US & Canada

US drug agents 'went to sex parties funded by cartels' - report

US Drug Enforcement Administration Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Justice Department report found the DEA was slow to investigate misconduct within its ranks

US drug enforcement agents attended sex parties funded by drug cartels, a new report has alleged.

Released on Thursday, the federal report details a number of cases of inappropriate behaviour at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal law enforcement agencies.

It found that some allegations were not fully investigated or went unreported.

The report also highlighted communication lapses and potential security breaches at the agencies.

One section of the report details that DEA agents attended sex parties with prostitutes in a foreign county.

The report did not disclose where the parties took place, but a federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press the parties occurred in Colombia.

According to the report, the parties were held at government-leased quarters where agents' phones and laptops were present.

But DEA investigators at the time did not report the allegations because they "did not believe that the special agents' conduct rose to the level of a security risk requiring a referral".

Other allegations

Several agents were also provided with money, expensive gifts and weapons, the report said.

The seven agents who admitted to attending the sex parties were given suspensions ranging from two to 10 days. One was cleared of wrongdoing.

One DEA official told investigators: "Prostitution is considered part of the local culture and is tolerated in certain areas called 'tolerance zones'."

The investigation was spurred by Congress after reports surfaced in 2012 that Secret Service agents had hired prostitutes while protecting the president during a summit in Colombia.

Other allegations included unwanted advances, sex between training instructors and students, and relationships between a supervisor and subordinate.

The federal agencies investigated from 2009 to 2012 include the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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