SAN DIEGO (AP) - A former U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agent is accused of using his position to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from drug-money couriers, federal authorities said.
Tyrone Cedric Duren, 46, allegedly laundered the dirty money through real estate transactions and American and Croatian banks, according to an indictment filed Wednesday in San Diego.
Duren faces money laundering charges along with his wife, Jennifer Lynn Duren, 45, as well as bank fraud conspiracy, making false statements to federal agents and structuring financial transactions, the Union-Tribune newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/2hzQbaE ).
The grand jury indictment, filed Tuesday, does not specify how much Duren is suspected of stealing, although the U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking the couple to forfeit $2 million, along with their Bonsall home.
The two were arrested Nov. 30 at Los Angeles International Airport as they returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand. They have pleaded not guilty.
Duren’s attorney did not return a phone call or email seeking comment. His wife’s attorney declined to discuss the case Wednesday.
The newspaper cited court documents that portray a law enforcement officer with financial problems who - without explanation - suddenly became flush with cash, depositing the riches into numerous banks, remodeling his home and vacationing around the world.
“He has used his position as a law enforcement agent for illegal financial gain to support himself and family with a lavish lifestyle,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Rapp wrote in a motion arguing for Duren’s detention.
Duren was assigned to the Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, targeting drug trafficking organizations that smuggle illicit proceeds back to Mexico. Over five years, records show Duren was involved in more than 40 cash seizures totaling $20 million, authorities said.
Officials received a complaint in 2013 that Duren had stolen an estimated $440,000 in drug proceeds during an off-the-books traffic stop near San Ysidro, according to the complaint.
Agents served search warrants at Duren’s home, in his government vehicle and on his cellphones, and he was placed on administrative leave. He resigned from Homeland Security in March 2015.
Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, https://www.utsandiego.com
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