Arrests of Alleged Corrupt Colombian Government Employee and Criminal Defense Attorney in Obstruction of Justice Case
Earlier today in Bogota, Colombia, Freddy Mauricio Tellez-Buitrago and Adriana Gonzalez-Marquez were arrested for obstructing justice by selling sensitive and confidential United States law enforcement information to a narcotics trafficker concerning prosecutions in the Eastern District of New York.1 Tellez-Buitrago is employed as an administrative services assistant at the International Affairs Office within the Attorney General’s Office in Colombia. Gonalez-Marquez, a former prosecutor at the Attorney General’s office in Colombia, is now a Colombian criminal defense attorney. The indictment charging the defendants with obstruction of justice was unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York.
The arrests were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, and Brian Crowell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York. The investigation was conducted by HSI in Bogota, with assistance provided by HSI in New York, DEA in Bogota and New York, and local law enforcement authorities in Colombia.
The defendants’ arrests resulted from an investigation which revealed that Tellez- Buitrago had specialized access to law enforcement materials, including requests from the United States government for the extradition of alleged Colombian drug traffickers. Typically, the Colombian authorities treat such extradition requests as sensitive and confidential until the arrest of the individual whose extradition is sought. Tellez-Buitrago is charged with accepting bribes from Gonzalez-Marquez in exchange for leaking documents relating to EDNY extradition requests for narcotics traffickers. Gonzalez-Marquez, in turn, allegedly sold the information to a narcotics trafficker in exchange for the equivalent of approximately $30,000 U.S. dollars.
“Extradition requests are part of the fabric of international criminal law, and contain some of the most sensitive information transmitted between countries. The defendants are charged with leaking this sensitive and confidential intelligence information in pursuit of dollars and pesos. To satisfy their own greed, the defendants attempted to compromise the judicial process, obstructing justice here and in Colombia, and placing the lives of law enforcement personnel and potential witnesses in jeopardy,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “They plotted to capitalize on the borders that divide our countries. But the defendants did not anticipate the international cooperation of law enforcement in the United States and Colombia. We will continue to take every action necessary to ensure that the international criminal justice system is never corrupted.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance in this case.
“The defendants allegedly abused their positions of trust by conspiring to sell confidential and law enforcement sensitive documents to criminal organizations. This betrayal jeopardizes the integrity of the criminal justice system and threatens the safety of federal agents in the United States and Colombia,” said ICE/HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes. “The arrests of Gonzalez-Marquez and Tellez-Buitrago are a culmination of the joint efforts between HSI, the DEA, and Colombian authorities to root out those individuals with the potential to undermine an international investigation.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Crowell stated, “Turning his back on our justice system, we allege Tellez-Buitrago allegedly used his clerical position to provide confidential information in exchange for cash. Had it not been for our diligent investigators, this information could have jeopardized US and Colombian law enforcement missions. Tellez-Buitrago and Adriana Gonzalez-Marquez’s alleged criminal acts would have facilitated drug trafficking organizations attempts to poison our communities.”
If convicted, Tellez-Buitrago and Gonzalez-Marquez each face a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
Residence: Bogota, Colombia
FREDDY MARQUEZ TELLEZ-BUITRAGO
Residence: Bogota, Colombia
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.