MiamiHerald / A former federal agent who accepted bribes – $18,000 in cash, prostitutes, restaurant meals and a hotel room – from a Colombian drug lord was sentenced to three years in prison Friday in Miami federal court.

Christopher V. Ciccione II, 52, who had worked for Homeland Security Investigations, pleaded guilty in November to a conspiracy of “deceit, craft and trickery” against his own government.

Ciccione, who was arrested in September, didn’t break the law to help just any Colombian drug-trafficking suspect. In exchange for taking bribes, he got a reputed Cali cartel boss, Jose Bayron Piedrahita, removed from the indictment in one of the biggest cocaine-smuggling cases in the nation’s history.

Deploying a web of lies, the veteran agent persuaded federal prosecutors in Miami to dismiss Piedrahita from an indictment seven years ago that initially charged about 100 members of the powerful Cali cartel in 1993.

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