Court jails drug baron who bribed investigator with prostitutes, cash, drinks - Thewatchnews: Nigeria #1 Online Newspaper

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Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Court jails drug baron who bribed investigator with prostitutes, cash, drinks

A drug trafficker who bribed a former U.S. federal agent with cash, drinks and prostitutes to avoid arrest has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.

The federal agent also got three-year jail for assisting the suspect.

The Department of Justice said 60-year-old Colombian cocaine trafficker, Jose Bayron Piedrahita-Ceballos, a member of the Cali Cartel, bribed 54-year-old Christopher Ciccione II in order to have a drug trafficking indictment dismissed and to obtain official authorisation to enter the U.S, a press release by the Department of Justice stated.

“Ciccione, a former special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, was then the case agent for a large-scale operation that resulted in the indictments of over 100 cocaine traffickers from the Medellin-based Cartel,” Fox News has reported.

The press release added that, Piedrahita-Ceballos and an accomplice, Juan Carlos Velasco, 51, gave Ciccione approximately $20,000 in cash, dinner, drinks and prostitution during an extended hotel stay in Bogota in exchange for the dismissal.

Velasco reportedly served as an intermediary between Piedrahita-Ceballos and Ciccione. The events took place in late 2010 and early 2011.

As part of his efforts to help Piedrahita-Ceballos, Ciccione misled the U.S. Attorney’s Office, HIS management, and altered records to secure the dismissal.

He also falsified the concurrence of other federal agents and attempted to obtain entry for Piedrahita-Ceballos into the U.S., the DOJ said.

Piedrahita-Ceballos pleaded guilty to bribery in May. His 27-month prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release in the Southern District of Florida, court ruled.

Velasco and Ciccione have already pleaded guilty to their role in the matter.

Ciccione was sentenced to three-year jail; while Velasco got 27 months in prison.

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