2:00 P.M., ESTMODERATOR:
Let me just begin. And as people come – as we’re speaking, more people can come in. That’s fine. Let me just thank everybody for showing up today and for this roundtable discussion. Lenny DePaul is the Chief Inspector and Commander of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force with the U.S. Marshals. And he’s been with the U.S. Marshals Service since 1989, and was previously with the U.S. Secret Service Uniform Division, under the Reagan Administration.
Ed McMahon is a Supervisory Inspector and an original member of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force. He’s been with the Marshals Service for 13 years, and holds a law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. Together, they are the hearts of the task force; and with their special agents, they’ve made nearly 28,000 arrests since the creation of the task force in 2002.
With that, I’m going to turn this over to Lenny and Ed. And again, after they make their presentations, feel free to ask any questions that you want to ask. Thank you.MR. DEPAUL:
First of all, welcome and thank you all for coming. Mark, thank you for setting this up and really appreciate what you’ve done for us. I’m going to hand out some brochures that have some of our statistics – thank you – from what we do within this task force. And I’ll explain a little bit about how we came into existence, why we exist, and we’ll talk a little bit about the history of the U.S. Marshals Service. And any other questions, if you have questions while we’re speaking, feel free to jump in at any time, okay?
The U.S. Marshals Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in existence, since 1789. The first president, President George Washington, appointed the first U.S. Marshal back in 1789, George Washington. We do a variety of different things within law enforcement. One of our biggest and most effective for our agency is the fugitive program. Back in 2000, the Presidential Threat Protection Act had given us authority, and in the post-9/11 world, May of 2002, the U.S. Congress mandated the U.S. Marshals Service to establish permanent fugitive task forces around the country.
Our mission is to target the most dangerous, violent felony fugitives throughout the world: it’s your murderers, your rapists, your arsonists, your gunrunners, your drug runners, your robbery and burglary suspects. So the variety and the caliber of people we’re going after are some very dangerous people throughout the world.
In May of 2002, when we were mandated by Congress, the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force is the flagship task force throughout the country. So this task force here is the model, if you will, for the rest of the country.
We currently have six Regional Fugitive Task Forces up and running right now. We hope to target 17 to cover the entire country. Right now, the New York/New Jersey Task Force is up and running. Los Angeles followed about six months after we came into existence. Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Illinois, and Gary-Hammond – or Hammond in Indiana. Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, down there has a task force. And the most recent one is in the Gulf Coast, Mississippi/Alabama area. So there’s six current Regional Fugitive Task Forces throughout the country.
This Task Force here, Ed McMahon here is the Supervisor in this Manhattan office. we currently operate out of 13 offices. We’re headquartered right here in Manhattan. We have satellite offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Albany, Syracuse, Westchester County. We have a satellite office Suffolk County in Long Island, and we move over to the state of New Jersey, where we’re in Newark, Secaucus, Trenton, Camden, and Atlantic City.
We have over 300 investigators assigned to this Task Force from 80 different – over 80 different federal, state, and local agencies – correct, from different – a variety of different law enforcement. So federal, state, and local agencies have signed what’s called a memorandum of understanding with us and has assigned an investigator to this Task Force.
Each of those investigators are deputized U.S. Marshals. So we swear them in as Deputy United States Marshals, giving them the same authority that Ed and I have. Okay, any questions so far about anything? I know you’ve got a couple. (Laughter.)QUESTION:
When you say, you know, these people you are after are very dangerous, are they U.S. or is this a U.S. target or – MR. DEPAUL:
No, not at all. No. We’re worldwide. We’re on the ground in several countries. But we go after and look for foreign fugitives, and we’ll get into that a little bit. Actually, Eddie has highlighted a couple of foreign cases that we wanted to share with you. You may have heard of them, you may not have. But we’re a worldwide operation. So no, we don’t just stop here. And as a Deputized U.S. Marshals with the state and local investigators, that gives them the same authority, as I said, that we do. They can jump on an airplane and chase somebody from here to Los Angeles, to Italy and back, if needed. We’re funded to do that. The specific language when we were mandated by Congress is the mandate is for the state and locals and the federal agencies to go after their felony fugitives. So the funding is there. The state-of-the-art equipment is there. The expertise is there. And our agency, aside from the FBI – (laughter) – is – and they’re focusing on domestic terrorism, which – and rightfully so in the post-9/11 world, you know, Congress felt it necessary that somebody should look in our own backyards so that the fugitives were taken off the street are averaging anywheres from four to eight prior arrests. So these are the people lurking in the shadows, preying on the young, the elderly, and committing a lot of the – you know, a lot of – jump in anytime. QUESTION:
Well, what’s the extent of your collaboration with Interpol and with the CIA, since you deal with terrorists?MR. DEPAUL:
