Statement made by former U.S. Customs Agent, Darlene Fitzgerald, June 15, 2007.
My name is Darlene Fitzgerald and I have over 20 years of combined law enforcement experience in the military, private industry and as a Special Agent. In 1999 I resigned in protest because I refused to work for an agency that is worse than the people I put in jail.
In 1998 I was in charge of US Customs operating an extensive investigation called Operation Rite Rail. We uncovered tons of narcotics and contraband being facilitated into the US from Mexico via railroad tanker cars with the apparent approval of US Customs managers.
Just a little over a year ago this resulted in the landmark civil case in federal court: Fitzgerald—Nunn Vs Dept of Homeland Security. At this trial, supervised by now-fired US Attorney Carol Lam, Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos took the stand and made history by being the first sitting judge ever to testify against the US Government.
The essential fact of my testimony, corroborated by other credible Special Agents and managers, is that high-level Customs managers shut down my investigation into narcotics smuggling. I had already seized 8000 pounds of marijuana and 34 kilos of uncut cocaine in just one pressurized railroad tanker car.
I had in my grasp five cars imported from Mexico that were improperly manifested as empty, yet contained 25 to 40 tons of suspect contraband. They had been sent from the same front company in Mexico where the previously seized tanker car was from, and I had high-level information from a reliable informant as to the contents of these five cars. Yet I was ordered off the case and told to shut down my operation.
At the trial, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Gary Pinkava, took the stand for Customs and admitted without elaboration that he would not allow me or my supervisor to pressure test, at no charge to the government, these highly suspected tanker cars. This would have been the largest seizure on record for any agency (25 - 40 tons), and it was under the command and control of ASAIC Pinkava. Subsequently, as testified to by numerous witnesses, these tanker cars were released into the commerce of the US, uninspected by anyone.
Evidence of the following was most certainly exposed at the trial: Witness tampering, facilitation of the importation of 25 to 40 tons of contraband into the US, perjury, misprision of felony, and possible subornation of perjury. This evidence was sufficient to warrant initiation of a grand jury investigation; yet there was none. All of these crimes remain uninvestigated. Complete transcripts of this trial testimony may be read at http://www.BorderGate.net. What my task force and I also exposed is the horrendous national security terrorist threat that these tanker cars pose to our nation.
Timothy McVey blew up the Federal Murrah Building in Oklahoma City with about one ton of ammonium nitrate in an unsealed cargo truck. This cowardly attack killed scores of people and resulted in over 11 damaged buildings being torn down. Yet a terrorist can put forty times this amount of ammonium nitrate in a railroad tanker car and pressurize it. This would create what is essentially the world’s largest pipe bomb.
It is important to note that there have been no other rail tanker car seizures since than, done by my task force in 1998. Have the drug smugglers and terrorists simply quit trying to enter the US, or have they been operating freely with the assistance of corrupt managers within the Dept of Homeland Security.
The real victims here are all of the brave whistleblowers who have come forward with important information that exposes threats to our national security in which I have chronicled in my recently released book entitled Border Gate Most recently my fellow whistleblower, John Carman, was arrested by the FBI for what appears to many to be a clear case of entrapment in order to shut him up. This is the same FBI office John and I repeatedly exposed in the media for failing to investigate facts revealed in Border Gate.
What has happened, and continues to happen to all of the whistleblowers in the Border Gate story is not only wrong, but it places our country at grave risk as well. All we can do is put the facts before you. Henceforth, nobody can say they were unaware of what is going on.
To quote the famous French free thinker Voltaire, Being right is dangerous when it is government that is wrong. How sad is it that so many years later this is still true today.
Note: Darlene Fitzgerald has more than 20 years of successful experience in criminal justice: Military, federal law enforcement, and private industry. She is an honorably discharged, decorated veteran who served her country not only as captain in the US Army Military Police Corps, but as a US Customs Special Agent fighting on the front lines of the War on Drugs.