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Tag: Colombia

Court Releases Two of Six Men Arrested in Death of DEA Agent in Colombia

 

James Watson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Colombian court released two of six men arrested in the murder of a DEA agent, the Associated Press reports.

Defense attorneys said prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to hold the two suspects in the death of DEA agent James Watson, who was known as “Terry.”

Authorities said Watson, 43, was killed during an apparent robbery attempt while getting into a taxi.

The two freed men were taxi drivers and have insisted they did nothing wrong, the AP wrote.

DEA Agent’s Death a Reminder of Courage in a Dangerous World and the Good Work of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund

James Watson

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson had spent an enjoyable evening with friends at a Bogota restaurant watching Game 7 of the Heat-Spurs NBA Championship game. He was assigned to Cartagena but was in the Colombian capital as part of his duties.

Agent Watson knew how dangerous being in law enforcement could be but he had regularly volunteered for the most challenging assignments all over the globe. Like during one of his three deployments in Afghanistan for DEA in 2009 when he and Army Special Forces were under fire from 500 Taliban in the Farah Province. Or when he rappelled down 3,000 foot rock facings in the mountains near Pakistan to bomb heroin dens. He had also volunteered for difficult cases in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

A short distance from the Bogota restaurant Terry Watson was stabbed and ran a block before collapsing. Several assailants immediately fled the scene without taking any money or other property. He died en route to a medical clinic.

Bogota police have arrested six men for the murders, and the Justice Department has indicated its intention to seek extradition. The police have announced their conclusion that the murder was part of a random robbery, but others have doubts because of the circumstances of the assault and question whether Agent Watson’s successful investigations of high level drug traffickers in Colombia was the real motive behind murder.

At his memorial service on Wednesday at the Rayville, Louisiana, Richland Arts Center near where he had grown up in Holly Ridge, his family said, “Terry dedicated his life to serving the public and making the world a better and safer place. Terry never wasted a minute of his life and never took it for granted.”

Agent Watson had recently married Fadia Margarita de la Rosa Watson, whom he had met during his service in Colombia.

Another DEA agent who had also been assigned to Cartagena during his deployment there told me that he was constantly aware of the potential for violence during his term. No matter how careful an agent was, if he did his job, the cartels were always in the front part of his mind. Years later he remembers his time there as an ordeal that required him to always remain aware of surroundings. But he also knew that even this awareness was no guarantee that he would survive the assignment.

Earlier articles in this column have made plain my own position that responsibility for these deaths and violence, both to Americans and those in Central America, civilians and law enforcement, can be directly traced to America’s insatiable appetite for the drugs.

Read more »

DEA Tight-Lipped about Investigation into Prostitution Scandal in Colombia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The DEA is refusing to answer questions about three of its agents who are still on the federal payroll despite their alleged involvement in a prostitution scandal in Colombia, the Washington Examiner reports.

The accusations are serious. DEA agents are accused of paying for a prostitute for a Secret Service supervisor and obstructing the investigation by lying and destroying evidence, the Examiner wrote.

“And they are still on the job a year later,” state Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA said. “That’s just not a good thing.”

The scandal broke in April 2012 when a dozens Secret Service agents were in Cartagena, Columbia, to prepare for a trip by President Obama.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan Says So-Long On Friday

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, who served under two presidents, steps down on Friday after a long reign at the head of the agency.

Sullivan, who had been director since 2006,  had a successful run as director, but his tenure was not without heartburn.

He had to deal with the couple who crashed a White house party in 2009, and last year, his agents were involved in a sex scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia.

He was an agent for 30 years.

DEA Agent Is Accused of Sending a Prostitute to Visit Secret Service Agent in Colombia?

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A DEA agent is accused of sending a prostitute to a Secret Service agent in Colombia while the pair were in the country working, the Huffington Post reports, citing a Justice Department report.

The reports says a Secret Service supervisory agent received a massage and sex while preparing for President Obama’s visit.

The investigation is part of a wider investigation into the use of prostitutes by Secret Service employees who were in Columbia, the Huffington Post wrote.

An inspector general for the Homeland Security Department said that at least 13 Secret Service employees had “personal encounters with female Colombian nationals,” Huffington Post reported.

Feds Misbehaving in 2012

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Everyday, people in federal law enforcement head to work, grab a coffee, maybe a donut or a bagel, comb through their emails, read a newspaper or website and go about fighting crime, protecting the public from violent drug dealers, public corruption, gun-related crimes,  healthcare fraud and terrorism.

But on occasion, something reminds us that the iconic law enforcement agencies are made up of humans. A few cross the line.  In most instances, it  involves sex, alcohol or money.

This year, perhaps one of the more publicized events involved  Secret Service agents in South America, who brought prostitutes back to the hotel.  That turned into a big big mess. Any time the media can get the Secret Service, the president and hookers in the same story, there’s bound to be trouble.

