Diplomatic Security Special Agents Collaborate with Colombian Officials in 19 Arrests.
In conjunction with Colombian authorities, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Special Agents in Bogota collaborated in Operation White Light to take down a Cali-based human smuggling and visa fraud ring. The operation took place on May 8, 2007 in Cali, Colombia. This operation is a prime example of the excellent bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia. In addition to the international cooperation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents were essential to the success of the ring bust.
As a result of the operation, Colombian authorities arrested 19, of whom 12 were Cali-based medical doctors. The prisoners are facing charges ranging from human smuggling, conspiracy, and producing and selling false identity documents.
The U.S. Embassy in Bogota first alerted Colombian authorities to the problem in late 2005 based on false identity information obtained by Consular Officers during the U.S. visa application process of a minor Colombian child. With this lead, the Colombian authorities were able to open a major investigation. Evidence revealed that the main suspect provided false documents and identities to U.S. visa applicants with the purpose of fraudulently obtaining passage to the United States. Ultimately, this investigation led to today’s successful arrests of the human smugglers.
Operation White Light represents a cooperative effort between the Colombian Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), the Colombian Fiscalia and the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. In 2006, DS logged more than 1,200 arrests globally, primarily for passport and visa fraud, including 512 arrests overseas in cooperation with foreign police. Read more in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa and Passport Security Strategic Plan.
Additional information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
For more information, contact:
L. Kendal Smith
Adapted from: Operation White Light Shuts Down Human Trafficking Ring in Colombia. Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Washington, DC. US Department of State, 8 May 2007.
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