Join GTSC for an amazing conversation with:
Traci Lembke, Deputy Assistant Director, Homeland Security Investigations, ICE-DHS
Elizabeth Schmelzinger, Chief of Staff, Office of Air & Marine, CBP-DHS
Janice Ayala, Assistant Director, Operations, HSI, ICE-DHS
The ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate is a critical asset in the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States.
HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.
In addition to ICE criminal investigations, HSI oversees the agency’s international affairs operations and intelligence functions. HSI consists of more than 10,000 employees, consisting of 6,700 special agents, who are assigned to more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and 47 countries around the world.
About Ms. Ayala
Janice Ayala is Assistant Director for Domestic Operations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Washington, D.C.
Ms. Ayala manages all operational issues and investigative matters for the 26 nationwide HSI Special Agent in Charge field offices.
Prior to this assignment, Ms. Ayala served as the assistant director for programs within Office of Investigations (OI). In this capacity, Ms. Ayala was responsible for strategic planning, national policy implementation and the development and execution of operational initiatives spanning the five major investigative program divisions within OI: National Security Investigations; Financial, Narcotics and Public Safety Investigations; Critical Infrastructure Protection and Fraud Investigations; Investigative Services and Policy and Emergency Preparedness.
Ms. Ayala also served as the deputy assistant director of the Financial, Narcotics and Public Safety Division. In this position, she had direct oversight of the financial, narcotics and national gang programs conducted by ICE offices throughout the United States.
Prior to her headquarters assignment, Ms. Ayala served as deputy special agent in charge in Laredo, Texas, where she oversaw investigations conducted by ICE southern border offices in Laredo, Falcon Dam, McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville, Texas. Ms. Ayala has previously served as the associate and assistant special agent in charge in San Antonio, Texas, where she supervised the full spectrum of investigative work conducted by ICE special agents.
Ms. Ayala has also served as the resident agent in charge and the acting assistant regional special agent in charge for the former U.S. Customs Service Office of Internal Affairs in El Paso, Texas.
Ms. Ayala began her federal civilian career with the U.S. Customs Service as an intelligence research specialist, in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., and later served a four and a half year tour in Puerto Rico, where she was assigned as a senior special agent and Caribbean liaison officer.
Prior to her federal civilian career, Ms. Ayala served four years in a United States Air Force Intelligence Squadron as a Spanish linguist and analyst reporter. Additionally, she worked in international banking, freight forwarding and advertisement as a civilian.
Ms. Ayala has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and is a Certified Rape Crisis Counselor for the State of Texas.
About Traci Lembke
Ms. Lembke has held the position of Deputy Assistant Director of Homeland Security Investigations at ICE since February 2008. She is responsible for a budget of $100 million and oversight of nearly 400 full time federal employees and contractors responsible for supplying investigative services to the 9,000 HSI Special agents located throughout the world.>Approval and oversight of all HSI certified undercover operations, management and forfeiture of any/all assets seized by HSI in conjunction with criminal investigations, management of all confidential informants utilized by HSI Special Agents as well as any related compensation.
She is also responsible for oversight of services provided to victims of crimes investigated by HSI, all training material developed and delivered to HSI Special Agents at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; manage the HSI Tip-Line, a 24/7 facility established to receive and transmit information related to criminal activity supplied by Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement officers as well as private citizens.
Additionally, oversight of all Cyber Crime investigations, including crimes involving child exploitation and child sex tourism, the HSI Forensic Document Laboratory, a one of a kind facility which serves to identify and combat counterfeit travel documents and perform finger print analysis associated with ongoing HSI criminal investigations, and coordination and tracking of all GAO and IG Audits involving HSI investigative programs.
Prior to HSI, Ms. Lembke was Director of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility where she worked with the ICE Assistant Secretary to achieve the highest level of integrity was achieved at ICE. There she had a three-fold mission: to investigate allegations of criminal and serious misconduct involving ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees; to conduct inspections and audits of ICE programs and offices to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of operations; and to manage the ICE personnel security program by ensuring the completion and adjudication of background investigations for the purpose of ensuring employment suitability and determining security level clearances and upgrades. I supervised approximately 400 employees located in eighteen field offices throughout the United States as well as six operational units located at ICE headquarters. I also served as the ICE Chief Security Officer during this time, which required me to have oversight of all physical security standards for the agency. I successfully managed an annual budget of approximately $34 million dollars.
She has also held positions as Unit Chief, Investigative Support Unit, ICE Office of Professional REsponsibility; Director of Internal Investigations Division, USCS; National Program Manager, Investigative Programs Division, USCS among others.
Ms. Lembke has achieve numerous awards for ourstanding service including the Presidential Rank Award presented to fewer than 5% of all Senior Executive Service personnel, Department of Justice Attorney General Award i the area of Victim Assistance; and the ICE Assistant Secretary Excellence in Law Enforcement Award for conducting Child Sex Tourism Investigations.
About Ms. Schmelzinger
Elizabeth (Liz) Schmelzinger is the Chief of Staff for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Air and Marine (OAM). The Office of Air and Marine is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization with more than 1,200 Federal agents, operating from 80 air and marine locations, with more than 269 aircraft of 22 different types, and 297 maritime vessels. The mission of the Office of Air and Marine is to protect the American people and the nation’s critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict, and prevent acts of terrorism
and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs, and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States. As Chief of Staff, Ms. Schmelzinger oversees staff operations, formulate policy and guidance and serve as a direct liaison to CBP and the Department of Homeland Security concerning OAM matters.
Ms. Schmelzinger began her law enforcement career in 1984 as a U.S. Customs Service Inspector, stationed in Buffalo, New York. In 1989, she was promoted to Senior Inspector in the Port of Buffalo. In 1994, Ms. Schmelzinger became an Import Specialist specializing in textile and wearing apparel being imported into the U.S., interfacing with importers and exporters to ensure compliance with applicable trade laws, North American Free Trade Agreement and quota/visa restrictions.
In January of 2001, Ms. Schmelzinger moved to Tucson, Arizona as a Field Analysis Specialist, analyzing and developing enforcement programs for both passenger and cargo import and export operations. She was instrumental in developing integrated operational plans to mitigate the flow of illicit narcotics and illegal immigration crossing the Arizona border with Mexico. In 2003, with the founding of DHS and CBP, she worked to implement the integration of “One Face at the Border” and served as a member of the planning cell for the Arizona Border Control Initiative. Ms. Schmelzinger also served on the Tucson Joint Terrorism Task Force, established after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
In 2004, Ms. Schmelzinger moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked as a Field Operations Program Manager for the DHS Border and Transportation Security Directorate. She later served as the Assistant Director for Interior Enforcement for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) and was responsible for the development and establishment of the Border Enforcement Security Task Force. In 2007, when the SBI program office realigned under CBP, Ms. Schmelzinger served as the Director for Integration Management, where she worked to develop the Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center (IOCC).
In January 2008, joined the OAM as the Chief of Staff where she served until January 2010 when she accepted a position as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary. At ICE, Ms. Schmelzinger had oversight of staff operations and provided input into programs, policy, and initiative development to support ICE senior leadership
Ms. Schmelzinger earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University at Buffalo. In 2000, she received her Certificate in Alterative Dispute Resolutions from Cornell University.