Law Enforcement: Revelation of Major Sleaze Among "Operation Lively Green" Informants, Cover-Up by FBI Agent 6/30/06

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http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/442/livelygreen.shtml

"Operation Lively Green," the federal sting operation aimed at military and law enforcement personnel in the Southwest who cooperated with supposed drug traffickers, has been providing grist for our Corrupt Cops feature for months. At least 46 cops, prison guards, and soldiers have pleaded guilty or been convicted so far in various schemes to help cocaine traffickers get their loads from the border to cities like Las Vegas.

It was a dalliance in Las Vegas that made the news this week, though, as the Arizona Republic published a sensational report revealing that an FBI agent was thrown off the case by federal prosecutors after he and other investigators neglected to tell them their informants had behaved badly on a visit there, including sexually abusing an unconscious prostitute. Based on federal documents given to a defense attorney as part of pretrial disclosure in a Lively Green case, the report tells a tawdry tale indeed.

According to the disclosure, on October 16, 2002, an FBI informant and 11 suspected traffickers delivered 132 pounds of cocaine from Tucson to Las Vegas, and the FBI paid for a presidential suite at the MGM Grand Hotel, where three informers partied down with the traffickers. Although their FBI handlers had warned them not to engage in any criminal acts, they joined six suspects in hiring prostitutes "to perform various sex acts with each other and themselves." Prostitution is illegal in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.

And then comes the real sleaze: "In addition," the disclosure said, "another woman who was heavily intoxicated had possibly passed out and the CI (confidential informer) and others engaged in sexual acts with her, after which time the CI and others masturbated over her, spat on her and took photographs of themselves with her in sexually explicit positions."

While the suite was not under FBI surveillance, the following day agents recorded conversations among those involved that revealed detailed comments about the party, but FBI reports to prosecutors did not reveal the incident. When directly asked by a prosecutor about what happened at the hotel, the FBI agent in charge said only that the informants had hired hookers. It was not until March 2004 that one of the informers told prosecutors what had happened.

The FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility began an investigation and concluded that the agent had told -- or at least, hinted strongly to -- the informant to get rid of the incriminating photos. The agent said he did not tell the informant to destroy the photos, but acknowledged saying he "did not want to see them again." As a result of the internal investigation, the agent was "removed from any other involvement" in Lively Green, according to the disclosure.

The perverse misbehavior of the FBI's informants and the FBI agent's dereliction of duty in covering it up will not affect any of the Lively Green cases or convictions. But it does show that in the drug war, there is plenty of depravity to go around.

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Issue #442 -- 6/30/06

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Feature: Reefer Madness from the United Nations on International Anti-Drug Day | Feature: Summer Music Festival Season is Here, and So Are Police Checkpoints -- Know Your Rights! | Follow-Up: Medical Marijuana Gains Support in Congress -- Slightly -- Some Surprises | DRCNet Book Review: Race to Incarcerate, Revised Edition," by Marc Mauer (2006, The New Press, $15.95 PB) | "Scoops" in Drug War Chronicle Last Week | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Law Enforcement: Revelation of Major Sleaze Among "Operation Lively Green" Informants, Cover-Up by FBI Agent | Newsbrief: California Legislature Votes to Gut Prop. 36 -- Court Challenge Imminent | Harm Reduction: Responding to Wave of Fentanyl Overdose Deaths, Senator Durbin Proposes OD Prevention Bill | Hemp: California Industrial Hemp Bill Wins Another Committee Vote | Europe: Italian Ministers Announce Drug Law Revisions | Southwest Asia: Iranian Official Says Country Could Ignore Drug Traffickers if UN Doesn't Up Anti-Drug Aid | Web Scan: Government Waste, Len Bias Legacy, World Drug Report, Zogby Poll, John Stossel, Steph Sherer, Nathan Riley | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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