DEA Agent Accused Of $250K Bribe From Mafia

In a federal trial that commenced this month, prosecutors depicted Joseph Bongiovanni, a seasoned U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, as harboring a clandestine alliance with the Buffalo Mafia, allegedly providing cover for criminal activities while masquerading as a law enforcement officer.

According to prosecutors, Bongiovanni, now 59, allegedly received over $250,000 in illicit payments over the course of a decade, shielding his childhood acquaintances from law enforcement scrutiny and impeding investigations into illegal enterprises. They accused him of fostering a discriminatory work environment, directing his colleagues to focus less on investigations involving Italians and more on those involving Black and Hispanic individuals, using derogatory language to refer to them.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Tripi, addressing jurors, emphasized the abuse of trust within law enforcement circles, asserting that Bongiovanni exploited the inherent reliance on integrity within the profession. Tripi highlighted instances where Bongiovanni purportedly misled his supervisors by fabricating case files and manipulated evidence.

Bongiovanni, facing charges including bribery, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice, vehemently denies the allegations, with his defense attorney dismissing them as baseless fabrications.

The ongoing trial underscores broader issues within the DEA, which has faced a series of scandals involving its agents since 2015. Instances of misconduct range from involvement in child pornography and drug trafficking to leaking sensitive information and aiding criminal enterprises.

One agent, known for his affiliation with extremist ideologies, displayed his badge during the Capitol riot on January 6. Another colluded with drug traffickers, facilitating the transportation of large quantities of narcotics. These incidents have exposed significant deficiencies in the agency’s oversight mechanisms.