Utah native takes helm of Homeland Security Investigations in Denver

(Courtesy Department of Homeland Security) Steve Cagen

Steve Cagen, a Salt Lake City native, has been named special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Denver.

HSI is one of the two operational programs within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). HSI is also the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government, according to a Thursday news release from HSI.

Cagen, a 19-year veteran of federal law enforcement, will supervise 16 HSI offices in his four-state area of responsibility, which includes Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

“I’m honored to serve as special agent in charge for HSI Denver — and my home state of Utah,” Cagen said in the news release. “I’m passionate about protecting the homeland and its great people, and that’s what we do — we investigate crimes to bring those who prey on our citizens to justice and, in many cases, rescue their victims.”

Cagen grew up in Salt Lake City, where he attended Highland High School and played football, baseball and hockey as a Ram. He received his B.A. at the University of Washington.

Cagen has worked in Mexico; Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Oregon. He started his law enforcement career as a clerk when he was 19 and worked his way up to become a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service — the highest level of federal government employees, the news release said.

Before assuming his leadership position in Denver, Cagen served as deputy special agent in charge in Seattle. As the HSI Seattle deputy special agent in charge for two years, Cagen led a staff which included 14 field offices covering the full spectrum of HSI investigative activities in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho, the news release said.

While in this job, he also served on temporary assignment in ICE headquarters as acting director of the human trafficking center, an interagency fusion center and information clearinghouse focused on advancing and supporting efforts to combat human trafficking.

Prior to his Seattle assignment, Cagen served as assistant special agent in charge in Portland, where he led his group of HSI special agents and federal, state and local task force officers who conducted transnational criminal investigations aimed at protecting the United States against threats to national security, trade, travel and finance.

Cagen also served as deputy special agent in charge and senior HSI representative of the multi-agency Special Operations Division (SOD). Using a “whole of government” approach, the SOD brings together a host of investigative, military and intelligence agencies to dismantle transnational criminal organizations.

Cagen started his career in Seattle and then was assigned to Mexico City to combat drug trafficking, money laundering and arms trafficking. In 2009, he was promoted to the management ranks where he supervised HSI representatives in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, before starting his leadership positions at ICE headquarters.

Cagen holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Washington in Society & Justice as well as Sociology. He enjoys time outside of work with his wife and two children, the news release said.

HSI investigates criminal violations of U.S. customs and immigration laws pertaining to border security, homeland security and public safety. HSI special agents protect national security and enforce immigration and customs laws by conducting criminal investigations in numerous mission areas, such as: human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, illegal munitions exports, transnational gangs, financial crimes, money laundering, intellectual property rights, human smuggling and drug smuggling.