Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2019
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: south america

Inspector General Clears DEA Official of Anonymous Allegations in South America

Richard Dobrich (DEA photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Office of Inspector General has officially cleared DEA official Richard Dobrich of wrongdoing. He retired in October as the Senior Executive Service Regional Director of DEA’s Andean Region (Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela).

The ordeal began when the DEA received an anonymous complaint in August alleging Dobrich directed Colombian drivers working for the U.S. Embassy in Bogota “to procure sex workers.” The Associated Press subsequently reported on the allegation.

A Dec. 7 letter obtained by ticklethewire.com from the DEA’s Principal Deputy Administrator Preston L. Grubbs to Dobrich stated:

On August 28, 2018, OIG initiated this investigation in response to an anonymous letter received on August 22, 2018. The anonymous author alleged that you have violated DOJ policy. The OIG investigation revealed no evidence to support this allegation.

Because you have retired from federal service, I have returned the investigative file to OPR administrative closure. If you were still employed by DEA, I would have issued a Letter of Clearance.

Dobrich wrote a column in ticklethewire.com in October titled: “Cowardly Anonymity, False Accusations, Betrayal, Lost Leadership and Tabloid News.”

The column in part read:

Don’t confuse my situation with the current upheaval in D.C. Mine is not a battle between Red versus Blue, nor He Said versus She Said, nor Accuser versus Accused.

Mine is a story of absurd and unfounded allegations, official leaks, a leadership vacuum, and tabloid press from a supposedly responsible news organization.

I find myself as the subject of a now-debunked anonymous and maliciously false letter which was sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

I was accused of engaging in the Colombian sex trade, i.e., soliciting prostitutes while serving as the DEA Regional Director. More specifically, the allegation stated that I directed my local staff to assist me in this despicable conduct.

I was not accused of this phantom behavior by anyone involved in the sex trade – no victims have accused me of any such abhorrent behavior – and let me be clear here, I fully recognize that the sex industry in Colombia has nothing but victims – usually young women with severe economic hardships or deplorable histories of sexual abuse at home during their adolescence.

 

Column: DEA Agent’s Death a Reminder of Courage in a Dangerous World and the Good Work of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund

James Watson

 Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson had spent an enjoyable evening with friends at a Bogota restaurant watching Game 7 of the Heat-Spurs NBA Championship game. He was assigned to Cartagena but was in the Colombian capital as part of his duties.

Agent Watson knew how dangerous being in law enforcement could be but he had regularly volunteered for the most challenging assignments all over the globe. Like during one of his three deployments in Afghanistan for DEA in 2009 when he and Army Special Forces were under fire from 500 Taliban in the Farah Province. Or when he rappelled down 3,000 foot rock facings in the mountains near Pakistan to bomb heroin dens. He had also volunteered for difficult cases in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

A short distance from the Bogota restaurant Terry Watson was stabbed and ran a block before collapsing. Several assailants immediately fled the scene without taking any money or other property. He died en route to a medical clinic.

Bogota police have arrested six men for the murders, and the Justice Department has indicated its intention to seek extradition. The police have announced their conclusion that the murder was part of a random robbery, but others have doubts because of the circumstances of the assault and question whether Agent Watson’s successful investigations of high level drug traffickers in Colombia was the real motive behind murder.

At his memorial service on Wednesday at the Rayville, Louisiana, Richland Arts Center near where he had grown up in Holly Ridge, his family said, “Terry dedicated his life to serving the public and making the world a better and safer place. Terry never wasted a minute of his life and never took it for granted.”

Agent Watson had recently married Fadia Margarita de la Rosa Watson, whom he had met during his service in Colombia.

Another DEA agent who had also been assigned to Cartagena during his deployment there told me that he was constantly aware of the potential for violence during his term. No matter how careful an agent was, if he did his job, the cartels were always in the front part of his mind. Years later he remembers his time there as an ordeal that required him to always remain aware of surroundings. But he also knew that even this awareness was no guarantee that he would survive the assignment.

