Thursday, October 29, 2020

Former Homeland Security agent gets 10 years prison for stealing drug money

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A former investigator with the Department of Homeland Security was sentenced Wednesday to more than a decade in federal prison for taking drug money seized during his work as a federal agent, then laundering the funds that he used for personal expenses.

Tyrone Cedric Duren, 50, who pleaded guilty to nearly 20 federal counts last year, was sentenced to 130 months in custody, plus three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge John Houston also ordered the forfeiture of Duren’s Bonsall home, a $275,000 money judgment and restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Duren was assigned to a bulk cash smuggling task force and, as part of his work, would investigate suspected drug traffickers transporting cash.

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After seizing money during those investigations, he would deliberately fail to report the cash and used the money for his and his families’ own personal expenditures, including real estate and international travel, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Over the course of several years, Duren also placed GPS trackers on vehicles used to move drug proceeds, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors cited an example from 2014, in which Duren tracked a vehicle heading toward Mexico, which was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint. After Duren seized cash found hidden in laundry detergent boxes in the vehicle, he took more than $100,000 for himself, which was later deposited into “business and personal accounts to conceal those thefts,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In addition, prosecutors say he didn’t file taxes in 2013 to hide stolen funds and lied “numerous times” to investigating agents.

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