The military's real NCIS

22 Dec 2009 | Marine Cpl. Jessica L. Martinez

They are the military’s real version of naval criminal investigative services, similar to the CBS Television Network’s show NCIS. They are unsung heroes whose critical jobs often go unrecognized, while many people are simply unaware of what these special agents do.

Naval Criminal Investigative Services is a worldwide organization responsible for investigating felony crimes, preventing terrorism and protecting secrets within the Department of the Navy. They operate in more than 150 locations to include 35 foreign nations.

“Any felony investigation involving Navy or Marine Corps personnel, we are involved in,” said Kevin Marks, supervisory special agent with NCIS Camp Lejeune. “We try to complete our missions so the warfighter can accomplish their job. We are here to protect and preserve the military.”

There are roughly a total of 25,000 NCIS personnel. Approximately 13,000 of these personnel are credentialed federal special agents. They are deployed aboard all Navy aircraft carriers as well as with amphibious task forces. They also do protective service operations for senior Navy officials and visiting dignitaries.  

“Our agency is unique among U.S. military criminal investigative organizations in that it is overwhelmingly civilians and is headed by a civilian law enforcement professional who reports directly to the secretary of the Navy,” said Marks. “A lot of what we do doesn’t get recognized. When the commands hear us coming, they think ‘Oh god, this is going to be bad,’ but we are here for the readiness of the military.”

Recently three special agents with NCIS Camp Lejeune and a detective with the Jacksonville, N.C., Police Department were recognized by the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association during their annual awards.

“INEOA is a highly regarded organization whose purpose is to abate the effect of illicit drug trafficking through training and the recognition of successful drug enforcement strategies at the national and international levels,” said Marks. “Each year the INEOA recognizes deserving members of the law enforcement community who have distinguished themselves in the area of special operations, undercover operations and criminal investigations involving illicit drugs.”

Special Agent Shawn Nash received the INEOA Special Award of Honor for initiating an operation which focused on Marines and civilians selling narcotics in and around Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. The operation involved other law enforcement agencies and used numerous intercepts, surveillance, multiple undercover and informant purchase, and other proactive techniques. The result of these efforts led to the seizure of large amounts of cocaine and marijuana valued at over $70,000. It also led to the arrests of 27 civilians and 16 military members who were charged with more than 180 felony drug charges.

“I’m very honored to be recognized by my peers and superiors alike, especially considering the fact that this award is just as much a contribution to their hard work and dedication as mine,” said Nash. “I would never have achieved this award if it was not for my co-workers in federal and local law enforcement.”

The INEOA Commendation Award was presented to Special Agents Anthony Luckman and Sonya Carmical as well as Detective Chris Cox, for their efforts in a death and narcotic investigation conducted due to a Marine who was found unresponsive by his roommate in his barracks room aboard the base. The autopsy and toxicology results confirmed the service member died as a result of a drug toxicity caused by excess Fentanyl. The investigation determined the Marine purchased the Fentanyl from a civilian out in town on the night of his death. The narcotic investigation led to the interrogation of the civilian.

“I'm honored to have been recognized by INEOA,” said Luckman. “This award has substantial meaning, because it recognized the strong, successful investigative partnership between NCIS and our counterparts at Jacksonville Police Department. The successful prosecution of this case by our local district attorney's office also meant that the illegal distribution of narcotics resulting in the untimely death of a Marine would not go unpunished. Hopefully the outcome of this case has provided the young Marine's family the slightest bit of solace as they continue to come to terms with their loss.”

Just as service members continue to deploy around the world and put their lives on the line to protect and fight for Americans, NCIS is fighting for and protecting its service members to help them keep in the fight and accomplish the mission.

For more information on NCIS, visit their Web site at