WILLISTON, Vt. — Government officials announced today that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s National Bulk Cash Smuggling Center has expanded its operations center to enhance efforts to combat bulk cash smuggling. This is part of the U.S. government’s national strategy to fight transnational organized crime. <br /> <br /> The announcement by ICE Director John Morton and Sen. Patrick Leahy highlights the center’s role in enhancing national security through its focus on disrupting and dismantling criminal networks that utilize bulk cash smuggling to move the proceeds of their illicit activities.<br /> <br /> “Transnational criminal organizations have to move their money from one place to another, which makes them vulnerable,” said Director Morton. “The expansion of this center, made possible by Senator Leahy, enables ICE to target these organizations where it hurts – in their wallets. We will disrupt their flow of cash, defeat their smuggling methods and like never before, anticipate future smuggling tactics and stop them in their tracks.”<br /> <br /> “I am proud of Vermont’s long tradition of support for and partnering arrangements with federal law enforcement agencies, including the expansion of the Bulk Cash Smuggling Center. This Center is providing an invaluable service to federal agents around the country, just like the Law Enforcement Support Center before it,” said Senator Leahy. “I am so proud that Vermonters are making such critical contributions to our efforts to combat organized crime and enhance our border security.” <br /> <br /> Established in August 2009, the BCSC is an operational, intelligence driven investigative unit with the mission to challenge bulk cash smuggling from both national and international perspectives. The BCSC is focused on the disruption of facilitation pipelines used to move currency derived from illicit activity including drugs, weapons, human trafficking, foreign political corruption, and contraband. <br /> <br /> The newly expanded center is an integral part of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations ongoing efforts to target criminal organizations involved in the smuggling of large quantities of U.S. currency. <br /> <br /> To further enhance these efforts, the center partnered with Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center to intensify the disruption of illicit criminal activities. The center has also established training partnerships with the Department of Transportation’s Drug Interdiction Assistance Program, along with private training entities that focus on criminal and terrorist interdiction. <br /> <br /> The center was cited in President Obama’s July 2011 “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime” as critical to intelligence and information sharing in the fight against transnational organized crime. Since its inception, the center has initiated 474 criminal investigations, which have resulted in nearly 270 criminal arrests and the seizure of more than $170 million. <br /> <br /> Nearly 7,000 ICE HSI special agents are dedicated to investigating the illegal movement of people and goods that enter and leave the United States, including contraband in the form of U.S. currency. <br /> <br /> ICE HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE HSI special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.<br /> <br /> To report an individual, business or organization that may be engaged in the illicit transportation or smuggling of currency, call the ICE HSI Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.<br /> For more information, visit www.ICE.gov.