Focused Conservation stands out in the arena of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking due to the extensive law enforcement experience of its team members. The fact that the organization is comprised of ex-criminal investigators from the United States and United Kingdom, with hundreds of years of collective law enforcement experience, sets it apart from many other organizations in this field.
The expertise and firsthand knowledge of the Focused Conservation team members in investigating and combating transnational criminal organizations bring a unique perspective and skill set to their work. Their understanding of the complexities of transnational crime, including the tactics, networks, and operations involved, enables them to effectively target wildlife trafficking syndicates.
Having worked globally on various criminal investigations, the team at Focused Conservation has the advantage of cross-cultural understanding and the ability to navigate complex international landscapes. This experience allows them to build strong relationships with law enforcement agencies and partners worldwide, enhancing their collaborative efforts to disrupt wildlife crime.
Overall, the combination of extensive law enforcement experience, transnational investigation expertise, and a data-driven approach distinguishes Focused Conservation from many other organizations in the field. Their unique background and skill set contribute to their success in disrupting wildlife crime syndicates and making a tangible impact in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Meet the Team
Board of Directors
Chief Financial Officer/Secretary
Rob Pilkington is a qualified Chartered Accountant (South Africa) with 29 years of experience in senior financial and risk management. After 10 years with Ernst & Young, he joined the South African subsidiary of Diageo PLC, a global leader in beverage alcohol where he gained over 20 years of experience in financial controllership, risk management, and strategy. Specifically, he served as the Finance Director for the listed business in Ghana, Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited. During Rob’s many years of working in the African continent, he developed a keen interest in wildlife and now leads Focused Conservation’s financial management team.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
William (Wim) Brown is a recently retired US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent with 26-years of law enforcement experience. He specialized in targeting transnational organized criminal networks involved in drug, weapons, and wildlife trafficking, narco-terrorism, financial crimes, and other illicit activities. These investigations spanned Africa, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and the USA. For the last ten years he has established and mentored an elite, vetted unit in East Africa that conducted numerous investigations, one of which dismantled a major international drug and wildlife trafficking network. Wim is an accomplished investigator, small-team leader, and a committed law enforcement officer. As Founder and CEO of FCS, he is focused on reducing organized wildlife trafficking.
Professional Civil Engineer
Anthony Goria is a dedicated Professional Civil Engineer, real estate investor, and developer. His expertise encompasses diverse development projects, including commercial, medical, industrial, residential, multi-family, and wetland conservation initiatives.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Anthony actively contributes to the community. He proudly serves on the board of Challenge Enterprises in Clay County, Florida, and takes great pride in being one of the founding Board of Directors members of Focused Conservation.
Anthony earned his degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and holds an active Professional Engineering license in Civil Engineering from the State of Florida.
In his leisure time, Anthony cherishes moments with his wife Michele and their twin sons, Alec and Jake. He indulges in his love for nature and outdoor activities, spending time on his tractor and running a sawmill at the family’s tree farm. Anthony’s adventurous spirit takes him traveling, playing golf, and enjoying the company of friends. As an avid wildlife photographer and bird watcher, he finds joy in exploring South Africa, which he affectionately calls his “second home.”
Wildlife Vetrinarian for International Wildlife Veterinary Services -Africa
Dr. Michael Kock
Dr. Michael Kock developed a deep connection with the wilderness during his early years in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). Surrounded by the beauty of the natural world, his passion for wildlife and conservation took root. After relocating to the UK in 1968, Dr. Kock completed his schooling and pursued a Veterinary degree at the esteemed Royal Veterinary College, University of London, from 1971 to 1976. Dr. Kock then embarked on a transformative journey to the United States where he undertook a Residency in Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, followed by a Residency in Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis from 1980 to 1982. Under the mentorship of Professor Murray Fowler, he honed his skills and deepened his understanding of wildlife medicine.
