U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Buffalo Task Force Officer Detective Theresa Nietzel of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office was awarded HSI’s Human Trafficking Task Force Officer of the Year at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference this week in Chicago.
Nietzel, who has been a task force officer with HSI since 2014, was honored for her efforts which led to the take down of a sophisticated sex trafficking investigation run by Chinese nationals. The operation recruited female victims and brought them over from China to serve as prostitutes throughout the United States. The organization was dismantled with the multiple defendants convicted and sentenced and millions in proceeds and real property forfeited to the government.
Nietzel is a 14-year veteran of the Erie County Sheriffs and a decorated officer with the sheriff’s office. In 2017, Nietzel was recognized with the Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) – Outstanding Contribution of a State or Local Officer on a Federal Task Force.
“I cannot think of a more deserving person to be recognized by this prestigious HSI Award,” said Kevin Kelly, HSI Buffalo special agent in charge. “HSI has benefited greatly from Detective Nietzel’s many contributions and our community is a safer place as a result.”