Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quickie: RSO Belize did 19 fugitive returns to the U.S. in 2009

Diplomatic Security Service (United States) - sealImage via Wikipedia
You didn't know that, did you? Well, here is one from Kirk Lang/Westport News about DSS agent and Regional Security Officer, Robert Kelty who recently received an Investigative Excellence Award from the U.S. Marshals Service. Read  Westport native wins investigative honors for bringing murder fugitive to justice |  Thursday, June 3, 2010. Excerpt below: 
He's worked a presidential inauguration. He's traveled with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to China. He was the assistant regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, for two years ahead of the 2004 Olympics.

Robert Kelty, a Westport native, clearly isn't stuck in a cubicle working 9 to 5.

In fact, he recently received, along with three other Diplomatic Security Service agents, the Investigative Excellence Award from the U.S. Marshals Service for helping bring to justice a fugitive murder suspect. Jamaican citizen Patrick Brown was wanted for allegedly stabbing a man to death in Boston in 1995, but had been hiding in southern Belize. Brown was once profiled on television's "America's Most Wanted."

Kelty, the regional security officer for the U.S. Embassy in Belize, is not unaccustomed to making "America's Most Wanted" the no-longer wanted.

Brown was the third fugitive featured on the John Walsh-hosted TV show over the past year that his office and the Belize Police Department captured and returned to U.S. soil. But the third time was the charm as far as earning something nice to put on display in his office.

"I appreciate the recognition from my colleagues in the U.S. Marshals Service," Kelty wrote in an e-mail interview. "But the greatest reward is the satisfaction that a dangerous fugitive will face justice in the U.S. after 15 years on the run and that the family of the victim may finally have closure after the tragedy they experienced."

Prior to laying low in Belize, Brown was living in Costa Rica, but Kelty, acting on a tip, partnered with colleagues in neighboring Costa Rica and Belize to investigate Brown's alleged connection to a drug gang in Costa Rica. When the heat was turned up by the Costa Rica investigation that began in September 2009, Brown fled to Belize. Kelty, with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, picked up the trail and tracked Brown to southern Belize, where he was arrested by local authorities in February. Brown has since been flown to the United States, and is expected to stand trial for murder.

Kelty, Paul Trachtenberg, Wade DeWitt and Jason Meixner were the first Diplomatic Security Special Agents ever to be recognized and receive the Investigative Excellence Award by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Asked to cite the most challenging thing in bringing Brown to justice, Kelty responded, "Anytime an international fugitive is returned to the U.S., it is a complicated matter. It is extremely important that the proper coordination occurs within the Belize Police Department and the government of Belize, and that each step of the investigation, capture and subsequent return follows both U.S. and Belizean laws.

"Fortunately, Diplomatic Security has a tremendous amount of experience in this area as Diplomatic Security returned 136 international fugitives in 2009."
As the regional security officer for the U.S. Embassy in Belize, Kelty's job is to make sure that the business of diplomacy is conducted safely and securely.

"That means -- first and foremost -- that I am responsible for protecting our ambassador, our diplomatic staff and the embassy from acts of terrorism, crime and even natural disasters," he said. "I am also responsible for investigating passport and visa fraud cases and the return of fugitives. Last year, my office worked with the Belize Police Department to return 19 fugitives back to the U.S."

Read the whole thing here.

Note that from 1999 until May 2008, 100 fugitives were returned to the U.S. from Belize, approximately 10 fugitive returns per year during that period. Last year, DSS did 136 fugitive returns; 19 of those returns came from Belize, almost double the number from the previous years. I don't know how many RSOs are there at the US Embassy Belmopan, but I hope they have more than one.    

Now more than ever, I'm convinced that Belize is really too good to be true, especially for fugitives. If the manta ray won’t get you, DSS will.


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