Three U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents are under investigation after a Secret Service agent said the trio had hired prostitutes in Colombia, Justice Department officials confirmed to NBC News.
But the allegation of their activity was said to be separate from the incident involving Secret Service personnel, who also were in Cartagena, Colombia, for President Barack Obama's visit in mid-April and hired prostitutes, according to NBC News.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration was provided information from the Secret Service unrelated to the Cartagena hotel Secret Service incident, which DEA immediately followed up on, making DEA employees available to be interviewed by the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General," a DEA spokesman said. "DEA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will take appropriate personnel action, if warranted, upon the conclusion of the OIG investigation."
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement that she had been briefed about the involvement of two or more DEA agents on May 4 but was asked to withhold public comment until the agents could be taken out of Colombia and questioned.
"It's disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency," Collins said.
According to CBS, the Justice Department is working with the DEA, the U.S. Secret Service, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service on the investigation.
Unlike the Secret Service, the DEA has permanent offices in Colombia.
Prostitution is legal in Colombia.
The Associated Press and NBC's Pete Williams contributed to this report.
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