CHARLESTON, S.C. — A group of 23 Mexican customs officers completed a rigorous 10-week training program modeled on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Training Program to prepare them to more effectively fight crime along the southern border and within Mexico.
Students of the ICE-sponsored Mexican Customs Investigator Training (MEXCIT), their instructors, and Mexican and U.S. dignitaries attended a graduation ceremony at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston Aug. 23, 2012. The event underlined ICE's continuing commitment to partner with Mexico in confronting drug cartels and other 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.
ICE Director John Morton commended the students for completing the challenging and physically demanding course work that included getting a dousing of pepper spray. Morton said MEXCIT is the first of its kind and "stands as a shining example of the strength of the U.S. and Mexico's commitment to bilateral cooperation."
"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 Morton. "Fighting the criminal organizations that threaten our safety and security demands a response that is transnational and that is coordinated."
Also addressing the crowd was Director Alfredo Gutierrez from the Mexican Tax Administration Service, who said, "We all know that our actions transcend borders. The governments of Mexico and the United States are committed to using our resources to significantly improve the security and the environment in which our commercial activities take place."
James S. Thomas, unit chief of international training at the ICE Academy said, "A large block of curriculum was dedicated to officer safety, internal controls and anti-corruption. It energized the instructors teaching the classes because the students were so enthusiastic and raised so many questions."
A total of 47 Mexican customs officers have now completed this training program.