In what has become part of an annual tradition, ticklethewire.com presents “Feds Misbehaving in 2012.”

 

Too Exposed: There’s something about a motorist exposing himself. It’s particularly noteworthy when that person is an FBI agent. In Buffalo, in December, FBI agent John Yervelli Jr. was charged with public lewdness for allegedly exposing himself to a truck driver as he tooled down the New York State Thruway one Friday night, apparently exposing his tool. Authorities alleged that he had his pants down and made lewd gestures.

 

 

Mind Bender: The idea of downloading child porn has been a crime the feds  and  society takes very seriously. The FBI, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and some local and state agencies put a lot of resources into cracking down on this problem that has exploded with the advent of the Internet. But it’s a mind bender when someone like Anthony Mangione, 50, whose agency so aggressively goes after child porn, gets busted for child porn. Mangione, who headed ICE in Southern Florida, was recently sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for transportation and possession of child porn. Just as an aside,  you have to wonder how a guy in that position could get caught knowing what he knows about how the feds track down these offenders.

He’s not alone.  In Indiana, FBI Donald Sachtleben, a 25-year bureau veteran who worked on such high-profile cases as the Unabomber and the Oklahoma Bombing, was busted on child porn charges as part of a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet. His case is pending.

 

Keep Your Hands Out of the FBI Cookie Jar: Stealing from the your employer is a bad idea. It’s a particularly a bad idea when the employer is the FBI. Bankrupt FBI agent Timothy Kotz, 45, got busted for embezzling $43,190 he was supposed to give confidential informants. He had $11,000 in gambling losses in the past year. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by 6  months of house arrest. He was  also ordered to repay the money.

Way Too Tragic: This is one of the sadder stories, partly because there was no malice intended here. But the result was tragic in many ways. FBI agent Adrian Johnson was convicted in October in Prince George’s County in suburban D.C. of vehicular manslaughter and six related charges in connection with the drunk driving crash in Brandywine, Md., in 2011 that killed an 18-year-old man and seriously injured his friend. A tragic ending for a promising career. He’ll be off to prison for a while.  Updated: Jan. 4: He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

 

Hector Reynaldo CuellarForget Biden, Who’s Protecting the Children? Secret Service officer Hector Reynaldo Cuellar of Virginia who who guarded Vice President Joe Biden’s residence in Northwest D.C. was busted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was taking care of.

Fox News reported that Cuellar is charged with  assaulting a “family member several times between August and October.”

 

Next Time Just Rent a Movie:  Secret Service agents got a little wild in April during a presidential detail in Cartagena, Colombia. Some brought hookers to their hotel rooms. Some claim they didn’t know they were prostitutes, that is until they asked for money. Some of the agents were married. It turned into a major scandal.  By May,  eight agents had left their jobs as a result of the scandal. Some subsequently decided to fight the allegations,  claiming some of that behavior was quietly condoned.

The incident resulted in the Secret Service imposing new rules on the road. Apparently, someone had forgot the first go around to specify in the rules not to bring hookers back to the hotel room.  Recommendation to agents:  Next time just stay in the room and order up a film, a brew and a cheeseburger.

 Online Shenanigans:  In New Orleans, a couple veteran prosecutors thought they’d be clever by taking pot shots at judges and targets of investigations by posting anonymous comments on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website. Well, guess what. The whole thing blew up. They got caught.

The  two veteran prosecutors — Sal Perricone and  Jan Mann– resigned and this month so did the U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who was chastised by a federal judge for not adequately dealing with the scandal. The judge, Kurt Engelhardt, called the scandal “skulduggery by the government” and indicated the online postings could result in criminal charges. Note to others: Leave the online b.s. to the junior high kids. They’re better at it — and they usually don’t get caught.

 

Crossing the Line and Crossing the Border: Two border Patrol agents, who are brothers, were convicted in August in  San Diego of sneaking hundreds of illegal immigrants into the U.S. for money.  Raul and Fidel Villarreal were accused of smuggling in Mexicans and Brazilians.

 

 

Helping a Little Too Much:  It’s good to help friends and associates.  But FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.  may have helped a little too much. A grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted him on charges that he used his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts.

Of course, the feds allege that he had some incentive to help out (so much for any Boy Scout defense). His business partner allegedly offered  Lustyk a $200,000 cash payment and  interest in some lucrative contracts. Lustyk had been assigned to an counterintelligence unit for the FBI out of White Plains, N.Y.

 

 

Feds Misbehaving in 2012

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Everyday, people in federal law enforcement head to work, grab a coffee, maybe a donut or a bagel, comb through their emails, read a newspaper or website and go about fighting crime, protecting the public from violent drug dealers, public corruption, gun-related crimes,  healthcare fraud and terrorism.

