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U.S. Marshal Accused Of Using Job Database To Track Acquaintances

A federal agent was 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. Deputy U.S. Marshal Adrian Pena was indicted on 14 counts of misconduct dating to 2016. Officials say he misused law enforcement data while assigned to the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington Post reports. As part of his job, 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,” the indictment said.

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 friends find their cellphones, or to assess whether the system was working properly. Asked if he used the system to find the location of a family member, friend or former girlfriend, Pena replied no. After questioning, Pena allegedly set up a meeting with one of the people whose phone he had traced, and persuaded her to sign a document stating she had given him permission to look up her phone information. The indictment alleges that written statement was false and was designed to obstruct the investigation. He was charged with 11 counts of criminally obtaining phone records, two counts of false statements and one count of falsifying a record. It was not immediately clear on why it took nearly five years to charge Pena, during which time he has apparently remained a paid employee of the Marshals Service.


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