Observer photos by Steven Frank
John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Monday that ICE’s National Bulk Cash Smuggling Center has expanded its operations center in Williston. The new space has been in use for approximately one month and the center’s director, John Burke, said it’s ‘over five times bigger’ than the former space — established in 2009 in another part of Williston. Morton said it’s the first facility in the world solely dedicated to the investigation of bulk cash smuggling. The center deals with cases where more than $10,000 has been transported into the United States, which Morton said is illegal without reporting. Morton added that agents in Vermont played a key role in the seizure of $41 million in Colombia and Mexico used in a cocaine smuggling operation — a case known as Operation Pacific Rim that began in September 2009. ‘Vermont has been a great place for us to conduct national operations,’ Morton said during Monday’s announcement.