DEA Agent Laundering Money for the Colombian Drug Cartel
DEA Agent Jose Irizarry
Cristal M Clark
Sometimes working for a Federal Agency just isn’t quite enough to cover all of one’s especially if that individual has a taste for the finer things in life. Case in point, DEA agent 46-year-old Jose Irizarry decided that he needed some side work for some extra cash, that side work being money laundering, for the Colombian Drug Cartel, the very cartel he was supposed to be investigating.
According to his arrest affidavit he utilized his position and his special access to information to divert millions in drug proceeds from control of the Drug Enforcement Administration and into the pockets of he and his new friends.
Jose had been a model agent, he had awards, had received praise from his supervisors. Overall he was a model agent according to his history with the DEA.
After joining the DEA in Miami 2009, he was entrusted with an undercover money laundering operation using front companies, shell bank accounts and couriers.
Things started to fall apart for Jose who resigned in January 2018 after he had been reassigned to Washington and that made his boss in Colombia suspicious.
In 2011, Jose allegedly used the cover of his badge to file false reports and mislead his superiors, all while directing DEA personnel to wire funds reserved for undercover stings to accounts in Spain, the Netherlands and elsewhere that he controlled or were tied to his wife and his co-conspirators.
He’s also accused of sharing sensitive law enforcement information with his co-conspirators which is a given of course he did.
Jose did not come without red flags, despite how well he looked on paper whilst working for the DEA. When he was hired by the DEA he showed signs of deception in a polygraph exam, and had declared bankruptcy with debts of almost $500,000. Still, he was permitted to handle financial transactions after being hired by the DEA.
It was also well known that Jose and his wife adored living the life of luxury, Jose even enjoyed high priced prostitutes, they threw lavish parties. Agent’s enjoyed hanging out with Jose. This guy basically laundered US dollars right under the nose of his bosses and then proceeded to flaunt it in their very faces.
Jose handled roughly $3.8 million that should have been carefully tracked by the DEA as part of undercover money laundering investigations.
Not all of that amount was pocketed by the co-conspirators, but the indictment details at least $900,000 that was paid out from a single criminal account opened by Jose and an informant using the name, passport and social security number of a third person who was unaware that their identity was being stolen.
Proceeds from the alleged scheme funded a veritable spending spree. It included the purchase of a $30,000 Tiffany diamond ring, a BMW, 3 Land Rovers and a $767,000 home in Cartagena as well as homes in south Florida and Puerto Rico, where the couple has been living. The money also funded the purchase in Miami of a 2017 Lamborghini Huracan Spyder on behalf of a family member of co-conspirator 2.
To hide his tracks, Jose allegedly opened a bank account in someone else’s name and used the victim’s forged signature and Social Security number. Jose and his wife were arrested Friday at their home near San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a 19-count federal indictment.
And if you think all of that is bad, the worst is that other agents and special ops are also now compromised, you see in all likelihood Jose did more than just launder money, sharing of information would have been part of the deal.
This indictment comes on the heels of another DEA agent being sentenced to Federal Prison for his involvement in drug smuggling, hence further tarnishing the illustrious image of the DEA and brings yet another loss to the US in the war on drugs effort. Then again didn’t big pharma make it that much worse, just legally?
Cristal M Clark