Wednesday, February 8, 2012



Agent from Rio Rico takes guilty pleas
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:16 am
Nogales International |

A federal agent from Rio Rico has pleaded guilty to 21 criminal
counts in a case in which she was accused of abusing her position to
pass sensitive information to drug traffickers.

Jovana Deas, 33, a former special agent with U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI),
entered the guilty pleas at Feb. 1 hearing at U.S. District Court,
the U.S. Attorney's Office announced on Monday.

The prosecutor's office said some of the sensitive information Deas
unlawfully accessed was later discovered on the laptop her former
brother-in-law in Brazil. The man is allegedly associated with a
Mexican drug trafficking organization that has ties to drug
traffickers in Brazil.

Prosecutors said Deas further admitted she illegally accessed, stole,
and transferred sensitive U.S. government documents to unauthorized
individuals, and that she obstructed Homeland Security Investigations.

Deas' guilty plea included a total of seven felony violations, each
punishable by up to five years in prison, and fourteen misdemeanors,
each punishable by up to one year in prison. She is scheduled to be
sentenced on April 11.

Deas began her federal law enforcement career in 2003 as a U.S.
Customs and Border Protection officer assigned to Nogales. In 2008,
she became an ICE HSI special agent assigned to the agency's Nogales

The indictment to which Deas pleaded guilty also charges her sister,
40-year-old Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, 40, of Agua Prieta, Sonora
with violations of federal law. Samaniego Montes, a former Mexican
law enforcement official with alleged ties to drug trafficking
organizations, is a fugitive believed to be residing in Mexico.

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