Well, right now, the Deputy Director with Interpol is a U.S. Marshal. His name is Timmy Williams. Timmy and I actually started this Task Force here in New York and New Jersey. He has since taken that nomination and he’s the number two guy in Interpol, a good friend of ours. He’s a proponent of the U.S. Marshals, obviously, because he is a U.S. Marshal. He moves into the number one seat here very shortly, and he’ll be there for three years as the Director of Interpol. So it’s good for us because the relationship with us and our international branch, which we have in Washington, D.C., it’s a great, you know, relationship. The camaraderie is excellent, as well as this Task Force, I mean, working together, focusing on a common goal, and that’s to apprehend these violent predators, is important. And we’ll talk a little bit about training, if you like, and how we get everybody on the same page in what we do, because we all come from different walks of life.QUESTION:
I have one question – another question. In terms of possibility of officials within the U.S. Marshals contravening your statutes, who oversees the U.S. Marshals?MR. DEPAUL:
Well, we have – who oversees it?QUESTION:
In terms of (inaudible).MR. DEPAUL:
The Department of Justice. We fall into the Department of Justice.QUESTION:
It’s us, the DEA, the FBI and ATF are your primary agencies.QUESTION:
The Department of Justice (inaudible).MR. DEPAUL:
Correct, correct. We’re under the Department of Justice.QUESTION:
When you mentioned that you can follow someone through to Los Angeles and to Italy, well, how do you get your mandate to work in foreign countries?MR. DEPAUL:
We work with – through Interpol and our foreign relations. We’re on the ground, as I said, in several countries. But we’ll work with other agencies that are currently of established offices, and depending on the country, if the treaties are in place, if the extradition – and this is Eddie’s expertise. He’s the lawyer here, so I’m going to let him probably – MR. MCMAHON:
On international cases, obviously, a lot more goes into it – a lot more bureaucracy and a lot more inter-relationships. We have foreign field offices, currently U.S. Marshals, in the Dominican Republic, in Jamaica, and in Mexico. If funding becomes available, our investigative division has plans to try to open up more in Europe, Colombia, Costa Rica – MR. DEPAUL:
Canada. MR. MCMAHON:
Canada. And over in either Rome or Frankfurt, Germany. But when we don’t have a foreign field office, it does become a little bit more murky and more difficult, based upon a lot of different factors, as far as whether the person that we’re targeting, if he’s an American citizen or not, if we have an extradition treaty with that particular country, and then we negotiate.
We work very closely with the State Department in the countries where we don’t have a foreign field office. The RSO – we have an RSO liaison in our headquarters in Washington, D.C., who we work very closely with. If we have a target, let’s say, in Romania or Bulgaria, we would contact the RSO in that particular country for assistance, because they have, you know, feet on the ground. They have access to local law enforcement. And we would work within their framework to try to target the people and have them extradited back.
Or many times, if they’re not a citizen of the country and there’s no extradition treaty, we may be able to get them expelled from that country, based upon immigration charges or undesirable-type people. And in a little while, we’ll go over a couple of cases, both where we’ve had a fugitive who was caught in another country, as well as fugitives that were captured in the U.S., wanted by other countries. And I’ll explain how we went about going through the process. MR. DEPAUL:
And that happens quite often. What we – pretty much daily entertain requests from other countries to discreetly locate someone in a foreign country that’s committed a crime, your more egregious felons, your murders and things of that nature. So what they’ll do is they’ll request from our agency, through Interpol, through our international branch in Washington, to farm out a lead, let’s say, to New York, someone wanted in Japan for murder. We’ll go out and do a discreet locate, and locate that individual.
The reason we do that is because the paperwork that’s involved in requesting a provisional arrest warrant, which is the paperwork we need to physically arrest that person and extradite – and start the extradition proceedings to extradite him back to Japan. So we quite often get – we have – Eddie’s office, I know, here in Manhattan, is very busy in the five boroughs in taking requests from – from other countries. So we look for them people also.QUESTION:
When you do your presentation, legal or whatever, I’m wondering what is the layers of authority? Now, you read or see movies, or, you know, the serials and so on that, you know, there’s an investigation and, you know, suppose Mark here comes and I said, no, it is my territory. You know, stay out of this. How does this work? Are you above these? Are you – how –MR. DEPAUL:
Our agency is pretty interesting. I mean, our credentials actually read “to enforce all laws of the United States of America”.
Other agencies – the Secret Service, FBI – there’s specific mandates that they focus on their mission, whether it be credit card fraud, forgery, computer fraud, protection of the President. The U.S. Marshals Service, the fugitive program, it’s pretty much ours within the government to do that.
These task forces, we were mandated by Congress to take the lead on this and to focus on federal, state, and local fugitives throughout the world. So to answer your question, I suppose, it’s just it’s broken down by agencies. The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency does just that. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, you know. So it’s kind of – it’s obvious on some of the agencies what they do.
