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I Am ORA Profile: Dan Burke

Dan Burke, special agent/senior operations manager of Cybercrime Investigation Unit, Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Food and Drug Administration

Dan Burke

Almost every consumer product regulated by FDA is sold on the Internet. Counterfeit or substandard versions of these products are abundant. I am Dan Burke, a special agent/senior operations manager in the Cybercrime Investigation Unit in OCI. It’s our job to disrupt and dismantle organized criminal networks that threaten public health by profiting from the sale of these products on the internet.

ORA’s core mission is to protect consumers and public health. My office uses criminal investigative techniques to arrest and prosecute people who just don’t care about you. They just want your money.

Since joining ORA 14 years ago I have worked on some very important criminal investigations.  

One investigation took place over several years. Our team investigated a large illegal online pharmacy network that sold counterfeit drugs to U.S. citizens. Our investigation centered on a drug manufacturer in China and the “brains” of the operation located in Israel. This case, like many we investigate, took our team all over the world. We worked with Chinese authorities to conduct a joint undercover operation targeting the drug manufacturer, and I was the undercover agent.

After years of relentless investigation, I’ll never forget coming face-to-face with a person known to me only as “Mr. FU” at a dank hotel in Hong Kong. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. After a two-hour meeting, “Mr. FU” was arrested and later convicted in China. We then turned our sights on the website operators in Israel. On a warm spring morning, a team of OCI agents and Israeli police detectives searched a yacht named the Zig-Zag docked in the Tel Aviv harbor. On that yacht, the power and reach of the Internet hit home. The entire illegal online pharmacy operation was run from the Zig-Zag via satellite and cellular connections. In all, we dismantled the entire operation and convicted the suspects in Chinese and U.S. courts. 

I started my federal law enforcement career in 1995 with the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division and then transferred to the U.S. Customs Service as a special agent. I first started working cybercrime investigations in 1997, targeting online peddlers of child pornography through undercover sting operations.

Now I get to work with the most experienced and talented people in federal law enforcement and interact with amazing scientific minds in a combined effort to do good. I also teach classes in criminal justice to students at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Our mission in ORA’s OCI is so important because anyone can fall victim to a crime involving FDA-regulated products. The victims of these crimes are often the most vulnerable of our society. Motivation comes easy at ORA!

I am Dan Burke and #IAmORA