- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, who also was a key player in the government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, was named yesterday as head of the newly formed Office of Drug Interdiction at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner said.

Greg Passic, who served as chief of the DEA’s money-laundering section before his retirement, will be the principal adviser to the commissioner on CBP’s counternarcotics activities.

“The priority mission of Customs and Border Protection is preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. But CBP must continue to protect America and its citizens by carrying out its traditional missions, which includes stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.,” Mr. Bonner said.

“Gregory Passic has the expertise necessary to ensure that CBP is doing all it can to safeguard our nation from illegal drugs,” he said.

As director of drug interdiction, Mr. Passic will coordinate and recommend policies, strategies, training and detection capabilities needed to effectively carry out CBP’s drug interdiction mission, Mr. Bonner added.

He said Mr. Passic will ensure that counternarcotics policies and strategies are carried out in “a prompt and effective manner” with all CBP offices, including field operations, the Border Patrol, training and development, air and marine operations, international affairs and intelligence.

Mr. Passic has 34 years of federal drug enforcement experience with the DEA, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the U.S. Customs Service. He also served for 15 years in the Middle East and Europe conducting undercover and other investigations of international drug trafficking and organized crime.

In his service, Mr. Passic gained “invaluable experience” with narcoterrorist groups, Mr. Bonner said.

As a leader of FinCEN, Mr. Passic was responsible for bringing people and information together to fight the complex problem of money laundering. Created in 1990, FinCEN worked to maximize information sharing among law-enforcement agencies and other partners in the regulatory and financial communities.

While at FinCEN, Mr. Passic helped expose one of the largest money-laundering systems in the Western Hemisphere. Investigators had discovered that to launder drug profits of $8 billion to $12 billion per year into U.S. dollars, Colombian drug dealers had taken over the Colombia Black Market Peso Exchange, which became their sole source of funds. Mr. Passic and others put together a plan to disrupt that operation.

After the September 11 attacks, Mr. Passic was assigned to the National Security Council, Office for Combating Terrorism. Most recently, he assisted in the establishment of the National Drug Intelligence Fusion Center, a milestone in consolidating the nation’s drug intelligence.

He is a graduate of the University of Utah and began his law-enforcement career with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

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