Woman Dies in FBI Drug Transaction Gone Bad

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — A San Diego woman’s family said the government used her as a plant in a deal with a Mexican drug cartel, which led to her being strangled to death when the deal went bad.
     According to the lawsuit her family filed in federal court, Andreina Tortolero worked with FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Jan. 2015 as a conduit for an undercover drug deal with a Mexican cartel, which included the son of infamous drug dealer “El Chapo.”
     Even though she was an inexperienced “layperson,” Tortolero worked with agents as part of a deal to get her husband, Eztor Placencia, released from jail, her family says.
     A former model from Venezuela, Tortolero had connections in Mexico and approached the government about striking a deal, her family’s attorney Elliot Kanter said in an interview.
     Agents led Tortolero to believe her husband would be incarcerated for up to four years for charges stemming from a parole violation, Kanter said. In reality, her husband would only spend a few months in jail and did not want Tortolero to go through with the transaction.
     The FBI and DEA made arrangements for Tortolero to deliver 10 kg of methamphetamine or cocaine to cartel members in Mexico, but the agents never delivered the drugs, the family says. Drug dealers strangled Tortolero to death for failing to come through.
     Tortolero’s body was found on the side of the road, and the government paid for her funeral, according to Kanter.
     The family says the federal agencies acted recklessly and “beyond the norm of behavior expected” by putting a “novice in a situation of grave danger.” By not providing a “reasonably safe environment for the negotiations and drug transaction to occur” and by not delivering the drugs as promised, the FBI and DEA knew drug dealers would harm or kill Tortolero, the lawsuit alleges.
     Tortolero’s husband, son and mother sued the FBI and DEA Sept. 16 for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and reckless behavior. They are seeking to recover lost earnings and economical support, the cost of caring for her son, attorney’s fees and other damages.
     The FBI and DEA do not comment on pending litigation.

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