative Units
Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIUs) are special host country police units that assist ICE with investigations in source and transit countries. TCIUs identify targets, gather evidence, share investigative intelligence and facilitate the prosecution of individuals involved in transnational organized crime through joint investigative activities. By working in partnership with TCIUs, ICE can target the entire criminal network, not just the portion operating in the United States.