A U.S. Marine intelligence specialist was arrested in a $235,000 sting in Florida, picked up in a parking lot with a cash-stuffed duffel bag, the FBI says.
Jose Emmanuel Torres, a 37-year-old gunnery sergeant and Iraq war veteran from Cooper City, Fla., was arrested on charges of federal bribery, exceeding authorized access to a government computer and extortion at the culmination of the two-year sting operation, the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale reported Monday.
Torres made his first appearance in federal court Monday, but his case was rescheduled for Wednesday so he could retain counsel.
While Torres thought he was working with an immigrant seeking residency ripping off drug money from Colombian smugglers, he was being monitored by federal agents, the FBI said.
"We take allegations like this very seriously," said Maj. Mike Alvarez, a Marine Corps spokesman who worked with Torres at U.S. Southern Command in Doral. "Obviously, allegations like this are not within the values of the Marine Corps."
Assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Torres worked with the Defense Department, Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to track drug smugglers and terrorists, the Sun Sentinel said.
The complaint indicated Torres in January 2012 first met with a man at the Krome Dentention center in Miami who was trying to obtain U.S. residency. The man went to federal authorities after Torres asked him for $10,000 and leading the man to believe that if he did not pay, Torres could use his influence to have him re-arrested.
Torres was arrested Friday after receiving $235,000 in a duffel bag from the informant as payment for a Drug Enforcement Agency seizure report showing Colombian drug smugglers agents intercepted $500,000 of their money.