In March 1974, in response to a request from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Justice submitted a paper entitled, “A Secure Border: An Analysis of Issues Affecting the U.S. Department of Justice.” The report provided recommendations on how to improve drug and border enforcement operations along the Southwest Border. One of the recommendations proposed the establishment of a regional intelligence center to collect and disseminate information relating to drug, alien, and weapon smuggling in support of field enforcement entities throughout the region. In response to that study, the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) was created the same year and was initially staffed by representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), and United States Customs Service (USCS).
In August 1974, EPIC began operations from a temporary office at Rio Bravo St., in El Paso, Texas. In December 1975, EPIC moved to East Missouri St., El Paso, Texas, and in December 1988 began moving into a new facility located on Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, TX. In 1998 construction began on an expansion project which added 20,000 square feet of new workspace. Dedication of the new addition was held in December 1999.
The 1974 report to OMB further recommended that "the Interagency Border Intelligence Service Center" would be managed by DEA, with multi-agency participation and would have the following responsibilities: Consolidate, analyze and disseminate upon request, all-source data regarding border related violations; Identify conspirators and the scope and method of their activities;
Assess and evaluate border conspiracy operations; Develop and maintain close coordination with the Southwest Border enforcement agencies so that a prompt response can be mounted for "hot" intelligence items developed by one agency which fall under the responsibility of another.
Initially, EPIC, as the facility became known, primarily served law enforcement operations along the United States/Mexico border, with an emphasis on Mexico's heroin traffickers and illegal alien smugglers. With the increased use of aircraft, seagoing vessels, and global networks facilitating drug-trafficking, EPIC’s focus broadened and became international in scope.
The 2000 General Counter-drug Intelligence Plan (GCIP) clearly defined the El Paso Intelligence Center as the center for tactical law enforcement assistance to the entire federal, state, local and tribal law community. The EPIC mission – as defined by the GCIP stated: “The El Paso Intelligence Center will support U.S. law enforcement and interdiction components through the timely analysis and dissemination of intelligence on illicit drug and alien movements, and criminal organizations responsible for these illegal activities. The focus of these will be within the United States, on both sides of the U.S. – Mexican border, across the Caribbean, and from other points of origin within the Western Hemisphere en route to the United States.”
In 2001, immediately after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, the multiagency environment of EPIC was called upon to support investigations to find those responsible. EPIC built upon its experience in supporting interdiction efforts and investigations regarding drug trafficking, alien and weapon smuggling, and other criminal activities.
Today, EPIC is an all threats center with a focus on the Western Hemisphere, and a particular emphasis on the Southwest border, that leverages the authorities and expertise of its partners to deliver informed intelligence.
EPIC has grown from an environment consisting of three law enforcement (LE) agencies to what is now, a center comprised of over 20 agencies who share a common quest: identify threats to the Nation, with an emphasis on the Southwest border. EPIC offers tactical, operational and strategic intelligence support to Federal, State, local, tribal, and international law enforcement organizations. The center provides access to LE systems with the opportunity to collaborate daily through exchanges with LE analysts and operators, as well as routine engagement with our Federal, State, local, tribal, and international partners. The key to EPIC’s success is a culture that transcends parochialism. EPIC is a team approach. Collectively, we deter threats and protect our nation.
EPIC System Portal
The EPIC Portal augments EPIC’s mission to support law enforcement and interdiction components through improved information sharing with the law enforcement community.
Deconfliction helps support and protect law enforcement officers. Officers partaking in high-risk operations are able to enhance their personal safety and the safety of those around them.
Targeted research delivered in time to fulfill immediate law enforcement information needs that have a criminal predicate.
Comprehensive research, analysis, and reporting used to support specific operations or address topics of interest.
All source analysis and reporting intended to increase awareness and understanding, inform decision making, and aid planning and resource allocation.
Training programs, reference materials, and support functions.