So did I answer that question?QUESTION:
Well, maybe I am asking the same questions, but could you just explain the chain of command? I mean, who is the boss?MR. DEPAUL:
Within the agency?QUESTION:
I mean, the President?MR. DEPAUL:
Everyone answers to the President.QUESTION:
Yeah, yeah, I know. (Laughter.) But you said you’re under the restriction of Justice Department?MR. DEPAUL:
Correct. (Inaudible.) Correct.QUESTION:
Then Attorney General?MR. DEPAUL:
The Attorney General is the –QUESTION:
I mean, direct boss, or –MR. DEPAUL:
We have a director, a number one guy within the U.S. Marshals Service. He’s a presidential appointed person. His name is John Clark. Unfortunately, he comes and goes with the administration. Now, the administration, obviously, is going through a change, so Mr. Clark, unfortunately, will probably have to resign and find employment elsewhere.
The director, and then underneath him is the deputy director, number two guy. He came from within the agency, but he was the director’s choice, and unfortunately, he now has to leave, too. So the number one and number two, director and deputy director, will be moving on with the administration.
They answer to, as you said, the Department of Justice we work for. So the Attorney General heads the Department, and of course it goes up the food chain, right up to the President of the United States.QUESTION:
But still, like first marshal, U.S. Marshal was appointed by President George Washington?MR. DEPAUL:
Let me break that down for you. It’s a little complicated. There’s 90 – (laughter) – there’s 94 districts within the United States of America. Each district is headed by a presidential appointed U.S. Marshal. So there’s 94 U.S. Marshals in this country and its territories, okay. Underneath the U.S. Marshal is a chief deputy. The chief deputy pretty much runs the show. He comes up through the ranks -- he or she, okay. So the chief deputy in that district, that’s pretty much their district, you know, for operational and administrative stuff. Now, the U.S. Marshal, as I said, is a presidential appointed person. They come and go with the administration. So now, with President-elect Obama coming in, the 94 district U.S. Marshals will say bye-bye, and somebody else comes in. It becomes political at that point.
But it used to be that a U.S. Marshal could have been a librarian. Now, they need a law enforcement background. But they didn’t necessarily have to have a law enforcement background to be nominated and selected as a U.S. Marshall. So it gets a little – and we do have our headquarters in Washington, D.C., which is a whole other rank-and-file. It’d take me an hour to explain it to you. But basically, there’s 94 districts, and we all answer to a headquarters, the director, in Washington, D.C.QUESTION:
You got a coverage map, or like a – this marshal taking care of the – something like that?MR. DEPAUL:
Pretty much.MR. MCMAHON:
Yeah. They follow the judicial districts of the United States, so whatever the judicial district is, the U.S. Marshal will also be appointed for that particular district.
What’s interesting – it is one of those anomalies of our agency. It goes back to the days of George Washington. It’s one of the political anomalies that still keeps going. While it’s continually getting more and more professionalized, there still remains a political element to the agency, and that’s just never going to go away. Because it’s usually, you know, through the President and the senators of that particular state. It’s a position that they like to appoint and have those people appointed.
But we do – now, we’re fully, directly under the control of our headquarters, Lenny and myself. It’s an effort by our agency to make it more concentrated and more professionalized. So what we – we try to keep the politics out of it. So we will work throughout multiple districts. Where the U.S. Marshal may have some input as to what we do, it’s still a structure that is controlled basically through the policies and procedures of our headquarters. So it’s more professionalized and structured that way. So not so many people have their own ideas –MR. DEPAUL:
So basically, there’s one gold badge in each district. Everyone underneath the U.S. Marshal is a deputy U.S. Marshal. So there’s only one U.S. Marshal per district, 94 districts in the country.QUESTION:
I guess related to this chain, who initiates, you know, let’s say, a pursuit or, you know, the case, and so on? Is it you, or are you – are you asked to do it from other agency, or how does this come about? How –MR. DEPAUL:
This Task Force – specifically, this Task Force is designed to assist federal, state, and local agencies in hunting down their fugitives, basically. So if an agency, the NYPD, it’s the cop-shooter of the day or the homicide of the day and there’s a suspect identified, they come to us and say, hey, we need help trying to find this person. Here’s what happened. So from jump street, if you will, we’re getting – you know, we jump in with two feet and we – you know, as much resources as they need. We afford a variety of things for that agency. NYPD, for instance, has 20 detectives, two sergeants, and a lieutenant assigned to this Task Force here in the five boroughs. So we have, as I said, over 80 different federal, state, and local agencies assigned here. It’s the first of its kind and the biggest, and we go after the worst of the worst. And in fact –MR. MCMAHON:
And I can break down the New York division, just to give you an idea, a microcosm of the Task Force. I’m the supervisor of – what Lenny’s giving out right now, this is our year-end book that we put out, mainly to go to Congress to show what the congressional dollars, what we’ve been doing with the money that they give us and the highlights, so you get a lot – a really good idea of the structure, of people that we’ve caught, and things of that in the book. So luckily, we have just enough for who’s here right now.
