Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enjoyed "sex parties" on government-leased property with women hired by Colombian drug cartels, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The agents were not undercover, and Colombian police officers even provided "protection for the DEA agents' weapons and property" during these Bogotá shindigs.
Yes, you read that correctly: federal law enforcement agents entrusted their guns and headquarters to foreign cops while they went off to have sex with women procured by the very organized criminals they're allegedly targeting. The war on drugs in action, folks!
Ten DEA agents admitted to attending the sex parties, for which they were punished with suspensions of two to 10 days, Politico reports.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told POLITICO on Thursday he wanted the agencies involved to swiftly fire those involved and that his panel would immediately start digging into the allegations. … "We need to understand how these people are being held accountable. There should be no question about the severity of the punishment," Chaffetz said. "I don't care how senior the person is, they are going to have to let these people go."
The OIG report encompasses a larger investigation into recent sexual misconduct and harassment within the DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It accuses all the agencies of repeated failure to report improper sexual conduct. But the most serious allegations by far are aimed at drug enforcement agents and their superiors.
The DEA was apparently not very forthcoming with information about its Colombian activities. "We interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case," states the OIG, noting that "our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us."
Based on the available information, the OIG concluded that a "foreign officer allegedly arranged 'sex parties' with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters," where DEA laptops, BlackBerry devices, and other government-issued equipment were present.
The parties reportedly took place from 2005 to 2008, but the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility became aware of them only in 2010, after it received an anonymous complaint. DEA supervisors, however, had been aware of the allegations for several years because of complaints from management of the building in which the DEA office in Bogotá was located.
DEA agents attending the parties say they didn't know the Colombian sex workers were paid with cartel funds but evidence suggests otherwise, notes the OIG. "The foreign officers further alleged that … three DEA [agents were] provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members."
In 2013, another Justice Department investigation revealed that Secret Service Agents had been hiring women for sex while in Colombia arranging an upcoming Barack Obama visit. The encounters were facilitated by agents from the DEA.