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U.S. intelligence operative arraigned for bribery, stealing drug money

An intelligence operative used his position at SOUTHCOM (U.S. Southern Command) to enrich himself.
An intelligence operative used his position at SOUTHCOM (U.S. Southern Command) to enrich himself.

A United States intelligence specialist assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency's office with U.S. Southern Command was arraigned on Friday in federal court in Miami, Fla., and is charged with bribery, extortion and other criminal activity involving alleged drug money.

Special agents with the FBI had arrested Jose Emmanuel Torres in February after he received an Army duffel bag from a confidential informant that he believed contained $250,000 in drug-related U.S. currency.

Torres was a part of a Marine Corps intelligence unit that gathered information on alleged drug gangs and terrorist groups.

The FBI claims the 37-year-old Marine gunnery sergeant threatened the confidential informant (CI) with arrest for immigration violations if the informant failed to pay Torres $10,000.00. Following Torres' threat and ultimatum, the informant, whose identity is being kept confidential, notified the FBI about Torres.

With the help of the informant, who wore an electronic eavesdropping device, FBI agents recorded conversations between Torres and the informant. The agents also intercepted electronic messages and then later planned and implemented the "money exchange" between Torres and the informant.

In another case involving Torres, the intelligence specialist caused a "hacker" to gain access to a government computer and obtain information from the NADDIS database (Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Information System) that's used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The goal was to commit a theft of a half-million dollars in seized drug money.

If convicted of all charges, Torres faces a maximum term of 40-years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 or three times the money he received which ever is greater.

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