But basically, the New York City division is broken up. Currently, right now, we have 11 different agencies in New York City – federal, state, and local – that provide fulltime investigators. NYPD is, of course, the biggest component, and they have the most people there. We have New York State Parole, New York State Police, the DEA, the ATF, a State Department representative. And the way we’re broken up is into ten teams, with about five men per team, broken up geographically around the city. So let’s say our Brooklyn and Queens team will get cases – let’s say, just for an example, the 114th precinct in Astoria-Queens, they have someone who just committed a murder. They know who did it, and right after the murder occurs they spend a day or two to try and find the person. He’s gone. He’s on the run.
What they’ll do is they’ll have 50 or 60 other unsolved cases that that detective squad will have to work on. They’ll come to us and say, hey, listen, guys, can you help us out in finding this guy? We don’t know where he is. We would like to talk to him. We believe he committed this murder. And then we’ll pick up from there, and our Brooklyn-Queens team will start from scratch and track him wherever he may be throughout the United States, throughout New York, or if it does come to an international type of a case. That’s the basic way we generate our cases on a day-to-day basis.QUESTION:
You can also apprehend, you can arrest?MR. MCMAHON:
(Inaudible) so you don’t call the police or (inaudible)?MR. MCMAHON:
No, we’re our own fully – we – which is what we are, when we give presentations to other intelligence agencies, the military, what they like about us is we do everything that’s – that five-man team does everything from scratch, from all the analytical work, all the workup, searching of the databases, do all their own interviews to interview the family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, or whatnot, and then do their own apprehension. So they’re also – they’re trained tactically. They’re not at the level of a SWAT team, but they’re trained to tactically enter a building or a residence, apartment, and make the arrest. So that five-man team doe it all for that particular case.QUESTION:
And when you arrest someone, where you took him or her? I mean, you don’t have your own jail here.MR. MCMAHON:
Well, depending on the type of case. If it’s a federal prison or if it’s a federal case, then we’ll bring them to the local U.S. Marshal district where he’ll go through the process. He’ll be processed like every federal arrestee through the Marshals Service system and be arraigned in federal court. If it’s a NYPD homicide case, we’ll turn – what we’ll do is capture him and bring him to the detective squad that wants him. Then they will try to elicit a confession or do whatever they do, then he’ll be processed and then placed into the local jail, whether it be Manhattan, Queens.
And we do a lot of other work for other states. So if someone commits a homicide in South Carolina, the Marshals down there will contact us if they think he’s in New York and say, hey, we got information that he’s just committed a murder down here he’s fled back to family in New York. We will arrest him in New York for South Carolina, and he’ll go through what’s called the Fugitive of Justice program where he’ll be extradited back to that particular state as well.MR. DEPAUL:
Information sharing – I’m sorry, go ahead.QUESTION:
Sorry. Do you get a lot of resistance from law enforcement in countries that are antagonistic to the U.S., like South American countries, let’s say like Venezuela? Do you get resistance or do you get cooperation from law enforcement in those countries?MR. MCMAHON:
I would say resistance. I mean -- QUESTION:
How do you circumvent that? How do you – in situations like that, how can you – MR. DEPAUL:
We hope that the fugitive goes from Venezuela to a country that’s cooperating and that we have a treaty with. I mean, it’s unfortunate in countries that don’t cooperate or have resistance with the United States. It’s difficult. Now, if that’s a Venezuelan citizen, you know, there’s a lot that comes into play with respect to the treaty and the extradition – the extradition treaty itself. So countries – you know, Cuba – I mean, you’re mentioning places that -- QUESTION:
Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador – MR. MCMAHON:
Well, I’ve give you one of the cases that we have – Ecuador – is a fugitive named George Saravanos. We got him arrested and sent back to the U.S. in 2007. In March of 2006, George Saravanos ended up killing an off-duty corrections officer. There was a dispute, a possible robbery attempt, in a hotel in Queens. His mother was Ecuadorian and his father is of Greek origin and is a real estate – owns a few properties in New York.
So he fled, through help with his father and family, to Ecuador, and he remained there for a while. And what we had to do is, utilizing the cooperation of the State Department and their relationship with – and ICE’s relationship with Ecuadorian authorities, we were able to have him arrested in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and they expelled him. So he came back out of – deported out of Ecuador based upon our relationship with them – with the Ecuadorian law enforcement.