Earlier articles in this column have made plain my own position that responsibility for these deaths and violence, both to Americans and those in Central America, civilians and law enforcement, can be directly traced to America’s insatiable appetite for the drugs.

Read more »

Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice “Singing His Heart Out” to DEA on Corruption in Chavez Gov.

Eladio Aponte photo correodelorinoco.gob.ve

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

U.S. officials report a break-through in tackling drug trafficking from South America, according to the Associated Press.

A former Venezuelan Supreme Court justice Eladio Aponte may be seeking permanent refuge in the U.S. for himself and his family in exchange for evidence linking Venezuelan officials to drug trafficking and corruption, and linking Venezuela with Colombian rebel group FARC. His accusations could lead to “tougher U.S. action against purported drug trafficking networks” AP reports.

The former judge fled to the U.S. a month ago after being expelled from the court by the Venezuelan National Assembly for allegedly helping a drug trafficker. It remains to be seen if he’s seeking immunity for his participation in the drug trade, or simply wants protection for his family. If proven, Aponte’s accusations would discredit the anti-U.S. Chavez government and, most likely, illicit its wrath.

To read more click here.

 

Guatemalan Drug Enforcement Improves; DEA Standing in the Shadows

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Elio Lorenzana, on who’s head the U.S. government placed a $200,000 reward, was peacefully detained after a DEA-supported operation.

The lede of the story, on the website InSight (tagline: “Organized crime in the Americas”), reads: “Guatemala has now captured more top-level drug traffickers in the past two years than in the previous decade, no doubt thanks to pressure from the US.”

Elio Lorenzana was the youngest son of what the report called one of Guatemala’s most influential families–involed in both legitimate and illegitimate businesses, including narcotics running and drug trafficking.

The quiet arrest stands in contrast to five previous attempts, reports InSight; Guatemalan forces began pressuring the Lorenzana clan only after a US court indicted the family for drug trafficking in March of 2009.

The operation was part of a newly implemented strategy, wherein Guatemalan forces use less visible partnerships with the DEA, though the agency still plays a key advisory role.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Relations Warm, But Bolivia’s President Still Says No to DEA

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Three years after expelling US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg and the DEA, Bolivia’s populist president Evo Morales has made moves to warm ties with the US.

But not so fast for the DEA, says a report from the Associated Press.

Morales kicked US diplomats and law enforcement officias out of the country in 2008, but a new pact calls for “the restoration of ambassadors as soon as possible and close cooperation in counter narcotics, trade and development” the Associated Press reported, citing an anonymous US source.

But US drug agents are not welcome back, as a matter of “dignity and sovereignty,” according to the AP.

Before his election in 2005, Morales led a union of coca growers, farmers of the plant that cocaine is derived from, but of which the leaves are traditionally chewed as a coffee-like stimulant in Bolivian culture. He says he was “personally a victim” of US agents controlled by Bolivian military and police.

“For the first time since Bolivia was founded, the United States will now respect Bolivia’s rules” and laws, Morales said.

Bolivia is the No. 3 producer of cocaine, and drug officials say the narcotic’s production has increased since the DEA was expelled.

To read more click here.

ICE Busts 678 Gang Members and Associates in Massive Crackdown Involving 168 U.S. Cities


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday the arrests of 678 suspected gang members and associates, many with alleged ties to drug organizations around the world from Mexico to South America and Asia.

Dubbed “Project Southern Tempest”, ICE and and Homeland Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said investigators targeted 168 U.S. cities with gangs that had affiliations with drug trafficking organizations. More than 46 percent of those arrested were members or associates of gangs tied to the drug organizations, ICE said.

Authorities said the operation ran from December 2010 to February.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

“Through gang enforcement operations like Project Southern Tempest and Project Big Freeze last year, ICE will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” he said.

Authorities said there were 133 different gang affiliations and those arrested came from 24 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. ICE said the gangs were also involved in such crimes and robberies and murders.