U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa Special Agent Carlos Carrasquillo was recently honored for his work in federal law enforcement at the 2021 Viva Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony.
“His language and people skills, pleasant personality, infectious energy, and overall knowledge of HSI ensures missions are effectively achieved while still maintaining a human connection,” said Luis Aquino, supervisory special agent, who nominated Carrasquillo for the award. “On many occasions, several months into their criminal process, arrestees would ask for Special Agent Carrasquillo and expressed gratitude for the way he treated them.”
The Viva Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage award recognition honors Hispanic-American first responders, firefighters, police officers, Gold Star families, teachers and Veterans. It is part of vivatampabayfestival.com.
Carlos Francisco Carrasquillo started his love for law enforcement and public service at 16 years old when he joined the U.S. Customs Law Enforcement Explorers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While waiting for his law enforcement opportunity, he served as a park ranger for the U.S. National Park Service. In 1997, Carrasquillo was selected to become a U.S. Customs Inspector. As an inspector, Carrasquillo became a subject matter expert for the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) seaport and airport operations. As such, he was asked, in multiple occasions, to travel to several countries in South America and the Caribbean to train foreign customs officers.
His knowledge, leadership and people skills led him to become a Customs and Border Protection Supervisor in 2006. Shortly after, Carrasquillo was selected to become a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent in San Juan. Carrasquillo quickly gain the reputation of being a hard worker and was never afraid to accept new challenges.
Among his most significant investigations was one that resulted in the dismantlement of a drug trafficking/money laundering organization led by kingpin Jose Figueroa Agosto, aka Junior Capsula. At the conclusion of his investigation, Carrasquillo was responsible for the arrest and successful prosecution of eight criminal leaders, including Figueroa Agosto, and 68 additional individuals. The investigation also resulted in the seizure of approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine, 19 kilograms of heroin, 10 firearms, approximately $2 million in cash, six vessels and 22 vehicles. Shortly afterwards, Carrasquillo was selected to serve as the program manager for the undercover operation in Puerto Rico.
In 2015, Carrasquillo relocated and was assigned to HSI Tampa’s Financial Investigation Group. In 2018, Carrasquillo was assigned to a Maritime Drug Interdiction Task Force where he has served as the case agent for multiple investigations which have resulted in the seizure of multi-ton amounts of cocaine and numerous arrests. Throughout his career, Carrasquillo has unselfishly volunteered to serve the public and our nation in numerous occasions. Some examples are when Carrasquillo volunteered to assist the Secret Service during the United Nations General Assembly and Presidential Campaign in 2016. Carrasquillo has also volunteered to serve on long-term temporary duties (TDYs) to the assist HSI Santo Domingo with human smuggling and sex tourism investigations. Carrasquillo was also hand-picked to serve as a lead instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) during the International Task Force Agent Training (ITAT) program for Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
Carrasquillo has always been very involved in the Hispanic community. For many years after becoming a U.S. Customs Inspector and throughout his career, he has served as an advisor for the Law Enforcement Explorers program. In doing so, he volunteered hundreds of hours of his free time to help and guide young men and women interested in a law enforcement career.
In 2017, Carrasquillo travelled back to Puerto Rico to assist during the recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria. During this time, he worked tirelessly for approximately a month, in a variety of tasks which included: conducting wellness checks, armed escorts of fuel tanks, securing and delivering medicines to patients with special needs, and delivering food to shelters for homeless persons, among others.
During this past year, due to the limitations presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Carrasquillo found another way to serve. Although many people do not realize, the great majority of the arrestees processed by SA Carrasquillo’s current group, are Hispanics. Most of these individuals are from Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Mexico. While much of the force was working from home, he volunteered every time to travel and assist these detainees after their encounter with law enforcement officers. This past year, SA Carrasquillo travelled approximately 19 times, to places like Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and other U.S. ports.