Colombian IRS Undercover Informant Sues US Over "Abandonment," Requests Asylum

A Colombian undercover informant for the IRS, who was abandoned and jailed by Columbian authorities, seeks restitution and asylum.

Bogota Colombia

A Colombian informant for the IRS seeks payments following being imprisoned by Colombian authorities after the IRS "abandoned" her following her arrest.  (Image Source: Flickr: dalem)

The United States often does a terrible job with the native populations they work with, especially when they ask local residents of any given country to do some dirty work, only to rebuke them when they need support because of what the country asked them to do.  However, unlike recent stories based in Iraq, this story comes out of Colombia.  There, an undercover informant for the Internal Revenue Service aided in the investigation of money laundering schemes that were based in Colombia.  However, the incompetence of the American government let the informant get arrested and jailed for three years on money-laundering charges, despite clearly being an informant.  Now, not only does the informant seek restitution from the IRS, but also asylum in the United States.

Astrid Hurtado started working for the El Dorado Task Force, an elite government designed to investigate international money laundering schemes that had their hands in American money, in 1997.  Over the course of two years, Hurtado impersonated a money launderer, overseeing a few schemes to catch criminals in the act of laundering.  Haurtado received a cut of any assets seized by the United States during their investigation, in return for information.

However, around 2003, the Colombian government arrested Astrid Hurtado for the precise crime she was doing undercover.  While it was clear that she was still serving as an informant, the most the federal government did was send a letter saying she was an informant, which was inadmissible in court.  By refusing to send an actual government agent down to Colombia to validate her work, the IRS and federal government supposedly abandoned Hurtado, allowing her to be jailed for money laundering for three years.

As a result, Astrid Hurtado is seeking $15 million in damages from the IRS for failing to cover for her in her Colombian trial in a new lawsuit.  Hurtado, who is currently living in Miami, is also seeking asylum by the federal government, for her visa is about to expire, and she fears retribution from the very criminals she caught.  Perhaps the federal government will help her in this regard, but if history is of any indication, probably not. 

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