Inspector General: Border Patrol Failed to Collect DNA for Ten Years, Let Violent Criminals Walk Free

The Office of Special Counsel has found that Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) “noncompliance with the law has allowed subjects subsequently accused of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to elude detection even when detained multiple times by CBP or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

The law requires that CBP collect DNA from individuals held in their custody in order to run the material against the FBI’s database of violent criminals. The agencyhas failed to do this for 10 years, allowing violent criminals to walk free.

One “troubling” case noted in the letter involved a suspect in a 2009 Denver homicide who had “several interactions” with law enforcement, including two arrests, but was allowed to go free until investigators finally collected a DNA sample in 2017.

In another instance, a suspect in “two particularly brutal” sexual assaults that occurred in 1997 eluded detection despite being in federal custody on nine separate occasions — before finally being connected to the crime in March 2019, after a DNA sample was collected.

Several whistle-blowers filed a complaint about the lawlessness back in May of 2018. They said the program was put on hold during the Obama administration and efforts to start it up under the Trump Administration were derailed.

“There is no current pilot program. It’s basically dead in the water,” whistle-blower Fred Wynn said.

“That has been in discussion that since we have not been fulfilling the law, and that it’s been a ten-year implementation on what was said to be expeditious, that folks have expressed concern that it could be a liability issue,” Mark Jones said.

“We have a great tool that was mandated by and approved by Congress as a law and we’re not using it,”  Jones added. “We are allowing ourselves to apprehend individuals and process them and by not taking the DNA sample, we’re not giving our law enforcement — both state and federal — the additional tool to solve these outstanding crimes.”

In 2018, CBP conducted its own investigation and claimed that “there has been no violation of law, rule, or regulation, and no substantial and specific danger to public safety.”

The program was stopped because Obama-era Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano got a waiver for the DNA requirements from Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. Napolitano claimed there were “severe organizational, resource and financial challenges” and the agency was unable to follow the law.

Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote in his letter to the president that CBP’s lack of enforcement was an “unacceptable dereliction of the agency’s law enforcement mandate.” He also accused the honchos at CBP of trying to “delay and obfuscate” the investigation.

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