The “Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act” signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Tuesday, April 19, paves the way for reclassifying Shadow Wolves from tactical officers to special agents for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). This elite unit of eight, based out of the Tohono O’odham Nation, covers 2.8 million acres, including a 76-mile stretch of border shared with Mexico. The newly passed law now allows these officers to not only patrol the desert, but to investigate, interdict, and disrupt criminal activity on their land as HSI special agents.
“The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act will dramatically increase agency effectiveness in targeting and disrupting human and drug smugglers throughout the rugged terrain of the Sonoran Desert and across tribal lands,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson. “The reclassification of the Shadow Wolves broadens the authority of an elite law enforcement program while preserving the unit’s historic legacy and augments critical state and federal partnerships while furthering our broad national security missions.”
“It is with tremendous pleasure and pride that I will be welcoming the Shadow Wolves as HSI special agents,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “After nearly 50 years since their establishment, their experience and impressive history, it is paramount we give this team the tools needed to grow as law enforcement officers. This signing certainly marks an important day for the Shadow Wolves – an unparalleled law enforcement unit.”
Reclassifying Shadow Wolves from officers to agents provides career path mobility and allows HSI to share resources with other tribal areas with significant Native American populations. As part of the Act, HSI will develop a strategy to expand the program and recruit new Shadow Wolves.