Three finalists in race for South Florida U.S. Marshal, Pesquera out
By Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel
4:54 p.m. EDT, July 28, 2011
The group of nine applicants who aspire to become President Obama's choice for U.S. Marshal in South Florida has been narrowed to three finalists with local ties: James S. Higgins, Eben Morales and Amos Rojas Jr.
U.S. Marshal deputies secure federal court proceedings, pursue fugitives, transport prisoners and protect witnesses, among other duties. The chief's job pays $155,500.
Higgins is assistant country attaché for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, Canada and former ATF supervisory special agent in Miami.
Rojas is special agent in charge with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Miami.
The Southern District Conference, part of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, screened the applicants. The commission will submit the three finalists' names to U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio before Obama's selection, which is subject to Senate confirmation.
The winner of the job will replace acting U.S. Marshal Neil DeSousa who will resume duties as chief deputy U.S. Marshal after the new hire is made.
Other applicants were: Gwendolyn V. Boyd, criminal justice professor, Broward College and former police chief in North Miami and Miramar; Darin D. Cooper, inspector and criminal investigator, deputy U.S. Marshal, Orlando; and Hector M. Pesquera, assistant director of safety and security, Port of Miami and former Broward Sheriff's Lt. Colonel and former special agent in charge, FBI Miami and San Juan.
Also, Michael Roy, assistant director of public safety, Florida International University, Miami, formerly with Miami-Dade P.D.; David L. Say Jr., deputy, U.S. Marshals Service, West Palm Beach; and John F. Timoney, senior vice president, Andrews International security firm and former police chief in New York, Philadelphia and Miami.
According to Kendall Coffey, a commission member, two candidates withdrew their applications: G. Wayne Tilman, senior level unit chief, FBI, Winchester, Va., and Chadwick E. Wagner, chief of police in Hollywood.