A new chapter unfolds in the Colombia prostitution scandal involving Secret Service and U.S. military personnel. Members of the Drug Enforcement Administration are now also under investigation for separately hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, CBS News reports.
The new allegations against the DEA were revealed during an interview with a Secret Service agent who was being questioned about the prostitution investigation, according to the news outlet. A spokesman for the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General confirmed its investigators are looking into “allegations about potential misconduct” among DEA staff, but added the probe was unrelated to the Secret Service incident in Cartagena.
At least 12 Secret Service agents have been accused of bringing prostitutes to a hotel in Colombia while preparing for President Barack Obama’s Summit of the Americas visit last month. The allegations rocked the Secret Service, with several implicated agents losing their jobs or security clearance. Two DEA agents are now accused of allegedly entertaining female masseuses at one of the agent’s apartments, according to Sen. Susan Collins, the senior Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.
The DEA has officers stationed in Bogota and Cartagena to work on counter-narcotic and drug interdiction missions, according to ABC News; the Justice Department confirmed that those implicated in the new charges have been removed from the country. “It’s disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency,” Collins said in a statement. “The evidence uncovered thus far indicates that this likely was not just a one-time incident.”
DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said in a statement to CBS that the agents implicated were made immediately available to the Justice Department, and the two government agencies are working together on the investigation. “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.
The new allegations come just before Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan is expected to testify in a congressional hearing on the scandal Wednesday.