DEA agents under investigation for hiring prostitutes

AP GraphicsBank
AP GraphicsBank

(CBS News) CBS News has learned that three Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents are under investigation for hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.

The alleged incident happened at the same time as the Secret Service agents were in Colombia for President Obama's visit in mid April, but is separate from the ongoing Secret Service investigation.

Sources tell CBS News that the DEA agents under investigation have been removed from the country.

Two sources briefed on the investigation told CBS News that the allegations against the DEA came from a Secret Service agent who was being questioned by investigators as part of the Secret Service Colombia investigation.

The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Justice Inspector General, who provided a statement to CBS News from spokesman Jay Lerner:  "The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) is investigating allegations about potential misconduct by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel in Colombia, unrelated to the Cartagena hotel Secret Service incident." The DOJ IG said they are working in coordination with the DEA, the U.S. Secret Service, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service on the investigation.

Unlike the Secret Service, the DEA has agents permanently stationed in Colombia, with offices in both Bogota and Cartagena.

DEA spokesperson Dawn Dearden sent a statement to CBS News indicating they made the agents immediately available to DOJ IG investigators.  "DEA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will take appropriate personnel action, if warranted, upon the conclusion of the OIG investigation," it said.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.