This one gives me qualms, as it is a BuzzFeed article (by way of the Popehat on the Twitters). But I haven’t found any other coverage of it, and I don’t think it needs to be buried. I did a Google search and found a lot of links to press releases about the original arrest, but very few about the following events (and those I found were mostly on less reputable websites, basically repeating the BuzzFeed article).
Lauro Tobias was an agent with Customs and Border Patrol. Last year, he was arrested and charged with participating in a drug deal:
…6 kilograms of cocaine were exchanged with unnamed persons for $100,000. Tobias was paid $4,000 for working as security during the deal, based on court documents.
Tobias claimed he thought he was participating in a legal transaction, and had no idea it was actually a drug deal.
Except it wasn’t actually a drug deal. The entire thing appears to have been set up by the government specifically to go after Tobias. Why him?
Tobias’ attorney, Steven West, argued in an interview with BuzzFeed that federal agents tried to turn Tobias bad in order to use him as mole in the border station. “They couldn’t get close to the so-called ‘suspect corrupt people,’” he said. “I think they took a 90-degree turn.”
Okay, that’s just what his defense attorney claimed. Take it with a grain of salt.
But it seems pretty clear, based on the evidence already introduced, that the government spent many thousands of dollars setting up this case.
For instance, according to a court motion filed by Tobias’ attorney, department officials would not release certain information about the investigation during discovery, including “an accounting of how much money was spent on this operation by the government … on hotel rooms, air fare, frequenting adult entertainment establishments, rental car costs, restaurant bills, and any other ‘perks’ that were used to implement the operation, such as the Pacquiao fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”
Again, defense allegations, grain of salt, etc.
But Tobias’ attorney moved for dismissal of the case. And the government agreed and filed its own motion for dismissal. That never happens. (Well, maybe “never” is an exaggeration. But it is very rare.)
An FBI source referred requests for comment on the case to the Justice Department.
I recommend that you don’t hold your breath waiting for comment from Justice. Blue is a very unattractive color for faces.