Corrupt Colombian Government Employee And Criminal Defense Attorney Convicted In Obstruction Of Justice Case
Colombian Attorney Paid Bribes to Colombian Official to Steal Confidential U.S. Law Enforcement Information, then Sold Information to Narcotics Trafficker
Earlier today, Freddy Mauricio Tellez-Buitrago and Adriana Gonzalez-Marquez pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl M. Pollak at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, to obstruction of justice for stealing selling sensitive and confidential United States law enforcement information concerning prosecutions in the Eastern District of New York and selling that information to a narcotics trafficker in Colombia. When sentenced, both defendants face a maximum of twenty years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Tellez-Buitrago has agreed to forfeit $30,000, and Gonzalez-Marquez has agreed to forfeit $50,000.
The guilty pleas 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 R. Crowell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division. The investigation was led by HSI in Bogota, Colombia, with assistance provided by HSI in New York, DEA in Bogota and New York, and local law enforcement authorities in Colombia.
“The defendants sought to undermine U.S. efforts to bring international narco-traffickers to justice, and traded on sensitive and confidential information on U.S. operations in exchange for money. Their convictions signify our pursuit of individuals who attempt to compromise the judicial process by obstructing justice here and in Colombia,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will continue to rely on the success of the international cooperation between the United States and Colombia to pursue individuals who steal information that put the lives of law enforcement officers at risk.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Attorney General's Office for their assistance in this case.
The defendants' convictions resulted from an investigation that revealed that, through his employment at the Colombian Attorney General's Office, Tellez-Buitrago had specialized access to law enforcement materials, including requests from the United States government for the extradition of alleged Colombian drug traffickers. The Colombian authorities treat such extradition requests as sensitive and confidential until the arrest of the individual whose extradition is sought. Tellez-Buitrago accepted bribes from criminal defense attorney Gonzalez-Marquez, a former prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Office in Colombia, in exchange for leaking documents relating to EDNY extradition requests for narcotics traffickers. Gonzalez-Marquez, in turn, sold the information to a narcotics trafficker in exchange for the equivalent of approximately $30,000 in U.S. dollars.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
FREDDY MARQUEZ TELLEZ-BUITRAGO
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 12-687 (ERK)
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