GARY WAUGH FOR HOCKING COUNTY COMMISSIONER
“As a young adult in Hocking county, I’ve seen that we have been promised things that have never happened and it just keeps happening. After a long talk with Mr. Gary Waugh, I saw a gentleman who wants no part of the good ole boys club and wants to help revive Hocking County. The passion in the way he spoke and his hopes for this county showed greatly. There is no doubt in my mind that he would do everything he possible could for the citizens in this county. For these reasons and many more I, Christian Larkin (a registered democrat) will be voting Gary Waugh for Hocking County Commissioner!”
“My 31 years with the Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, Office of Investigations” – by Gary Waugh
“The U.S. Customs Service was the oldest law enforcement and revenue agency in the U.S. government. It was created by congress in August 1789 as its second act (the first act, Congress created itself).
Until 1913, with the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Customs Service provided virtually all funds to the government through tariffs and fees for imported and exported goods. The debt accrued during the Revolutionary War and for all ensuring conflicts up to WWI were funded by the Customs Service; plus, all other monies needed to operate the government.
You will note I have used the past tense “was” in this very brief history of the Customs Service. In 2002, the Customs Service was split into two separate units: ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the criminal investigative arm and CBP (Customs and Border Protection (the uniform division most people have seen). Both were melded into the new Department of Homeland Security, along with the other Treasury enforcement agencies.
SKY MARSHAL – 1970
Resulting from the increasing hijacking of U.S. flag and foreign aircraft, the Nixon administration and the Department of the Treasury charged the Customs Service with creating and managing an anti-hijacking program for U.S. flag aircraft. A crash program ensued.
Initially military personnel flew as Sky Marshals until civilians could be vetted, hired and trained.
During my employment interview in Cleveland, I was asked if flying bothered me. Truthfully, I answered “no.” Thankfully the obvious follow-up question was never asked; “Have you ever been in an airplane?”
The first week of January 1971, I flew to Washington, D.C. (my first flight) to report for training at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia (my first taxi ride).
Because this program was still essentially being created as new hires were reporting, we were housed in WWII “T” barracks; “T” for temporary. The roofs leaked, windows were missing, little heat and 2 ½ showers for 50 men. And, worst of all, we had to train in airplane mockups and qualify with various firearms at an outdoor range in January. Most of us survived, however.
My permanent duty station was Detroit, but I was temporarily assigned to Minneapolis (in February) and then Seattle.
As the team leader with two other officers, I flew undercover (and armed) on Northwest Orient Airlines (now Northwest) on both domestic and foreign flights. We were ridiculously required to wear suits and ties on all flights. So, the 26-year-old, wearing a $29 J.C. Penney suit, sitting in an international first class seat which would cost more than half of my $6,000 annual salary, not permitted to drink or sleep on a 17-hour flight to Japan, I flew “undercover.”
On a flight from Seattle to Honolulu, with an overnight layover, I naively decided to expose my winter-white and Midwest skin to the tropical sun on the beach. The return trip, in the requisite suit and tie in an aircraft with about 3% humidity, my return flight was painful with blisters on my blisters.
With the constant threat of someone pulling a weapon and charging the cockpit, we took our job seriously. When flying into Kimpo Air Base in Seoul, Korea, we were relieved when the 747’s wheels touched down, since Seoul is only 3 air minutes from North Korea.
My team survived with no major incidents, just a bunch of drunk and rowdy passengers in this new and novel NWO 747 aircraft.
U.S. Customs Patrol Officer –
I was trained again at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia and graduated first in my class with perfect test scores.
I briefly patrolled the international border with Canada and the commercial docks in Detroit.
U.S Customs Service Special Agent –
With this promotion, I attended several training schools, beginning with the Treasury Law Enforcement Training Center in Washington, D.C., the school required of all agents for the four Treasury agencies: ATF, IRS, Secret Service and the Customs Service.
Several of the specialized schools were at Hofstra University, Eastern Georgia University and the new National Academy at Glynco, Georgia.
With the only exception being illegal immigrants, virtually anything entering or exiting the continental U.S., was the enforcement responsibility of the U.S. Customs Service.
Stationed in Detroit, we spent our time investigating and prosecuting illegal drugs, smuggling, money laundering, criminal and civil fraud, gun violations etc.
Prior to the 1976 political campaign, I was selected to attend two Secret Service specialized courses in Washington, D.C. As a sister Treasury agency, the Secret Service requested and
received assistance during busy campaign periods from those other Treasury agents who had been cross-trained.
During the 1976 campaign, I was briefly assigned to Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford and many others no one had heard of before or seen since. I spent a month on a 6-member Secret Service “jump team” in Iowa going from campaign stop to campaign stop in one car in the winter in Iowa! It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds.
In 1980, I worked security at the Republican National Convention in Detroit when Ronald Reagan was nominated.
In 1982, I was one of the original cadre of criminal investigators assigned to the Vice President’s South Florida Task Force investigating the enormous amounts of illicit drugs flooding South Florida from South America by commercial and private aircraft and all forms of watercraft.
