Intelligence Officer at Southern Command Charged with Accepting a Bribe and Helping Steal Drug Proceeds
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Jose Emmanuel Torres, 37, of Cooper City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore to 41 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $6,000. Torres previously pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with federal bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 201(b)(2)(A) and (B), and exceeding authorized access to a government computer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1030(a)(2)(B) and (c)(2)(B)(i) and (ii).
According to documents filed in court in this case, Torres was assigned to the Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency. His duties included collecting information regarding persons who are allegedly involved in terrorism and drug trafficking. During the course of his duties, Torres interviewed a confidential informant (CI) who was attempting to gain legal residence status in the United States and had provided Torres and other agents of the United States with information regarding persons involved in drug trafficking and terrorism. The CI had been periodically arrested on immigration violations. In August 2013, Torres told the CI that he had used his influence to have the person arrested on immigration charges. Torres asked the CI for $10,000. The CI understood that if he did not give Torres the money, Torres would use his influence to have the CI arrested again. The CI referred the matter to law enforcement and the FBI began recording text messages, telephone and Skype calls between Torres and the CI. In November 2013, the CI paid Torres $6,000 in order for Torres to use his influence to assist him with his immigration proceedings.
In or about mid-2013, Torres told the CI that he was looking to steal a delivery of drug money or identify a stash house where they could steal drug money. Torres caused another person to run a check of federal databases to determine if the persons who were to be assisting in the robbery were cooperating with the government. Torres used a “secret” e-mail account to send the information regarding the background of the persons who were allegedly assisting in the robbery. On January 29, 2014, Torres provided the CI a detailed four-page DEA seizure form dated January 31, 2014 that reflected a bulk cash seizure in the amount of $500,000. The CI requested the DEA seizure form in order to tell the owners of the money in Colombia that the money was seized. Torres was told that for providing the seizure receipt that Torres would receive $250,000 from the money stolen from the drug dealers. On January 31, 2014, Torres was called and the CI told Torres that he had stolen the drug proceeds and for Torres to meet him and get his portion of the stolen drug proceeds, which was $250,000. Torres met the person in a parking lot in Dania and was provided a duffel bag with $250,000.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer would also like to thank the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Secret Service for their assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.