WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Special Agents Donovan Williams and Kendall Beels of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security as Officers of the Month for November 2007.
Seasoned investigators will tell you that what appears at first glance to be a straightforward case can often turn into a more complex investigation with more widespread implications. On occasion, with dogged tenacity, the search for information leads investigators to uncover a much larger conspiracy. Such was the case in 2004 when Special Agents Williams and Beels, during a routine visa fraud case, began to unravel a multi-million dollar conspiracy involving hundreds of sham marriages between U.S. citizens and Chinese nationals.
In 2005, with evidence of a larger conspiracy, Special Agents Williams and Beels resurrected a stalled investigation by recruiting a mid-level co-conspirator, which ultimately led to a guilty plea and the cooperation from a more highly placed suspect in the conspiracy. During the following months, they gathered and reviewed volumes of data from immigration records in New York, visa applications in U.S. consulates throughout China, and state and city marriage records throughout the United States. They kept close track of the primary co-conspirators through diligent use of various law enforcement techniques. The pair investigated and managed this increasingly complex case even as they continued to serve the dignitary protection needs of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in the New York metropolitan area.
On August 23, 2006, most co-conspirators were arrested in pre-dawn raids conducted across four states and four DSS field office jurisdictions. Special Agents Williams and Beels drafted the operational plans, coordinated with the various U.S. Attorneys' Offices, briefed more than 50 participating law enforcement agents and officers, and executed a flawless arrest sweep of the highly elusive targets. It was the largest operation of the calendar year in the DSS New York Field Office and by far the most successful. Multiple search warrants executed the same day yielded evidence of illicit gains in the millions of dollars. The special agents' multi-year investigation uncovered more than 350 sham marriages between U.S. citizens and Chinese nationals, as well as several million dollars in assets subject to forfeiture, making it one of the biggest cases with the most arrests in the agency's history.
On October 27, 2006, in New York City, Special Agents Williams and Beels were honored as the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation (FLEF) Investigators of the Year. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff delivered the keynote address at the event honoring the two special agents.
The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program, which began in 1996, recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty. Special Agents Williams and Beels, along with all of the 2007 Officers of the Month, will be recognized during a special ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2008 during National Police Week.