Retired U.S. Special Agent Coming to HSU By: Emily Williamson

The Hardin-Simmons University Criminal Justice Department and Criminal Justice Association have invited U.S. Special Agent (retired) Victor Avila to come and share his story. Dr. Karin Brown, Criminal Justice Department head, is one of the primary organizers of the event and believes this experience is one you will not want to miss, regardless of your major or classification.


Avila has been the recipient of many awards, such as the NYPD Heroism Award by the Global Alliance of Hispanic Law Enforcement and the Director’s Award for Operation in Plain Sight in Mexico. His successful law enforcement career has taken him all over the nation and the world. Avila has worked with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


Beyond his impressive law enforcement career in field work, Avila is also the author of “Agent Under Fire: A Murder and a Manifesto.” This account documents some of Avila’s work in Mexico to highlight the realities of international law enforcement and the depth of criminal organizations. Avila’s partner, Special Agent Jamie Zapata, was murdered on this mission. Since his retirement, Avila has dedicated time to public speaking, news engagements and honoring the memory and dedicated service of his late partner.


Senior Byron Brown from Whitehouse is the president of the HSU Criminal Justice Association. As a criminal justice major, Brown believes this opportunity should be taken advantage of by all.


“Students can always learn from their professors about inspirational individuals, but there is not a better way to learn about an individual than experiencing them in person,” Brown said. “Not very often are we blessed to hear from a prestigious individual such as Special Agent Avila. Students will only receive something positive from attending this event.”


Brown also looks forward to this speaking engagement as it furthers the goals of the Criminal Justice Association. Avila will provide information and insight on issues from his own firsthand experiences.


“Students, HSU faculty and staff and all other attendees can expect to gain knowledge surrounding current issues such as the war on drugs and immigration reformation,” Brown said. “Attendees also can expect to hear a life-changing story that may alter their viewpoint on certain situations that Special Agent Avila will discuss.”




On Nov. 15, at 6:00 p.m. in Johnson 103, Victor Avila will be sharing about his book and his time spent on assignments internationally. Refreshments will be provided.