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Oct 5, 2012 9:18 PM by Andy Koen

Local immigration agents work global cases

The federal officers who work in the Colorado Springs Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office are Homeland Security Investigations agents. Mike Flanagan, the Resident Agent In Charge explains that their primary mission is to disrupt and dismantling transnational criminal organizations like drug cartels and international gangs.

"We're first and foremost criminal investigators, but we do apply the immigration part of our authority as well," Flanagan said.

Most of their cases require they work closely with local law enforcement. For example, HSI agents work with the Colorado State Troopers in trying to stop the flow of cash, drugs and guns along I-25.

Other serious cases agents have worked on include international child pornography rings like the Dream Board and human trafficking operations.

"It's people that have come into the country recently, they don't have contacts they don't have family contacts, they don't have social support here and unfortunately people take advantage of that situation," Flanagan said.

The region's multiple military bases here also attract another kind of international criminal.

"We see Southern Colorado and Colorado Springs, based on the military installations here and the number of clear defense contractors, as a high threat level for the type of people and organizations that are interested in obtaining these military components, technologies."

Since it opened in 2009, the HSI agents here have arrested 360 people and seized items in 78 different cases. While they have the authority to remove illegal immigrants, most of those administrative actions are handled by the agency's Enforcement and Removal field office located in Centennial.

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