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Drug cartels 'paid for sex parties for US agents,' report says

A federal watchdog has said drug cartels paid for prostitutes for US drug enforcement agents overseas. The report accuses a number of US law enforcement agencies of other sexually related misdemeanors.

The report by the US Justice Department inspector general said the parties took place while the agents were working "overseas," with several media outlets saying that the country referred to was Colombia.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is tasked among other things with carrying out drug investigations abroad, maintains a large field office in the country, in which the report said some of the parties had occurred.

The report said the sex parties, which involved agents with top secret clearances at government-leased premises, could have compromised DEA equipment and information.

A foreign officer also alleged that drug cartel members had given money, expensive gifts and weapons to three DEA agents.

The claims came to light in 2009 and 2010 in an internal DEA investigation that led to short-term suspensions of seven agents who admitted attending the parties.

Widespread sexual misconduct

The inspector general's report also looked into allegations of sexual misconduct and the way such allegations are handled at a number of federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the US Marshals Service (USMS).

The report found several failings in the procedures undertaken by the agencies, with several allegations going unreported or not being pursued correctly. It counted 621 total alleged cases of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment over a four-year period at the agencies.

The allegations include unwanted advances and sex between training instructors and students. Sending sexual messages and using government property such as offices or cars for sexual activities were also among the offenses.

The inspector general said its report was obstructed by the refusal of some agency officials to hand over documents.

US Congress ordered a review of the practices at the law enforcement agencies after a separate 2012 scandal in which the advance security team of President Barack Obama was found to have consorted with prostitutes ahead of Obama's visit to Cartagena, Colombia.

The DEA agents accused of misconduct in that case were recalled from Colombia and put on limited duty.

In response to Thursday's report, the Justice Department said in a statement that it was working to prevent similar problems occurring in the future.

tj/sms (dpa, AP)

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