Senior Special Agent –
In January 1983, I was promoted and transferred to U.S. Customs Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Since the United States was heavily involved in the “Cold War” with the Soviet Bloc, the U.S. Customs Service, Office of Investigations, was creating a new Strategic Investigations Division to specifically address the enormous and dangerous problem of sensitive U.S. technology, munitions and implements of war (and scariest of all, nuclear non-proliferation) being illegally shipped and/or transshipped to proscribed countries, such as the Soviet Bloc, North Korea and Iran.
Due to the political sensitivity of these investigations, the Commissioner of Customs permitted the new division director to hand pick his staff from the new arrivals in Headquarters. I was selected.
The nature of the investigations required that we interact daily with the State Department, Commerce Department, Defense’s Joint Chiefs, Department of Justice and the entire alphabet soup of intelligence agencies, as well as allied representatives.
Chief, Munitions Control Branch –
In October 9184, I was promoted to run the branch responsible for coordination of field investigations of shipments and transshipments of State Department licensable munitions, implements of war, replacement parts and related technology as well as nuclear non-proliferation issues. Iran and North Korea were focal points.
Chief, Technology Branch –
In October 1984, I took control of the very politically sensitive Technology Branch.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Bloc was constantly attempting to obtain critical and sensitive technology that their restrictive regime could not produce on its own. Since the Administration was desperately trying to end this protracted contest, all investigations and allegations of wrong doing had to be handled and reported very, very carefully.
To add to the day to day intrigue and pressure within this branch, we were charged with assisting with writing of the new Export Administration Act to address these technology issues. I testified on the Hill when the lengthy, debate ended as the bill was passed.
Director, Strategic Investigations Division –
In October 1985, I was promoted to director of the division. This involved the overall management of this division and required much foreign and domestic travel and as a member of several multi-agency teams negotiating agreements with countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Israel, Finland and Germany.
I also spent two years as the U.S. Customs delegate to the Coordination Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) based in Paris. COCOM was an export enforcement subgroup of NATO.
U.S. Customs Attaché, Tokyo –
After five years, with the predictable Headquarters burnout, in January 1988, I was appointed U.S. Customs Attaché, U.S. embassy, Tokyo, Japan. During my seven years in this position I was responsible for both the American and Japanese staff and for all customs-related civil and criminal investigations. Initially, I also had administrative responsibility for our offices in Seoul, Korea and Hong Kong.
In 1989 our office initiated the largest (to date) money laundering investigation ever reported to Treasury. As a result, the Office of Investigations in Las Vegas was able to seize the Indian Wells Country Club in Palm Springs, a major country club in Las Vegas, a luxury Boeing 727 private jet, several premium homes in Las Vegas, etc. With the ultimate sale of these properties, the U.S. government was able to return hundreds of millions of dollars to the fraud victims in Japan, a real diplomatic coup.
Deputy Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans –
After a lengthy overseas assignment, agents are usually eased back into domestic life; however, I was sent to New Orleans, an extremely busy location with a huge area of responsibility. Also, to be candid, I left a country which claims a 95% literacy rate – to New Orleans.
With two deputies, one solely responsible for the New Orleans office and the other responsible for the outlying offices in five southern states. I spent a brief period running the New Orleans office and nearby satellite offices. I immediately began assessing manpower allocations and productivity. I was able to close and consolidate less productive offices and transfer personnel where needed. This impacted productivity, discipline, equipment utilization and the budget.
Most of the 3 years in this position, I was charged with all investigative, intelligence, air and marine personnel and undercover operations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Unfortunately, I also had to deal with several ongoing disciplinary issues in several offices. As a result, I dismissed several and demoted and transferred several officers and closed their nonproductive offices.
My “easing back into domestic life” proved one thing to me: New Orleans is Detroit with palm trees.
Special Agent in Charge, Detroit –
I was being considered for two positions before leaving New Orleans, Attaché Rome and Special Agent in Charge, Detroit. As I had spent years as an attaché, I received the latter, to my wife’s teary dismay.
As we were driving into the southern suburbs of Detroit from New Orleans, my wife said “what did you do to me?”
My time in Detroit was predictably busy and productive. Several major cases were investigated and successfully prosecuted.
As an extracurricular activity, I sat on the Executive Board of HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). When I retired from Detroit, I was up for Chairman, but declined due to impending retirement.
All agents in government series 1811 are mandatorily retired at age 57; no exceptions. So in January 2002, I reluctantly surrendered my badge and credentials that I had carried so proudly for so long.
But, I was extremely pleased that I had overcome so much to go so far. I grew up in Haydenville with a handicapped laborer father, no indoor plumbing or family car until high school. I was the first on either side of my family to go to college and just decided I really didn’t like being poor.
I am pleased to say I have passed the baton. My two sons have beautiful, successful families. My oldest, Scott, is undoubtedly one of the brightest and most talented men I know. He can make things that a “wood butcher” like me can only imagine (when he was growing up, I couldn’t even get him to make his own bed). My youngest son, Mark, is a Senior Special Agent with Homeland Security in the Washington field office.
I think, overall, my life has been a success.