Monday, January 25, 2010

Laredo Police and Webb County Sheriff Departments Awarded Seized Assets Of 2 Million From U.S.ICE

Laredo, Texas - U.S. Border port of entry

Laredo Police Chief Carlos Maldonado, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, U.S. ICE Special Agent Jerry Robinette, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar and other officials posed with poster-size checks totaling $2 Million at the Laredo port of entry. Photo: U.S. ICE

Local police and sheriff departments will use funds from U.S. ICE to continue fight against crime, drug smuggling, and criminal enterprises

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 25, 2010

Laredo, TX - On Monday's news press conference in Laredo, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (U.S. ICE) distributed more than $2 million in "asset sharing" funds, which were seized from various bulk cash smuggling investigations, to the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff's Office.
A press release from U.S. ICE states that in a collabrative law enforcement partnership, U.S. ICE Special Agent in Charge, Jerry Robinette presented at the Laredo port of entry poster-size checks to both Laredo Police Chief Carlos Maldonado and Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, totaling $2,024,073.22. The Laredo Police Department received $1,356,068.22 and the Webb County Sheriff's Office received $668,005.
The $2,024,073.22 distributed was seized from four local criminal investigations, and the cash was divided among the participating agencies as part of U.S. ICE's asset sharing agreement, according to Special Agent Robinette.
"U.S. ICE is especially proud to recognize the key role that our local law enforcement partners play in addressing the significant threat of illegal bulk cash smuggling poses," said Robinette, who heads the U.S. ICE Office of Investigations in San Antonio, Texas. "Seizing this money from criminals and giving it to local law enforcement sends the right message to the public and to criminal organizations. These funds allow Webb County Sheriff's Office and the Laredo Police Department to continue their excellent work."
"The Laredo Police Department is committed to the continued battle against criminal drug organizations and our collaborative effort with U.S. ICE, as these cases demonstrate how the Laredo law enforcement community works collectively towards not only making effective arrests, but also taking the money away from the criminal organizations and using that money to further ensure the safety of the citizens of Laredo," said Police Chief  Maldonado.
Sheriff Cuellar said, "This check serves as a symbol of the great working relationship between the law enforcement community in Laredo. The law-abiding citizens of Webb County shall rest assured that we wil continue to track down drug traffickers and others engaged in illegal activities."
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar who also attended the joint press conference said, "I thank U.S. ICE and the local law enforcement agencies for their collaborative efforts...When we seize contraband from criminals and smuggled goods at our ports, we take bad things off the street. When there is less of what is bad, we make things better for the good of all."
Last August 14, 2009, Congressman Cuellar presented poster size checks to both the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff's Office totaling $2,182,836.00 million. Laredo Police received $574,766 and the Webb County Sheriff received $1,608,070 of federal funds.
Other federal agencies attending Monday's news conference were officials from the City of Laredo, U.S Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Field Operations and CBP's Laredo Border Patrol Sector.
Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool used by U.S. ICE and other law enforcement agencies to seize assets from criminal organizations in their illicit criminal activity. Under the related equitable sharing program, federal, state and local law enforcement partners and foreign governments working with U.S. ICE in joint investigations can be eligible to receive a portion of the proceeds of a federal forfeiture, which fosters greater partnership and cooperation among agencies.

On August 14, 2009, U.S. Congressman Cuellar presented at the Webb County Sheriff's facility poster-size checks to both the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff's Office totaling $2,182,836.00 million. Laredo Police received $574,766 and the Webb County Sheriff received $1,608,070 of federal funds.
Photo from U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar's web site

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