Fusion centers play a unique role in protecting their communities, informing decision making, and enhancing information sharing activities among law enforcement and homeland security partners. The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) helps the National Network of Fusion Centers to develop and implement their capabilities by leading federal interagency efforts to share information and products, conduct training, deploy personnel, and provide connectivity to classified and unclassified systems. These 2014 success stories and best practices illustrate the value of the national network of fusion centers in preventing, protecting against, and responding to criminal and terrorist threats.
Fusion Center Information Sharing Leads to Arrest of Fugitive Charged with Murder
Arkansas State Fusion Center and Oklahoma Information Fusion Center, October 2014
In October 2014, the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center (OIFC) and the Arkansas State Fusion Center (ASFC) exercised unique capability to assist regional authorities in the timely arrest of an individual who posed a significant risk to local communities.
On October 18, 2014, an individual awaiting trial on a first degree murder charge escaped from the Bryan County, Oklahoma Jail. Two days later, the OIFC received a Durant, Oklahoma Police Department bulletin containing photos and information regarding the escape of this suspected violent criminal. Understanding the urgency, the OIFC disseminated the bulletin that same day to Oklahoma law enforcement and fusion centers in all of the surrounding states, including the ASFC. The ASFC, in turn, took swift action and forwarded the bulletin to all Arkansas law enforcement.
As a direct result of effective and efficient information sharing by the fusion centers, a Hot Springs, Arkansas police officer – having seen the bulletin – recognized the subject. This critical identification enabled the Hot Springs Police Department to quickly arrest the individual, who pled “no contest” to multiple charges, on October 22, just four short days after his escape.
Fusion Center Collaboration with DHS Components Leads to Disruption of Synthetic Drug Ring
Virginia Fusion Center, October 2014
In October 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Norfolk, Virginia led a multi-agency drug raid in partnership with Customs and Border Protection, the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC), the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other state and local partners. A lead analyst from the VFC provided case support to the investigation, conducting in-depth analysis to determine the connections among the businesses and individuals involved. Narcotics investigators from the regional Drug Task Force also contributed to disrupting the crime ring.
This large-scale investigation resulted in the arrest of ten individuals in Hampton Roads, Virginia as part of an effort to thwart the proliferation of synthetic narcotics, or “spice.” The drug is meant to imitate tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana, a hallucinogen. Authorities charged the individuals with several offenses, including money laundering and false branding, as well as conspiracy charges related to trading the drug. As synthetic drugs are often sold under the guise of legal merchandise at commercial businesses, it is becoming increasingly imperative for federal, state and local agencies to continue cooperating to combat this growing homeland security threat.
Alabama Fusion Center Supports the DEA in Combating Transnational Drug Networks
Alabama Fusion Center, May 2014
From January to May 2014, the Alabama Fusion Center (AFC) was instrumental in the success of Project Synergy, a national effort led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The AFC provided intelligence and research support to the DEA as well as to the 35 other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies involved in the effort. The AFC served as a hub for research and information dissemination, investigating tips and leads submitted by Alabama’s Narcotics Task Force agents for analysis of transnational drug networks, including sources of supply and global money flow. Additionally, AFC intelligence analysts were onsite at the DEA’s operations center, supplying real time information to investigators. Through these joint efforts, Project Synergy resulted in the arrest of more than 38 individuals suspected of being involved with transnational drug networks and the seizure of over 200 pounds of synthetic drugs, $500,000 in cash and bank accounts and 19 guns.
Fusion Center Collaboration with Partner Agencies Leads to Apprehension of Murder Suspect
Southeast Florida Fusion Center, January 2014
In January 2014, the Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD) contacted the Southeast Florida Fusion Center (SEFFC) for information concerning two residents of Miami Gardens, Florida, suspected of having outstanding arrest warrants in the Bahamas. The SEFFC discovered that both subjects were Bahamian citizens living in the United States illegally, and notified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Miami Sector, who coordinated with the MGPD to apprehend them.
During processing, the CBP INTERPOL Liaison confirmed that one of the subjects was wanted in the Bahamas for the murder of a U.S. citizen. The subject was extradited and turned over to Bahamian authorities. The second subject was issued an order of deportation and removed from the United States.
The SEFFC’s ability to support local investigations and share information with its federal partners provided an opportunity to identify and remove “wanted” and possibly dangerous individuals from the United States.