Agent allegedly used law enforcement database to track acquaintances
Deputy U.S. Marshal Adrian Pena is accused of searching for cellphone locations of people with whom he had relationships, and their spouses
By Devlin Barrett
June 14, 2022 at 4:04 p.m. EDT
A federal agent has been charged with misusing cellphone tracking technology to look up the locations of people with whom he had personal relationships — and lying to investigators when confronted about it, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Adrian Pena was charged in a 14-count indictment with misconduct dating back to 2016. Officials say he misused law enforcement data for personal reasons while assigned to a task force in the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office — one of the law enforcement agencies now under intense scrutiny for waiting more than an hour to confront a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers inside an elementary school last month.
As part of his job with the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in Uvalde, Pena, 48, had access to a database that allowed users to look up the location of cellphones. While the database was supposed to be used only for legitimate law enforcement work, Pena used it “on numerous occasions … to obtain location data associated with the cellular telephones of his personal associates, including individuals with whom Pena was or had been in a personal relationship and their spouses,” according to the indictment.
He was charged with 11 counts of criminally obtaining phone records, two counts of false statements and one count of falsifying a record. He made a brief appearance Monday in federal court and was released.
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Officials charge that when Pena was confronted and questioned in 2017 by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, he lied and claimed that he did not use the database for personal reasons. He allegedly said he had occasionally accessed the database to help f..