October 27, 2005, - 12:43 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
When I returned from being away, last night, my inbox was filled with articles about Frank Figueroa, also known as “Frankie the Fig” to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents around the country.
Figueroa is the ICE Special Agent in Charge in Tampa, now suspended. He’s suspended because he was caught fondling himself in front of a 16-year-old girl at a Tampa mall. He was arrested and charged.
I debated whether to write about this because I take no glee and experience no schadenfreude with this man’s shame and his arrest. I think it’s very sad–for Figueroa and the agency charged with enforcing immigration laws. Before the creation of ICE, I was a tremendous cheerleader for Customs (from which Figueroa came), and it is depressing to see what happened not only to this previously great law enforcement agency, but also to the INS (which was the target of too much unfair maligning).
I decided to write about the Figueroa incident because, as with many incidents involving ICE “leadership,” Figueroa’s arrest is symbolic of what’s wrong with the larger picture at ICE. He’s just one example of those who are promoted to positions of leadership in the combined agency that has replaced the once proud Customs Service and INS agencies.
Figueroa isn’t the first high-ranking ICE agent to be caught en flagrante delicto. And he will probably be allowed to retire quietly, ICE agents say. What’s remarkable is that Figueroa was given this position in the first place.
Experienced ICE agents tell me that Figueroa was Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Investigations in legacy Customs (before ICE), and it was very dysfunctional. At that position, he was more of a trouble magnet than a troubleshooter. He was given the cushy job in Tampa as a retirement “reward” for that.
Given Figueroa’s arrest, it is incredible that while was still at ICE Headquarters in Washington, one of his jobs was ICE Headquarters coordinator for Operation Predator, ICE’s special effort to crack down on sexual predators (related to the Lifetime TV movie I wrote about). We don’t expect ICE PR to craft a new movie with the women’s cable network about this latest incident.
Nor do we expect to see a Lifetime cable movie based on the “leadership” of Detroit’s Special Agent in Charge, Brian Moskowitz (a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz”), who continues to have in his employ:
* an agent accused of child molestation; and
* an agent caught drunk driving in his government car (“G” car) and soliciting a prostitute.
Unlike Figueroa, both of these agents are still gainfully employed as ICE agents and won’t be kicked out. Why?
Moskowitz, himself, was witnessed by one of his agents using an April ICE getaway to “get closer” to an extra-curricular female companion. He may have used ICE funds in the process. He repeatedly uses his position as ICE SAIC–and apparently his ICE office and phones–to recruit for his personal harem. But despite these and other inappropriate behaviors (like snuggling with an Islamic terrorist), Moskowitz is, nevertheless, reportedly in contention to become head of national security for ICE, a significantly higher pay grade. And right now, he is finishing up a one-month stint at ICE Headquarters as the ombudsman to his peers for ICE Director of Investigations Marcy Forman-Friedman a/k/a “Peppermint Patty.”
Then, there is Jennifer Sedgebeer, the Texas ICE agent who participated in the illegal handcuffing of a woman who refused to perform a sex act on the agent and her cop boyfriend in a hot tub.
Obviously, Frank Figueroa is not the first agent to do what he did. Nor is he exemplary of the majority of ICE agents who are hard-working, good people. The problem is that Figueroa is exemplary of the type of ICE agents that get promotions to leadership positions. The bad guys get ahead, and the good guys get persecuted. Many of the good guys have already left in droves, while undesirables tied to murder cover-ups, like Giovanni Guadioso (a/k/a “GG”), are promoted to the rank of Assistant Director.
Is the 36-year-old Julie L. Myers, nominated by President Bush to lead ICE, equipped to put an end to all of this and fix this sinking ship? Don’t hold your breath . . . .
Harriet Miers removed herself from contention for the Supreme Court. If she had any dignity whatsoever, Julie Myers would do the same with her ICE nomination.
Tags: Assistant Director, Brian Moskowitz, Bush, cable network, cheerleader, coordinator, Customs Service, Debbie Schlussel, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Detroit, Director of Investigations, Exposed, Frank Figueroa (Frankie the Fig), Giovanni Guadioso, government car, Harriet Miers, head of national security, ICE, ICE Director, ICE headquarters, ICE Leader & Immigration Agency, ICE Special Agent, INS, Jennifer Sedgebeer, Julie L. Myers, law enforcement agency, Marcy Forman-Friedman, President, Special Agent, Supreme Court, Tampa, Tampa mall, Washington