Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cartels corrupted top FBI official in El Paso

This is becoming sad. On the southern edge of the state at the mouth of the Rio Grande, we have the former sheriff of Cameron County heading to federal prison for escorting drug shipments into Texas, while out west we learn the FBI's special agent in charge in El Paso from 2001 to 2003 was allegedly in the pocket of a drug cartel bigshot. Reported the San Antonio Express News last week ("Former FBI official indicted," April 13):

Hardrick Crawford Jr., who served as special agent in charge of El Paso from July 2001 through November 2003, was charged with five counts — making a false statement in electronic communication, concealing material facts from the FBI, making false statements to the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General and two counts of making false statements in public financial disclosure reports regarding gifts he allegedly received.

Each of the five counts carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Crawford was expected to turn himself in as early as today, officials said.

The charges stem from Crawford's relationship with Jose Maria Guardia, a Mexican citizen who operated gaming houses in Mexico, including a racetrack in Ciudad Juárez.

The indictment alleges Crawford socialized with Guardia, and accepted gifts and favors from him, including trips to Las Vegas and Mexico City, membership and services at an El Paso country club, weekly lawn service at Crawford's house, and a $5,000 per month salaried position for Crawford's wife. The gifts and favors were not fully disclosed in reports required of senior executives, the indictment said.

The article doesn't say so, but this smells like another case where law enforcement protected a criminal snitch in ways that wound up promoting the agenda of an informant instead of reducing crime. It's obvious that in some cases informants are causing crime and certainly lots of headaches for the feds in El Paso.


Anonymous said...

Two things to note about this indictment.

Crawford was in charge of the FBI office in El Paso from 2001 to 2003. The FBI had thier own internal affair authority called OPR during that time. It wasn't their OPR who caught Crawford yet 3 years after Crawford's gone, the DOJ Inspector General investigates allegations that at the time would have been just as obvious.

Which leads me to my second point. Until recently, each agency withing the U.S. Department of Justice had it's own internal affairs division called OPR. Each agency in essence investigated itself so most of the credible allegations against high ranking DOJ officials in the FBI and DEA received the same LOOK and EFFORT that the FBI gave to Crawford.

So if you're wondering how these heads of these federal law enforcement offices maintain their positions and power, follow Crawford's story not about what he did but what he was obviously doing and the FBI wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Laredo - our drug task force deputy commander has been indicted for extortion and protecting drug traffickers.