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April 16, 2018Boston, MAUnited StatesOperational

5 years later: ICE Boston leadership reflect on agency’s critical role in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

BOSTON — The current leaders of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Boston took a moment recently to remember the dedicated professionalism and selfless efforts of their personnel on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013.

“During those days, as now, for HSI Boston the phrase “Boston Strong” was and is more than a slogan, it’s a way of life,” observed Michael Shea, acting special agent in charge of HSI Boston. ”HSI Boston will always remain proud of the critical role that our special agents played in the arrest of the terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev . A major part of the reason this evil coward was brought to justice was the assistance and efforts of HSI Boston,” said  Shea recently.

Among the many ways HSI Boston special agents assisted the investigation included an immediate response to the blast site, the location and analysis of crime scene videos, numerous interviews of witnesses and victims at hospital bedsides and of participants, volunteers, and spectators. HSI Boston aided in the collection of evidence, in the search warrant process, and in the onsite imaging of mobile phones.. In addition, after individuals being investigated attempted to destroy key material evidence in a dumpster, HSI Boston agents assisted in an intensive discovery effort, sifting through mountains of garbage at a landfill for days for suspected evidence which was ultimately recovered as critical in the case. HSI Boston also assisted in the pursuit of the suspect in Watertown, helping secure and protect residents during the security lockdown. and played a considerable art in the extensive investigation and judicial proceedings that followed. 

No less critical to the joint effort, members of ERO  Boston, including ERO’s highly respected Fugitive Operations Teams, assisted in the pursuit of Tsarnaev by securing, controlling and searching Watertown, Massachusetts.

“Boston ERO stands tall and proud when we remember the key role that ERO played in the events of those days, which have come to symbolize the strength and resilience of Boston.”  said Thomas Brophy, acting field office director,  ERO Boston. “ERO Boston, including members of our expert, professional Fugitive Operations Teams have been rightly recognized as critical to the joint federal effort that brought about the successful apprehension of the dangerous and depraved Tsarnaev .”

ERO Boston also deployed officers to  provide support to state police, conducted criminal and computer database queries during the manhunt ,helped secure the area and conducted building searches in Watertown at the request of the Boston Police Department. After the lifting of the security lockdown, ERO remained on scene to maintain a visible law enforcement presence and helped to immediately set up a perimeter following multiple shots fired in Watertown to prevent the potential escape of Tsarnaev.

Both leaders agreed that the expert, dedicated commitment of law enforcement professionals from both HSI and ERO in Boston were essential in meeting head on the threat the community was faced with during those tragic, terrifying events five years ago, and a symbolic example of what helped keep “Boston Strong” during those days and presently.   

Updated: 10/16/2018