(Reuters) U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents had alleged “sex parties” with prostitutes over several years, said a report published on Thursday and stemming from a review of allegations of misconduct by several DEA agents in Colombia.
The alleged parties were funded by local drug cartels, said the report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, an agency internal watchdog.
The report raised concerns about inadequate reporting of allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment by several law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Among the DEA allegations, 10 agents – an assistant regional director and nine special agents – had the alleged sex parties “at government-leased headquarters,” and three of the special agents “were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members,” according to the report.
After investigation, seven of the agents admitted attending the parties, and were suspended for between two and 10 days.
One special agent was cleared of all wrongdoing, the report said. None of the agents was named in the report.
The inspector general said it investigated allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct between October 2008 and September 2012. The Office of the Inspector General declined to confirm where the alleged “sex parties” took place.
The DEA declined to comment.
The report cited “repeated allegations of DEA Special Agents … patronizing prostitutes and frequenting a brothel while in an overseas posting.”
It came in the wake of a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012 that damaged the agency’s straitlaced reputation.
Where there was alleged high-risk sexual misdeeds, security agency personnel often were not told “until long after they occurred or were never informed, even though such behavior presents significant security risks,” the report said.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz called the allegations regarding the DEA agents “stunning” and urged action.
Inspectors also criticized the FBI and DEA for initially refusing to provide unredacted information requested, and then providing information that was “still incomplete.”
Department of Justice spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said the department is already working with the agencies “to ensure a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and misconduct is enforced and that incidents are properly reported.”