The LPM “Magpie” Awards offer a means to celebrate industry accomplishments recognizing the loss prevention professionals, teams, solution providers, and law enforcement partners that demonstrate a stellar contribution to the profession. Please join LPM in celebrating the accomplishments of our latest honoree.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For this installment of the LPM Magpie Awards, we have done something a little different. Rather than celebrate two individuals, we are highlighting the hard work this entire team has dedicated to the retail loss prevention community. Their work has truly been remarkable, leading to tremendous results and outstanding partnerships. The team has both shown an eagerness to learn more about our industry as well as a willingness to share and partner with retailers across the country in the fight against organized retail crime (ORC).
Raul Aguilar, Deputy Assistant Director, and the entire team at Homeland Security Investigations
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is the principal investigative arm of the US Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s mission is to investigate, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist, transnational, and other criminal organizations that threaten or seek to exploit the customs and immigration laws of the US. This mission also includes the fight against ORC.
As the Deputy Assistant Director of the Countering Transnational Organized Crime, Financial, and Fraud Division at HSI headquarters, Aguilar leads programmatic oversight of HSI’s strategic planning, national policy implementation, and the development and execution of operational initiatives for various programmatic areas targeting transnational criminal organizations involved in money laundering, financial fraud, bulk cash smuggling, document fraud, benefit fraud, labor exploitation, and related crimes enforced by HSI, as well as investigative resources related to asset forfeiture, seized property, and equitable sharing. With offices across the country, Aguilar and his team are working closely with retail and law enforcement partners to uncover and resolve ORC cases with a tremendous level of success.
“In response to the ORC threat, HSI is leading a collaborative approach under Operation Boiling Point by utilizing our expertise and unique authorities and leveraging private-public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle organized theft groups, and strengthen global supply chain security,” he said. “The Operation Boiling Point team consisted of myself, Division Chief Maria Michel-Manzo, Unit Chief Thomas Welch, Section Chief Daniel Callaghan, and National Program Managers Billy Melton and Robert Skidmore.”
This leadership and the entire HSI team have directly contributed to countless investigations leading to the arrest and conviction of many multi-million-dollar ORC teams across the country, several of which were involved in international criminal ventures. Their leadership and partnerships working with dedicated retail and law enforcement teams have led to some of the largest ORC cases in the country’s history as well as the recovery of millions of dollars in retail assets.
“In response to the public safety threat posed by organized theft groups, HSI serves our communities by protecting the American people, including retail loss prevention personnel and others, from transnational criminal organizations seeking to exploit and profit from organized retail theft and related crimes,” said Aguilar.
“Our motto is ‘Honor, Service, Integrity.’ We rely on strong strategic partnerships with public-private sector entities, including retail LP and industry professionals whose businesses and employees are targeted by ORC groups, to collaborate in support of investigations to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations,” he added.
Throughout fiscal year 2022, the Operation Boiling Point team prioritized building and furthering partnerships with multiple industries to advance this national program, including retail, freight transportation, banking, and other business sectors that may be targeted or utilized by ORC groups to facilitate their criminal activities. By coordinating with strategic public-private sector partners, HSI built the Operation Boiling Point strategy to unify efforts and inform stakeholders on this public safety threat.
“To create strong partnerships, leaders and organizations should look at issues from the perspective of their partners and create opportunities for collaboration and cooperation,” said Aguilar. “This allows stakeholders to inform and guide the partnership based on their unique equities.”