FBI Agent to Speak on International Organized Crime in the Gem Trade

The illegal gem trade has been an entry point for federal agents for decades

Eric Ives, a unit chief for the FBI’s international organized crime task force, will be speaking on crime in the jewelry industry during “Security in the Jewelry Industry,” a seminar at the Anne Arundel County Public Library in Annapolis, Md., on July 2.

Ives is the FBI’s primary contact and subject matter expert in jewelry and gem crimes and organized retail theft. He manages cases in the U.S., as well as across Africa, Europe, and Asia. The event was organized by the Maryland National Capital Guild of the American Gem Society.  

The primary focus of the talk, says Ives, will be the importance of law-enforcement participation in jewelry industry. Major players in the illegal diamond trade, including imprisoned former Liberian president Charles Taylor, and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a terrorist who partially funds his organization through the sale of blood diamonds, will also be covered.

Here on the homefront, “getting law enforcement involved in the process of diamond sales is important to keeping the industry safe from this kind of activity,” says Ives. “Participation can prevent these kinds of large-scale criminal operations from continuing.”

The illegal gem trade has provided an in to larger crime rings for federal agents over the years, adds Ives, mentioning Joseph Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco, who took gemology courses before infiltrating New York’s Mafia in the 1970s.

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