DEA Agent Facing Charges of Bribery

DEA Agent Facing Charges of Bribery

( – Federal prosecutors charged a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in 2019 with conspiracy to defraud the US government when he allegedly accepted bribes to tip off drug dealers and other criminals while they were under investigation. The trial finally kicked off this month, nearly four years after his arrest.

Prosecutors in the case allege that Joseph Bongiovanni was a double agent, working for both the DEA and the criminals. They claim he accepted more than $250,000 in bribes and did just enough work — including opening bogus cases — to keep his supervisors off his tail. When they finally did catch on, he retired from the DEA. They also accuse Bongiovanni of trying to keep attention off the Italian mob and focus more on Hispanics and black people.

According to The Associated Press, Assistant US Attorney Joseph Tripi said Bongiovanni “was able to manipulate everyone” because of his superiors’ inherent trust in him. Under that guise, he was able to protect his childhood friends. He did so by opening cases on them, giving him access as the lead agent on the case to any evidence or informant names should another law enforcement agency open an investigation into the person. He could then pass that information along. Additionally, prosecutors also accused him of ending some open investigations.

The government expects several individuals purported to be under Bongiovanni’s protection to testify against him. Reportedly, the investigation into Ronald Serio, whose home the FBI and Erie County Sheriff’s Office raided, became the catalyst for the probe into Bongiovanni. Serio reportedly brought up the DEA agent’s name during interrogation. After arresting agents asked Serio if he was working as a confidential informant for Bongiovanni, Serio ceased speaking.

As part of the discovery process, prosecutors painted a picture of Bongiovanni having financial troubles, making him vulnerable to bribes. Prosecutors expect to admit his tax returns and bank records into evidence to support this theory.

Court observers expect the trial to last around two months. The case is actually part of a larger-scale trafficking sting.

Copyright 2024,