This pivotal residency marked the beginning of Dr. Kock’s illustrious 40-year career as a wildlife veterinarian, dedicated to the well-being and conservation of diverse species. His journey has taken him across continents, serving as a champion for wildlife and a leading figure in the field of veterinary medicine. With the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (DNPWLM) in Zimbabwe, he helped establish a wildlife veterinary unit within the DNPWLM and collaborated with the Government Veterinary Services Wildlife Unit. During this time (1989-1997), Dr. Kock actively participated in the “Rhino Wars” in Zimbabwe, conducting critical rhino field work such as capture, relocation, and dehorning.
He later joined the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Field Veterinary Program (now Global Health Program) and for nearly a decade, he served as a field veterinarian across 14 African countries. It was during this time that Dr. Kock embarked on writing his memoir, “Through My Eyes,” which he completed in March 2019. Driven by a lifelong passion for the natural world, he has made invaluable contributions to the health and preservation of wildlife throughout his remarkable career.
Co-Founder of the Zambezi Elephant Fund
Richard Maasdorp, Co-Founder of the Zambezi Elephant Fund is driven by a profound love for his native Zimbabwe and all its natural wonders. Growing up in this breathtaking landscape, specifically in the Zambezi Valley, Richard’s childhood was filled with a deep appreciation for the country’s wildlife and its extraordinary wilderness. With a distinguished career as a civil engineer and extensive experience leading major construction companies and chairing Zimbabwe’s power generation board, Richard brings a wealth of expertise to his current role as the leader of The Zambezi Society.
Richard is dedicated to the conservation of the Zambezi River’s remarkable wildlife and wilderness areas. As the head of The Zambezi Society, he works tirelessly to safeguard the region’s natural heritage, ensuring its preservation for generations to come. With his invaluable experience, Richard continues to make a positive impact, advocating for the sustainable coexistence of Zimbabwe’s natural wonders and its thriving communities.
Partner at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, PC
Emil Bove is a partner at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, PC law firm in New York with a wealth of experience in government investigations, white-collar criminal defense, and complex commercial litigation. Before joining the firm, Mr. Bove was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York for 9 years, where he spent his last two years as the Co-Chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Division. As Co-Chief of the national security unit, Mr. Bove oversaw investigations involving sanctions evasion, money laundering, foreign corruption, cybersecurity, terrorism, and international drug trafficking. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Bove tried 13 federal cases and briefed and/or argued 18 appeals. His ability to navigate complex international legal landscapes has earned him a reputation for strategic coordination and effective collaboration.
Mr. Bove holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. He graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a B.A. in Public Policy & Economics.
Director of Special Wildlife Crime Units
With a 35-year career in law enforcement, most recently with the UK National Crime Agency. Mr. Rob Asbury has vast experience in carrying out complex investigations both nationally and internationally, managing intelligence and risk at the highest levels including threats to national security and threats to life. Mr. Asbury successfully monitored, managed, and mitigated high risk programs in hostile environments around the world, resulting in the delivery of innovative international investigative cooperation. He’s led international and multinational investigations resulting in record drug seizures in Kenya and Tanzania and the arrest and conviction of pedophiles and fugitives wanted for murder following manhunts across Africa. He was also responsible for creating and initiating the Transnational Organized Crime Unit concept that now exists across a number of African countries that takes the fight to organized crime. Currently, Mr. Asbury is the Director of Special Wildlife Crime Units and is responsible for managing the Crime Units in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Liberia. These units lead the fight against wildlife traffickers in the regions and are the model for future units across Africa.
Special Wildlife Crime Units
Our Technical Advisors & Wildlife Crime Investigators support the management of trusted and successful Wildlife Crime Units currently in based on Uganda, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria.
Director of Investigations
Eric is a retired US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent with over 28 years of law enforcement experience. Eric spent a majority of his career assigned to a highly specialized unit at DEA’s Special Operations Division and was responsible for investigating and bringing to justice the most dangerous, and the most violent transnational criminal networks. Eric has extensive experience with the leadership and management of multi-agency teams focused on proactive high impact international law enforcement investigations and recognizes the convergence of illicit wildlife trafficking with many other organized criminal networks. Eric has a passion to apply his skill set to collectively take up arms against the atrocious crimes of illicit wildlife trafficking.
