- Authorities raided the Michigan home of a top U.S. Homeland Security Investigations official and seized several items from the residence, a neighbor said Tuesday.
- The raid occurred at the Royal Oak, Michigan, house owned for the past several years by Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge at the agency's Detroit office.
- Callender was appointed the top HSI agent in Michigan and Ohio in January 2020.
- HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
- An ICE spokeswoman said the agency "takes allegations of misconduct very seriously."
Authorities raided the Michigan home of a top U.S. Homeland Security Investigations official and seized several items from the residence, a neighbor said Tuesday.
The raid occurred last Friday at the Royal Oak, Michigan, house of Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge at the agency's Detroit office, who has worked in federal law enforcement for 26 years.
Callender, 49, was appointed the top HSI agent in Michigan and Ohio in January 2020. HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
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The agents supervised by Callender enforce immigration and customs laws, and investigate criminal organizations for drug smuggling, financial crimes, human trafficking, and other activities.
It was not immediately known which law enforcement agency conducted the raid on Callender's residence or the reason for it. The raid was first reported by The Detroit News.
A spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Detroit said in an email, "The search you referenced was not an FBI operation."
"DHS or ICE would be the appropriate agencies," that spokeswoman said.
An ICE spokeswoman, who did not confirm that the agency carried out the raid, would not discuss Callender's job status when asked about it by CNBC.
But the spokeswoman said, "As public servants working for a law enforcement agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes allegations of misconduct very seriously."
"Any allegations of misconduct are appropriately investigated, and any employee, regardless of rank or seniority, who has committed provable misconduct, will be held accountable," the spokeswoman said.
"Where necessary, ICE works with federal and/or state and local law enforcement who may investigate such allegations. Per agency protocol, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) will also review the allegations."
Callender could not be immediately reached for comment.
His wife, Brooke, did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.
After this article was first published, an attorney who said he represents Callender sent CNBC a statement.
"Special Agent-in-Charge Callender has been subject to speculative, unproven, and unfounded rumors," said the lawyer, Nick Oberheiden. "We will address currently circulating allegations at the appropriate time with appropriate force."
The neighbor who witnessed the raid said there were "about 15 plainclothes officers" who conducted the operation, and that they were not wearing any identifiable logo 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 has not been seen outside the home for some time.
"I haven't seen that for at least a month," said the neighbor, who requested anonymity because they live near the Callenders.
"I haven't seen him since forever."
The neighbor said that they asked the agents why they were there, "and they wouldn't tell me."
"They didn't say what it was about. And then they left."
The neighbor said they saw officers remove "a briefcase and a manila folder" from the Callender residence.
"I was very surprised" by the raid, said the neighbor. "I felt bad for the people in there."
Vance Callender's resume includes a stint as the country attache at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.
At the time he held that post, Callender was a passenger onboard a Boeing 737 aircraft that crash-landed in Kingston and broke apart on a beach on Dec. 22, 2009.
The plane, American Airlines Flight 331, which had originated in Miami, overshot the runway amid heavy rain.
The crash caused more than 40 injuries, but all 148 passengers survived, news outlets reported at the time.
Callender and his wife, who was not aboard the plane, were among a group of plaintiffs who in 2013 ended their federal lawsuit against American Airlines in connection with the crash with an out-of-court settlement, court records show.
His online biography also notes that before he was tapped for the post in Detroit he was "deputy special agent in charge for HSI San Antonio, where he oversaw the investigations of over 200 special agents throughout Central and South Texas."
"Callender previously served in various headquarters and field leadership positions along both borders and overseas, including Assistant Special Agent in Charge in McAllen, Texas; Deputy Commander of the South Texas Corridor for DHS's Joint Task Force-West; Operations Chief for Europe, Canada, and Mexico in headquarters; Resident Agent in Charge in Massena, New York," the site says.