• Costa Rica Real Estate

Embattled DEA chief to resign following ‘sex parties’ scandal

April 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The head of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is stepping down in mid-May, following revelations about “sex parties” involving prostitutes overseas and other misconduct among its agents.

Michele Leonhart, who has served at the helm of the DEA since 2007, has come under heavy criticism on Capitol Hill since an inspector general report last month documented a series of episodes in which agents hired prostitutes. Agents were also found to have had sex parties with some women hired by Colombian drug cartels.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Leonhart’s pending departure in a statement Tuesday in which he noted she was the first woman at the agency to reach the rank of special agent in charge. “She was a trailblazer for equality,” he said.

Holder made no mention of the recent controversies over the DEA and said Leonhart had informed him she would be retiring.

“Over the past decade, under her leadership, there have been innumerable instances of the DEA dismantling the most violent and most significant drug trafficking organizations and holding accountable the largest drug kingpins around the world,” he said.

Both the White House and Congress had signaled their frustrations with the DEA in recent weeks.

Speaking before the announcement that Leonhart would be stepping down, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration continued to “have concerns” about issues cited in the inspector general report. The White House had repeatedly declined opportunities to express confidence in Leonhart.

“The president, as you know, maintains a very high standard for anybody who serves in his administration, particularly when it comes to law enforcement officials,” Earnest said Tuesday. “And the I.G. report raised serious concerns about that conduct.”

Leonhart testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last Wednesday, telling lawmakers that the “activity” described in the inspector general report “has not and will not be tolerated.”

Afterward, however, the panel announced it had lost confidence in her ability to lead the agency.

On Tuesday, leaders of the committee called her departure appropriate in light of the controversy.

“With the opportunity now for fresh leadership, we are hopeful that the DEA can restore itself to an agency of distinction and excellence,” said Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman and ranking member, respectively.

The Justice Department inspector general report focused on cases from 2009 to 2012 but also cited complaints dating back to 2005.

At last week’s hearing, the committee released a summary of a separate report prepared by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility that found agents were having sex parties with prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug cartels as early as 2001.

The report described “literally dozens” of such parties at residences paid for with U.S. government funds, Cummings said.

The reports by the inspector general and DEA show that the agents who attended the parties received suspensions of two to 10 days, a penalty that Chaffetz said reflected an “unacceptable” lack of accountability.

Mark Berman contributed to this report.

© 2015, The Washington Post

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Curaç-ow: Costa Rica scoreless in 0-0 draw against island country
La Sele
9 views
La Sele
9 views

Curaç-ow: Costa Rica scoreless in 0-0 draw against island country

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 13, 2019

Costa Rica's men's national soccer team tied Curaçao, 0-0, on Sunday night at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Alajuela. The…

Pic of the Day: White-throated magpie-jay
Birds
15 views
Birds
15 views

Pic of the Day: White-throated magpie-jay

The Tico Times - October 13, 2019

The white-throated magpie-jay does not conceal itself well. Highlighted in contrasting blue and white, with a notably long tail and…

Slothy Sunday: Only one week until International Sloth Day!
Sloth Sundays
35 views
Sloth Sundays
35 views

Slothy Sunday: Only one week until International Sloth Day!

Toucan Rescue Ranch - October 13, 2019

To get you excited for the best athletic event of the year, Toucan Rescue Ranch is here with the best…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!