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Miami court convicts former federal agent for helping cocaine trafficker
Published On: 02-16-2018 in Category: Cocaine
A Miami federal court on Feb. 9, 2018, sentenced a former Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent to three years in jail for accepting bribes in exchange for getting charges against a Colombian cocaine smuggler dismissed. According to a Department of Justice press release, Christopher Ciccione II of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced for misusing his office to dismiss drug trafficking charges against trafficker Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos whom he met in Bogota in December 2010.
According to the plea agreement, Piedrahita bribed Ciccione with about $20,000 in cash, alcohol and prostitutes in exchange for making fraudulent misrepresentations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and HSI management, and modifying records to protect him and his accomplices from legal implications.
“Christopher Ciccione abused his law enforcement authority for personal profit…His actions not only comprised an ongoing investigation and nearly allowed a dangerous drug kingpin to escape justice, but they also betrayed the public trust placed in him to carry out his sworn duties with integrity,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Piedrahita as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker conforming to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act on May 3, 2016.
What stemmed in the early seventies as a petty smuggling activity is now a gigantic global cocaine empire in Colombia. Some of the world’s most dangerous yet pioneering cocaine trafficking organizations operate an extensive network in Colombia. Most cocaine traffickers today have surplus finances to invest in modern contraband equipment to secretly ship monumental amounts of the drug to the U.S. As a part of their modus operandi, cocaine cartels generally ship large drug loads from Colombia to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala or other intermediary points in Mexico, from where they are sneaked into the U.S.
Cocaine is a deadly drug
Studies suggest that after marijuana, cocaine is popular among middle and upper social classes, irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity and professional backgrounds. After 2006, the maximum fatal overdoses involving cocaine were reported in 2015. While America’s war against drugs has principally focused on the current heroin and opioid crisis, more skeletons in the closet are now coming out. It is evident that the re-entry of cocaine in the U.S. drug markets is fueled by a rising demand nationwide. Media reports show that after decades of vigilant control, since 2013, Colombia’s illegal coca crop is beginning to reappear on American streets. Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia are the largest cocaine producers in the world, with the U.S. being the biggest consumer of their produce.
Innumerable individuals fall prey to addiction more quickly than they might ever realize. The only way to break free from the clutches of cocaine or any other addictive substance is to undergo a specialized detoxification and rehab program to combat the life-wrecking effects of the drug.
Leading a drug-free life
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to cocaine or any other drug, seek treatment immediately. The Miami Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you get one of the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 305-615-2028 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.