It sounded simple, but there was a lot involved and it was a highlighted case and there was a lot of media attention, there’s a lot of focus on that particular case, so we had to utilize all our resources. And of course, Eddie’s shop did a great job. But you know, we put that one to rest, so -- MR. DEPAUL:
And he, you know, took – as Lenny said, once -- we knew he was down there for quite some time, but it took a lot of pruning and prodding to -- an exact location and the exact details before we could have them make the arrest. MR. MCMAHON:
But he thought he was comfortable. He thought that’s where he could go and, you know, start a new life, but it didn’t work out for him. QUESTION:
What would be the difference between you guys and – they call them bounty hunters, like (inaudible)?MR. DEPAUL:
If you mention Dog, the bounty hunter, I’m leaving. (Laughter.) Ed, you can answer that one. (Laughter.) MR. MCMAHON:
I mean, in effect, we’re doing a similar job. QUESTION:
I assume that these were, you know, in past century or years or whatever. MR. MCMAHON:
Right. Well, they’re private individuals who have no law enforcement authority to do --QUESTION:
Oh, I see. MR. MCMAHON:
What they were basing it on is an old statute that related to bail bondsmen, that said that the statute allowed for a bail bondsman to either recoup their money or to bring the person in. So it was a vague statute with – you know, and they utilize it and it’s still upheld, but they’re able to work under the – basically, the congressional authority, but they’re working independently for the bail bondsman to bring them back, based upon that contract. It’s a contractual relationship, rather than a law enforcement relationship. MR. DEPAUL:
And their authority is not – I’m sorry. QUESTION:
Can you mention a few cases? MR. DEPAUL:
We’ve been trying. QUESTION:
Yeah. Can you mention a few cases of high-profile, you know, that got caught by the U.S. Marshals in recent past? And my second question is – that is do you have any treaties with countries like India and Pakistan? MR. DEPAUL:
The first question, Eddie had some highlighted cases to share with you. And most of them are – I know there’s a couple of international cases domestically. Pretty much, anything you see coming out of the newspapers, from the D.C. sniper case to the unfortunate NYPD officers that were killed here last year, we usually get those cases and, you know, we do what we need to do to find those people.
We were heavily involved with the D.C. sniper case. We were pretty instrumental as an agency, and we got onto Muhammad and Malvo pretty much before any other agency knew about it. It was chaotic down there. It was crazy. Chief Moose from Montgomery County did a great job. But we – you know, there’s one thing that this agency does and in the man-hunting business, we know it and we know it well. That’s all we know. So – and we’re pretty good at it. I couldn’t go out and do a bank robbery case or a homicide case. I know nothing about drug cases. But when it comes down to finding people, you know, we have that expertise and the equipment and manpower and the funding to do it.
So – but Eddie did highlight a couple of international cases. I mean, I could talk for hours on domestic cases. Usually, if someone’s being looked for, and they’ve just committed a felony, we’re involved. MR. MCMAHON:
In the book that you have there, that was our – you have, in particular, Russel Timoshenko, the NYPD officer who was killed, our New York City task force, our entire task force, dispatched to Pennsylvania and were part of the manhunt there and joining with the Pennsylvania authorities, captured – actually, Bostic was – Dexter Bostic was captured, being spotted by state police along Interstate 80. We collapsed and secured the perimeter on that highway. And the next day, our task force captured Ellis in the woods there, and that’s in the book as well.
Each year, we put together – each division we have -- as you’ll see in the book, New York City, northern New York, New Jersey -- puts together about five to ten of their most significant arrests that we’ve captured, and you’ll get to see them in there. As far as a couple of international cases -- MR. DEPAUL:
Can I interject just one thing? MR. MCMAHON:
Yes, go ahead. MR. DEPAUL:
I’m sorry. If you go into our website, usmarshals.gov, you can actually see, you know, our top 15. There’s a catch of the week, we call it. Each task force from around the country submits a catch of the week. We’re arresting over a hundred fugitives a week in this region. And since our inception of May of 2002, we’re closing in on 28,000 arrests, just in this region alone. So the Marshals Service last year set a record. We arrested over 100,000 felony fugitives, dangerous felony fugitives, throughout the country. So I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.MR. MCMAHON:
Oh, no problem. Well, before I even get to the specific cases, another question a lot of people ask is, well, why – you know, why does the state and locals cooperate with you? What are they getting out of, you know, coming to the U.S. Marshals? And what we give them is resources and a little bit of expertise and true partnership. In New York City, as I mentioned, we have ten – MR. DEPAUL:
Ten teams.MR. MCMAHON:
-- five-man teams. And on that five-man team is a U.S. Marshal, an NYPD detective, a parole officer, and maybe another detective. So – and they’re working together, you know, 12 to 16 hours a day. So they become, just like the regular police officer’s partner, I don’t know – to understand that type of camaraderie. They have the same type of camaraderie in that type of a team atmosphere, where all the information, all the resources and databases that each agency has is fully shared, and they really appreciate that.
