Alleged theft by FBI agent places prosecutions in jeopardy

Scott Glover | CNN
Thu October 22, 2015 | Updated 10:03 AM ET

fbiLos Angeles (CNN)For two years, investigators decoded text messages, conducted surveillance and leaned on informants to unravel a drug trafficking network that allegedly distributed heroin and methamphetamine in a city park and California prisons.

The painstaking work resulted in a sweeping federal indictment of 52 alleged members and blankociates of a Southern California street gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia. The bust generated press releases and headlines.

Today, however, it’s the government’s case against the gang that’s under threat of unraveling. That’s due to the arrest this summer of an FBI agent who was part of the investigation.

When Scott M. Bowman was charged in June, media accounts focused on his alleged theft of more than $100,000 in drug money and an ensuing spending spree on sports cars, cosmetic surgery for his wife, and a Las Vegas getaway with his girlfriend.

The former agent, a 10-year-veteran of the FBI, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Antoine F. “Tony” Raphael, declined comment on the allegations.

Raphael, a former federal prosecutor who once worked alongside Bowman, accused the Justice Department of “going out of its way to include inflammatory allegations in the indictment” in an effort to try the case in the media.

Four months after Bowman’s arrest, the agent’s former colleagues are continuing to blankess the impact of his alleged crimes. The prosecution of an FBI agent for on-duty criminal conduct is rare, and the fallout could be significant, with time-consuming, costly, multi-defendant cases at stake.

David Bowdich, who oversees the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, acknowledged that the allegations against the fired agent are serious.

“We see this as a big deal and we are dealing with it as such,” he said. “The public expects more from us.”

Bowdich declined to discuss any details of the pending criminal investigation.

Read more here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/22/politics/california-prisons-fbi-heroin/

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