“Disturbing” Employee Arrests In Homeland Security Agency


U.S. Customs and Border Protection is supposed to stop crimes like bribery, drug trafficking, and migrant smuggling. Instead, the Miami Herald reports, so many of its officers have been charged with committing them that their boss in Washington issued an alert about the ”disturbing events” and the “increase in the number of employee arrests.” Thomas S. Winkowski, assistant commissioner of field operations, wrote 20,000 officers nationwide that employees must behave professionally at all times — even when not on the job. The memo cites employee arrests involving domestic violence, DUI, and drug possession. But Homeland Security employees from South Florida to the Mexican border states have been charged with dozens of far more serious offenses. Winkowski, a former director of field operations in Miami, called the misconduct ”unacceptable.”

One Border Protection officer at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport allegedly accessed an electronic database known as Treasury Enforcement Communications System, a tool to stop illegal drug imports. She is accused of tapping into the system several times to pass along information to a Delta Airlines baggage handler who was conspiring with a drug ring to transport cocaine and heroin from the Dominican Republic to New York. In other cases, longtime employees said administrative incidents like hostile confrontations or heavy drinking, may reflect the low morale and intense rivalries after the merger of federal agencies under Homeland Security. ”It’s become a cultural clash, tensions between officers from the merged agencies,” said a Customs and Border Protection officer who was not authorized to speak publicly. “There’s low morale and tension. Some people drink; others take it out on their colleagues or supervisors. It’s no fun anymore.”

Link: http://www.miamiherald.com/top_stories/story/444503.html

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