Monday, July 08, 2013

State Department Official In Guyana Accused Of Selling Tourist Visas For Cash And Sex

Edy Zohar Rodrigues Duran pictured at a Guyana casino frequented by drug lords
The Daily Caller has learned that a State Department official working in the visa section of the U.S. Consular office in Georgetown, Guyana was removed from his position recently after complaints surfaced that he had been exchanging tourist visas to the U.S. for money and sex. According to the report, Edy Zohar Rodrigues Duran received cash payments between $15,000 and $40,000 for approved tourist visas, some of which may have been given to persons working for drug lords. The DC reports that Duran brokered the deals at meeting places that were popular hangouts for local drug lords.

The State Department has gone to great lengths to cover up the matter. After months of stonewalling, it released a statement on July 4. “The Department of State is aware of allegations of improprieties relating to a Consular Officer formerly assigned to Georgetown, Guyana,” the statement read. “The Department takes all allegations of misconduct by employees seriously. We are reviewing the matter thoroughly. If the allegations are substantiated, we will work with the relevant authorities to hold anyone involved accountable.”

The Daily Caller notes that another official at the Guyana consulate, Thomas Carroll, was caught back in 2000 selling tourist visas for $15,000. Carroll received a 21-year prison sentence that was later reduced. Duran, who is formerly from Mission, Texas, is now living in Falls Church, Virginia.

In a separate story by a local Fox affiliate in Dallas, Texas, there is a report of a break-in of a Dallas law firm that was handling a whistle blower lawsuit for a former State Department official. Two burglars captured by a surveillance camera took three computers and broke into a file cabinet.  The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department's Office of the Inspector General. Fedenisn has made explosive allegations of drug use and soliciting sex from minors and prostitutes in recent weeks. The law firm suspects that someone tied with the State Department is responsible for the break-in since the thieves left behind far more valuable items than the computers that were stolen. The State Department is naturally denying the allegation.  "Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman's law firm is false and baseless," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

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