A multi-agency intelligence center located in El Paso and hosted by the nation’s Drug Enforcement Agency collects and analyzes information from a variety of sources in a purported effort to monitor trafficking activities in the United States. The intelligence center is primarily comprised of a large network of databases and other investigation systems that are utilized by both law enforcement officers and federal investigators to fill purported information gaps. The 38-year-old center now gathers information from more than 26 law enforcements agencies across the nation. Additionally, both Mexico and Columbia also provide information to the El Paso Intelligence Center.
Although the center is located near the U.S. border with Mexico, the organization has expanded its focus beyond border patrol activities. The center investigates activity within the whole of the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and other parts of the Western Hemisphere. According to Louie Garcia, Deputy Director of the intelligence center, the organization became active in suspected terrorism investigations following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Garcia, who is also a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee, said the intelligence center was previously focused on drug trafficking, money and weapons smuggling, and illegal aliens. He claims the intelligence center is vital to national security and enhances the safety of law enforcement officers who utilize the information it provides. Garcia also stated the El Paso Intelligence Center has now become an “all-threat center.”
In the intelligence center’s Watch Operations Section, employees work around the clock to provide law enforcement officers with immediate information from over 70 local, state, and federal databases. Additionally, the center’s Research and Analysis Section monitors statistical and trend intelligence information both proactively and by request. Nationwide alerts and other information provided by the El Paso Intelligence Center are frequently relied upon by border patrol agents and other law enforcement officers who seek to search vehicles en route to or from Mexico.
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a law enforcement officer may detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Information provided by the El Paso Intelligence Center is increasingly being used as an excuse to search both vehicles and individuals traveling in Texas. The intelligence center is yet another example of how technology is being used by overzealous law enforcement officers in order to violate a person’s right to be free from illegal search and seizure. If you were charged with a federal crime after being searched by a border patrol or other law enforcement officer in Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Anyone accused of committing a federal crime in Texas should contact an aggressive Sierra Blanca criminal defense lawyer to help you defend your rights.
New Technology Means Electronic Communications Increasingly Monitored in Texas, Nationwide, Texas Criminal Lawyer Blog, July 22, 2012
Owner, Three Employees of Defunct Pharr, Texas Medical Supply Company Accused of Wire and Health Care Fraud, Texas Criminal Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2012
TOP STORY: El Paso Intelligence Center turns raw data into actionable intelligence, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement News Release dated June 26, 2012