By Allan Lengel
For AOL News
FBI agents deal with trouble. That’s what they do for a living.
But lately, down in Texas, for some inexplicable reason, FBI agents have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. In fact, in the past nine months, four agents — who are all now ex-agents — from Dallas to Waco have been grabbing headlines for alleged indiscretions.
One was busted on charges of hiring illegal immigrants to work at her suburban Dallas deli. Another illegally sold guns, then lied to investigators. One agent killed a neighbor’s Chihuahua with a pellet rifle. And one is accused of making death threats against folks at the FBI.
“It’s obviously critically important those in law enforcement follow the law and when they don’t, it significantly hurts public trust,” James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, told AOL News.
The FBI did not return a call for comment.
The latest embarrassment for the FBI in the Lone Star State involves Carlos Ortiz, 48, a Dallas agent. He was fired last Wednesday — the same day he was arrested on charges of threatening to kill his wife and the head of the Dallas FBI, Robert Casey Jr.
The following day, U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez ruled Ortiz was a danger to the community and should remain behind bars pending trial.
“It’s a very sad day for law enforcement,” she commented in court.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Ortiz last week received a dismissal letter that chronicled allegations of spousal abuse and mentioned a 1992 incident in which SWAT officers were called in to deal with Ortiz, who had barricaded himself in his home over job stress and personal issues.
His father and girlfriend told the paper that Ortiz is not a violent person. They blamed the matter on the estranged wife.
Meanwhile, court records indicate Dallas FBI Agent Ann Cox has signed a guilty plea agreement to charges that she hired six illegal immigrants in 1997 to 2008 to work at the Schlotzsky’s deli she owned in Rockwall, Texas.
Cox, who is no longer with the bureau, is expected to enter the plea Friday. She sold the deli at the end of 2008, according to a manager at the restaurant.
So far, El Paso FBI agent John Shipley, 40, has taken the hardest hit among the troubled Texas agents. Last week, he was sentenced to two years in prison for illegally selling more than $118,000 worth of guns without a license and lying to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the sales while he was still with the FBI.
A federal jury convicted him in April after less than three hours of deliberation.
ATF agents had arrested Shipley last year after tracing back to him a .50-caliber rifle that was used in a drug cartel shootout in Chihuahua, Mexico. Court records show that between 2005 and 2008, he posted at least 280 firearms for sale on just one site alone, GunBroker.com.
And speaking of Chihuahuas, FBI agent Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr., who was detailed to the Waco FBI, was dismissed from his job near the end of 2009 after he shot and killed a neighbor’s 3-pound Chihuahua dog with a pellet rifle in 2008. The dog, named Sassy, belonged to a girl down the street.
He pleaded no contest last summer to felony animal cruelty and was placed on two years’ probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service.