DHS agent accused of working with Colombian drug traffickers

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent has been charged with aiding Colombian drug traffickers.

Special Agent Christopher V. Ciccione II, 52, and two Colombian nationals were charged by a federal grand jury in Florida with conspiracy, corruption and obstruction of justice. Ciccione allegedly participated in a bribery scheme that resulted in charges being dismissed against one of the Colombians.

Ciccione “was the case agent for Operation Cornerstone, a large-scale Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force case that resulted in indictments of Colombia-based cocaine traffickers from the Cali Cartel, including Jose Piedrahita Ceballos, a Colombian national,” according to a Department of Justice news release.

“The indictment alleges that Piedrahita gave benefits to Ciccione in exchange for official acts that resulted in the dismissal of the indictment against Piedrahita. Juan Carlos Velasco, also a Colombian national, served as the intermediary between Ciccione and Piedrahita. Ciccione ultimately succeeded in getting the Cornerstone indictment dismissed against Piedrahita in exchange for approximately $20,000 in cash, dinner, drinks and prostitution.”

Ciccione also allegedly falsified Department of Homeland Security records “to represent to decision makers that Piedrahita was ‘unidentified’ and that his case should be dismissed because ‘all investigative efforts’ were ‘exhausted.’ In addition, Ciccione falsified the concurrence of several other federal agents and even attempted to parole Piedrahita into the U.S.”

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility, DHS IG and the FBI.

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