June 8, 2016 | House Committee on Financial Services

The Enemy in our Backyard: Examining Terror Funding Streams from South America

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Chairmen Fitzpatrick and Ranking Member Lynch, and Honorable Members of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, I deeply appreciate the invitation to participate in this very important hearing on terrorism financing and the increased Hezbollah activities in Latin America. Let me start by thanking you for your service and for your unwavering support of federal law enforcement, our military and our intelligence services. However, just as important is your valuable support to security institutions in many of our neighboring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. I have testified before many of you over the years and worked with outstanding members of your staff. I have the utmost respect for each of you and the tremendous contributions that you have made, and continue to make, in keeping America safe.

I spent 33 years in law enforcement serving in some of the toughest and most austere locations around the globe and retired from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approximately seven and one-half years ago. I was very fortunate to have ascended through the ranks of the DEA where I ultimately served as the Acting Chief of Intelligence for approximately one year and as the Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations for almost four years. In that assignment I had operational oversight responsibility for DEA’s 227 domestic and 86 foreign offices and several Headquarters divisions, including the Special Operations Division.

With the support of a phenomenal team, I was responsible for leading the efforts to design and implement the DEA’s significant expansion in Afghanistan, as well as for the Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) program and the agency’s Drug Flow and Financial Attack Strategies. I was also responsible for leading the formative development of the Department of Justice multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center after being appointed by the Deputy Attorney General to serve as the Center’s first Director. The Center supports both terrorism and drug trafficking investigative efforts by seven federal law enforcement agencies.

I served in DEA field assignments at various ranks on both the East and West Coasts, on our Southern and Northern borders, in the Midwest, in Washington, DC during three separated Headquarters tours, and also led joint tactical operations for several years with host-nation counterparts in the Andean Region and the northern-tiered countries of Central America. I also volunteered for an assignment with the Department of Defense Coalition Provisional Authority during the summer of 2003 to serve as the SES Chief of Staff for the Iraq Interim Ministry of Interior. I served in local and state law enforcement for almost twelve years prior to joining the DEA and enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1971 where I served fourteen months deployed overseas, including limited duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Two days after retiring from the DEA in late 2008 I co-founded SGI Global, LLC and started work as a Managing Partner, a role that I continue to serve in to this day. SGI is currently supporting critically important security projects for our military and government agencies in Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and Panama, as well as in various locations here at home.

From that, I believe you can conclude I am not a politician, a diplomat or an academic. I am a career law enforcement practitioner and it is in that context that I appear before you today to address, from purely my perspective, the threat posed by terrorism financing and increased Hezbollah activities in Latin America.