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Tag: homeland security investigations

Ex-HSI Special Agent Convicted in California of Sexually Assaulting 2 Women

By Steve Neavling

A former Homeland Security Investigations special agent was convicted Wednesday of violating the civil rights of two women he was accused of sexually assaulting. 

John Jacob Olivas, 48, of Riverside, Calif., was found guilty of three counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law following an 11-day trial. 

He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in March. 

During the 11-day trial, the jury was told that Olivas tried to rape one woman in January 2012 after telling her that police would not investigate because he was “above a cop” and “untouchable” due to his position in federal law enforcement. 

In September 2012 and November 2012, Olivas was accused of raping another woman. He told the woman he was “invincible” and pointed an HSI-issued gun at her back before sexually assaulting her in September 2012, the woman testified. 

Both victims endured Olivas’s “violent, escalating, controlling, and intimidating behavior, which included his repeated brandishing of HSI credentials to [them] and asserting that he was above the law,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

The FBI and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated the assaults. 

Ex-HSI Special Agent Sentenced to More Than 10 Years in Prison for Bribery

By Steve Neavling

A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for accepting bribes linked to organized crime.

In May, a grand jury convicted Felix Cisneros Jr., 48, of Murrieta, Calif., of 26 counts of money laundering, two counts of filing a false tax return, and one cont each of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

Between 2015 and 2016, Cisneros accepted more than $100,000 in checks and gifts. 

In exchange for the bribes, Cisneros accessed a DHS database for information about a German nation, placing an alert in a law enforcement database for an address associated with an illegal marijuana grow operations, obtaining an official DHS letter to allow the parole of a suspect’s brother-in-law, and collecting information on an associate of the suspect. 

Cisneros also underreported his total income on his federal income tax returns in 2015 and 2016. 

Ex-HSI Task Force Agent Sentenced for Leaking Information about Investigation into Border Patrol Agent

By Steve Neavling

A former agent working with a Homeland Security Investigations task force has been sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for leaking information about a Border Patrol agent who was under investigation. 

Daniel Chaves pleaded guilty Friday to disclosing confidential government information, Nogales International reports.

While working for the HSI task force, Chaves leaked details of an investigation involving a Border Patrol agent. 

The information was disclosed to a CBP employe who did not appear to be involved in the investigation, his attorney Jason Lamm said. 

There was “no nefarious intent whatsoever,” Lamm said. 

“(Chaves) never divulged anything … to any individual who was a potential target of the investigation, or anything or to anyone who could have made the targets aware,” Lamm said.

Chaves may reapply for his position with CBP, his attorney said.

70 Children Rescued by Multi-Agency Operation in Texas

Photo: ICE

By Steve Neavling

A multi-agency operation in Texas recovered 70 missing children in a three-week period, ICE announced Tuesday.

Operation Lost Souls was a joint effort involving Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, the Texas Department of Public Safety and numerous other federal, state and local agencies. 

The operation ran from the end of April through mid-May in western Texas. 

The recovered children ranged in age from 10 to 17, and most were runaways. Some were victims of sex trafficking, as well as physical and sexual abuse. 

“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are looking out for our children – our community’s most precious resource,” El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho said in a statement. “HSI is committed to continue working with our law enforcement partners to locate, recover and help missing children heal, while ensuring that perpetrators are held responsible for these heinous crimes and brought to justice.”

Authorities attributed the success to teamwork. 

“At the Department of Public Safety, teamwork is one of our core values,” DPS Major Matthew Mull said. “We are grateful for all of our law enforcement partners who participated in this operation and who work around-the-clock every day to protect our communities, including our youth.”

Anyone with information about human trafficking is asked to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

Ex-HSI Agent Convicted of Dozens of Charges for Accepted Bribes Linked to Organized Crime

By Steve Neavling

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations of dozens of criminal charges for accepting bribes linked to organized crime. 

Felix Cisneros Jr., 48, of Murrieta, Calif., was convicted of 26 counts of money laundering, two counts of filing a false tax return, and one cont each of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Between 2015 and 2016, Cisneros accepted more than $100,000 in checks and gifts. 

In exchange for the bribes, Cisneros accessed a DHS database for information about a German national, placing an alert in a law enforcement database for an address associated with an illegal marijuana grow operations, obtaining an official DHS letter to allow the parole of a suspect’s brother-in-law, and collecting information on an associate of the suspect. 

Cisneros also underreported his total income on his federal income tax returns in 2015 and 2016. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

FBI Investigates Shooting Involving Homeland Security Investigations Agents in New Mexico

Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating a shooting involving Homeland Security Investigation agents in New Mexico. 

The shooting occurred at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday near Route 66 Casino, the FBI said in a statement.

No agents were injured, but “one subject” was wounded. 

Details of the shooting remained murky Wednesday. 

Homeland Security Investigations Wants a Divorce from ICE

By Steve Neavling

Hampered by ICE’s negative reputation, federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations are making a dramatic proposal: Leave ICE. 

The suggestion was laid out in a report obtained by The Washington Post.

“Separating HSI into its own standalone agency is not simply a branding preference,” agents said in the document. “HSI’s affiliation with ICE significantly impedes investigations and HSI’s ability to fulfill its mission.”

The agents said their relationship with ICE is endangering their safety, frightening crime victims, and undermining their partnerships with other agencies. 

Congressional approval would be needed to break HSI from ICE. 

Some Homeland Security Agents to Begin Wearing Body Cams

Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

Dozens of Homeland Security agents will begin wearing body cams as part of a six-month pilot program. 

The cameras will be worn by 55 Homeland Security Investigations agents in Houston, Newark, New Jersey and New York, the Associated Press reports.

The idea is to examine the cost and benefits of the technology. 

The pilot is expected to be expanded to include officers involved in immigration enforcement arrests. 

While many local and state law enforcement wear body cameras, federal agents have not. 

ATF agents in Phoenix and Detroit began wearing body cams in September.

In August, CBP announced that about a third of Border Patrol agents will wear body cameras by the end of this year.

In June, the Justice Department’s Inspector General said federal law enforcement agencies were “generally unprepared” to adopt the widespread use of body cameras.

In the last decade, the Justice Department issued $150 million in grants for camera programs, but none of that money went to the ATF, FBI, DEA, or U.S. Marshals Service.