In an effort to mitigate vulnerabilities within the commerce stream that threaten the nation’s consumers and to protect national security, Homeland Security officials recently launched its Global Trade Task Force (GTTF), a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led multi-agency effort that leverages robust import and export controls and investigative authorities to combat illicit commercial activities. Authorities announced results from a recent task force effort March 11 at Detroit’s Fort Street Cargo Facility.
HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis called the task force a vital next step in the battle against threats to the commerce stream and national security. He said the HSI Detroit task force could serve as a national model for related investigations across the agency and beyond.
“With the launch of the GTTD, we are combining a wide array of capabilities that enable us to combat this global problem in a more streamlined manner,” said Francis. “I hope it will serve as a model for how the agency approaches counterfeit and counterproliferation investigations going forward.”
“This joint collaborative task force is a force multiplier for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to mitigate illicit attempts by smugglers to use inbound and outbound commercial shipments for their nefarious operations,” said Christopher Perry, Director of Field Operations.
The new task force combines the investigative, interdiction, regulatory, and licensing capabilities from a variety of agencies, including HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.
The GTTF’s primary mission is to counter the following types of illicit commercial activities:
Health & Safety: Trafficking of counterfeit, substandard, or tainted merchandise, with an emphasis on goods that pose a threat to public health or safety including pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals, automotive, aerospace, rail, and heavy industry products; and environmental crimes.
Trade Crime: Financially-motivated fraud schemes that deprive revenue from the United States government or which harm businesses, rights holders, or undermine financial institutions.
Counter-Proliferation: Illegal export of United States military products, sensitive dual-use technology, weapons of mass destruction, or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.