Ex-DEA Agent Allegedly Received $250,000 In Bribes From Mafia

A former agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was recently accused of receiving $250,000 in bribes from the mafia while protecting a lewd nightclub allegedly involved in human trafficking and helping a high school English teacher with his drug side hustle.

The ex-DEA agent, Joseph Bongiovanni, is accused of providing the Buffalo Mafia with an “umbrella of protection” in exchange for massive numbers of bribe money.

“Bongiovanni was raised in a tight-night Italian American community in North Buffalo and known as a ‘door kicker’ in the DEA, defense attorney Parker MacKay said, ‘not the type to sit in front of a computer,’” the Associated Press (AP) reported.

While speaking to jurors in Bongiovanni’s federal trial in upstate New York, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Tripi said the former DEA agent began helping the mafia after he experienced financial issues resulting from a divorce and his liking of lavish trips.

Tripi claimed Bongiovanni admitted individuals associated with “Italian organized crime.”

Bongiovanni, 59, is accused of being a “double agent” who betrayed the DEA by taking in $250,000 in bribes from the mafia to prevent the criminal organization from being struck down by law enforcement.

The ex-DEA agent would allegedly inform the mafia when they were “all clear” and not threatened by law enforcement. Bongiovanni also reportedly leaked intelligence to the organized crime syndicate and established fictitious cases to make it seem like he was investigating certain members of the mafia.

Since Bongiovanni acted like he was investigating the mafia, he would be notified whenever other agencies began probing the criminal organization.

Bongiovanni allegedly encouraged his fellow DEA agents to spend less time investigating Italians and instead focus on Black and Hispanic Americans.

“Bongiovanni also is accused of vouching for criminals, filing bogus reports and swiping a sensitive DEA case file on organized crime that he stored in his basement after his abrupt retirement,” the AP wrote.

The owner of the nightclub that Bongiovanni covered for, Peter Gerace Jr., was reportedly childhood friends with the former DEA agent and is the grandson of the “reputed leader of the Buffalo Mafia,” Joseph Todaro.

Gerace was accused by Tripi of providing “cocaine and women to high-end clientele.”