The Miami, Florida, field office of the DEA has been living La Vida Loca with all the cars, boats, and bling Crockett and Tubbs could ever wish for. One agent got caught and he was quick to rat out the whole rest of the office. The judge is furious. “This has to stop.”
DEA singing smuggler’s blues
According to District Court Judge Charlene Honeywell, “the allure of easy money” had a very strong appeal for DEA agent José Irizarry which needs to be investigated. “This has to stop. You were the one who got caught but it is apparent to this court that there are others.” The agency did not immediately respond to the press for comment.
One of the office’s top agents, Irizarry “used his badge to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars, parties on yachts and Tiffany jewels.” His well exfoliated skin will go over real big in prison. He’ll be spending the next 12 years there for “conspiring to launder money with a Colombian cartel.”
His lawyer was quick to point out he may be guilty but he wasn’t alone and had lots of professional help. “When my client joined the DEA he was schooled in how to be corrupt, he was schooled in how to break the law.”
Down the narco-terror rabbit hole lies an “alternate universe.” One where “it became easier and less suspect to accept money and gifts” from criminals.
Trying to maintain an effective cover isn’t easy when you have to untangle bureaucratic red tape for every single Maserati or Cartier wrist watch. It’s much easy for the office to keep a slush fund.
The Miami DEA seems to keep around $9 million for petty cash. The life of drug enforcement luxury “was bankrolled by $9 million he and his co-conspirators diverted from undercover money laundering investigations.”
Shell bank accounts
Apparently there was no oversight at all for the “front companies, shell bank accounts and couriers” which were supposed to be used to combat international drug trafficking. The Miami DEA field office moves “tens of millions of dollars in dirty money” through their “confidential informants” every year.
Irizarry’s wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry is the only other person charged so far. She was a Colombian customs worker.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General came unglued when he found out the DEA is “failing to properly oversee what are supposed to be tightly monitored stings.”
47-year-old Irizarry was allowed “to handle sensitive financial transactions even after he failed a polygraph exam, declared bankruptcy and kept close ties to a suspected money launderer who would go on to become the godfather of the agent’s twin daughters with his Colombian wife.”
What blew his cover were “Irizarry’s ostentatious habits and tales of raucous yacht parties.” His exploits were legendary to “agents and prosecutors with whom they worked.”
To fund his champagne wishes and caviar dreams, “Irizarry filed false reports and ordered DEA staff to wire money slated for undercover stings to international accounts he and associates controlled.”