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Photograph of Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry

Shawn Henry
Executive Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Press Conference Regarding Operation Guard Shack
San Juan, Puerto Rico

October 6, 2010

Good morning. The arrests conducted early this morning by our agents in San Juan and the charges outlined in the indictment are the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation that targeted the alleged corrupt activities of state and local law enforcement officials in Puerto Rico. As mentioned by Attorney General Holder, the investigation, known as “Operation Guard Shack” is the largest law enforcement corruption investigation in the 102 year history of the FBI. It involved an unprecedented level of logistical coordination of resources, technical assistance by more than 30 of the FBI’s 56 field Divisions, and hand in hand coordination with the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office in San Juan and the Police Department of Puerto Rico. At some point all agents assigned to the San Juan office assisted in the investigation.

It is important to recognize that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are honest in their work and are committed to serving and protecting the public. Today we are focused on a small percentage of officers who chose to abuse the public’s trust for their own personal gain.

Combating public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority, and it is different than most other crimes. It strikes not only at the heart of good government, but it also jeopardizes at the security of our communities and our nation. Public corruption erodes public confidence, and undermines the strength of our democracy. The allegations in today’s indictment underscore our commitment to aggressively pursue those who engage in unethical and corrupt practices.

Investigating public corruption is a complex mission the FBI takes very seriously. It requires tremendous resources including personnel and the tools necessary to conduct undercover investigations and effectively conduct court-authorized electronic surveillance.

Rooting out corruption is exceptionally difficult. Many of our investigations start with a tip from someone who’s been victimized by public corruption. The American people are growing increasingly intolerant of public corruption – and their intolerance is reflected in their willingness to come forward and report abuse. We are always grateful for those who have come forward to report corruption.

In the end, it does not matter if corruption is national or local. It does not matter if it is one officer or one hundred. There is no level of acceptable corruption. The violation of trust is the same and the American public won’t stand for it.

Success requires strong partnerships. Today’s Indictment could not have been returned without the collaborative efforts of the prosecutors from the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the US Attorneys Office in Puerto Rico and the Police Department of Puerto Rico.

Lastly I would personally like to thank the men and women of the FBI who were involved in today’s actions for their commitment to make this country a better and safer place.

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