Hispanic heritage helps CI special agents crack cases


Date: October 13, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

BROWNSVILLE, TX — IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agents David De La Torre and Carlos Quevedo, hail from the border communities of Texas' Rio Grande Valley, where their heritage, language skills and culture created opportunities among the nation's elite financial criminal investigators.

Not passing up a chance to work close to home, both requested the area as their first assignment.

"I credit immigrating from Mexico and growing up along the Texas-Mexico border for my many achievements in my law enforcement career," said Quevedo. "Understanding the intricacies of the Hispanic culture has helped me strengthen rapport and gain the public's trust while conducting crucial interviews which has led to significant confessions and cooperation."

Quevedo previously worked as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. His blend of skill sets placed him at the forefront of CI's international efforts, conducting bilingual interviews and executing enforcement actions.

De La Torre found his bilingual skills and Mexican American heritage has also broadened his CI career. However, it was a career that almost never happened.

In De La Torre's case, it was his junior year in high school when he received encouragement from his algebra teacher to pursue an accounting degree. That's when he found his desire to protect the nation's finances by enforcing tax laws.

"This immediately caught my attention and my interest in becoming an IRS employee was born," said De La Torre. De La Torre went on to earn an accounting degree from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley but missed a critical career fair that hosted CI's recruiters, specifically Special Agent Sonia Hurtado.

Hurtado grew up in McAllen, Texas, and found her calling in federal law enforcement through Special Agent Mary Trevino, both bonding initially over being short-statured Hispanic women with interests in accounting. Trevino not only introduced Hurtado to CI as a guest speaker at Nikki Rowe High School, but mentored Hurtado as she prepared to apply to join CI's special agent ranks following her graduation from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

"Equipped with nerves, my accounting educational background, and everything I had learned through my mentorship with Special Agent Trevino, and her work colleagues, I passed the internship interview," exclaimed Hurtado.

Less than 18 years later, it was Hurtado doing the mentoring.

"After noticing a great need to recruit exceptional candidates from diverse backgrounds to help make IRSCI much more efficient and to respond to the changing demographics of the community," she said.

It was her focus that led to the career fair, the very one that De La Torre missed while studying for the CPA exam and working as an assistant county auditor. Thankfully, Hurtado had emailed one of UTRGV's professors who realized the former student missed on a chance to meet with CI recruiters.

"The more I read the duties and responsibilities of an IRS-CI Special Agent, the more I was convinced this was my dream job," said De La Torre. "Unfortunately, at that time I felt I didn't have the necessary law enforcement experience since my background was only in accounting."

Hurtado's email planted the seed and it continued to spark interest in De La Torre. Not able to shake the thought of becoming a CI special agent, De La Torre reached out to her.

"During our conversation, Special Agent Hurtado told me about her career as an IRS-CI special agent with such contagious enthusiasm that inspired me. She also addressed my various concerns, which included being a Mexican American raised with Spanish as my first language," he said. "Special Agent Hurtado addressed my concerns and explained how IRS-CI could benefit from me being a bilingual Hispanic."

The advantages of their background continue to help CI crack tough cases in Texas and across the country.

"Being an immigrant enabled me to truly be able to empathize with the struggles many immigrants face," said Quevedo. "I am proud of being Hispanic and even more proud that I can use my Hispanic upbringing and background to help IRS:CI achieve our mission."

Visit the IRS-CI career page to learn more about career opportunities, career fairs and links, and follow us on Twitter (@IRS_CI) and LinkedIn (@IRS Criminal Investigation).

The IRS-CI's Houston Field Office encompasses the U.S. District Court's Southern and Western districts of Texas, stretching from Houston to El Paso and from Waco to Corpus Christi. Due to the proximity to the Mexican international border and having some of the fastest-growing cities and counties in the United States within its jurisdiction, Houston Field Office special agents work a variety of cases, emphasizing traditional tax-related crimes such as employment tax, corporate fraud, identity theft, unscrupulous return preparers and general fraud. The Houston Field Office also provides crucial support to task forces involving counterterrorism, public corruption, human trafficking, drugs, and complex money laundering violations.