The feds arrested a star US Drug Enforcement Administration agent who they say has been living a high-flying lifestyle while secretly laundering money for the Colombian drug cartel he was supposedly investigating, a report said Friday.
The FBI busted Jose Irizarry and his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, on Friday at their San Juan, Puerto Rico, home, a law-enforcement source familiar with the case told the Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors in Florida allege that the once-standout agent Irizarry used his “position and his special access to information” to keep millions in drug proceeds out of the hands of the DEA.
Irizarry wasn’t alone in his scheme, the feds charged.
The agent allegedly worked with unnamed co-conspirators described in court papers as a Colombian public official and the head of an outfit that plied its trade in drug running and money laundering who became the godfather to Irizarry’s children when he was stationed in Colombia in 2015.
The DEA hired Irizarry despite indications he showed signs of deception in a polygraph exam and allowed him to handle financial transactions.
The agency also looked past the fact that he had filed for bankruptcy, claiming debts of almost $500,000, the AP reports.
“It’s a black eye for the DEA to have one of its own engaged in such a high level of corruption,” said Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former Chief of International Operations told the AP.
“He jeopardized investigations. He jeopardized other agents and he jeopardized informants,” Vigil said. “I’ve never seen a DEA agent charged with so many counts.”
Irizarry used his ill-gotten gains to buy a $30,000 Tiffany diamond ring, a BMW, three Land Rovers and a $767,000 home in Cartagena, a popular destination for tourists