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Former DEA agent accused of helping drug traffickers

A former Drug Enforcement Administration agent has been indicted for providing information and assistance to drug traffickers in New York. The indictment, which was unsealed on Nov. 5, alleges that the former agent accepted bribes totaling more than $250,000 from organized crime figures in the Buffalo area between 2008 and 2017. He faces a raft of charges including obstruction of justice, providing false statements to law enforcement, accepting bribes and conspiracy. He was released from federal custody after posting a $250,000 bond and surrendering his passport.

Federal prosecutors say the former agent helped criminals to distribute about 1,000 kilograms of cocaine and marijuana by informing them about ongoing law enforcement investigations. The information he provided, which was allegedly passed during regular meetings, included the names of potential witnesses and confidential informants and details about police procedures and techniques. He is also accused of using his influence within the DEA to shut down investigations that may have implicated the criminals he was allegedly involved with.

The man, who was employed by the Erie County Sheriff's Office before joining the DEA in 1998, was transferred to Buffalo in 2001. He retired in February 2019. Before leaving the agency, prosecutors say he erased all of the data on his work phone and removed an official case file. The file was allegedly later discovered in his home. The former agent's attorney said in a statement that allegations do not amount to proof and his client is presumed innocent under the law.

Cases like this one sometimes present challenges to prosecutors because the key evidence is often provided by individuals who have been charged with serious federal crimes. When testimony that is being offered in return for significant sentence reductions is not corroborated by more compelling evidence, experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue that charges should be dismissed.

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