CARTAGENA, Colombia – Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) – in coordination with the Colombian National Police – held a conference to promote the exchange of knowledge and skills in support of joint international efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations.
The three-day seminar commenced on Nov. 15, and was titled, "2011 Transnational Crimes, Global Threats, and Illicit Pathways." The main theme of the conference was, "Fighting Networks with Networks through Interregional Partnerships." In addition to providing the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts, the conference offered a forum to support ICE's Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIUs).
More than 100 participants attended, including foreign law enforcement officials from ICE HSI TCIUs in the Western Hemisphere and Middle East; HSI attachés and assistant attachés; and U.S. Department of State representatives.
Keynote speakers included:
- ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble;
- U.S. Department of State INL Director for Anti-Crime Programs Mr. David Luna;
- Director General of the Colombian National Police General Oscar Naranjo;
- U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Vilma Martinez; and
- U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy Bogotá Perry Holloway.
"The TCIUs are conducting great work," said ICE Deputy Director Kibble. "These TCIUs serve as a model for all police forces worldwide, as all of us face a common threat from transnational criminal organizations. It is essential that we work in partnership to identify and disrupt the illicit networks and pathways that pose a threat to the security of our nations."
"By leveraging our collective capacities, expertise, and will to combat transnational organized crime and dismantle transnational illicit networks, we can shut down illicit markets in order to strengthen our own markets, protect our communities, bolster our economies, and preserve the stability of our nations," said Director Luna. "The U.S. Department of State will continue to also support our partnership with ICE to support these types of inter-regional partnerships and training workshops."
The 2011 Transnational Crimes, Global Threats, and Illicit Pathways Conference strategically ties into other events in the ICE/INL partnership, including the recent Trans-Pacific Symposium held Oct. 27 to 29, 2011, in Phuket, Thailand; and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, as well as the National Security Council's Transnational Organized Crime Strategy released in June 2011.
ICE Deputy Director Kibble also highlighted some of the threats that ICE increasingly faces from transnational criminal organizations. He spoke about the how ICE's partnerships are an integral part of ICE's Illicit Pathways Attach Strategy (IPAS).
HSI TCIUs are multi-disciplined units that work with domestic and international ICE HSI offices to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute the entire spectrum of criminal smuggling, trafficking, gangs, cyber crime, money laundering and terrorist organizations that pose a national security threat to the United States. ICE HSI TCIUs act as a force multiplier by building on existing partnerships with host governments and forming long-term strategic relationships to foster the exchange of real-time intelligence and information necessary to collaborate on joint investigations.