GLYNCO, Ga. – A group of 24 Mexican Customs officers completed a rigorous 10-week training program Friday modeled on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Training Program to prepare them to more effectively fight crime along the southern border and within Mexico.
Students of the HSI-sponsored Mexican Customs Investigator Training (MEXCIT), their instructors, and Mexican and U.S. dignitaries attended a graduation ceremony Friday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga. The event underlined HSI’s continuing commitment to partner with Mexico in confronting transnational criminal organizations whose actions undermine public safety, erode the rule of law and threaten the national security of the United States, Mexico and the world at large.
HSI North America Operations Chief Alexis Torres commended the students for completing the challenging and physically demanding course work that included getting a dousing of pepper spray. Torres noted that this is the third class of Mexican Customs officers to complete the course, and that the training is paying dividends on both sides of the border.
"In the last several years, we have seen a greater level of security cooperation between our two countries than at any point in our histories," said Torres. "Fighting the criminal organizations that threaten our safety and security demands a response that is transnational and that is coordinated effectively by professional law enforcement officers in both countries."
Also addressing the crowd was Sylvia Saucedo Garza, Administrator Central for Special Operations on Foreign Trade.
"The government of Mexico recognizes and is very grateful that the United States has allowed us this unique professional experience," Garza said. "This knowledge will be applied in the field with a spirit of bi-national cooperation between our two countries for the benefit of both our nations."
"A large block of curriculum was dedicated to officer safety, internal controls and anti-corruption," said James S. Thomas, unit chief of international training at the ICE Academy. "It energized the instructors to be teaching the classes because the students were so enthusiastic and raised so many questions."
A total of 69 Mexican Customs officers have now completed this training program.