Director of Digital Evidence Programs
Edward Lewis retired from a 28-year law enforcement career in 2018 and for the last 16 years prior to retirement, Ed was a Special Agent with the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Ed has been actively involved in the field of cybercrime for over 20 years, including extensive training and experience performing digital evidence recovery, digital forensic analysis, establishing a cybercrime training curriculum, providing cybercrime instruction both domestically and internationally, and establishing/managing a digital evidence laboratory.
When Ed retired, he was the Special Agent in Charge/Laboratory Director for the USFWS Digital Evidence Lab and Technical Surveillance Program, which he established and managed for over 9 years.
Since his retirement, Edward has been the contracted Program Manager for the “Wildlife Trafficking Cybercrime Program” operating under the direction of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Ed is also a Project Coordinator and Instructor/Mentor for the US Department of the Interior’s “Digital Evidence Exploitation Specialist Program”, working to establish an expert level of Digital Evidence capability within Counter Wildlife Trafficking Units in Africa and Latin America.
Director of Training
Ron is a retired US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent with over 25 years of law enforcement experience. Additionally, he is a respected law enforcement & military firearms and tactical instructor. A leader in the development, design and execution of training programs, he distills complex concepts into easily understood and compelling presentations and drills. As a former Weapons/Communications Sergeant and Sniper in the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group (Green Berets) who served in Central and South America, Ron has exceptional interpersonal skills and a proven leadership approach that emphasizes genuine understanding and respect for his trainees.
Technical Advisors/Subject Matter Experts
Digital Evidence Exploitation (DEES) Subject Matter Expert
Willie Fortuño retired in January of 2021, after serving more than 42 years in U.S. federal law enforcement. During his last 20 years, he founded and directed the National Computer Forensics Laboratory of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division (CID). Prior to joining EPA CID, he served as a Senior Special Agent with the US Secret Service, investigating cybercrimes and conducting computer forensics.
Willie holds two professional certifications with the US National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C); Certified Cyber Crime Examiner and Certified Cyber Crime Investigator.
Since his retirement he served as a contract senior instructor in the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Virtual Wildlife Training Cybercrime Program, providing training for multiple countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Willie currently serves as a Project Coordinator and Instructor/Mentor for the US Department of the Interior’s “Digital Evidence Exploitation Specialist Program”, working to train and mentor participants in Counter Wildlife Trafficking Units in Africa and Latin America, in topics such as digital forensics, internet investigations and open source intelligence.
Digital Evidence Exploitation (DEES) Subject Matter Expert
Mark Sletto retired in April 2022 from a 23-year federal law enforcement career where he served as a Special Agent with the US Secret Service and most recently with the US Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Recovery and Technical Support Unit in Jacksonville, Florida. Mark worked as a digital evidence forensic examiner, responsible for acquiring and analyzing digital evidence in support of worldwide investigations conducted by the US Fish & Wildlife.
Mark began working in digital forensics in 2001 when he completed the Basic Computer Evidence Recovery Training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, Georgia. Mark continued to be actively involved in digital forensics by attending additional training, performing digital evidence recovery and analysis, and developing training curriculum and instructing. Mark has earned multiple certifications, including the IACIS Certified Forensic Computer Examiner, Cellebrite Certified Mobile Examiner, Magnet Certified Forensic Examiner, and others related to digital forensics.
Mark is currently contracted as a Senior Instructor / Subject Matter Expert with Focused Conservation working for the Department of Interior’s “Digital Evidence Exploitation Specialist Program”. This program is designed to establish expert level of digital evidence capability with Counter Wildlife Trafficking Units in Africa and Latin America.
Senior Advisor - Wildlife Trafficking Programs
Timothy Santel’s lifelong passion for nature and conservation was nurtured in his rural Midwestern US upbringing, where he spent his childhood exploring the woods and developing an insatiable curiosity for the natural world. After completing his degree in Wildlife Ecology, Tim embarked on a distinguished 32-year career with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). Throughout his tenure, he held various roles, including Wildlife Inspector, Wildlife Biologist, and, for the last 28 years leading up to retirement, a Special Agent for the FWS-Office of Law Enforcement.