The other thing we offer is speed. In fugitive investigations, the key to apprehending someone is being able to act quickly. So what we offer – since we are broadly based, and have access to some international resources as well as the whole United States, is let’s say a particular precinct, the 114 again – a murder is committed. You go – they go interview the girlfriend and she says, oh, he’s staying with his grandmother in South Carolina. Rather than the NYPD calling a small town police where they don’t know anybody, they may only have a few uniformed officers, they’re going to drive up to the house, he may see them and run out the backdoor and he’s gone, we have U.S. Marshals that know how to particularly tactically do things in every state. So they’ll so, say, okay, I’ll call – and we’re a small agency, we only have about 2,500 to 3,000 deputy U.S. Marshals currently in the whole country. MR. DEPAUL:
3,000. MR. MCMAHON:
Roughly, 3,000 deputy U.S. Marshals in the whole country. So chances are, I’m going to know somebody or have had some contact with someone in South Carolina. And regardless, it’s pretty much the standard procedures everywhere. I could pick up the phone and call South Carolina, and within an hour, they’ll have a team assembled to go and arrest him there. So they really appreciate that type of speed.
And then again, with training, as Lenny mentioned, we offer -- part of our congressional mandate is to offer state and locals training. So we put on about five one-week courses a year, hosted by the Marshals Service, to teach guys, as teams, tactical entries, car stops, a lot of different firing techniques. They get a lot of ammunition that they normally wouldn’t get from their own departments, and a lot of trigger time, doing low-light shooting and different types of techniques for a week at no cost to their department. The Marshals Service provides that training. So that’s another thing that the state and locals appreciate and what makes them want to become -- you know, join up with us.
And then just a couple of quick cases -- I mentioned George Saravanos. Two cases that we’ve just recently had arrested that were foreign fugitives in the U.S. that we arrested for other countries was over the summer in August Ernest Strulovics was wanted by Vienna, Austria for – he committed approximately $15 million worth of fraud back in 1997. And they had – it took him quite some time going through the bureaucracy and the legal framework. But we had him located in New Jersey here. And when the provisional arrest warrant and extradition proceedings were established, we went and arrested him in Lakewood, New Jersey. He had owned approximately 20 to 30 different types of residential and commercial properties all over New Jersey and was profiting from his fraud. And we were able to arrest him and he was just extradited in December 7th
back to Vienna, Austria.
Another person we just recently arrested was wanted out of Greece, Dimitrios Skaftouros. He was wanted out of Greece since 1990. He was part of a five-man kidnapping team that ended up kidnapping a 10-year-old boy, and held for ransom. But while they held him, the boy was killed, because the ransom money wasn’t given. And he was the last person outstanding. And he had been living here in the U.S. under various aliases -- Nicholas Christofolous (ph) was one particular. And he was living openly under that name, working and -- living between New York and New Jersey and working here in Manhattan. And a few months ago, he was arrested in New York City, based upon the Greeks’ request to have him arrested and extradited, and we did that. So those are two of the most recent international cases.QUESTION:
I believe, if I can recall, there’s a case, a terrorist plot against JFK and there was a fugitive on extradition involving a suspect from Trinidad. Were you involved in that? Do you remember that? MR. MCMAHON:
I know what you’re talking about. We weren’t involved in the --QUESTION:
(Inaudible) JFK. MR. MCMAHON:
I think it was a year or a year and a half ago. MR. MCMAHON:
Was the agency involved in that?MR. MCMAHON:
No. On that particular one, we weren’t, because what we do give over deference to is, you know, our relationship with the FBI. When it comes to terrorism, they have exclusive jurisdiction over that and they really don’t share it with us. So – and if it’s a terrorist act, they handle it. Everything else --QUESTION:
Getting a follow-up on this international stuff, there were a number of cases, especially in the mid-‘90s, involving so-called Russian mafia. You know, the number of Russians here –MR. DEPAUL:
Brighton Beach, I think was --QUESTION:
Brighton Beach (inaudible). Were there any particular cases, including people from Russia or of Russian descent? And did you ever have a chance to work with the Russian law enforcement?MR. DEPAUL:
Just recently – and this is kind of bizarre and it probably has nothing to do with what you’re asking me – but there was a ring of Russian women of the evening. I don’t know if you saw that. It hit the papers here a few months back. And we were involved in rounding up – assisting the State – was it the State Department?MR. MCMAHON:
The State Department with that Russian – authorities were looking for – they were here on a variety of different visa frauds and what not. But there was – you know, I know that doesn’t answer your question. But I personally have been involved with several cases out of Brighton Beach and the Eastern District of New York with – I’m trying to think of some specifics, because I’m old and I go way back to the Brooklyn. You got anything on top of your head with Russian –MR. MCMAHON:
Well, there’s one Bulgarian guy, Peter Simeonov.QUESTION:
What’s that?MR. MCMAHON:
It’s because – if they do flee back there, we don’t have the extraditional cooperation, in particular Bulgaria. Peter Simeonov was a counterfeiter – millions of dollars worth of counterfeiting in the U.S., also would take – purchase vehicles, brand new BMWs and Mercedes, transport them to Canada and steal them, in effect, and send them back over to the Soviet Union and -- to Russia and to Bulgaria.
