Former HSI Confidential Informant Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice
Former Homeland Security Investigations Confidential Informant Miguel Rodriguez-Sierra was sentenced today by United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles for obstructing justice by attempting to sell cooperation to a federal inmate to allow that inmate to obtain an unwarranted sentencing reduction, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1503. Rodriguez-Sierra was sentenced to a term of 12 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Rodriguez-Sierra’s sentence also included an order of forfeiture and the imposition of a $100 special assessment.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jay H. Donly, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG), and Michael T. Moreland, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR), made the announcement.
Rodriguez-Sierra was originally charged by Criminal Complaint and subsequently pled guilty to an Information charging him with obstruction of justice. According to the facts in the Complaint and admitted at the change of plea hearing, Rodriguez-Sierra was offering to falsely credit the inmate with having provided information and assisted with cooperation in exchange for secret personal payments from the inmate. In reality, the inmate played no role, and explicitly had informed Rodriguez-Sierra that he had no information to provide and would need for Rodriguez-Sierra to provide him (the inmate) with whatever information he would need to tell agents that might interview him.
The inmate was an individual who was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, and was serving a lengthy term of imprisonment. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez-Sierra, the inmate reported this illegal offer to law enforcement and cooperated in this investigation, introducing an undercover agent to Rodriguez-Sierra to handle the negotiations and logistics of the scheme. On the first occasion, Rodriguez-Sierra received an initial $5000 payment towards the amount he requested before the investigating agencies informed him that they were not accepting the cooperation he was falsely crediting to the inmate.
Undeterred, Rodriguez-Sierra re-initiated contact with the inmate and the undercover agent a number of months later, offering a different scenario whereby the inmate could secretly buy credit from Rodriguez-Sierra for having supposedly helped disrupt a drug trafficking operation that he actually had nothing to do with. Once again, a $5000 down payment was made to Rodriguez-Sierra before this phase of the investigation was terminated.
Had either of Rodriguez-Sierra’s schemes worked as he intended, he would have obstructed justice by facilitating the inmate’s purchase of information to support a sentence reduction based on his supposed substantial assistance to the government. In particular, this Office maintains a policy of refusing to accept cooperation or information that has been purchased or funded by an inmate seeking a sentence reduction. Moreover, as an informant for HSI, Rodriguez-Sierra was aware of this policy, and his scheme was designed specifically to avoid this restriction by having the inmate lie about the circumstances surrounding the cooperation and information he was offering
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the DHS-OIG, ICE-OPR and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Edward Stamm and Assistant United States Attorney Rilwan Adeduntan.