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OSI special agent receives Chilean police award

Hector Espinoza, Director General of the Policia de Investigaciones, left, congratulates (COVID-19 style) Office of Special Investigations Special Agent in Charge Carlos Vargas, Force Protection Detachment 7, Santiago, Chile, upon receiving the PDI Honor of Merit Award, Oct. 13, 2020, for his distinguished performance as an attache of the United States Embassy. (Photo by Pedro Pablo Alvarez, PDI)

Hector Espinoza, director general of Chile’s Investigative Police, left, congratulates Carlos Vargas, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent in charge, Force Protection Detachment 7, Santiago, Chile, upon receiving the PDI Honor of Merit Award, Oct. 13, 2020, for his distinguished performance as an attache of the United States Embassy. (Chile Investigative Police photo by Pedro Pablo Alvarez)

Office of Special Investigations Special Agent in Charge Carlos Vargas, Force Protection Detachment 7, Santiago, Chile, delivers thank you remarks Oct. 13, 2020, upon receiving that country's  
Policia de Investigaciones (PDI - Investigative Police) Honor of Merit Award for his distinguished performance as an attache of the United States Embassy. (Photo by Pedro Pablo Alvarez, PDI)

U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent in charge, Force Protection Detachment 7, Santiago, Chile, delivers thank you remarks Oct. 13, 2020, upon receiving that country's Policia de Investigaciones (PDI - Investigative Police) Honor of Merit Award for his distinguished performance as an attache of the United States Embassy. (Chile Investigative Police photo by Pedro Pablo Alvarez)

QUANTICO, Va. (AFNS) --

The Department of the Air Force's objective of strengthening its allies and partners was center stage during an award ceremony Oct. 13, which promoted the understanding of international partnerships as a strategic advantage and force multiplier.

Chile’s Investigative Police, or PDI, Honor of Merit Award was presented to police personnel who distinguished themselves in the performance of their duties as attaches of the Spanish and United States embassies. They stood out for their bilateral cooperation actions.

Carlos Vargas, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent-in-charge Force Protection Detachment 7, Santiago, Chile, was among the four recipients of the award.

This is only the second medal presentation of its kind bestowed upon foreigners in PDI’s history. The first time was during the Interpol General Assembly in October 2019.

“I could not think of a greater honor than to be recognized for our FPD’s efforts and accomplishments in furthering the strategic relationship between the U.S. and Chile,” Vargas said. “It has been a humbling honor to serve alongside members of the PDI, with the common goal of solving crimes and protecting the citizens of our countries.”

The strengthening of international cooperation networks is one of the strategic processes considered key in PDI’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, designed to carry out a greater strategic partnership at the national and international levels.

Strengthening Our Partnerships is also a key Line of Effort outlined in the 2018 OSI Strategic Plan. It states: “(Partnerships) play a key role domestically and internationally in the counterintelligence and law enforcement arenas. Fostering partnerships expands resources and spheres of influence via information and training exchanges, and enhances multi-agency collaborative efforts through global strategic engagements and joint tactical initiatives.”

“The (award recipients) accomplishments benefitting the PDI are extensive, but a common factor is their interest to decisively contribute in crime investigations,” said Prefecto Fernando Moya, PDI’s chief, International Affairs. “(They) visited our police complexes, interacted with DPI personnel at all levels, and rendered assistance when requested, resulting in invaluable reciprocal cooperation, viewed as an imperative against fighting transnational crime.”

There are only two police departments in Chile, with a population of approximately 17 million people. The PDI is the investigative arm and equivalent of the FBI. They are also in charge of immigration.

The ceremony, held following established COVID-19 health protocols, was officiated by the Director General Hector Espinosa in the Rene Vergara Auditorium of PDI Headquarters. Attendees included the U.S. Embassy Charge D’ Affairs, Richard Glenn and the Counselor Minister of the Spanish Embassy, Jorge de Orueta Pemantin.

Vargas put the honor into perspective.

“To be recognized by an investigative agency that has become the example for other law enforcement agencies in this area of responsibility, because of its professionalism and investigation capabilities, is one of the greatest honors I've received as an Airman,” he said.