Former senior drug official to be charged with theft

Ex-DEA agent accused of stealing over $150,000


NEW YORK - A former senior official in the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York office is expected to be charged this week with stealing more than $150,000 from the agency's funds used to pay informants and other incidental expenses, according to a law enforcement official.

The former official, Kevin Tamez, who resigned several months ago as a result of the investigation, first came under scrutiny last year and was suspended in March. Tamez, 50, held the position of associate special agent in charge of the New York office. He is expected to be charged with as many as 200 counts of theft and related charges, the official said.

In some cases, Tamez sent junior agents to withdraw between $1,000 and $3,000 from the accounts, indicating that it was for investigative purposes, the official said. An indictment brought in federal court in Manhattan charging Tamez is expected to be unsealed sometime this week, the official said.

Tamez, reached yesterday at his home in Mount Laurel, N.J., said, "I have no comment."

Tamez will be one of the highest-ranking officials in the drug agency to face criminal charges for actions committed as part of his duties, the official said.

Michael Kulstad, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, had no comment yesterday. A spokesman for the DEA in Washington said last night that he had no information on the case.

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