The Secret Service had the initial case. They came to us for assistance. We located that he was back in Sofia, Bulgaria. His father had a lot of resources. And we tried – we tried to work with the Bulgarian authorities to get him expelled. We were negotiating with his attorney over there. And in the end, they just said no. And we never got him back. And you know, that’s sometimes what happens.QUESTION:
(Inaudible) the Russians? I mean, I just wonder if you have any opinion of the level of cooperation with the Russian authorities -- if you have any cooperation.MR. DEPAUL:
I don’t – we don’t really deal much with them, unfortunately. If we stumble across a case and -- you know, we depend a lot on our headquarters and our international partners, if you will, to assist. But as far as one-on-one, me, specifically, I don’t – I have not had any, you know, rapport at all, unfortunately.QUESTION:
But if there is a case of – let’s say, fugitive there who is U.S. citizen, and there were some cases in Russia (inaudible).MR. DEPAUL:
I’m trying to think. There was something that just had happened and I was asked to assist in from Russia. What was it? Oh, boy, (inaudible) called me on it. I can’t remember what it was. I’m sorry. It slips my mind, but there was – it was something that occasionally, we’ll – I don’t want to call it a favor, you know, but we’ll do some things between countries to assist and to help and keep the political, you know, things on – you know, where it needs to be. We were asked to discretely locate somebody. And I can’t remember the specifics. And I probably couldn’t give them to you anyway. But we do – we do, off the record, assist some times in countries that we -- you know, have asked the United States to help with so –
Did I dance around that pretty good or what?MR. MAHON:
Can you work overseas?MR. DEPAUL:
Can your agency work overseas?MR. DEPAUL:
We can. I mean, I’ve been to several countries. I’ve gotten country clearance. I’ve been armed in different countries where we’re looking for people. I almost got killed in Costa Rica doing that. But there was a case called the 40 thieves. I don’t know if you remember back in the late ‘80s, there was a group of guys that were doing – robbing banks and post offices. And one of the individuals that was still left out there was the paramilitary kind of guy who was training these people to go into these post offices and banks as a military SWAT team would. You know, they’d enter and whatnot.
So long story short, we ended up in Costa Rica and we found this guy. And he had set up an escape route and an ambush on us and everything else. But the long story short, we got out of there alive and everything worked out well. But to answer your question, yeah, we’ve been to countries before.
We used to have the old renditions, where we’d go in with a little black bag and kind of pull them out of there. But that doesn’t happen anymore. (Laughter.) That doesn’t work anymore.QUESTION:
Are the marshals that fly on U.S. carriers, or whatever, part of your task force?MR. MCMAHON:
They are not.QUESTION:
They are separate?MR. DEPAUL:
They’re under Homeland Security. They’re called the Federal Air Marshals. Years ago in the ‘70s, the U.S. marshals did have what was called the sky marshals – was part of the United States Marshals Service. But now the Federal Air Marshals they come under the Department of Homeland Security. They’re not with us.
We do do a variety of things within the agency – the witness protection program is part of our agency, the judicial families, the federal judges, the protection details are all part of the marshals service, the asset forfeiture program within the department is with the U.S. Marshals, of course, the fugitive apprehension program. What am I missing? The prisoner transportation, Con Air – you’ve all heard of Con Air. They did a movie about it. That’s a luxury we have of flying federal prisoners around the country. And we also, within the task force, if a state or local municipality is willing to transport their person – let’s say we find someone in another state and they want to bring him back, and they can’t afford to send two detectives to Texas, spend three days in a hotel and grab their fugitive and come home, we’ll transport them on Con Air. It’s called JPATS the Justice, Prisoner and Transportation Service, better known as Con Air. So we’ll bring them back for a very small fee.QUESTION:
Yeah, you’re right. There was a movie with Cage, or with – who was it with?MR. DEPAUL:
Nicholas Cage, correct.MR. MAHON:
It was based off it. And now we’ve joined up with immigration and it’s a joint system with immigration, as well.QUESTION:
What kind of training do you undertake? Is it military, police type –MR. DEPAUL:
It’s an extensive, rigorous training at our Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Most of the federal agencies go down there. They use Quantico, too. The FBI and DEA has their facility in Quantico, Virginia. But we go down to what’s called FLETC, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, in Glynco. It’s four months of academic and physical training, do a variety of things from the range to martial arts to sitting down and listening to lawyers teach classes. So it’s pretty extensive training. It’s actually pretty good. I’ve been through a few academies in my life, a couple boot camps, and it’s actually one of the best trainings I’ve been through.QUESTION:
