Today (Nov. 9) Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and World Customs Organization Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya joined together in Brussels to announce the results of an unprecedented international law enforcement operation that led to the seizure of more than $3.5 million in smuggled cash over a five day period.

Dubbed Operation ATLAS (Assess, Target, Link, Analyze and Share), this groundbreaking investigation brought together law enforcement agencies from over 80 countries worldwide to target and disrupt cash couriers--people employed by criminal organizations to move their illicit funds across international borders.

Operation ATLAS focused on identifying these illicit cash couriers by employing several different methods to detect cash carried in baggage, on travelers and in shipments aboard commercial flights at designated airports. ATLAS also promoted the sharing of information and intelligence among customs agencies. In the United States, this operation was led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with participation from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and coordinated by the World Customs Organization.

Operation ATLAS is the latest and largest example of how increased international cooperation among law enforcement and customs agencies has resulted in the identification of new smuggling routes and methods used by criminal organizations throughout the world.

In September, ICE worked closely with law enforcement partners in Colombia and Mexico to uncover more than $41 million smuggled in shipping containers bound for Colombia. And in July, an ICE-led multilateral operation targeting cash couriers seized more than $3.5 million and detected an additional $4.2 million in undeclared currency at ports of entry around the globe.

This level of multilateral coordination is truly unprecedented and illustrates how the Department and our international allies are working together to shut down criminal organizations’ old ways of doing business, according to DHS.