Government information given to drug cartels' family by ICE agent?

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NOGALES, Ariz. – A special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement is accused of stealing sensitive information and giving it to family members or associates with ties to drug trafficking organizations.

Jovana Samaniego Deas, 33, a resident of Rio Rico, Arizona, was arrested and faces charges including computer fraud, theft of government records and making false statements or entries following a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and ICE.

A 12-count federal indictment issued April 28 alleges Deas accessed, stole and transferred sensitive U.S. government documents labeled as “Official Use Only” to family or associates with ties to drug cartels.

Deas was hired in June 2003 as a border agent and was promoted to a special agent in 2008 at the HIS office in Nogales.

“When it comes to our national security, blood is not thicker than water,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said. “This defendant used and abused her position as a special agent to illegally help family members south of the border with ties to drug trafficking organizations. That is a violation of the public’s trust and a breach of our security that, thanks to this very thorough joint investigation, will have serious consequences.”

Deas made her initial appearance Tuesday and was released on bond. Three of the charges against her carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.