Corrupt Colombian Government Employee and Criminal Defense Attorney Extradited in Obstruction of Justice Case
Colombian Attorney Allegedly Paid Bribes to Colombian Official to Steal Confidential U.S. Law Enforcement Information, then Sold Information to Narcotics Trafficker
Later today, Freddy Mauricio Tellez-Buitrago and Adriana Gonzalez-Marquez will be arraigned at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, on obstruction of justice charges for stealing 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. Prior to his arrest, Tellez-Buitrago was employed as an administrative services assistant at the International Affairs Office within the Attorney General’s Office in Colombia. Prior to her arrest, Gonzalez-Marquez, a former prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Office in Colombia, was practicing as a Colombian criminal defense attorney. Tellez-Buitrago and Gonzalez-Marquez were arrested in Colombia on provisional arrest warrants issued from the Eastern District of New York.1
The extradition was 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’ extradition resulted from an investigation which 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. 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 in U.S. dollars.
“These defendants used their insiders knowledge of the Colombian Attorney General’s Office to steal confidential information that put lives at risk. The extradition of the defendants highlights the success of the international cooperation between the United States and Colombia. We will continue to take every step to target individuals who attempt to compromise the judicial process by obstructing justice here and in Colombia, placing the lives of law enforcement personnel in jeopardy,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office for their assistance in this case.
“Gonzalez-Marquez and Tellez-Buitrago allegedly used their connections within the Colombian government to provide sensitive information to members of drug trafficking organizations. This type of criminal espionage greatly threatens our efforts to capture criminals abroad and threatens the safety of American and Colombian law enforcement officers alike,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Hayes. “HSI, working with our attachés and international and federal law enforcement partners, contributes to the disruption of drug trafficking organizations that line their pockets with millions of dollars in illicit proceeds.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Crowell stated, “Today, as the defendants in this case stepped onto American soil, Freddy Mauricio Tellez-Buitrago and Adriana Gonzalez-Marquez realized the harsh reality that there is no amount of money worth their charged criminal acts. Federal, state, local and international law enforcement united their resources to expose the defendants’ obstruction of justice and extradited them to the U.S. to face our judicial system, a system they allegedly tried to endanger by selling sensitive information and supplying it to the enemies of cops everywhere – drug traffickers.”
If convicted, Tellez-Buitrago and Gonzalez-Marquez each face a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment, criminal forfeiture, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
FREDDY MARQUEZ TELLEZ-BUITRAGO
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