DEA agent sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for conspiring with cartel

A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on Thursday for conspiring with the Colombian cartel.

Jose Irizarry and his wife Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry were arrested in February 2020 in San Juan, Puerto Rico after they were accused of laundering money for the Colombian cartel.

Authorities accused the couple of being involved in a seven-year scheme of diverting more than $9 million from undercover DEA money laundering investigations into banks.

According to the Department of Justice, Irizarry and his family received at least $1 million in kickbacks for their involvement.

Both Irizarry and his wife pleaded guilty to 19 charges in September 2020. The charges against them included money laundering, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

As part of the plea agreement Irizarry has been ordered to pay $11,233 in restitution and forfeit a diamond ring and luxury sports car he bought with the money he received.

Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of the IRS Criminal Investigation said in a statement, “Irizarry betrayed his oath to serve and instead used his position to further the criminal activities of a violent drug cartel while enriching himself.”

“While his actions represent an egregious breach of the public trust, they are in no way a reflection of the overwhelming majority of special agents who serve with honor and integrity. IRS-CI will take every step necessary to ferret out those who cave into temptation and grossly misuse their power,” said Payne.

U.S. District Judge Charlene Honeywell ordered that Irizarry begin his prison term immediately on Thursday, and he was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Officials previously announced in late 2020 that Gomez-Irizarry had been sentenced to 60 months probation.

Tags Drug cartel Drug Enforcement Administration IRS Criminal Investigation Money laundering Organized crime

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