D.E.A. Is Investigating a Former Agent on Misconduct Allegations

D.E.A. Is Investigating a Former Agent on Misconduct Allegations

Congressional Democrats have called for an investigation into D.E.A.-led operations in Mexico, in which information passed from United States officials to Mexican authorities was said to have been shared with cartel leaders, prompting two violent attacks.

A D.E.A. officer in New Orleans is facing charges of perjury, obstruction and a swath of other accusations in a wide-ranging scandal that saw members of a D.E.A. task force plead guilty to stealing drugs and cash during federal raids.

The largest producer of cocaine in the world and America’s lead supplier, Colombia is a key operating ground for those officials seeking to dismantle drug trafficking networks. As a party to those efforts in Colombia, Mr. Irizarry was in a uniquely sensitive position.

Cocaine use has surged in recent years in the United States, where 92 percent of cocaine seized by federal authorities in 2016 was traced back to Colombia. The D.E.A. said last fall that the American demand for cocaine was rising to levels not seen in almost a decade, and production of the drug in Colombia was the highest ever observed.

Calls to a number believed to be Mr. Irizarry’s in Florida were not answered. The extent of the information Mr. Irizarry is alleged to have passed to drug traffickers could not be determined.

In 2015, an internal Justice Department watchdog accused D.E.A. officers in Colombia of attending sex parties paid for by drug cartels over a period of several years. Seven agents admitted to the misconduct and were suspended. That scandal roiled the agency’s headquarters, prompting the resignation of its administrator, Michele Leonhardt.

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