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Ex-FBI Agent Gets 10 Years for Taking Bribes and ‘Skimming’ Seized Cocaine

Associated Press

A judge gave a 10-year prison sentence Thursday to a former FBI agent who pleaded guilty to “skimming” cocaine from a shipment he was supposed to confiscate and accepting $850,000 in bribes during an undercover investigation.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Eugene Spellman sentenced Dan Mitrione Jr., 38, of Cooper City, to 10 years’ probation for bribery, conspiracy and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

“The people expect their law enforcement officers to live a life of honor and truth,” Spellman told Mitrione. “You didn’t live that life. What you did was violate the law with intent to violate the law.”

‘Not Denying My Guilt’

Prior to sentencing, Mitrione had told the judge: “I’m not denying my guilt; I just feel that the government should not deny theirs.”

Mitrione said of Operation Airlift, the undercover probe in which he took part: “There were no guidelines to follow, no schools to attend, it was play-it-by-ear. I had become a double agent, serving two masters, and every day was a survival course in a closed world.”

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Mitrione was an 11-year FBI veteran when he resigned in 1983.

Operation Airlift, based in Fort Lauderdale, began in June, 1982, and lasted until April, 1983. Mitrione was indicted March 4 and later pleaded guilty to taking 42 kilos of cocaine of a 500-pound load he was supposed to confiscate and turn over to the FBI. In addition, he reportedly accepted $850,000 in payments from the drug smuggling operations he was investigating.

5 Testify on His Behalf

Prior to sentencing, four current and former FBI agents and a clinical psychologist testified on Mitrione’s behalf.

Psychologist Howard I. Glazer told the judge that Mitrione was “psychologically unfit for the undercover role he was required to play.”

Agent David Boner, who worked briefly with Mitrione on Operation Airlift, testified that he was taken off the case and Mitrione alone continued with the cooperation of a government informant, Hilmer Sandini.

According to his lawyer, Dan Forman, Mitrione came under the influence of Sandini. When Sandini told Mitrione he intended to skim some of the cocaine, Mitrione went along, Forman said.


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