FBI: “Transnational Law Enforcement Efforts”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 6, 2013 released the following:

“Four leaders of the MS-13 gang were convicted in Atlanta recently in connection with a terrorizing violent crime spree. During the course of the investigation, we determined that many of their violent acts were directed by gang leadership in El Salvador and Honduras—a common occurrence uncovered in other investigations as well. This international criminal nexus of violent gangs is the focus of several FBI programs funded by the U.S. State Department through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

CARSI’s overall goal is to confront the dangers of organized crime, violent gangs, and drug trafficking in Central America and the U.S., and several domestic federal agencies participate in various facets of the initiative. The FBI, through its National Gang Task Force (NGTF), specifically supports six programs targeting the transnational threats posed by the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs.

The first three are operationally focused:

Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) Unit: This program combines the expertise, resources, and jurisdiction of participating agencies involved in investigating and countering transnational criminal gang activity in the U.S. and Central America. These groups—headed by FBI agents who lead vetted teams of national police and prosecutors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—coordinate with FBI legal attachés assigned to those regions and with the Bureau’s International Operations Division.

Central American Fingerprint Exchange (CAFÉ): This NGTF-established program was developed to collect and store criminal biometric data, including fingerprint records, from all Central American countries. The collected prints are added to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division’s general database, where they’re accessible to local, state, and federal agencies in the U.S.

Criminal History Information Program (CHIP): Through this initiative, the FBI provides the Salvadoran and Honduran National Police with the criminal history, biographical, and background information of non-U.S. citizen gang members and associates who are deported from the U.S. back to their home countries.

The second three CARSI programs are more training-focused:

Central American Law Enforcement Exchange (CALEE): This officer exchange program provides Central American and U.S. police officers with hands-on training that emphasizes operational techniques and current gang trends. CALEE encourages relationship-building and innovative approaches for gang investigations and offers a clearer understanding of the transnational threat posed by violent criminal street gangs. This four-week program takes part in classrooms and in the field.

Central American Intelligence Program (CAIP): CAIP allows representatives from U.S. and Central American law enforcement agencies to take part in an interactive, custom-designed intelligence and exchange program. CAIP was developed to expose participants to best practices in the areas of collection, analysis, and dissemination of transnational gang intelligence.

Central American Community Impact Exchange (CACIE): With its goal of helping Central American nations develop positive community impact programs, CACIE focuses on the importance of community collaboration and strengthening relationships between community leaders and law enforcement. The newest of the CARSI programs, CACIE was developed in partnership with the State Department and the White House National Security Staff.

These six CARSI programs have proven to be a valuable weapon against transnational gangs and have assisted the FBI and our partners in targeting and disrupting many MS-13 and 18th Street gang connections—proof positive that transnational cooperation among law enforcement can trump cross-border collaboration among criminals.”


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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