Spotlight on Excellence
“My personal interactions with other students and faculty members in the UTA Cohort program left an indelible mark that continues to inspire, advance and motivate me on a daily basis.”
Keith L. Owens is employed as a Special Agent with the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which is located in Dallas, Texas. Agent Owens is currently assigned to the Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Group, which is comprised of the North Texas Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Agent Owens has been employed as a federal agent for approximately 20 years and is responsible for conducting criminal investigations regarding violations and offenses related to state and federal law. His current responsibilities include the identification, investigation and prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in labor and sex trafficking, which is known as Human Trafficking.
Agent Owens’ career in law enforcement commenced with the Internal Revenue Service – Inspection Service followed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General for Investigations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, and the United States Customs Service – Office of Investigations.
In 2016, the Investigation Discovery Channel series, “Web of Lies” aired an episode focused on Owens’ work in putting an end to a juvenile sex trafficking ring in Denton, Texas. As part of the HSI-led North Texas Trafficking Task Force, Owens led the efforts to arrest and prosecute two adults who had prostituted 14-year-old “Hope” to more than 30 men across five states over a three-week period. As a result of Owens’ efforts, William Bernard Jacobs was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while his accomplice, Shayla Dawn Williams, received five years.
According to Owens, being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking. He says he gives these cases 100 percent dedication because HSI and other law enforcement agencies are expected to do the job to protect and serve the community.”This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said. “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do. People seem to think that victims can just get over it and go on, but that type of trauma is cemented in you for the rest of your life.”
Agent Owens earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia College, an MBA from the University of La Verne and M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington. He currently serves as a lecturer within the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Keith Owens said, “The Criminology and Criminal Justice Master’s Cohort program prepared me to better maximize the use of my knowledge, skills and abilities; specifically, related to critical thinking, evaluating scientific theories, and utilizing ‘logical’ practical applications within the criminal justice community. My personal interactions with other students and faculty members in the UTA Cohort program left an indelible mark that continues to inspire, advance and motivate me on a daily basis.”