37-year-old Jose Emmanuel Torres, a now-former Department of Defense (DoD) analyst of Miami, Florida, is accused of conducting a bribery scheme that involved accepting cash from an illegal immigrant in order to help that individual stay inside the U.S.
Specifically, Torres is charged with two counts; federal bribery, exceeding authorized access to a government computer, and extortion, according to court documents obtained by Breitbart Texas.
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas Contributing Editor, said, “We often hear about US law enforcement officers involved in counter-narcotics investigations falling prey to the lure of big drug money, especially along our southwest border. But Torres wasn’t being blackmailed; perhaps he had large debts to pay or was simply greedy, but he was the initiator.”
A criminal complaint stated that Torres held his position at the DoD, in the Defense Intelligent Agency (DIA), from January 2012 through December 2013. “As part of his official duties with the DIA, Torres worked with agents from the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Agency collecting intelligence regarding persons who were allegedly involved in terrorism and trafficking,” the complaint said.
Court documents state that an individual, only referred to as “CW,” was an illegal immigrant cooperating with officials. As he provided Torres and other agents with drug trafficking and terrorism information, this particular individual was attempting to gain legal residence in the U.S.
“While CW was out on bond [for immigration violations], Torres met CW on several occasions attempting to obtain information regarding persons allegedly involved in drug trafficking and terrorism,” the complaint stated. In April 2012, Torres allegedly went to the residence of CW unannounced; no officials were informed of this visit. During that meeting, Torres allegedly asked CW for a $5,000 loan. CW declined, saying that he did not have enough money due to legal bills.
Over one year later, in August 2013, CW was released on bond once again. Torres met with him on several occasions thereafter; again, no officials were informed of this meeting.
In September 2013, Torres allegedly asked CW for $10,000. “When Torres asked for the money, he continued to discuss the pending Federal immigration case against CW,” the complaint said. “CW understood Torres to be asking him for money, or he would use his influence with ICE to have CW arrested again.”
CW subsequently contacted the DEA and reported what Torres had asked of him. He also presented agents with several conversations between he and Torres that were sent using the messaging app called “WhatsApp.”
In the messages, Torres outright asked for $10,000 several times. One of the messages sent from Torres said, “Brother, if you can help me with this, I promise that you will not go to jail even if I have to put my neck on the line.”
Officers provided CW with recording devices and captured a November 2013 meeting in which Torres provided CW with $6,000 cash.
Subsequent to that payment, Torres planned a $500,000 theft of drug proceeds with CW and several others. During these communications, CW was wired by the FBI.
On January 31, 2014, CW told Torres to meet him so that he could be provided with a portion of the “stolen” $500,000. CW was “provided with a black duffle bag containing $235,000 in United States currency. The currency and the duffle bag were photographed by the FBI for evidentiary purposes prior to being provided to CW,” the complaint stated. ” That day the pair allegedly met in a Bass Pro Shops parking lot, where “CW was observed providing Torres with the duffle bag containing Torres’ share of the allegedly seized drug profits.”
Breitbart Texas’ Longmire said of the case, “What’s most disturbing about this case is that Torres intentionally sought out the $10,000 from CW, which makes it more a case of extortion than bribery. Unfortunately, this highlights the fact that despite numerous security checks being run on DoD employees, some bad people manage to slip through the cracks or manage to cause a good bit of internal damage before they’re discovered. Corruption related to drug trafficking is present everywhere and at all levels of local, state, and federal government, and our agencies need to remain constantly vigilant of its spread.”
Breitbart Texas has been closely following the case of another public official who fell prey to drug money: Lupe Trevino, the former sheriff of Hidalgo County in south Texas pled guilty to money laundering on April 14. The plea came only 17 days after Trevino stepped down from his position.
Trevino, with the help of his Chief of Staff Maria Patricia Medina, attempted to cover up campaign contributions paid in cash by a convicted drug trafficker. The total amount of contributions was reportedly between $70,000 and $120,000.
Follow Kristin on twitter @KristinBTate.