But on occasion, something reminds us that the iconic law enforcement agencies are made up of humans. A few cross the line.  In most instances, it  involves sex, alcohol or money.

This year, perhaps one of the more publicized events involved  Secret Service agents in South America, who brought prostitutes back to the hotel.  That turned into a big big mess. Any time the media can get the Secret Service, the president and hookers in the same story, there’s bound to be trouble.

In what has become part of an annual tradition, ticklethewire.com presents “Feds Misbehaving in 2012.”

 

Too Exposed: There’s something about a motorist exposing himself. It’s particularly noteworthy when that person is an FBI agent. In Buffalo, in December, FBI agent John Yervelli Jr. was charged with public lewdness for allegedly exposing himself to a truck driver as he tooled down the New York State Thruway one Friday night, apparently exposing his tool. Authorities alleged that he had his pants down and made lewd gestures.

 

 

Mind Bender: The idea of downloading child porn has been a crime the feds  and  society takes very seriously. The FBI, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and some local and state agencies put a lot of resources into cracking down on this problem that has exploded with the advent of the Internet. But it’s a mind bender when someone like Anthony Mangione, 50, whose agency so aggressively goes after child porn, gets busted for child porn. Mangione, who headed ICE in Southern Florida, was recently sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for transportation and possession of child porn. Just as an aside,  you have to wonder how a guy in that position could get caught knowing what he knows about how the feds track down these offenders.

He’s not alone.  In Indiana, FBI Donald Sachtleben, a 25-year bureau veteran who worked on such high-profile cases as the Unabomber and the Oklahoma Bombing, was busted on child porn charges as part of a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet. His case is pending.

Keep Your Hands Out of the FBI Cookie Jar: Stealing from the your employer is a bad idea. It’s a particularly a bad idea when the employer is the FBI. Bankrupt FBI agent Timothy Kotz, 45, got busted for embezzling $43,190 he was supposed to give confidential informants. He had $11,000 in gambling losses in the past year. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by 6  months of house arrest. He was  also ordered to repay the money.

 

Way Too Tragic: This is one of the sadder stories, partly because there was no malice intended here. But the result was tragic in many ways. FBI agent Adrian Johnson was convicted in October in Prince George’s County in suburban D.C. of vehicular manslaughter and six related charges in connection with the drunk driving crash in Brandywine, Md., in 2011 that killed an 18-year-old man and seriously injured his friend. A tragic ending for a promising career. He’ll be off to prison for a while.

 

Hector Reynaldo CuellarForget Biden, Who’s Protecting the Children? Secret Service officer Hector Reynaldo Cuellar of Virginia who who guarded Vice President Joe Biden’s residence in Northwest D.C. was busted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was taking care of.

Fox News reported that Cuellar is charged with  assaulting a “family member several times between August and October.”

Next Time Just Rent a Movie:  Secret Service agents got a little wild in April during a presidential detail in Cartagena, Colombia. Some brought hookers to their hotel rooms. Some claim they didn’t know they were prostitutes, that is until they asked for money. Some of the agents were married. It turned into a major scandal.  By May,  eight agents had left their jobs as a result of the scandal. Some subsequently decided to fight the allegations,  claiming some of that behavior was quietly condoned.

The incident resulted in the Secret Service imposing new rules on the road. Apparently, someone had forgot the first go around to specify in the rules not to bring hookers back to the hotel room.  Recommendation to agents:  Next time just stay in the room and order up a film, a brew and a cheeseburger.

 

Online Shenanigans:  In New Orleans, a couple veteran prosecutors thought they’d be clever by taking pot shots at judges and targets of investigations by posting anonymous comments on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website. Well, guess what. The whole thing blew up. They got caught.

The  two veteran prosecutors — Sal Perricone and  Jan Mann– resigned and this month so did the U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who was chastised by a federal judge for not adequately dealing with the scandal. The judge, Kurt Engelhardt, called the scandal “skulduggery by the government” and indicated the online postings could result in criminal charges. Note to others: Leave the online b.s. to the junior high kids. They’re better at it — and they usually don’t get caught.

Crossing the Line and Crossing the Border: Two border Patrol agents, who are brothers, were convicted in August in  San Diego of sneaking hundreds of illegal immigrants into the U.S. for money.  Raul and Fidel Villarreal were accused of smuggling in Mexicans and Brazilians.

 

Helping a Little Too Much:  It’s good to help friends and associates.  But FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.  may have helped a little too much. A grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted him on charges that he used his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts.

Of course, the feds allege that he had some incentive to help out (so much for any Boy Scout defense). His business partner allegedly offered  Lustyk a $200,000 cash payment and  interest in some lucrative contracts. Lustyk had been assigned to an counterintelligence unit for the FBI out of White Plains, N.Y.

 

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Colombia’s Gangs