News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2007
Contact: Ruth Porter-Whipple
Number: 404-893-7128

Dedication of David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force
Brings Together Many Law Enforcement Agencies, Family

ICE S/A Patrick Wilhelm singing; behind him are Michael Chertoff (Secretary DHS), Karen Tandy (Administrator DEA), Michael Sullivan (Acting Director ATF), Eileen Mayer (Chief IRS-Criminal Investigations), James Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
ICE S/A Patrick Wilhelm singing; behind him are Michael Chertoff (Secretary DHS), Karen Tandy (Administrator DEA), Michael Sullivan (Acting Director ATF), Eileen Mayer (Chief IRS-Criminal Investigations), James "Chip" Burrus (Asst Director FBI-CID), David Nahmias (US Attorney NDGA), Kent Smith (SAC ICE Atlanta), Sherri Strange (SAC DEA Atlanta), Gregory Jones (SAC FBI Atlanta), and Vanessa McLemore (SAC ATF Atlanta).
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

MAR 29 -- (ATLANTA) -Well over a hundred friends, family members and law enforcement officers from around the country took part in an emotional dedication of the “David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force,” a special cooperative drug task force named after the slain U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC), based in Atlanta, in offices located inside the FBI complex.

The concept of the Strike Force was initiated by Special Agents in Charge (SACs) of the federal law enforcement agencies here in Atlanta along with the United States Attorney, who participate in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). They recognized that a special collaborative effort was necessary to effectively combat the growth of metro Atlanta as a hub for drug distribution and collection of drug proceeds. The new Atlanta OCDETF Strike Force will work with the nationwide efforts of OCDETF, which has helped to establish similar Strike Forces in Houston, New York City, Boston, and plans are to expand the concept to other major cities.

DEA HQs Bagpipe Player Kevin Donnelly DEA Administrator Karen Tandy
DEA HQs Bagpipe Player Kevin Donnelly
DEA Administrator Karen Tandy

Specifically, the Wilhelm Strike Force brings together the assets and strengths of federal, state, and local drug enforcement agencies into one co-located task force, designed to investigate and prosecute the highest-level members of international drug cartels that have operations in metro Atlanta and throughout the United States. Because metro Atlanta has become one of the country’s primary hubs for the transportation and distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, other illegal drugs, and the proceeds of drug sales, the Strike Force will not only identify and dismantle the Atlanta components of these cartels but also will seek the arrest and extradition of the cartels’ leadership and the forfeiture of their profits and assets. The Atlanta Strike Force will therefore focus on national investigations that are coordinated with other OCDETF Strike Forces and investigators located throughout the United States and the world.

At the program this afternoon, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, DEA Administrator Karen Tandy and other senior federal officials spoke of the critical nationwide efforts to stop drug trafficking, and the key role such cooperative Strike Forces will have in investigating, gathering intelligence and information, and turning their efforts into successful federal prosecutions with long sentences for those who poison our communities with drugs. United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said the Atlanta effort will have a special motivating factor for each and every agent--the memory of the man Nahmias called “a great law enforcement agent,” the late David Wilhelm.

Helicopter flyover
Helicopter flyover

The emotional dedication ceremony included the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by David Wilhelm’s brother, Patrick, who is also an ICE Special Agent; a ceremonial “missing man formation” fly over by law enforcement helicopters provided by DEA Atlanta, DeKalb County PD, Atlanta PD, Fayette County SO, Clayton County SO, Fulton County SO, GA State Patrol, and CBP representing ICE; bagpipe players from DEA and FBI; the unveiling of a special plaque commemorating David G. Wilhelm, and naming the Strike Force after him, and remarks from other DEA, FBI, ATF, IRS, Fayette County and DeKalb County officials, as well as a representative of Highwoods Properties, the managing organization for the building space that houses the Strike Force, and a key sponsor for the ceremony and reception for the family and friends of David G. Wilhelm. The news media was also given a tour of the property’s office space to be used by the Strike Force.

The partners in the Strike Force include: DEA, ATF, FBI, ICE, IRS, U. S. Attorney’s Office, United States Marshal’s Service, GBI, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles, Georgia National Guard, Clayton County Police Department, DeKalb County Police Department, Fayette County Sheriff's Office, Gwinnett County District Attorney, Gwinnett County Police Department, Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, and the Lawrenceville Police Department.