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Former ice agent pleads guilty to assisting cocaine traffickers

Posted on December 14, 2009 3:00 AM EST

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered a guilty plea to several federal offenses. Richard Padilla Cramer will return to court in Miami on February 18, 2010 where he is facing up to 20 years in federal prison. Federal prosecutors alleged that Cramer provided individuals involved in money laundering and cocaine trafficking with database reports from ICE and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) computer systems. He was a former ICE agent assigned to an office in Guadalajara, Mexico. Cramer's Miami criminal lawyer was present by his side when he entered the guilty plea.

Cramer was alleged to have assisted two Mexican nationals accused of money laundering by providing them with database reports taken from ICE and DEA computer systems. In a different case, Cramer allegedly assisted another known money launderer by investigating whether there were any arrest warrants in the system for him. As a result of the information, he was able to leave Miami and return to Mexico without being arrested.

Cramer is also alleged to have sold inside information to those engaged in large scale cocaine trafficking operations. The information provided to the drug traffickers assisted them in determining whether any of their associates were working with federal anti-drug investigative authorities. Initially, Cramer was accused of assisting in the transportation of cocaine from Mexico to Spain, but the charge was later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

According to Cramer's Miami federal criminal defense lawyer, Cramer received no monetary benefit for the information provided to the drug traffickers. Cramer became implicated during the investigation of being looked at by the federal government. His name came to light during several hours of recorded conversations which occurred at a South Florida restaurant. The conversations revealed that the drug traffickers were able to determine if an intercepted shipment of cocaine was linked to one of their own. The DEA was able to located e-mails sent by Cramer to one of the traffickers' e-mail accounts.

If there is a lesson to be learned in this case, anyone involved in a criminal enterprise should be wary of their business associates. Additionally, e-mails and text messages can be obtained easily through the use of search warrants. Law enforcement has access to telephone records and even has the ability to tape record telephone conversations. Any such evidence obtained by law enforcement authorities will be used by the prosecution in the case.

Federal Agent Faces Prison for Tipping Off Traffickers, The Miami Herald, December 14, 2009.
Categories: Public Corruption