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May 2006

Detective Shawn M. Monaghan

Fairfax County (VA) Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Detective Shawn M. Monaghan of the Fairfax County (VA) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for May 2006.

Shawn Monaghan began his career with Fairfax County (VA) Police Department in 1989, shortly after receiving his Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Carolina University. From his first day with the department, he established himself as a true go-getter, and is now a seasoned undercover operative, and an accomplished investigator. His specific areas of expertise within the department result in charges and arrests for racketeering, money laundering and extortion that are more reminiscent of 1920's Chicago.

Early in his career, Detective Monaghan's supervisors recognized his leadership skills and recommended him for the elite Mount Vernon Select Enforcement Team. During his tenure with the team, Detective Monaghan was involved with more than 100 felony and misdemeanor arrests including drug sales, prostitution, weapons and even a robbery in progress where the team apprehended four shotgun wielding suspects.

Looking for another challenge, the young officer was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau Sex Offender Squad, where he volunteered for more off-duty stakeouts than any other member of the department. He did not rest until the suspects were apprehended. Within a year, his limitless attention to detail and his knowledge of legal issues concerning search and seizure protocol ensured his place in the coveted Organized Crime and Narcotics Division's 700 Squad.

In August 1997, Detective Monaghan and Detective Jack Kirk received a request from Scotland Yard for routine background check for a husband and wife thought to be living in Fairfax County. The investigation confirmed that the husband was wanted and that the gambling operation they controlled consisted of sports betting over several phone lines, as well as black jack and craps tables at a local warehouse. In a chance meeting with one of the suspects, Detective Monaghan portrayed himself as a potential gambler and was invited to participate. The games took place at several different locations which were strictly monitored. Each door was guarded by a staff person; dead bolts locked each door and an intercom system announced the arrival of a player. On May 2, 1997 Detectives Monaghan and Kirk executed eleven search warrants. The cooperative efforts yielded several arrests and the seizure of approximately $110,000 in cash and property.

Before the case went to trial, Detective Monaghan received an anonymous tip that the husband was a small fish compared to his brother, the true ringleader of the gambling ring. Detective Monaghan learned that the new suspect maintained several residences throughout the county, two from which several thousand telephone calls were initiated or received at monthly. Detective Monaghan, working in tandem with the FBI and IRS, served 10 arrest warrants. The sting yielded 10 vehicles, 16 computers, $750,000 cash, and nine arrests. In the days following the arrests, an additional $10 million dollars worth of property, vehicles, and cash was seized in connection with the gambling ring. To date, this remains the largest seizure in Fairfax County.

Fast forward to 2004; in an operation paralleling the earlier case, authorities became aware of another family deeply involved in a high yield, full-time gambling ring. Dubbed "Operation Underdog", Detective Monaghan, along with resources from the FBI and IRS was assigned to the case. They soon learned that the illegal activities stretched throughout Virginia and the neighboring states of Maryland and North Carolina. On the morning of February 8, 2006 police officers, armed with warrants, raided more than 25 homes, business and financial institutions in three states. Approximately $2 million in cash and $1 million in jewels were confiscated in one day. Sergeant James Cox III of the Fairfax County Police Department wrote, "Detective Monaghan single-handedly wrote and executed over 25 search warrants in a two week period. His hard work, diligence and dedication to this case made him a living legend in the department."

Detective Monaghan, still assigned to the Organized Crime Division, is now working with the new established money laundering unit. He became an instructor in the field of narcotics at the Department of Criminal Justice Services and provides most of the narcotics training to the members of his department as well as to civilian groups. As hectic as his schedule is, however, he is never too busy to miss an opportunity to spend time with his wife or any one of his six children. He is committed to making Fairfax County a safe place for them to live.