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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ex-Immigration Agent Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine

Ex-immigration agent accused of cocaine smuggling
The Associated Press - September 4, 2009

A former high-ranking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who was stationed in Mexico before retiring in 2007 was arrested Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. Richard Padilla Cramer was arrested at his home in Green Valley, Ariz., 25 miles south of Tucson, and appeared before a federal judge, who denied bail. No one answered the phone at Cramer's home Friday and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer. The charges stem from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency investigation dating back to 2006. Authorities say Cramer helped a large-scale drug trafficking organization move cocaine into the United States, according to a criminal complaint made public Friday. The complaint says that Cramer provided members of a drug smuggling organization with information from confidential law enforcement databases that told them whether one of their members was a government informant. The complaint also says Cramer and the smuggling organization invested about $400,000 in a 660-pound shipment of cocaine. The cocaine was shipped from Panama and went through the U.S. en route to Spain, where it was seized in June 2007. An informant told DEA agents that Cramer had "very powerful friends" among DEA agents in Mexico and a strong relationship with one particular member of the smuggling organization, according to the complaint.

The complaint also says that during an August 2007 meeting, a member of the smuggling organization convinced Cramer to retire from ICE and begin working directly for the organization in drug smuggling and money laundering. The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, where federal prosecutors say the majority of the acts occurred. Authorities say Cramer will be extradited to Florida. Cramer was the former resident agent in charge of the ICE office in Nogales in southern Arizona, according to agency spokesman Vincent Picard, who did not know how long Cramer worked there or how many agents he oversaw. "It's a criminal complaint, not a conviction," Picard said. An Associated Press investigation recently found that U.S. law officers who work the border are being charged with criminal corruption in numbers not seen before, as drug and immigrant smugglers use money and sometimes sex to buy protection, and internal investigators crack down. Based on Freedom of Information Act requests, interviews with sentenced agents and a review of court records, the AP tallied corruption-related convictions against more than 80 enforcement officials at all levels - federal, state and local - since 2007 It's unclear if any of them ranked as high as Cramer, and Picard said his agency did not have that information.


Anonymous said...

Why is the Arizona ICE's spokesperson Vincent Picard sounds more like he is defending Richard Cramer. Try reading all questions answered by Picard regarding Cramer...according to Picard, ICE does not keep information on this or that. Is this guy Picard thinks that we all are stupid? Matthew Allen, the current Arizona ICE SAC had no comment when asked about Carmer. Of course he has a ton of information. You see, the problem is that Allen used to work for Cramer. Also, if Cramer was under DEA investigation, why was he kept getting promoted and relocated to high coveted positions. Early this year another ICE top manager was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in a federal pen on bribery and corruption charges. Chavez and Cramer worked in Arizona as internal affairs investigators. Arizona like Texas and the rest of the country need to abolish DHS, ICE, CBP, USCIS....corruption is like cancer spreads....the problem is that our leaders and the people who are in charge of these federal agencies are bad people..corrupted.

JT Williams said...

I love this blog--keep up the good work! This case is very interesting. The article is only six weeks old, and I can't find any further developments under a Google news search. It is one of the many indicators that the war on drugs is a fraud. The people loose their freedoms, the big bankers launder the money, the jails get filled, and the bureaucrats and law enforcement take their cut. It always seems those who play ball like this get promoted. Now with the intelligence agencies running the coke out of Columbia and the smack out of Afghanistan, THEY have a near monopoly on the drug trade. Too bad its our kids who end up dead and in jail!