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April 22, 2022Sells, AZ, United StatesContraband, Operational

Bipartisan bill signed into law enhances Shadow Wolves Program

Reclassifies officers as special agents, promotes career expansion

SELLS, Ariz. – The “Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act” signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Tuesday, April 19, paves the way for reclassifying Shadow Wolves from tactical officers to special agents for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). This elite unit of eight, based out of the Tohono O’odham Nation, covers 2.8 million acres, including a 76-mile stretch of border shared with Mexico. The newly passed law now allows these officers to not only patrol the desert, but to investigate, interdict, and disrupt criminal activity on their land as HSI special agents.

“The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act will dramatically increase agency effectiveness in targeting and disrupting human and drug smugglers throughout the rugged terrain of the Sonoran Desert and across tribal lands,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson. “The reclassification of the Shadow Wolves broadens the authority of an elite law enforcement program while preserving the unit’s historic legacy and augments critical state and federal partnerships while furthering our broad national security missions.”

“It is with tremendous pleasure and pride that I will be welcoming the Shadow Wolves as HSI special agents,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “After nearly 50 years since their establishment, their experience and impressive history, it is paramount we give this team the tools needed to grow as law enforcement officers. This signing certainly marks an important day for the Shadow Wolves – an unparalleled law enforcement unit.”

Reclassifying Shadow Wolves from officers to agents provides career path mobility and allows HSI to share resources with other tribal areas with significant Native American populations. As part of the Act, HSI will develop a strategy to expand the program and recruit new Shadow Wolves.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. HSI is responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 04/22/2022