Fed authorities in Arizona have busted a special agent with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on charges that she illegally accessed, stole and transferred sensitive U.S. government documents to family members and associates with strong ties to drug trafficking organizations south of the border, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Jovana Samaniego Deas, 33, of Rio Rico, Ariz. was charged with computer fraud, theft of government records and making false statements/entries, authorities said. She made her initial court appearance Tuesday in Tucson federal court.
The indictment, which capped a two year investigation, was filed in Tucson federal court.
Authorities said Deas is accused of abusing her position as an HSI special agent to illegally obtain and disseminate government documents classified as “Official Use Only.”
“When it comes to our national security, blood is not thicker than water,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in a statement. “This defendant used and abused her position as a special agent to illegally help family members south of the border with ties to drug trafficking organizations. That is a violation of the public’s trust and a breach of our security that, thanks to this very thorough joint investigation, will have serious consequences.”
Deas became a U.S. government employee in June 2003 as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at a Nogales, Ariz., port of entry. In 2008, she became a special agent at the HSI Nogales office.
The two-year investigation of Deas was conducted by FBI and ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) agents at the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF).
SACTF agents were assisted y agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, HSI, the U.S. State Department’s Consular Integrity Division and the Brazilian Federal Police.