Former D.E.A. Agent Sentenced to 12 Years in Drug Money Scheme

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Jose Ismael Irizarry took portion successful a seven-year strategy that utilized proceeds from cause investigations to bargain jewelry, cars and a location successful Colombia, prosecutors said.

Jose Irizarry, center, a erstwhile  Drug Enforcement Administration peculiar   agent, was sentenced connected  Thursday aft  helium  pleaded blameworthy  successful  September.
Credit...Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Dec. 10, 2021, 6:00 a.m. ET

A erstwhile peculiar cause with the Drug Enforcement Administration was sentenced to much than 12 years successful situation connected Thursday aft helium pleaded blameworthy to taking portion successful a wide-ranging conspiracy that utilized currency seized successful undercover cause operations to bargain jewelry, cars and a location successful Colombia, prosecutors said.

The erstwhile agent, Jose Ismael Irizarry, 47, and his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, pleaded blameworthy successful September to charges that they carried retired a seven-year strategy to funnel much than $9 cardinal from undercover cause investigations into slope accounts that they and their co-conspirators controlled.

One of those co-conspirators was the person of a Colombian drug-trafficking enactment who became godfather to Mr. Irizarry’s children, according to national prosecutors successful Tampa, Fla.

Mr. Irizarry pleaded blameworthy to charges that included conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, honorable services ligament fraud, slope fraud, and conspiracy to perpetrate slope fraud.

Ms. Gomez-Irizarry pleaded blameworthy to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. She was sentenced successful December 2020 to 60 months of probation and ordered to forfeit a Tiffany diamond ring, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.

Mr. Irizarry, who had worked for the D.E.A. successful Miami, Cartagena, Colombia, and Washington earlier helium resigned successful 2018, was arrested successful February 2020 on with Ms. Gomez-Irizarry adjacent their location successful San Juan, P.R.

In a 19-count indictment, Mr. Irizarry was accused of engaging successful a “corrupt scheme” portion helium was assigned to analyse wealth laundering by drug-trafficking organizations. The indictment accused Mr. Irizarry of “enriching himself by secretly utilizing his presumption and his peculiar entree to accusation to divert cause proceeds from D.E.A. power to the power of himself and his co-conspirators.”

One co-conspirator was identified successful the indictment arsenic a nationalist authoritative successful Colombia, who prosecutors said had utilized cause wealth to bargain a $329,000 Lamborghini Huracán Spyder from a Miami car dealership.

Mr. Irizarry was accused of utilizing cause wealth to bargain a Land Rover and a location successful Cartagena. Prosecutors said that Mr. Irizarry had admitted that helium began exploiting his presumption arsenic a national cause to enrich himself and his co-conspirators soon aft helium filed for bankruptcy successful 2010.

The indictment described a sprawling strategy successful which Mr. Irizarry filed mendacious reports connected investigations, prompting a ripple effect that caused his colleagues astatine the Drug Enforcement Administration to falsely papers the details of ligament transfers, unwittingly concealing the root of cause profits that helium controlled.

Ms. Gomez-Irizarry was accused of moving a ammunition institution retired of the couple’s location successful Miramar, Fla., that had nary employees and sold nary goods but was utilized to instrumentality successful and administer the wealth her hubby collected, the indictment said.

“Former Special Agent Irizarry abused the spot of the American radical erstwhile helium repeatedly violated his oath arsenic a national instrumentality enforcement officer,” Anne Milgram, the D.E.A. administrator, said successful a statement connected Thursday. “Bringing him to justness reflects the principles of those who faithfully service and uphold the values of D.E.A.”

At his sentencing successful national tribunal successful Tampa, Mr. Irizarry wept and said that his biggest punishment was not being capable to explicate to his 2 young daughters wherefore helium would beryllium gone for truthful long, The Associated Press reported. He said helium had been arrogant erstwhile helium became a national cause 2 decades ago.

“Unfortunately, determination came a clip erstwhile I made a determination that went against the idiosyncratic who I was, that damaged my woman and embarrassed my country,” Mr. Irizarry said, according to The A.P. “I should’ve known amended and I didn’t. I failed.”

Mr. Irizarry’s sentencing came aft different erstwhile peculiar cause with the D.E.A., Chad Allan Scott, was sentenced successful August to much than 13 years successful prison aft helium perjured himself and directed others to perpetrate perjury to get a condemnation against an accused cause dealer, prosecutors said. Mr. Scott besides falsified forms truthful that helium could instrumentality possession of a motortruck that a cause trader bought for him, prosecutors said.

Mr. Irizarry’s lawyer, Maria A. Dominguez, blamed the civilization astatine the D.E.A. for encouraging specified crimes.

“Jose was not a person oregon the writer of this conduct,” she said successful an interrogation connected Thursday. “It was behaviour that helium encountered erstwhile helium archetypal joined the D.E.A. He was corrupted successful that benignant of environment, which disrupted his motivation compass.”

While sentencing Mr. Irizarry, Judge Charlene Honeywell condemned the D.E.A. for its failings and said different agents corrupted by “the allure of casual money” should beryllium investigated, The A.P. reported.

“This has to stop,” Judge Honeywell said, according to The A.P. “You were the 1 who got caught, but it is evident to this tribunal that determination are others.”

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