Is it possible for us to go and see the training at some part –MR. DEPAUL:
I think it is. They had – they did a special -- someone did a special down there. Mark Thorn, he’ll drive you down there and he’ll take care of – (Laughter.)QUESTION:
Quantico -- (laughter) – Virginia. Okay, okay.MR. DEPAUL:
It’s possible, yes. Sure. QUESTION:
And one thing –MR. DEPAUL:
Not to interrupt you, but I’ll offer also our training that we do within the task force. It’s in Atlantic City. We use the Federal Air Marshal’s brand new $7 million dollar facility. I have six classes this year. And if you’d like to come down for a couple of days to see that, the offer’s there. We put anywhere from 40 to 50 investigators through our training, a lot of trigger time, a lot of – a variety of different tactical (inaudible). We have what’s called a shoot house, where we’ll simulate with role players. We’ll go in and there’s two bad guys in the house, go get them. And we’re tactically making entries. And it’s interesting training. You might like to see that.QUESTION:
All right. MODERATOR:
We’ll try to arrange --QUESTION:
We’ll try that. You have ten teams and by – it’s by 5? Does that mean 50 personnel –MR. MCMAHON:
In New York City.MR. DEPAUL:
Eddie does here in Manhattan.QUESTION:
How many U.S. Marshals?MR. MCMAHON:
It varies. But right now, we have about 15 U.S. Marshals, 20 NYPD detectives, and then the various other agencies. We rely upon the districts – like we were talking about before, people rotate in and out. But pretty much steadily about 15 Deputy U.S. Marshals in New York City, 20 detectives, and then some parole officers, an ATF agent, DEA, all mixed in.QUESTION:
But it’s – sure, it’s one of the main part of the team. Fifteen is more than –MR. DEPAUL:
No, no. In your book – in your handout, in the book, you’ll see in the front all the agencies that are a part of this program. They’re listed in the front of your book.QUESTION:
But saying it’s percentage of –MR. MCMAHON:
Yeah, it’s mostly – in New York City, it’s mostly NYPD and U.S. Marshals together on a team. And then we’ll have a few parole officers, state police, DEA.QUESTION:
How about – about from – you said about 3,000?MR. MCMAHON:
In the whole country.QUESTION:
The whole country. How many in New York and New Jersey – a lot? Should be a lot.MR. MCMAHON:
In the Southern District, there’s like 80 – 75 to 80, that’s all. In eastern New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, you’ve got about 45, small, a very small group. Yeah.QUESTION:
And you don’t do any crimes suspect investigation? That means, you do it after the warrant was issued from the court or something like that?MR. MCMAHON:
Well, no. As soon as someone’s been – there don’t have to be a warrant issued, as long as they’ve been identified. You’re going to – we’re not solving the crime, like you said. We’re not investigating who committed the homicide.QUESTION:
Okay, right.MR. MCMAHON:
But once you know the person is of interest, and he’s – needs to be apprehended, that’s where we come in.MR. DEPAUL:
It’s unfortunate in New York State, they’ve got some crazy rules. (Laughter.) If someone commits a homicide, the homicide detectives – let’s say you shoot and kill somebody and you run, you know, we know it’s you – so we’ve got a good idea – our group will come find you. Once we find you, they don’t like to issue a warrant for you because as soon as a warrant’s been issued, immediate right to counsel attaches to you. I can’t talk to you as a homicide detective. I can’t say two words to you. So they won’t issue a warrant, but you’re a suspect in that homicide, so we come find you. The homicide detectives come over -- they want to talk to you. Now you can talk because there’s no warrant. If you give an admission and say, yeah, it was me, or whatever, that’s all admissible in court.QUESTION:
But you –MR. DEPAUL:
So there doesn’t have to be a warrant, in other words.QUESTION:
So you can arrest or –MR. DEPAUL:
We can detain you.QUESTION:
Yeah, detain, detain.MR. MCMAHON:
But basically a probable cause, we – you know, we have probable cause.QUESTION:
So much more authority than – I mean –MR. DEPAUL:
Well, most likely in that scenario, in that hypothetical, you’re also a parole violator. You violated your parole or else you’ve got a misdemeanor warrant. There’s going to be a way that I can find you and hold onto you, then I question you about the homicide. Little tricks to the trade.MODERATOR:
We could probably talk for another hour. But we have another event that starts at 3 o’clock. So I’m going to thank everybody for showing up this afternoon.MR. DEPAUL:
Anyone would like patches? Does anyone -- patches? Hand those out.MR. MCMAHON:
I brought you some pens, too. Here.MR. DEPAUL:
Here guys, pass those out., thank you.MR. DEPAUL:
Thank you.MR. DEPAUL:
Very good. Thank you. It was very nice to meet you.