A DEA spokeswoman said Irizarry resigned from the agency after he was recalled from Colombia to Washington in 2017 but declined further comment. He hosted raucous yacht parties with bikini-clad prostitutes, which fellow agents and at least one supervisor attended against DEA policy, according to an official, who went to one such party. Gomez-Irizarry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Among the missteps was an $87,000 wire transfer destined for a trafficker in Cali that mysteriously went missing. Irizarry and his wife face prison time when they are sentenced at a later date. Sometimes the funds were used to purchase electronics, textiles and other goods that were exported to Colombia for resale in pesos, which were used to pay the traffickers. Agencies | It is unknown where the 44-year-old Irizarry is living, or whether he has been charged in the ongoing criminal probe. Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted. “In a shocking breach of the public’s trust, former DEA Special Agent Jose Irizarry, together with his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, abused his position by illegally diverting millions of dollars in drug proceeds from undercover operations to personally benefit themselves,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a news release. Authorities believe Marin is Colombia's contraband king, importing shipping containers full of electronics and textiles with drug dollars that wind up being sold at flea markets featuring contraband goods at a steep discount. In 2010, Irizarry declared bankruptcy with debts of almost $500,000, but he was nevertheless permitted to handle financial transactions in his role at the DEA. Milestones | Given the huge sums laundered every day, his unsuspecting criminal clients chalked up the losses to a cat-and-mouse game with the feds. Repeated messages seeking comment left on a cellphone number the law enforcement officials said belongs to Irizarry were not returned. When word of the scandal reached Washington that year, the FBI and Justice Department dispatched investigators to Colombia to conduct criminal and internal inquiries, fearing that it could backfire on the DEA's ability to keep the trust of sources in the criminal underworld, the law enforcement officials said. The case raises new questions about the DEA's screening practices in its hiring of special agents. A DEA special agent and his wife pleaded guilty Monday to a combined 19 charges as part of a seven-year scheme in which they diverted more than $9 million from undercover money laundering investigations and bought luxury cars, jewelry, and a home. Irizarry didn't know the trafficker was an informant for the Miami-Dade money-laundering strike force, which complained to the Justice Department, leading to Yabrudi's arrest last year. He traveled first-class to Europe sporting Louis Vuitton luggage and a gold Hublot watch, one official said. By JOSHUA GOODMAN and JIM MUSTIAN, Associated Press, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. "He was the superstar everyone wanted to be," one former law enforcement official said. Tags: Columbia, DEA, drug cartels, drug traffickers, Jose Ismael Irizarry, money launderingComments: none. The money was deposited into bank accounts controlled by Jose Ismael Irizarry, 46, his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, 36, and other co-conspirators. Irizarry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, and aggravated identity theft. Unlike most agents earning a government salary on temporary assignment, Irizarry bought a home and Land Rover in Cartagena. “Sworn law enforcement agents are entrusted with great responsibility, and the department will hold accountable those who exploit their positions to profit from public corruption.”. Attorneys, National Association of Former U.S. Investigators are also examining whether Irizarry's marriage into the mafia was driving his off-the-chart arrest and seizure numbers, the law enforcement officials said. At no point in the bankruptcy proceedings did he disclose any of the illicit income to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. At times, Irizarry fabricated DEA seizure orders or letters from banks in order to pocket some of the money, the law enforcement officials said. A once standout Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Jose Irizarry is accused of conspiring with a longtime DEA informant to launder more … Irizarry's undoing came when he was caught stealing from police informants and interfering in legitimate law-enforcement actions. But unbeknownst to his bosses, Irizarry and Yabrudi, his long-time informant, allegedly opened a bank account where they directed deposits from a growing network of criminal contacts looking to repatriate drug proceeds to Colombia, the officials said. Mobile Site Some of the details emerged in a federal case in Tampa, Florida, in which a former DEA informant, Gustavo Yabrudi, a dual Venezuelan-American citizen, recently pleaded guilty to money laundering. Yabrudi, in pleading guilty, admitted he withdrew cash from the account and gave payments to his unnamed DEA co-conspirator — Irizarry, the officials said — and accounts he controlled. Chad Van Horn, a Miami attorney who represented Irizarry in a bankruptcy case, said he had no comment and could provide no assistance in efforts to reach him. They used some of the laundered money to buy a Tiffany diamond ring, a $135,000 Land Rover and a home in Cartagena. Marin was arrested in 1993 for allegedly hiding dope money for the Cali cartel in Colombia-bound home appliances. The FBI busted Jose Irizarry and his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, on Friday at their San Juan, Puerto Rico, home, a law-enforcement source familiar with the case told the Associated Press. They said Yabrudi knew that the funds were illegal drug proceeds and that his co-conspirator had been "acting outside the scope of his authority" as a DEA agent. Irizarry also adopted the ostentatious tastes of the drug traffickers he was tasked with targeting. The conspiracy not only allegedly enriched Irizarry but is believed to have benefited one of South America's top money launderers, who is a relative of Irizarry's Colombian wife, said the officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the federal investigation. Advertise | The money was deposited into bank accounts controlled by Jose Ismael Irizarry, 46, his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, 36, and other co-conspirators. Home | MIAMI — A U.S. federal narcotics agent known for his expensive tastes and high-profile drug seizures has been implicated in a multimillion-dollar money-laundering conspiracy that involved the very cartel criminals he was charged with fighting in Colombia. The DEA banned such gatherings in the wake of the 2015 "sex parties" scandal in Colombia that prompted the retirement of the DEA's administrator at the time. “This former federal agent turned his back on the people he swore to protect and caved to greed and deceit,” Special Agent in Charge Michael F. McPherson of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office said. His second wife, Nathalia Gomez, is related to Diego Marin, who U.S. and Colombian officials describe as one of the top money-laundering suspects in the country over the past decade. Digital access or digital and print delivery. Based out of Miami, he won special permission to set up an undercover operation to send money and ship contraband merchandise to Colombia on behalf of suspected drug traffickers using front companies, shell bank accounts and couriers. Jobs | Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Assoc. Yabrudi's lawyer, Leonardo Concepcion, declined to comment about the case but described it case as "involving serious corruption by a DEA agent.". His investigations led to scores of drug arrests, earning him an early-career transfer to a coveted foreign posting in the Colombian resort city of Cartagena, where his successes continued. The division has seen internal strife and turnover in leadership even as it grapples with record-high levels of cocaine production. They used some of the laundered money to buy a Tiffany diamond ring, a $135,000 Land Rover and a home in Cartagena. Before he was exposed, Irizarry had been a model agent, the law enforcement officials said, winning praise from his supervisors. Jose Irizarry and his wife were arrested Friday at their home near San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a 19-count federal indictment that accused the 46-year-old Irizarry of “secretly using his position and his special access to information” to divert millions in drug proceeds from control of …