An FBI agent in one of the bureau’s most celebrated corruption stings was removed from the case after federal prosecutors learned that the agent failed to disclose misconduct by informers, including the sexual abuse of an unconscious prostitute in a Las Vegas hotel, reports the Arizona Republic. FBI agents failed to disclose criminal acts and the destruction of evidence by informers, then withheld that information from federal prosecutors for more than a year, said a military court document.
The incident occurred in Operation Lively Green, a four-year undercover sting that so far has led to the conviction of 69 military personnel, prison guards, law enforcement employees, and other public servants who accepted bribes to help smuggle Mexican cocaine through Arizona. U.S. authorities have touted Lively Green as one of the government’s most successful public corruption probes ever. Although issuing numerous news releases about the case, Justice Department officials never publicly acknowledged that FBI agents and undercover civilian operatives, known as informers, may have behaved questionably. Deb McCarley, a Phoenix FBI spokeswoman, declined to comment on specific elements of the Lively Green sting because it is ongoing. She described the inquiry as “a really good case,” adding, “The agents were not involved in any criminal activity.”