Documents Shed Light on Alleged DEA Corruption
Conroy: New Documents Shed More Light on Alleged DEA Corruption in Colombia
February 22, 2006
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The next chapter in Bill Conroy's ongoing investigation into claims of massive corruption in the DEA's Bogotá office has now been published. Conroy has obtained a second internal DEA memo along with other related documents - all available scanned for download from Narco News - that adds a few more pieces to what is becoming a very complex puzzle.
The memo was written by Leo Arreguin, formerly head of the DEA's Bogotá office. Arreguin names two of the whistleblowers that are mentioned but kept anonymous in the "Kent memo" - the document first published in Narco News that broke this story. The new Arreguin memo questions the integrity of an informant working with the whistleblower agents, suggesting that Arreguin himself may be an active player in the cover-up of the corruption allegations.
"The Arreguin memo prompted an internal agency investigation targeting Tinsley and one of the agents under his watch, who was the informant's in-the-field handler.
"However, according to the Kent memo and sources who spoke with Narco News, Arreguin wrote the memo months after Tinsley had reported that DEA agents in Bogotá were suspected of assisting narco-traffickers. That assertion is important, because the Kent memo claims that Tinsley was retaliated against after reporting suspected corruption in the DEA's Bogotá office, which was overseen by Arreguin.
"If Arreguin wrote his memo after becoming aware of Tinsley's corruption charges, then that memo, and the investigation it spurred, could be seen as part of a strategy to silence and discredit Tinsley, which is precisely what Kent's memo and Narco News sources allege is the case."
Gerardo Reyes, a reporter for the Spanish-language Miami daily El Nuevo Herald, followed up on Conroy's original story last week and revealed that another informant - also unnamed in the Kent memo - who had worked with Miami DEA agents and who the Bogotá office had also worked to discredit was high-level narco-trafficker Jose Nelson Urrego. The story of how the Bogotá DEA agents did everything in their power to prevent Urrego's release from prison or cooperation with Miami DEA agents is, to put it mildly, a strange one, which Conroy summarizes and expands upon for readers unable to read Reyes' article in Spanish.
Urrego is famous in Colombia for, among other things, his involvement in the mid-1990s scandal surrounding contributions from narcos to former president Ernesto Samper's campaign. "Not only was Urrego in a position to reveal intimate details about the operations of Colombian drug traffickers," writes Conroy, "including possibly any links they might have to the allegedly corrupt DEA agents in Colombia, but he also could have opened up a can of worms with respect to narco- financing of Colombian political candidates."
There are many more twists and turns in Conroy's latest installment in this fascinating tale of law enforcement corruption with serious implications for the future of the U.S.-imposed war on drugs. Read the full story, here, only in The Narco News Bulletin:
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