The Drug Enforcement Administration is the Department of Justice’s law enforcement arm charged with enforcing US drug prohibition laws, ostensibly under the guise of protecting Americans from their own libertine, lascivious tendencies. However, a new DOJ inspector general report released on Thursday exposed the fact that DEA agents stationed in places like Colombia let local police watch their weapons and other personal items as they engaged in hedonistic sex parties in their taxpayer-funded living quarters with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels. Ten agents confessed to attending the parties, some of whom were disciplined with suspensions lasting between two to ten days.
The report by DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz notes that Colombian police officers said that DEA agents accepted bribes from drug cartels. Said the report, “The foreign officers further alleged that in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA SSAs [special agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”
Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz discussed the national security implications in comments to Politico and said, “You can’t ignore this. This is terribly embarrassing and fundamentally not right… We need to understand what’s happening with the culture … anytime you bring a foreign national into your room, you’re asking for trouble.” He called for the DEA to fire the agents involved.
The Washington Post notes that, though the report did not specify the country in which the parties took place, a law enforcement official said that they happened in Colombia. The parties reportedly occurred on an ongoing basis between 2005 and 2008. “Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds,” the report stated.
The above-embedded video by Fox News notes that the report said, “The fact that most of the ‘sex parties’ occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices, and other government-issued equipment were present created potential security risks for the DEA and for the agents who participated in the parties, potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.”
The DOJ pointed out the fact that the DEA was uncooperative with the inspector general’s investigation. Said the report, “We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case… Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.”
The report was a part of a wider probe into sexual misconduct and harassment allegations that have been leveled against the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, and the US Marshals Service and included additional reports of inappropriate sexual relationships and conduct by officials at the ATF and US Marshals Service. Investigators also found that DEA, ATF, and FBI officials sometimes chose not to investigate or report allegations of misconduct.
Interestingly, a DEA official told Inspector General Horowitz that DEA agents are sometimes allowed to solicit prostitutes while stationed overseas. The report noted that, according to DEA policy, “prostitution is considered part of the local culture and is tolerated in certain areas called ‘tolerance zones.’”
DEA and ATF officials denied Politico‘s requests for a comment on the matter.