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Tag: Columbia

DEA Agents Who Took Down Pablo Escobar Share Experience at Ohio State University

Javier Pena/dea photo

Javier Pena/dea photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The two DEA agents who took down one of the most violent and elusive cocaine kingpins in history, Pablo Escobar, shared their experience Monday night at the Ohio Union at Ohio State University.

The retired DEA agents Javier Pena and Steve Murphy were the impetus for the first two seasons of the Netflix original series, “Narco.”

The agents were sent to Colombia to take down Escobar and his Medellin cartel.

“Our philosophy was that when you go after an organization, you have to go after everybody in it,” Peña told the Lantern. “In other words, you have to dismantle the organization, not just one person.” 

Murphy said the phrase “war on drugs” was not completely accurate because governments provider serious resources in an actual war.

“We were fighting a ‘war on drugs’ against the biggest cocaine dealer, the world’s first narco-terrorist, the world’s most wanted criminal, and what did they send? They sent the two of us,” Murphy said. “It was more of a joke. Since we’ve retired, we’ve re-examined the situation. We still need the enforcement element, but we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We cannot put enough people in jail to stop narcotics trafficking. There’s just too great a demand.”

The lecture included a history of Escobar, the violence of the Medellin cartel, smuggling tactics and the prison that Escobar built for himself and his compatriots.

“We never met him, but he knew us by name,” Murphy said. “He put a $300,000 bounty on our heads.”

DEA Reports Spike in Cocaine Availability And Use in U.S.

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A cocaine production boom in Colombia has increased use and availability of the drug in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade, the DEA reports.

The DEA’s 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment concluded that more cocaine is reaching the U.S.  because of increases in seizures and overdose deaths. 

The increase occurred between 2014 and 2015.

The DEA estimates a 67% increase in cocaine production in Columbia, one of the largest providers of the drug in the U.S.

The DEA also identified new risks, including cocaine mixed with the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Other Stories of Interest

The Capture of ‘El Chapo’ Elevates Columbian Woman to World’s Most Wanted Drug Lord

Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna, via twitter.

Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna, via twitter.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that notorious drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been captured in Mexico, the world’s most wanted drug lord is now a woman from Columbia, HNGN reports. 

Largely unknown, Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna is wanted for drug conspiracy charges and money laundering.

Although she has no criminal record, the woman is suspected of laundering millions of dollars from the notorious Medellin Cartel.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Rarely Fires Agents Who Commit Serious Misconduct

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DEA agents who have lied to authorities, falsified records, dealt drugs and committed other serious misconduct have been allowed to stay on the job, USA Today reports.

The discovery comes after lawmakers expressed frustration that agents were never fired for attending “sex parties” in Columbia.

Records from the DEA’s disciplinary files show that was hardly the only instance in which the DEA opted not to fire employees despite apparently serious misconduct, The USA Today writes.

The newspaper found that only 13 of the 50 employees recommended to be fired by the DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct were actually terminated.

“If we conducted an investigation, and an employee actually got terminated, I was surprised,” said Carl Pike, a former DEA internal affairs investigator. “I was truly, truly surprised. Like, wow, the system actually got this guy.”

Some members of Congress are calling for more action.

“There is a culture of protection internally that has to change. If there’s a bad apple, they need to be fired, if not prosecuted, and that’s just not happening,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Federal law enforcement should be held to the highest standard.”

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Agents Receive Lax Punishment Over ‘Sex Parties;’ Some Get Promoted

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the DEA has come under fire over lax punishments for DEA agents accused of participating in “sex parties” with prostitutes in Columbia, The Huffington Post reports.

In fact, some of the accused agents received promotions. No one was fired.

Allegations of a sex party emerged last month following a critical report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

While one of the accused agents retired, the others were suspended for between one and 10 days.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart defended the actions before Congress.

Lawmakers were not happy.

“This new internal report details years of allegations — beginning in 2001 — that portray DEA agents as completely out of control,”  Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement Tuesday. “They appear to have fraternized with cartel members, accepted lavish gifts, and paid for prostitutes with no concern for the negative repercussions or security vulnerabilities they created.”

Other Stories of Interest


3 Columbians Who Helped Kidnap, Murder FBI Agent sentenced to 20+ Years

James Terry Watson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three Columbian nationals who participated in the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson in Bogota, Columbia, on June 20, 2013, were sentenced to 20 to 27 years.

The defendants had previously entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person, the Latin American Herald Tribune .

Héctor Leonardo López, 34, Julio Estiven Gracia Ramírez, 32, and Andrés Álvaro Oviedo García, 22, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person. Today, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced López to 25 years, Gracia Ramírez to 27 years, and Oviedo García to 20 years.

The defendants admitted they lured victims, including Watson, into taxis, kidnapping and mugging them.

On June 20, Watson was attacked with a knife and stun gun while in the back of the cab. He managed to escape but died from his injuries.

“Throughout his law enforcement career, Special Agent Watson’s service was both selfless and courageous,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “With this action, we continue our work to hold accountable those who were responsible for his murder. In the weeks ahead, we expect to take additional steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. And in all that we do, our nation’s Department of Justice will continue to honor Special Agent Watson’s sacrifice, to safeguard the nation he served, and to protect the values and principles he defended all his life.”

 

Colombian National Pleads Guilty in DEA Agent’s Slaying in Bogota

James Terry Watson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Colombian national pleaded guilty in the slaying of DEA Agent James “Terry” Watson, who was stabbed to death in Columbia, the Associated Press reports.

Julio Estiven Garcia Ramiez, one of seven Colombians extradited to the U.S. for charges connected to the murder of the 43-year-old agent, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person.

Ramirez was in federal court in Alexandria, where he will be sentenced Dec. 5.

Authorities say Watson was in Columbia when the defendants posed as taxi drivers in an attempt to rob him.

Other Stories of Interest


Secret Service Agents to Return to Columbia After Agency Rocked by Prostitution Scandal in 2012

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents are expected to be on their best behavior this time.

Two years after the infamous prostitution scandal rocked the Secret Service, agents are returning to Columbia where Vice President Biden is expected to travel during the week of June 16, the Daily Caller reports.

“In Colombia, the Vice President will meet with President Santos to follow-up on the bilateral and regional prosperity and security agenda,” the White House said.

In 2012, up to 12 agents were implicated in the scandal, bring back prostitutes while the president was preparing for the Sixth Summit of the Americas.

Since then, the Secret Service implemented new rules and dismissed numerous agents.