Ex-federal agent pleads guilty in smuggling case

AP News
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 12:32 PM

A retired U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent accused of taking part in a cocaine smuggling operation pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice Thursday in a Florida courtroom.

As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed to drop three drug charges against Richard Padilla Cramer of Green Valley, Ariz., who's also accused of leaking law enforcement information to smugglers.

Authorities say Cramer used confidential law enforcement databases to gather information for a smuggling group to see whether one of its members was a government informant.

He also was accused of giving $15,000 to $25,000 to smugglers as an investment in a scheme that brought 660 pounds (300 kilos) of cocaine from Panama to Spain, where it was seized in June 2007.