A month after the Secret Service was rocked by allegations that agents brought prostitutes to a Colombia hotel where they were preparing for a visit by President Obama, the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced that at least three of its agents are also under investigation for allegedly hiring prostitutes in Cartagena.
Two of the agents allegedly had encounters with masseuses in the apartment of one of the agents, according to Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"It's disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency," the Maine Republican said this evening. "In addition to the Secret Service scandal, we now learn that at least two DEA agents apparently entertained female foreign national masseuses in the Cartagena apartment of one of the agents. The evidence uncovered thus far indicates that this likely was not just a one-time incident."
The revelations that Secret Service personnel had been drinking heavily and cavorting with prostitutes ahead of Obama's trip to Colombia last month overshadowed the president's trip to the Summit of the Americas. Twelve members of the military were also investgated for allegedly hiring prostitutes.
Eight of the 12 Secret Service employees implicated in the scandal lost their jobs, another is in the process of losing his security clearances, and three agents were cleared of serious misconduct but still could be disciplined. The military has completed its investigation but no disciplinary action has been carried out.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration was provided information from the Secret Service unrelated to the Cartagena hotel Secret Service incident, which DEA immediately followed up on, making DEA employees available to be interviewed by the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General," a DEA spokesperson said in a statement.
"DEA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will take appropriate personnel action, if warranted, upon the conclusion of the OIG investigation." the statement said.
A spokesman for the OIG said the DEA is cooperating in the investigation, which is being coordinated with the Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, and the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.
The DEA has agents posted in Colombia to work on counter-narcotic and drug interdiction missions with Colombian authorities. According to officials the agents were among those assigned in Colombia, they were not specifically working on the President's trip.
The revelations about the DEA agents comes ahead of a hearing scheduled on Wednesday with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.