By David McCabe
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents allegedly held “sex parties” with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels at an overseas post, according to a new report from a government watchdog.
“A foreign officer also alleged providing protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report says. “The foreign officers further alleged that in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA [Supervisory Special Agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”
The report found that “the information in the case file suggested” that the agents at the party “should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds.”
Seven of the 10 agents implicated in the events admitted attending parties with prostitutes, according to the report.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse panel tells fed agency to stop selling recalled cars Trump's big worry isn't rigged elections, it's GOP establishment State pushes back on GOP calls for 'quid pro quo' investigation MORE (R-Utah) pledged Thursday that his panel would investigate and hold hearings on the allegations.
"Once again, some federal law enforcement agents are acting like they belong in a college frat house rather than at a taxpayer-funded law enforcement agency tasked with interdicting illegal drugs," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteReport: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas FTC proposes reforms to crack down on patent trolls GOP chairmen slam 'unusual restrictions' on FBI Clinton probe MORE (R-Va.) said in a statement.
"We must ensure that everyone involved is appropriately held accountable for their actions," he said.
Though the report does not explicitly state at which overseas posting the parties occurred, Politico reported that they took place in Colombia.
Though prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, the investigator from the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) told the authors of the DOJ report that the events nonetheless represented a possible security risk.
“In particular, the Inspector said that she explained to OPR management that 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 report says.
The allegations were not referred to the agency’s Office of Security Programs, the report found, because “because OPR management did not believe that the special agents’ conduct rose to the level of a security risk requiring a referral.”
The allegations come as part of a larger review of the way that sexual misconduct and harassment is dealt with in the law enforcement agencies under the Department of Justice.
The authors of the report said that the DEA had delayed their findings by withholding case information.
“The OIG was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed,” they wrote. “Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open.”
They said that of the DEA officials interviewed, only the OPR investigator had provided them with useful information in her first interview.
“We learned about the involvement of the others from records we obtained after the matter was closed and, when we thereafter re-interviewed these individuals, they indicated that they believed that they were not supposed to provide information to us about pending matters,” they wrote. “As noted previously, the OIG was entitled to this information at the outset, and the failure to provide it to us in a timely fashion unnecessarily delayed our review of this matter."
Scott Wong contributed to this report.
Updated at 1:29 p.m.