During his law enforcement career, Tim actively participated in conducting large-scale undercover wildlife trafficking operations, some of which were the most significant investigations in the history of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Notable among these were Operation Snow Plow, which exposed the brutal killing of big cats for their body parts, and Operation Crash, which led to nearly 50 prosecutions worldwide for trafficking in rhino horns and elephant ivory. Tim’s covert operations played a vital role in raising global awareness about the issue of international wildlife trafficking.
As the Special Agent in Charge of the FWS-Special Investigations Unit, Tim oversaw a team of elite covert federal agents tasked with investigating transnational criminal organizations involved in illegal wildlife trafficking on a global scale. He managed and supervised high-profile investigations such as Operation Apex, targeting international shark fin trafficking, money laundering, and narcotics, as well as Operation Manhattan, which focused on rhino horn and heroin trafficking orchestrated by the Moazu Kromah syndicate in Africa.
Tim’s outstanding contributions throughout his career earned him numerous prestigious awards, including the Guy Bradley Award, Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, North American Wildlife Officer of the Year, Midwest Wildlife Officer of the Year, Interior Department Meritorious Service Award, and U.S. Department of Justice Commendations of Excellence Awards, among others.
For over 20 years, Tim has actively engaged in international wildlife training, designing and delivering programs in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Since retiring from the FWS, Tim has taken on a contracting role as a Project Coordinator and International Instructor for the U.S. Government-funded “Wildlife Seizure Training Program,” which serves Africa and Asia.
Currently, Tim serves as the Senior Advisor on International Wildlife Trafficking programs for Focused Conservation, a non-profit organization. In this capacity, he brings his wealth of experience and expertise to combat wildlife trafficking and contribute to conservation efforts on a global scale. Timothy Santel’s lifelong dedication to protecting wildlife, his remarkable achievements in law enforcement, and his commitment to international training and conservation make him an invaluable asset in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Dr Patricia Raxter
Tricia Raxter serves as the Senior Intelligence Analyst for United for Wildlife. Before coming to UfW in 2020, Tricia served as an intelligence analyst with the United States government for more than a decade. She was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy in International Studies from Old Dominion University in 2015.
Technical Advisor - Uganda
Michael “Mick” Bambar is a highly skilled investigator, trainer, and manager with an extensive background in operational, proactive, and covert law enforcement. With 35 years of experience, he has been actively involved in targeting serious and organized crime on both national and international levels. Michael served for 30 years with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the National Crime Squad (NCS, now the NCA), where he gained invaluable knowledge and expertise.
After retiring from the Metropolitan Police, Mick transitioned to the private sector, utilizing his vast experience to manage and participate in investigations related to Illegal Wildlife Trafficking (IWT), surveillance, and long-term covert operations on a global scale. His involvement has included hands-on management and participation in IWT investigations, as well as providing mentoring and training. From 2017, he has conducted mentoring and training sessions in the UK, Belgium, and South Africa. From 2018 to 2020, his work took him to Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. In 2020, amidst the Covid pandemic, Michael rejoined the MPS, where he successfully managed an inner-city Gang Crime Unit.
Since November 2020, Mick has served as a Technical Advisor at the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU). In this role, he has worked closely with Focused Conservation’s leadership and trusted national partners to support the establishment and management of the unit. Michael’s responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, including entrenching best practice systems and procedures, mentoring WCU leadership and staff at all levels, supporting operational development, and implementing agreed work plans .Michael Bambar’s extensive expertise, combined with his technical skills and commitment to the cause, make him a highly valuable asset in the field of law enforcement, wildlife conservation, and combatting illicit wildlife trafficking.
Technical Advisor - Nigeria
Martin Young is a highly accomplished Law Enforcement professional with an impressive career spanning over 34 years. He has served as a Detective in both reactive and proactive policing, utilizing intelligence-led approaches, both in the United Kingdom and internationally. Throughout his tenure, Martin has worked with esteemed organizations such as the Royal Air Force Police, Northumbria Police, and the National Crime Agency, focusing primarily on combating serious transnational organized crime.
