Vance Callender, Special Agent in Charge of Michigan and Ohio Homeland Security Investigations.
Courtesy: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Authorities raided the home of a senior U.S. Homeland Security Investigations official in Michigan and seized several items from the residence, a neighbor said Tuesday.
The raid took place last Friday at the Royal Oak, Mich., home of Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge of the agency’s Detroit office, who has worked in federal law enforcement for 26 years.
Appellant, 49 years old, was named Michigan and Ohio’s Top HSI Agent in January 2020. HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
Agents supervised by Callender enforce immigration and customs laws and investigate criminal organizations for drug trafficking, financial crimes, human trafficking and other activities.
It was not immediately clear which law enforcement agency carried out the raid on Callender’s residence or the reason for it. Lowering was first reported by The Detroit News.
A spokeswoman for the FBI’s Detroit Field Office said in an email, “The research you are referring to was not an FBI operation.”
“DHS or ICE would be the appropriate agencies,” the spokeswoman said.
An ICE spokeswoman, who did not confirm the agency carried out the raid, would not discuss Callender’s employment status when asked about it by CNBC.
But the spokeswoman said: “As officials working for a law enforcement agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes allegations of misconduct very seriously.”
“Any allegation of misconduct will be investigated appropriately, and any employee, regardless of rank or seniority, who has committed provable misconduct will be held accountable,” the spokeswoman said.
“If necessary, ICE works with federal and/or state and local law enforcement agencies who may investigate such allegations. Per agency protocol, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) will also review the allegations.”
Callender could not immediately be reached for comment.
His wife, Brooke, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
After this article was first published, an attorney who said he represents Callender sent a statement to CNBC.
“Special Agent in Charge Callender has been the subject of speculative, unproven and baseless rumors,” attorney Nick Oberheiden said. “We will address the allegations currently circulating in a timely manner with appropriate force.”
The neighbor who witnessed the raid said there were “about 15 plainclothes officers” who carried out the operation, and they wore no identifiable logos that would reveal their affiliation.
Brooke Callender was inside the house during the raid, said the neighbor who did not believe Vance Callender was present, noting that his vehicle had not been seen outside the house for some time.
“I haven’t seen this in at least a month,” said the neighbor, who requested anonymity as they live near the Callenders.
“I haven’t seen him in ages.”
The neighbor said they asked the officers why they were there, “and they didn’t tell me.”
“They didn’t say what it was about. And then they left.”
The neighbor said he saw officers remove “a briefcase and file from Manila” from the Callender residence.
“I was very surprised” by the raid, said the neighbor. “I felt bad for the people there.”
Officials examine the remains of American Airlines flight AA331 at Kingston airport on December 23, 2009.
Andrew P.Smith | Reuters
Vance Callender’s resume includes a stint as a country attaché at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.
While in the role, Callender was a passenger on a Boeing 737 that crashed in Kingston and broke up on a beach on December 22, 2009.
The plane, American Airlines Flight 331, which had come from Miami, overran the runway in heavy rain.
The crash injured more than 40, but all 148 passengers survived, according to media reported at the time.
Callender and his wife, who were not on the plane, were among a group of plaintiffs who in 2013 ended their federal lawsuit against American Airlines in connection with the crash with a settlement at out of court, according to court records.
His online biography also notes that prior to being selected for the job in Detroit he was “the deputy special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio, where he oversaw the investigations of more than 200 special agents throughout central and south Texas.”
“Callender previously held various leadership positions at headquarters and in the field along the border and overseas, including Deputy Special Agent in Charge in McAllen, Texas; Deputy Commander of the Southern Texas Corridor for the DHS Joint Task Force-West; Chief of Operations for Europe, Canada, and Mexico at Headquarters; Resident Officer in Charge at Massena, New York,” the site reads.