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The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) announced Kevin Gonzalez of Norwalk, California, as one of the 2016 Sinclaire Language Award winners for his proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. The award honors members of the Foreign Service who have achieved an outstanding level of proficiency in a language that is difficult for native English speakers.

Gonzalez is a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the worldwide law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State.

Supervisory Special Agent Robert Grech, chief of the DSS Overseas Criminal Investigations Division, congratulated Special Agent Gonzalez on his achievement.

“We are proud of Kevin’s accomplishment. This is an example of how DSS agents differ from other law enforcement officers. DSS agents strive to integrate themselves into the culture and surroundings when they are posted abroad, and speaking the country’s native language is a key aspect of that goal,” said Special Agent Grech.

Eleven members of the Foreign Service received the 2016 Sinclaire Language Award. Special Agent Gonzalez was the only DSS employee to receive the honor, and the only one for his aptitude with Mandarin Chinese.

Special Agent Gonzalez currently serves as the Assistant Regional Security Officer-Investigator (ARSO-I) at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. As an ARSO-I, Special Agent Gonzalez provides on-the-ground investigative assistance to stop passport and visa fraud, and other crimes that affect U.S. citizens such as human trafficking and money laundering. ARSO-Is also train host nation law enforcement and immigration officials, airline personnel, and others to detect fraudulent travel documents and methods used by criminal and terrorist groups.

Special Agent Gonzalez graduated from Santa Fe High School and from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2006, with a degree in history. He is the son of Maria Najarro.

Special Agent Gonzalez has been with DSS for nine years. Prior to his current assignment, he served at the New York Field Office, at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique, and in Arlington, Virginia. In addition to speaking Mandarin, Special Agent Gonzalez speaks Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

DSS special agents serve at U.S. diplomatic missions overseas and at 30 field offices throughout the United States. They conduct passport and visa fraud investigations worldwide and are responsible for security at more than 270 U.S. diplomatic facilities in more than 170 countries around the world.

For more Information, contact: DS-Press@state.gov

U.S. Department of State

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