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June 6, 2019Washington, DC, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

ICE names new leader to head HSI Global Trade Investigations Division, IPR Center

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recently named Steve Francis as the new assistant director of the HSI-led Global Trade Investigations Division (GTID) and director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).

In his dual role, Francis will oversee HSI’s national programs related to trade enforcement, intellectual property, and counter proliferation. Francis previously served as the special agent in charge of HSI operations in Michigan and Ohio, where he developed a national reputation for building partnerships and establishing relationships.

“We can’t do it alone,” Francis said. “We have to approach problems with all of our resources and view them from a broader, all-inclusive perspective that reaches beyond law enforcement to business, industry and trade organizations.”

Francis brings more than two decades of law enforcement experience to the new role.  In addition to the IPR Center, the HSI Counter-Proliferation Investigations (CPI) Unit and the Export Enforcement Coordination Center (E2C2) are part of the newly-formed division that was created as part of a headquarters reorganization.

“With this realignment, the IPR Center is better positioned to maximize the effectiveness of its 25-agency partnerships in the fight against intellectual property theft and trade law violations,” Francis said. “We value these partnerships and the collaboration that further strengthens them.”

The CPI Unit prevents illicit procurement networks, terrorist groups and hostile nations from illegally obtaining United States military products, sensitive dual-use technology, weapons of mass destruction, or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. The E2C2 is a multi-agency center that serves as the primary government entity for the exchange of information and intelligence related to export enforcement.

Before leaving HSI Detroit, Francis partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to launch the Global Trade Task Force (GTTF), a multi-agency effort that leverages robust import and export controls and investigative authorities to combat illicit commercial activities.

The kickoff partnered HSI Detroit with CBP, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations in a week-long enforcement effort that led to the seizure of counterfeit prescription drugs and other merchandise valued at more than $1 million.

The naming of Francis to this new leadership role comes on the heels of the Center’s 10-year anniversary that showcased its collaboration with industry, non-profit organizations and law enforcement, dedicated to fighting the trafficking of counterfeit, substandard and tainted goods.

“Coming to the IPR Center after 10 years of unparalleled success presents a unique challenge to approach the start of the next decade with the same kind of cooperation and teamwork that will continue that success. I look forward to meeting that challenge together.”