Miami DEA agents facing corruption charges
A current Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a retired agent — both of whom had worked in the agency’s Miami field office for years — surrendered Friday on corruption charges involving the payment of thousands of dollars in bribes for confidential investigative information about drug-trafficking suspects.
The two defendants were charged by federal prosecutors in New York because of conflict-of-interest issues in South Florida. Manuel Recio, 53, retired from the DEA in 2018 and had worked as an assistant special agent in charge of the Miami office along with other offices over 20 years.
He was currently working as an investigative consultant in South Florida, where the alleged criminal conspiracy took place. John Costanzo Jr., 47, was most recently working at DEA headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area and had previously worked as a supervisor in the agency’s Miami office, authorities said.
Both men — well known in South Florida’s law enforcement and legal circles — are charged with conspiracy to bribe a public official, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, and honest services wire fraud in the FBI investigation, which included undercover recordings. Both had their first appearances in federal court Friday, pleaded not guilty and were released on a $30,000 personal recognizance bond, according to Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.