The Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are engaging in increased information-sharing to combat organized crime, the department announced today.
In two memorandums signed last week, DOJ and ICE agreed that the latter component, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, would become an active participant in two major law enforcement efforts — the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center and the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2).
Officials said the coordination would allow law enforcement agencies to “de-conflict” their investigations, or reduce duplicative efforts and limit turf battles. An ICE spokesman said the memorandums were law-enforcement sensitive and not releasable to the public.
From the joint DOJ/ICE news release:
By becoming an active participate in the OCDETF Fusion Center as outlined in one MOU, ICE will be adding more than 25 million records, including reports of investigation, wiretap intercept information and financial investigative material, from its drug-related investigations and drug-related financial investigations to the Fusion Center. ICE will also gain access to the additional agency information available through the Fusion Center. This increased partnership will further help in the joint fight against drug trafficking organizations by all of the other Fusion Center agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Similarly, ICE’s membership in IOC-2 will allow all the partner agencies to draw on its resources and collaborate on investigations that may be targeting the same syndicates. The memorandums follow agreements betwen ICE and the DEA and ICE and the ATF.
“By bringing together the agencies and personnel with existing resources and expertise we can work more effectively as partners to shut down organized crime networks, seize assets and save taxpayer dollars in the process,” said Deputy Attorney General David Ogden in statement announcing the partnership. “This agreement, coupled with recent agreements between ICE, DEA and ATF will allow new levels of cooperation and intelligence sharing.”