U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Eduardo Escobar, along with other personnel from HSI Colombia, was featured in the third part of the documentary series “Chain of Command” airing Jan. 19 on National Geographic Channel.
“Chain of Command” is a NatGeo eight-part series narrated by Chris Evans (“Captain America,” “The Avengers”) that offers unprecedented access to the U.S. military’s mission to combat violent extremism in hot spots like Iraq, Afghanistan, and West Africa as well as Latin America. The series also features HSI’s “Operation Citadel” and its partnership with United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to curb human smuggling and other transnational criminal activities in Central and South America.
The episode “Shoulder to Shoulder” highlights HSI’s efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations and their activities before they reach the United States.
Operation Citadel is a multinational criminal investigation which focuses on identifying, disrupting, and dismantling transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and other support networks involved in human smuggling throughout South and Central America into Mexico. The scope of the operation includes cross-border enforcement actions with partner nations, document and media collection at ports of entries and along illicit smuggling routes, sensitive site evidence collection, biometric collection of third-country nationals encountered, certified undercover and source operations, and capacity-building training events. HSI is the U.S. government’s lead agency in combating human smuggling.
Human smuggling organizations will sometimes fly aliens from outside of the Western Hemisphere to airports in South America in order to smuggle these individuals to northern South America and Central America before crossing into Mexico via a mixture of air, land, and maritime routes. These smugglers are often part of the same networks that move migrants from Central America and Mexico north to the United States.
HSI has a significant amount of resources assigned to combating this ever-evolving crime. Their primary concern is closing the illicit pathways that may pose a threat to our national security, and the agency uses investigative, prosecutorial and intelligence resources to target and aggressively pursue, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations.