N-DEx System Helps Law Enforcement Identify Offenders

Criminal justice investigators across the nation use the FBI’s National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System in their daily work to connect people, places, things, and events—often across jurisdictional boundaries—that may at first glance seem unrelated. Recent N-DEx successes include identifying a suspect in a homicide case, identifying a felon involved in a fraud case, and locating three probationers who traveled outside jurisdictions into neighboring states. Here are details from the cases and information on how investigators used the N‑DEx System to close them successfully.

Homicide Suspect in North Carolina

Recently, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina was investigating a drug-related homicide. Officers believed the suspect and the victim knew each other, since the victim had been talking on the telephone with the subject just before the homicide. The only information the officers had was a phone number they obtained from the victim’s cell phone. Charlotte-Mecklenburg staff searched the phone number in several databases without success. Finally, they ran the number in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX) System and received a hit from the LInX System’s access to the N-DEx System.

The N-DEx System record included a name and address related to an effort by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to locate the suspect on a separate warrant. With the information from the USMS report, Charlotte-Mecklenburg staff obtained a photograph and subsequently positively identified the suspect. The suspect was arrested for murder and robbery, and the case was closed.

Logo of the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) program.

Felony Fraud Case in Tennessee

An investigator with the Belle Meade Police Department (BMPD) in Tennessee was investigating a felony fraud case involving a small group of professional con men who targeted female senior citizens. The women hired the men to perform odd jobs such as vehicle, driveway, or roofing repairs, but the men fraudulently overcharged the women for inferior work.

The investigator queried the subjects using the National Crime Information Center and the Interstate Identification Index, but found no records. However, when the investigator accessed the Regional Information Sharing System’s Regional Organized Crime Information Center portal and logged into the N-DEx System, he found multiple incident reports showing a pattern of similar complaints in other states.

One such incident in Glenview, Illinois, was nearly identical to the Tennessee case. The report included the details of the main subject, noting the man’s comment that he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he was there just for the money. When the BMPD investigator presented this information to the subject, he reacted uncomfortably and showed signs of his guilt.

Members of the group are currently awaiting trial in Tennessee. The investigator credited the N-DEx System with saving time and effort by helping him identify patterns in seemingly unrelated crimes and connecting him to law enforcement staff in Illinois. The investigator praised the N-DEx System, saying, “N‑DEx is one of the most valuable tools in my 35 years in law enforcement.”

Probation Absconders in New Mexico

An executive assistant in the Security Threat Intelligence Unit of the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) searched the N-DEx System for any recent records on probationers who had absconded from their jurisdictions. Using the N-DEx System’s batch search tool to query multiple individuals at once, the executive assistant found three subjects who had fled and were later arrested in other jurisdictions.

Five days before the search, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office in Texas booked one subject for burglary, assault, public intoxication, and other offenses. The Wise County Sheriff’s Office in Texas arrested a second subject earlier in April for possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence. Twelve days prior to the search, an agency in Durango, CO, booked the third subject for driving while intoxicated.

The executive assistant verified the custody status of the subjects, then forwarded the updated information to the relevant NMCD officers. Those officers placed holds on the subjects, which means they will serve their sentences, then be returned to the NMCD.

For more information about how your agency can use the N-DEx System to help further its investigations, contact the N-DEx Program Office at ndex@leo.gov or call 304-625-0555.