With extensive experience working in various Special Project Teams, Martin has demonstrated his exceptional skills in fostering positive relationships and achieving tangible results through collaboration with local partners. His investigative background is solid, and he is recognized as an accredited Intelligence Manager, responsible for the management of sensitive intelligence sources and assets. Martin ensures the effective and lawful sharing of information to achieve operational priorities. He has completed the SOCA Investigators Course, which includes modules on investigation, risk assessment management, and the designated powers of a constable, customs officer, and immigration officer. Martin has also completed the Northern Ireland Powers Course, gaining the designated powers of a constable in Northern Ireland. His skills extend to undercover operations, as he is an Accredited Undercover Foundation Operative, responsible for low-level infiltration of criminal groups.
Martin join Focused Conservation as the Technical Advisor in Nigeria and has been instrumental in developing and mentoring the Nigeria Special Wildlife Office (NSWO). Although the NSWO is relatively new, the guidance and mentorship that Martin has provided has already resulted in the apprehension of wildlife traffickers operating in Nigeria who were actively involved in the trafficking of endangered and protected wildlife.
Technical Advisor - Liberia
Danny Murphy is a highly experienced Law Enforcement Officer with a career spanning over 31 years. His journey began in 1992 when he joined UK Policing, and he quickly excelled, qualifying as a Detective in 1997. Throughout his career, Danny has been at the forefront of the fight against Serious Organized Crime, representing the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) in various challenging environments, including the Horn of Africa and Iraq. In his role with the NCA, Danny has actively engaged with senior government officials, police forces, and prosecutors, fostering improved cooperation and operational effectiveness between the NCA and international partners in the policing, security, intelligence, and development sectors. Notably, he played a crucial role in establishing the Horn of Africa Transnational Organised Crime Unit, based in Ethiopia, where he served as their Technical Advisor. Working closely with the Unit, Danny provided invaluable expertise and guidance, contributing to their success in combating organized crime in the region.
Danny is a highly respected Expert Witness in National and International Drug Trafficking, providing his extensive expertise and guidance in various countries such as Central and South America, Afghanistan, Central Europe, and Iraq. His invaluable contributions as an Expert Witness have been instrumental in some of the UK’s most notable drug trafficking investigations.
Since joining Focused Conservation in July 2022, Danny has served as a dedicated Technical Advisor in Liberia, West Africa. In this role, he has made substantial contributions to wildlife conservation by establishing the Liberian Special Wildlife Investigation Unit (SWIU). Through his advisory role, Danny has provided invaluable guidance to the unit, leading to successful investigations resulting in the rescue of numerous endangered and critically endangered species, as well as the apprehension and conviction of wildlife traffickers.
Danny’s diverse expertise, unwavering commitment to justice, and his dedication to wildlife protection make him an invaluable member of the Focused Conservation team. His efforts continue to contribute significantly to the fight against wildlife crime and the preservation of vulnerable species in Liberia and beyond.
Technical Advisor - Kenya
David Ward is a seasoned investigator with over 34 years of experience in the National Crime Agency and its predecessor agencies, including HM Customs Investigation Division, National Criminal Intelligence Service, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Throughout his career, he has specialized in both investigation and intelligence, working on high-profile cases spanning a wide range of criminal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and asset recovery.
In his role as the International Liaison Officer based in Kenya, David spent four years spearheading efforts in East Africa. During this time, he introduced the Child Protection Certificate in Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi, demonstrating his commitment to combatting child exploitation. He also played a pivotal role in establishing and mentoring the Kenya Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU), further enhancing his expertise in transnational criminal investigations. After leaving the NCA, David joined the Basel Institute on Governance’s Green Corruption program, where he spent two years leading training courses on Financial Investigation related to Wildlife Trafficking offenses in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, he provided assistance to the Kenya Wildlife Service, focusing on the financial investigation aspects of their operations.
In July 2021, David joined Focused Conservation, bringing his wealth of experience and established connections to establish the Kenya Wildlife Task Force (KWTF). Applying successful theories from his work with the Kenyan TOCU, he continues to mentor the KWTF and takes pride in the unit’s achievements in combatting wildlife trafficking.