Columbian Drug Lord Bribes Federal Agent with Cash, Sex
After succumbing to bribes from Columbian drug lord, Jose Bayron Piedrahita, a former federal agent in Miami persuaded federal prosecutors to dismiss Piedrahita from indictment in one of the largest drug smuggling cases in U.S. history.
Christopher V. Ciccione II, 52, a veteran agent with Homeland Security Investigations, received around $20,000 in cash bribes from Piedrahita, as well as dinner, drinks, and the company of prostitutes during his extended stay in Bogota, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Deploying a web of lies, Ciccione persuaded federal prosecutors in Miami to dismiss Piedrahita from an indictment six years ago that initially charged about 100 members of the powerful Cali cartel in 1993, according to new corruption charges, reports the Miami Herald.
Ciccione pled guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for securing the dismissal of a drug trafficking indictment filed against Colombian cocaine trafficker, Piedrahita, and obtaining official authorization for Piedrahita and his family to enter the United States.
After resigning as a federal agent, Ciccione arrested in Philadelphia last month and released on a $25,000 bond.
“Chris is prepared to confront the allegations against him,” said his defense attorney, Marc Seitles. “He has worked his entire professional career in law enforcement and continues to have the support of his family and friends.”
Ciccione also admitted that in furtherance of this scheme to obstruct justice, he misled the U.S. Attorney’s Office and HSI management and altered law enforcement records to represent to decision makers that Piedrahita was a “former” suspect of a closed investigation, rather than a “current” subject, who was “never positively identified” and that his case should be dismissed— all while maintaining contact with Piedrahita. Ciccone also falsified the concurrence of several other federal agents and attempted to parole Piedrahita into the United States, according to the DOJ statement.
Ciccione will be sentenced on Feb. 9, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. of the Southern District of Florida. Piedrahita is currently incarcerated in the Republic of Colombia.
Posted in The Takedown
Tags: bribery scheme, DOJ, drug smuggling, bribery payments, drug bust, drug cartels, HSI