Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03081946 (posted Aug. 19, 2003)"
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE)
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Phone: (202) 514-2648
August 19, 2003
Homeland Security Supporting Local Law Enforcement
Support Center (LESC)
Williston, VT - Asa Hutchinson, Undersecretary of Border and
Transportation Security in the Department of Homeland Security, joined Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Assistant Secretary Michael
Garcia to announce expanded capabilities of the Department’s Law Enforcement
Support Center (LESC) to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in
“One of the top priorities of the Department of Homeland Security is sharing
information with first responders and local law enforcement,” said Hutchinson.
“Homeland security is not, and cannot, be a federal issue only. Law enforcement
in Washington must be able to coordinate with law enforcement in every state,
and vice-versa. The men and women of the LESC are on the cutting edge of the
federal effort to share critical enforcement information with state, county and
local and even international law enforcement officers”
The LESC, established in 1994, serves as a national enforcement operations
and intelligence center by providing timely information regarding the status and
identities of aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of criminal activity. The
LESC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, gathering information from
eight Service databases, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the
Interstate Identification Index (III) and other state criminal history
Joined by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, Chief Harold Hurtt, Chief of the Phoenix Police Department and
President of the Major Cities Chief Association, and Commissioner Kerry Sleeper,
Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety, Hutchinson and Garcia
toured the LESC facility and outlined new resources available to the LESC.
The merging of 22 agencies and bureaus into the Department of Homeland
Security provides new access to law enforcement databases that will now be used
by the LESC to greatly broaden its intelligence-gathering capabilities.
For example the LESC now has access to intelligence information from the former
INS, Customs and the Federal Protective Services databases, moreover new
Homeland Security Databases such as SEVIS, NSEERS and US Visit databases are
also accessible through the LESC. This will improve its ability to provide
timely information to state and local law enforcement agencies around the
nation, as well as to international enforcement agencies.
Additionally, the LESC is currently expanding its call center to respond to
its increased responsibilities and workload.
Law Enforcement Technicians and Special Agents at the LESC will use these
new intelligence resources to conduct investigative research and analysis on
aliens who have been arrested or are being investigated by other law enforcement
“The LESC has developed a reputation nationwide for providing rapid, accurate
information to police,” said Garcia. “This facility will help the Department of
Homeland Security coordinate with police everywhere on investigations ranging
from critical national security cases to helping apprehend alien absconders.”
On August 8th, 2003, Francis Wanjiru, a non-immigrant native of Kenya was
arrested by police in Lawrence, Massachusetts on the charge of raping a 14
year-old girl in a Lawrence Apartment. On August 12th, 2003, Wanjiru pled
innocent to the charge of statutory rape in a Massachusetts court. He has
been ordered to remain in custody on $25,000 bail. Wanjiru is believed to
be infected with the AIDS virus and local police are continuing to investigate
the possibility that there may be other victims. This arrest was made
possible through the operations of the LESC.
The LESC received a call on the DHS tip line (1-866-DHS-2ICE), reporting that
Wanjiru was engaging in statutory rape. The LESC performed a database
check on Wanjiru that reported intelligence that Wanjiru had entered the United
States as a student at Saginaw State College in Detroit, Michigan. A check
of the SEVIS database did not reveal a record of Wanjiru and it was found that
he was in the United States illegally after overstaying his initial visa from
Based on the information gathered by the LESC and through an ICE
investigation, ICE Special Agents contacted the Lawrence, Massachusetts Police
Department and placed a detainer on Wanjiru.
After Wanjiru is finished with his local court process, ICE’s Detention and
Removal Officers will place him into Removal Proceedings with the Immigration
DHS coordination with law enforcement around the country has skyrocketed
since September 11, and with the additional resources becoming available will
make the facility even more critical to law enforcement and national security
With one quarter still remaining in the fiscal year, the LESC has already
responded to 480,000 investigative inquiries from federal, state, county and
local police agencies in all 50 states. That surpasses by more than 50,000
inquiries the total handled in all of 2002 and is expected to surpass 600,000 by
So far this year LESC investigative analysis has positively identified more
than 2,300 aliens, in the custody of local police, who had been deported from
the US and illegally re-entered. Re-entry after deportation is a federal crime.
“In most cases, an initial analysis on the individual’s immigration status is
in the hands of the police officer in less than 10 minutes,” said Garcia. “This
is an outstanding example of the federal government sharing information with
local agencies which leads directly to the assistance of local police
In addition, the LESC is a critical link in Operation
Predator, the ICE investigative program aimed at arresting and prosecuting child
sex predators, including those who can be deported from the country. Effective
prosecution requires coordination between local and federal law enforcement that
the LESC facilitates. The DHS nation-wide toll free telephone number for the
public to report information about child sex offenders and others who put
children at risk is answered at the LESC.
In the past few weeks the line has received 57 calls, 14 of which have led to
cases that were turned over to the appropriate agency for investigation.
The toll free number, 1-866-DHS-2ICE, is monitored 24 hours a day by the Law
Enforcement Support Center (LESC), which will funnel leads to the appropriate
ICE component(s) or police agency in a timely manner.
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the
Investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and was
established to bring a unified focus to the enforcement of U.S. immigration and
customs laws, with the principal goal of preventing violations by terrorists and
other criminals who threaten the nation's security.