Prosecutor Gets Garcia to Admit to Corruption : Crime: Suspect is forced to confess to perjury four years in a row on tax returns.
Former drug agent Darnell Garcia, the central figure in the worst corruption scandal in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration, admitted during his trial Thursday that he was a corrupt cop who committed more than 20 felonies while abusing his position as a law enforcement officer.
After several days of calmly responding to the detailed questions of his defense attorney, Garcia was hit with rapid-fire questions from the prosecution about smuggling and other illegal activity he has already admitted to but has not been charged with.
The prosecutor accused him several times of lying to the jury and challenged, among other things, Garcia’s statement that he did not father an illegitimate child while jailed in Luxembourg.
During her first day of cross-examination, Asst. U.S. Atty. Joyce A. Karlin forced Garcia to tell the jury he had perjured himself four years in a row on tax returns, faked applications for a driver’s license and passport, and broke federal currency laws while employed as a federal drug agent in order to conceal $3 million stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
The government claims the money, now frozen in the foreign accounts, came from illegal drug activity, but the defense contends it represents money Garcia collected by helping an Italian jeweler smuggle gold past U.S. Customs.
“You were willing to commit crimes to line your own pockets?” Karlin asked Garcia.
“Yes,” Garcia replied.
“And that makes you corrupt, doesn’t it Mr. Garcia?” Karlin said.
“Yes,” Garcia replied quietly.
The trial of Garcia, 44, of Rancho Palos Verdes, began last November before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr.
The former 10-year DEA agent, assigned to Los Angeles, is accused of participating in drug trafficking and money laundering along with two other former agents in the worst corruption case in the 17-year history of the DEA.