Special Agent (Ret.), Homeland Security Investigations
I had a very lucky career in federal law enforcement. I started as a special agent in 1984 with the U.S. Customs Service in San Francisco. I also worked in Miami in the early 2000s. Like most investigators, I wanted to make good cases and put criminals in jail. I quickly learned that the best investigations included the contributions of multiple investigators and agencies. In those early years I worked closely with ATF agents on gun smuggling cases, with DEA agents on drug smuggling cases, and with IRS agents on international money laundering cases. In addition, my colleagues and I worked very closely with state and local officers in task forces, both formal and informal. Together we seized thousands of guns, tons of narcotics, and millions of dollars in criminal proceeds.
I was fortunate enough to be assigned overseas twice. I worked in Tokyo with Customs from 1996 to 2000 and in Frankfurt with Homeland Security Investigations from 2007 to 2011. Collaboration was the key to those assignments. With no formal authority in foreign countries, we relied on relationships with our foreign law enforcement partners to further our mission. We also helped further the mission of our partners by passing evidence and intelligence from the U.S. The collaborations resulted in successful operations against the exploitation of children, the proliferation of military technology, and the repatriation of culturally significant works of art. We also partnered with the other U.S. law enforcement agencies stationed overseas, such as the FBI, DEA, IRS, Secret Service, and the Department of State, to share contacts and support each other as best we could.
Successful collaboration almost always came down to trust, which we nurtured through close personal relationships. We made great cases in often difficult and complicated circumstances due to a high level of trust and a genuine desire to help fellow law enforcement officers uncover the truth and pursue justice. I treasure the friendships I made and am honored to have worked with such dedicated professionals, both in the U.S. and abroad.