WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009, to foster increased communication between participating agencies at the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center and the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2).
"The OCDETF Fusion Center and IOC-2 are founded on the principle that we can accomplish more together than we can separately," said Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden. "By bringing together the agencies and personnel with existing resources and expertise we can work more effectively as partners to shut down organized crime networks, seize assets and save taxpayer dollars in the process. This agreement, coupled with recent agreements between ICE, DEA and ATF will allow new levels of cooperation and intelligence sharing."
"These additional agreements we've signed with our Department of Justice law enforcement partners help us all better combat the worst criminal offenders," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton. "By combining our resources, we expect to stop more drug smugglers and organized crime across the country."
By becoming an active participate in the OCDETF Fusion Center as outlined in one MOU, ICE will be adding more than 25 million records, including reports of investigation, wiretap intercept information and financial investigative material, from its drug-related investigations and drug-related financial investigations to the Fusion Center. ICE will also gain access to the additional agency information available through the Fusion Center. This increased partnership will further help in the joint fight against drug trafficking organizations by all of the other Fusion Center agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The ability of all participating Fusion Center agencies to develop target profiles and actionable investigative leads to disrupt and dismantle significant drug traffickers is enhanced by the increase of information collected at the Fusion Center. In addition to sharing in one collection of information, coordinating with the Fusion Center allows participating law enforcement agencies to "de-conflict" their investigations. De-confliction ensures that two or more agencies are not duplicating resources or that one agency's investigation will not have a negative impact on another agency's investigation.
DOJ and ICE also signed an MOU regarding ICE participation in the newly created IOC-2, which marshals the resources and information of nine U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as federal prosecutors, to collectively combat the threats posed by international criminal organizations to domestic safety and security. It allows partner agencies to join together in a task force setting, combine data and produce actionable leads for investigators and prosecutors working nationwide to combat international organized crime, and to coordinate the resulting multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions. ICE's new membership in IOC-2 will allow all the partner agencies to draw on data that now ICE will provide, while allowing ICE to work investigations with other agencies that may be targeting the same syndicates.
These latest MOUs follow closely on the heels of two additional agreements DEA and ATF, respectively, signed recently with ICE. Together, these agreements show a significant level of partnership and cooperation within the federal law enforcement agencies to target major criminal organizations.