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U.S. Drug Agents' Alleged Sex Parties Go Back to 2001: Lawmakers

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Colombia were taking part in alleged sex parties with prostitutes funded by drug cartels years earlier than previously known, U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday.

Several DEA agents were taking part in these parties in Bogota as early as 2001, said a summary of a DEA report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing on the misconduct.

"This new internal report describes not one or two isolated incidents, but literally dozens of parties with prostitutes," Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings said at the hearing, where lawmakers grilled DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

The hearing came on the heels of a separate March 26 report by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General that described similar allegations between 2005 and 2008.

That report said 10 agents - an assistant regional director and nine special agents - had alleged sex parties on government-leased property and used taxpayer money to pay for the prostitutes. Three of the agents got money, gifts and weapons from drug cartel members, according to the earlier report.

After investigation, seven of the DEA agents admitted attending the parties and were suspended for between two and 10 days.

"I don't believe that the discipline doled out in those cases is even close to what it should be," said Leonhart in testimony before the committee.

She added that, under U.S. civil service rules, she could not fire, revoke security clearances or recommend penalties for the agents. Two senior officials in the agency were tasked with discipline, she said.

The DEA allegations came in the wake of a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012 that damaged that agency's straitlaced reputation.

In another DEA-related case, Keenya Meshell Banks, a former DEA program manager, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Maryland to submitting dozens of fake credit card applications for fictitious DEA employees, defrauding the U.S. government of $113,000, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

[Source: The New York Times, Reuters, Washington, 14Apr15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 16Apr15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.