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September 9, 11

NEWS / Additional Charges Filed Against HSI Special Agent and Her Sister for Obstruction and Other Federal

TUCSON, AZ—A federal grand jury returned a 21-count superseding indictment against Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jovana Deas, 33, of Rio Rico, Arizona and Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, 40, of Agua Prieta, Mexico.

The indictment alleges that Deas and her sister illegally accessed, stole, and transferred sensitive U.S. government documents to unauthorized individuals and they obstructed an HSI investigation and other agency proceedings.

“The agent betrayed the public’s trust by accessing classified information and then passing it on to friends and relatives, which compromised national security,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “I want to thank ICE and the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force for their work in this investigation.”

“The superseding indictment is the culmination of efforts between Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF),” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, James L. Turgal Jr. “The SACTF has been a successful force multiplier in combating public corruption along the Southwest Border. This investigation is another fine example of the cooperative efforts between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in protecting our borders against the corrupt actions of public officials.”

Deas was accused of abusing her position as an HSI special agent to illegally obtain and disseminate classified government documents. The additional nine-count superseding indictment includes: two counts of obstruction of agency proceedings, one count of theft of government records, two counts of false statements, and four counts of computer fraud. She is charged with a total of 21 counts seven of which are each punishable by up to five years in prison. The other 14 counts are misdemeanors, each punishable by one year in prison.

The defendant’s sister, Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, is now charged in the superseding indictment with two counts of obstruction of agency proceedings and one count of theft of government records. Samaniego Montes is charged with two felony violations and one misdemeanor.

Deas became a U.S. government employee in June 2003 as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at a Nogales, Ariz., port of entry. In 2008, she became a special agent at the HSI Nogales office. She remains on administrative leave without pay.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation in this case was conducted by FBI and ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) agents at the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF). SACTF agents were assisted in this investigation by agents from HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. State Department’s Consular Integrity Division and the Brazilian Federal Police. The prosecution in this case is being handled by James T. Lacey, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tucson.

RELEASE NUMBER: 2011-200(Deas)


Tags: government records, document,


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