Exclusive: Undercover FBI Agent Accused of Using Taxpayer $$ to Pay for Prostitutes in Philippines for Himself and Defendants in Sting
An undercover California FBI agent is being accused of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Philippines “for himself and for defendants” in a gun-trafficking sting and that “many of the prostitutes were likely minors.”
The ticklethewire.com has reviewed the allegations in court papers that were filed on September 17 in Los Angeles federal court by John Littrell, a deputy Federal Public Defender, who represents one of the three defendants.
“In order to induce the defendants to participate, an undercover agent spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes for himself and for the defendants,” Littrell wrote. “Many of these prostitutes were likely minors. These crimes were not victimless. Indeed, only months after an undercover agent paid thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for prostitutes at a well-known brothel in Manila, the Philippine government raided the brothel, and rescued twenty under-aged girls.”
Littrell has asked the judge to dismiss the case based on “outrageous governmental misconduct,” citing the use of prostitutes in the case — including for the agent — and allegations that the FBI manufactured the case after it failed to find real weapons traffickers in its investigation into Transnational Asian Organized Crime that began in 2010 and ended in December 2011 with criminal charges. A Nov. 13 trial has been set.
“The defendants became involved in this offense only after the government’s effort to ensnare a true weapons trafficker fell apart,” the court documents says. “More importantly, the actual crimes charged in this case — importing weapons to the United States — were committed by federal agents acting unilaterially , without help from the defendants.” In other words, he alleged, that the FBI agents, not the defendants, actually shipped the weapons to the U.S., and the FBI deliberately lied on customs declarations — all so the FBI could charge the defendants with illegal importation of weapons.
The Philippino defendants Sergio Santiago Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza are charged with conspiracy and importation of firearms. Littrell, who represents Syjuco, alleges that the defendants were not weapons traffickers, but the FBI pushed them into obtaining and selling guns. Authorities allege that the defendants sold weapons and helped facilitate the importation of the weapons to the U.S.
Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles said Sunday: “As a policy, we’re not authorized to comment on pending prosecution, but the government will respond to the motion in court.” Government lawyers in the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles and the Justice Department in Washington did not respond Sunday to emails asking for comment.
Defense attorney John Littrell commented Sunday, saying: “There is no legitimate justification for an FBI agent supporting sex trafficking in a foreign country. I hope these are the actions of a poorly supervised agent, and that they were not sanctioned by the department of justice. Either way, this conduct should be thoroughly investigated.”
The undercover agent, who posed during the sting as an arms broker for the Mexican cartels, is only identified in the court documents by his undercover name Richard Han.
After the indictment, as part of its own investigation into the case, the Federal Defender’s Office sent an investigator to the Philippines, who spoke to workers in the brothels and came up with allegations about the prostitutes and the undercover agent.
“On several occasions, the undercover agent invited Syjuco, Ubaldo, Revereza and others to ‘Air Force One,’ “Area 51,’ and other brothels in and around Manila in order to reward them for their efforts and encourage them to continue looking for weapons, “attorney Littrell wrote in the court document, based on his office’s own investigation. “Using the name ‘Richard Han,” he ordered prostitutes and paid for himself and others to have sex with the prostitutes.”
Littrell writes that Ariel Escosio, a manager at Area 51, said that the undercover agent known as Richard Han always paid for everything in the club and that he particularly liked to have sex with someone named Natasha.
Littrell noted in the court document that Gerry Albrido, manager at Air Force One, said the agent was abusive and degrading to prostitutes.
“One on occasion, Han demanded that several prostitutes in the club line up and drink five shots of hard liquor,” Litrell wrote. “Han demanded that several prostitutes in the club line up and drink five shots of hard liquor. Most of the girls did so, but one them, who was very small, coud not drink the liquor and poured it out. Mr. Alberight stated that Han yelled at the girl and forced her to drink the alcohol until she vomited.
Lattrill noted that the government turned over some documentation from the investigation involving expenses in the Philippines.
“Although the government represents that these expenditures were for ‘entertainment and cocktail (tips included) it is impossible that the agent could not have known that the money went toward prostitutes,” Littrell wrote. “On May 9, 2011, the agent was entertained for several hours in a private room at Air Force One, a prostitution club. He sought reimbursement of more than three thousand dollars for ‘entertainment and cocktail (tip included) for that night.”
Littrell noted in court papers that on May 5, 2011, that the National Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Human Trafficking Division in the Philippines conducted a “rescue operation” at Area 51 and rescued 60 victims of sex trafficking, including nearly 20 who were minors.
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