High-ranking Customs official Tischler dies
Former Assistant U.S. Customs Commissioner Bonnie G. Tischler, the first woman to head the Office of Field Operations died of cancer Tuesday at the age of 60.
Tischler accomplished many firsts in a 30-year career, including being one of the first female sky marshals and the first woman at Customs in charge of the Office of Investigations, now a part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
In 2000, Tischler became chief of Field Operations, responsible for all passenger and cargo processing at more than 300 ports of entry, a position currently held by Jayson Ahern. She considered retiring in 2001, but stayed on after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to help the agency respond to the crisis.
Tischler retired in June 2002 and joined the Pinkerton security consulting and services firm, serving as a vice president in the company’s global transportation and supply chain security department.
Working her way up the ladder, Tischler served as a special agent often working undercover to break up drug smuggling rings in Florida. In 1986, she became director of the Smuggling Investigations Division.
In 1987, she was assigned to lead the field office in Tampa, Fla., becoming the first woman to head such an office. There she supervised agents investigating money laundering at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which provided banking favors for drug smugglers and terrorists. BCCI was one of the largest money laundering cases ever prosecuted. In 1995, Tischler became special agent in charge for Miami, where she supervised the agency’s biggest field group with 360 agents and investigative personnel.
The National Center for Women in Policing honored Tischler with a lifetime achievement award in 2000.
Tischler died of breast cancer after beating back the disease twice before.