An undercover FBI agent has been accused of using taxpayer money to pay for prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and the subjects of a federal investigation. A federal defense attorney for 25-year-old Sergio Santiago Syjuco said in a court filing last week that the unnamed agent “spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes for himself and for the defendants.”
Many of the prostitutes, Deputy Federal Public Defender John Littrell said, were likely minors, citing a raid earlier this year which rescued 60 victims of sex trafficking from one of the locations. Littrell is asking a federal court to toss the case against his client due to “outrageous governmental misconduct” involving the prostitutes, as first reported by TickleTheWire.com.
Syjuco and two co-defendants were charged with violating arms import laws earlier this year. They allegedly sold a number of weapons, including a grenade launcher, to the undercover agent who said he wanted such weapons to be used by drug cartels along the Mexican-U.S. border.
The defense attorney also disclosed a letter from federal prosecutors that recounted reimbursements from the trips to the clubs. The feds said the undercover agent spent $14,500 on eight particular days in 2010 and 2011, including at suspected brothels “Air Force One” and “Area 51” in the Philippines.
The letter from prosecutors, however, maintained the undercover agent “did not engage in prostitution, nor did he solicit prostitutes for himself or your clients.” Prosecutors wrote that they believed two defendants in the case engaged in prostitution at the clubs and “shifted the cost of their acts to the undercover when he paid the bar bill, which did not list ‘prostitute’ as a line item.” They said they didn’t have copies of the actual receipts.
“Air Force One” manager Gerry Albrido told investigators for the defense team that the FBI agent, going by the name of “Richard Han,” was “abusive and degrading” to the prostitutes.
“One on occasion, Han demanded that several prostitutes in the club line up and drink five shots of hard liquor,” Litrell wrote. “Most of the girls did so, but one them, who was very small, could not drink the liquor and poured it out. Mr. Alberight stated that Han yelled at the girl and forced her to drink the alcohol until she vomited.”
Litrell told the Associated Press that he had “never seen anything like this during my career as a criminal defense lawyer.” In a court filing, he said such actions would be “serious federal crimes” if committed by a private citizen.