A once-standout US federal narcotics agent known for spending lavishly on luxury cars and Tiffany jewelry has been arrested on charges of conspiring to launder money with the same Colombian drug cartel he was supposed to be fighting, the AP reports. Jose Irizarry and his wife were arrested Friday at their home near San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a 19-count federal indictment that accused the 46-year-old Irizarry of "secretly using his position and his special access to information" to divert millions in drug proceeds from control of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "It's a black eye for the DEA to have one of its own engaged in such a high level of corruption," says a former DEA official. "He jeopardized investigations. He jeopardized other agents and he jeopardized informants."
Federal prosecutors in Tampa, Florida, allege the conspiracy not only enriched Irizarry but benefited two unindicted co-conspirators, neither of whom is named in the indictment. One was employed as a Colombian public official while the other was described as the head of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization who became the godfather to the Irizarry couple's children in 2015, when the DEA agent was posted to the Colombian resort city of Cartagena at the time. When the AP revealed the scale of Irizarry’s alleged wrongdoing last year, it sent shockwaves through the DEA, where his ostentatious habits and tales of raucous yacht parties with bikini-clad prostitutes were legendary among agents. Click for the full story. (Or look at the DEA's probe of a global fentanyl ring.)