Report: Overseas drug cartels funded DEA sex parties

By Amy R. Connolly   |   March 26, 2015 at 3:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- Drug Enforcement Administration agents abroad participated in "sex parties" with prostitutes funded by drug cartels for a period of several years, according to a report released by the Justice Department's watchdog group Thursday.

Seven of the 10 DEA agents involved, most who held "top secret" clearance, admitted to attending the parties and some were suspended as a result, the Justice Department's inspector general inquiry found. The report does not specify where the parties occurred, but many news outlets have said they took place in Colombia.

"Many of these agents were alleged to have engaged in this high-risk sexual behavior while at their government-leased quarters, raising the possibility that DEA equipment and information also may have been compromised as a result of the agents' conduct," said the 131-page report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The report, a review of sexual misconduct allegations in the DOJ's four law enforcement agencies, found widespread mismanagement at the DEA, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The investigation came in response to 2012 allegations the Secret Service and DEA agents used prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.

Overall, the report linked the law enforcement agencies to 26 allegations during a four-year period that ended in 2012. Of that, the DEA was involved in 19.

Among the other findings:

-- DEA agents were provided "money, expensive gifts and weapons from drug cartel members." Local police "also alleged providing protection for the DEA agents' weapons and property during the parties," the report said.

-- An ATF Director of Industry Operations who holds top security clearance modified a hotel room door "to facilitate sexual play" with anonymous people while on assignment. "In addition, the DIO removed smoke detectors from the hotel room and inadvertently caused damage to the hotel's centralized fire detection system," the report said. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor "fire prevention interference" charge. He was suspended for 14 days, but still works for the ATF with "top secret" security clearance.

-- A U.S. Deputy Marshal on assignment in Thailand could not be reached by phone. Every time State Department officials tried to contact him, "two women with heavy foreign accents answered the phone and stated (he) could not be disturbed." The State Department official later confirmed one of the women was a prostitute.

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