Operation Sentinel includes new partnership with CBP, insurance agency

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday announced that it is partnering with the National Insurance Crime Bureau in an effort to prevent companies associated with smuggling people into the country illegally from securing insurance.

CBP says the partnership is tied to Operation Sentinel, which is a collaborative effort between CBP, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency toward combating migrant smuggling.

In a news release, CBP says Operation Sentinel partners are targeting hundreds of criminal organization members, affiliates and associated business to investigate whether to exclude them from federal programs with actions like suspension or debarment.

“The government-wide suspension and debarment system exists to protect the public interest, the public’s money, and the integrity of Federal programs by ensuring that Federal agencies only conduct business with presently responsible persons,” the news release stated.

Troy Miller, a senior CBP official performing the duties of commissioner, said ensuring smuggling organizations can’t conduct business in the country will severely limit their ability to operate.

“Our partnership with NICB will broaden the reach of each government action by informing insurance companies of debarred organizations,” Miller said in the release.

CBP says that organization is the insurance industry’s premier association dedicated to predicting, preventing and prosecuting insurance crime.

“Their extensive network of more than 1,200 member companies includes more than 80 percent of the nation’s property-casualty insurance companies. Following CBP’s determination to suspend or debar a particular company or individual, NICB will inform their members of the suspended or debarred entity,” the release read.

David Glawe, NICB president and CEO and former DHS under secretary for intelligence, said the agency has a long history of partnering with CBP and welcome the opportunity to expand that relationship to assist with ongoing investigations targeting transnational organized crime.