Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Great Federal Employees Initiative

Honoree for Week of May 3, 2010

Robert Rutherford

Group Supervisor, U.S. Customs Service

Special Agent Robert Rutherford won the 2002 Service to America Medal for Justice and Law Enforcement for his work at the U.S. Customs Service, which has since been renamed as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Robert served as the Group Supervisor for the Customs Service’s Air-Marine Investigations Group in Miami, and his primary job was to keep illegal drugs from reaching American shores.  Starting in 1999, Robert began noticing a sharp rise in the amount of cocaine and other narcotics being smuggled into the country from Haiti, which was contributing to a rise in local crime.  On his own initiative, Robert worked with his colleagues to form Operation River Sweep to block the Miami River as a trafficking route for drugs.  As part of the operation, he led a first-of-its-kind intra-agency task force under the direction of the Customs Service.  Between 1999 and 2001, Operation River Sweep made over 120 arrests and prevented over 13,000 pounds of cocaine from reaching Florida communities.  As Robert’s efforts met with success, the local crime rate dropped.  In order to stay afloat, the drug traffickers adapted their methods, hoping to outsmart the Customs Service.  However, in 2001, Robert launched a second task force - Operation River Walk - involving over 300 law enforcement personnel from local, state, and federal agencies.  This second task force arrested over 230 trafficking suspects and seized over 15,000 pounds of cocaine and cannabis.  

Read Senator Kaufman's full remarks on Special Agent Robert Rutherford HERE

100 Great Federal Employees
Print this Page E-mail this Page