A former confidential informant working for the United States (US) in Colombia claims, in a lawsuit, that the American government abandoned her when she got into legal trouble for her undercover operations, and she wound up spending three years in a Colombian jail.
Astrid Hurtado is seeking US$15 million in damages.
Hurtado, 52, first worked as an informant for the US tax agency in 1997-1998, then for the 'El Dorado Task Force', a premier US government unit established by the then-US Customs Service to investigate money laundering.
Her job was to impersonate a money launderer in Colombia and provide information to the US. In return, she received a percentage of money seized by the Americans.
Hurtado told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she was paid around $120,000 for her work over a roughly 18-month period from 1998 to 2000.
According to a 2006 sworn statement by a federal prosecutor, Hurtado's work led to the investigation, trial, and guilty pleas of three people on drug-money-laundering charges.
Hurtado provided information to federal agents about drug money in the United States and would direct people she had contracted with to deliver money to undercover agents, the sworn statement said.
Hurtado, a Colombian citizen, is currently living in Florida, but her visa expires tomorrow, according to her lawyers, Ignacio J. Alvarez and Piper Hendricks.
They said they are taking steps to request that she can legally remain in the United States, and they have filed a petition for asylum.
Hurtado said she is sure she would be killed by Colombian criminals because of her undercover work if she were to return there.