Retired agent Denise Minor served nearly 29 years with the FBI. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams, Minor is interviewed about her extensive investigative experience working overseas primarily in various countries in Africa and in the United States utilizing her French language skills to communicate, interpret and translate during her career. In addition to serving as the Legal Attaché or LEGAT in Rabat, Morocco, Minor was a French interpreter for the Protocol Office in support of FBI Director Louie Freeh and other FBI executives, deployed to Nairobi, Kenya to lead a small team with French language skills to conduct terrorism investigations in the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands, deployed to Rwanda to investigate human rights violations and genocide and had numerous other assignments that took her to Yemen, Haiti and other French-speaking destinations around the world. Her state-side assignments, included leading a team of crime analysts at the Behavioral Analysis Unit, Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and serving as a leadership development program facilitator on the FBI Leadership Learning Delivery Team. After retiring from the FBI, Minor, a licensed attorney and certified personal coach, opened her own leadership development consulting firm, MindSpring Metro DC, Inc.
Retired agent Brig Barker served in the FBI for twenty years. As a combat veteran and a highly respected linguist with full fluency in Arabic and a professional working proficiency in German, during his Bureau career Brig was frequently deployed overseas to work on major counterterrorism matters. From 1998 until his recent retirement, Brig was assigned to operational investigations in Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; Cairo, Egypt; London, England; Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Tunis, Tunisia; to name a few. During his deployment to Sierra Leone, he was tasked with officially opening the FBI Attaché office there and establishing liaison with local leaders and diamond merchants. He initiated the investigation in to allegations that profits from the sale of blood diamonds were being funneled to terrorist organizations. Allegedly, diamonds were being used for this purpose due to the gem’s high value and portability. Brig now operates his own global security consulting company, Counterterrorism Consultants International (ct-consultants.com). Brig also conducts free webinars regarding terrorism issues in America. You can find more information about the webinars at https://app.webinarjam.net/
Retired agent Sam Smemo served 26 years in federal law enforcement, 15 and a half years with the FBI and ten and a half years with the United States Marshals Service. After hunting dangerous fugitives during the early part of his career, once onboard with the FBI, Sam worked drug cases while assigned to the Philadelphia Division. He talks about a big marijuana shipment investigation that inadvertently resulted in the exoneration and release from jail of an innocent man wrongly accused of shooting a child during a drive by shooting. Identifying and bringing the real culprit to justice was a highlight of Sam’s career. But after witnessing the devastation caused by the tragic events of 9/11, Sam was compelled to transition from fighting the war on drugs to fighting the war on terror. He tells us about working on an extraterritorial case wherein the FBI and the American government desperately attempted to locate and rescue a U.S. citizen kidnapped in Saudi Arabia. Tragically, the businessman was executed by an Al Qaeda terrorist organization operating in the Arabian Peninsula.
Retired Supervisory Special Agent Harry Garcia served in the FBI for 22 years. Throughout most of his Bureau career, Harry, an accountant and a former IRS revenue agent, worked complex financial investigations, including bank fraud and bank failure cases involving public corruption. He is interviewed about a multiagency Southwest Border Taskforce investigation—code named “Port Sweeper” and “Boiling Point”—initiated in the 1990s that resulted in sentences of life imprisonment and 27 years in prison for the main subjects—two corrupt inspectors assigned to the Calexico border patrol station and the seizure of $1.2 million in cash. Harry points out that the IRS played a significant role in investigating the money laundering violations and determining the illicit net worth increases of corrupt inspectors.
Retired Supervisory Special Agent Ron Nolan served in the FBI for 21 years. Ron spent the early part of his career in the Philadelphia Division as a member of the SWAT Team, working violent crime, and as the Criminal Informant Coordinator. Later Ron was reassigned to the Newark Division where he supervised a Violent Crimes and Fugitive Taskforce and the Evidence Response Team.
The cases he talks about in this episode occurred while he served as the Legal Attaché in Lagos, Nigeria – the investigation of the death of a teenage girl from New Jersey who dies while on a school trip in Ghana and the frequent kidnapping of American oil and utility workers in Nigeria. During his four years in the LEGAT Lagos position, Ron represented the FBI and the Department of Justice on matters involving eight African countries. He also served on Director Mueller’s LEGAT Advisory Committee representing all 56 countries on the continent of Africa.
Retired Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) John Cosenza served in the FBI for 22 years. John spent much of his career working counterterrorism cases and extraterritorial jurisdiction investigations. He explains that extraterritorial jurisdiction authorizes the FBI to investigate crimes against Americans on foreign soil, such as murders and kidnappings, if the crimes were based on an act of terrorism. These extraterritorial jurisdiction and counterterrorism cases took John around the world to numerous countries and international venues. He talks about one case in particular involving a Tunisian operative and a European terrorist cell that he worked out of Milan while assigned as the Assistant Legal Attaché (ALAT) in Italy. This case was unique in that it was worked jointly between the FBI and the Italian National Police, with assistance from NCIS. The successful investigation resulted in charges of conspiracy, arms and explosive trafficking, and the use of fraudulent documents.
In this episode I interview Gerry Downes who served 25 years with the FBI. Gerry worked in the Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit (now known as the BAU) for 11 years. He talks about travelling with several team members to Accra, Ghana in May 2001 to assist in the identification of a serial killer responsible for the horrific murders of more than 30 woman. During the two weeks the Gerry and the FBI team were in Ghana, a suspect was arrested. The suspect confessed to committing several of the murders. While in the country, the FBI team also trained Ghanaian police investigators in evidence collection and interrogations techniques. Gerry also mentions that when he returned to Ghana several years later he was impressed with the advances made. Later in his career, Gerry left the BAU for a three-year assignment at the Legal Attaché (Legat) Ottawa sub-office in Vancouver, Canada.