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Whistleblowers: Drug cartels throw fundraisers for U.S. officials

Stephen C. Webster

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Two former law enforcement officials who worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as confidential informants on probes into police corruption have come forward with allegations of drug cartel ties to top cops, judges and elected officials.

Greg Gonzales, a retired sheriff's deputy, and Wesley Dutton, a former New Mexico livestock investigator, told The El Paso Times that the FBI uncovered some "big names" in the course of one investigation, but it was dropped without result.

Both men helped with several investigations during their 18 months as confidential informants, the report says, including one that ended with the arrest of FBI special agent John Shipley, who was allegedly selling guns to cartel members.

But far from a sole bad apple, these two whistleblowers claim drug cartels wield tremendous influence over law enforcement and elected officials, even throwing fundraisers and parties attended by "bankers, judges, and law enforcement officers." Large campaign contributions, they added, have been made to help influence key appointments.

And perhaps one of the most outrageous claims in their report: law enforcement is said to have personally escorted drug shipments, dropped from small aircraft onto private ranches near the border, to their next stops along the distribution chain.

Both men also claim to have been physically threatened if they ever brought this information to light.

All of the allegations were reportedly laid out in a letter to Gov. Rick Perry (R), who's office confirmed to the Times that they had received it and passed the information along to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Reached by Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez, DPS director Steven McCraw initially expressed interest in talking to the men, but then called back 30 minutes later saying he'd looked into the matter and found their claims to be untrue.

Both men have sought help from the advocacy group Judicial Watch, but the organization has yet to take any action.

Despite the blistering nature of the Times' report, their claims had not been picked up by other media outlets by late Monday. The FBI refused to comment.

Sept. 19, 2011