WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and personnel from Cleveland, San Diego, and Vermont were recognized July 19 by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at its annual U.S. Interdiction Coordinator (USIC) Award Ceremony.
The National Bulk Cash Smuggling Center (BCSC) was recognized for its efforts in identifying and combatting transnational criminal organizations’ (TCO) use of illicit value, including bulk cash, stored value and cryptocurrency. As an intelligence-driven investigative unit of HSI, the BCSC develops and advances several national programs that leverage law enforcement technology, practices, and partnerships to target and disrupt criminal groups involved in domestic and cross-border illicit-value transfer.
HSI San Diego Costa Pacifico’s Money Laundering Group special agents were recognized for their work as part of Operation Fast Pass, an HSI-San Diego led investigation into a money laundering organization and drug trafficking organization suspected of moving cocaine and bulk currency between Mexico, Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. In 2018, the operation resulted in 13 arrests, nine indictments, and the seizure of approximately $1,531,013, 108 kilos of cocaine, 18 kilos of methamphetamine, and seven vehicles.
Special agents from HSI Cleveland were recognized for their work as part of Operation Darkness Falls, a multi-agency initiative targeting traffickers who sold fentanyl and other drugs over the darknet. To date the initiative resulted in federal charges against six individuals, including one of the most prolific darknet fentanyl vendors in the world. The operation also resulted in the seizure of significant quantities of suspected fentanyl and other illicit substances and the take down of four major transnational drug trafficking operations.
The annual USIC awards recognize significant contributions to continuing efforts to counter the threats posed by the international trafficking of narcotics and other illicit substances. Awardees were selected by a committee composed of members of the interagency interdiction community who reviewed nominations submitted by the chain of commands of applicable agencies.
The ONDCP USIC Award Program was established in 2003 to recognize the superior performance of our front-line drug interdictors and those who support them. This program has evolved to recognize individuals and units (teams) across the interagency who have excelled in the United States government’s collective efforts to counter drug-related transnational organized crime. The award categories and selection criteria encompass the entire interdiction continuum.