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Federal agent faces charge of exposing self to teenage girl

Authorities say he repeatedly fondled himself while looking at her for 10 minutes before she got up. She said it was "the most disturbing thing I've ever seen."

By JUSTIN GEORGE
Published October 27, 2005


A high-ranking federal agent who took credit last week for busting a prostitution ring was arrested Tuesday by Orlando police on charges of exposing himself in front of a 16-year-old girl in the food court of an upscale mall.

Frank Figueroa, 49, faces charges of disorderly conduct in a public food establishment and exposure of sexual organs, both misdemeanors. He is the special agent in charge of nine U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices throughout Central Florida, including Tampa.

Figueroa was taken to Orange County Jail but was released on bail, police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said. He faces misdemeanor charges because the girl is at least 16, she said.

Arrest records say Figueroa sat in a food court booth in the Mall at Millenia about 10 feet away from a girl before he "hiked his shorts and exposed his penis to" her, the girl told police.

The girl said Figueroa repeatedly fondled himself while looking at her for 10 minutes before she got up and told her mother what happened, according to arrest records.

The mother informed a security guard.

The teenage girl called the incident "the most disturbing thing I've ever seen," records said.

Surveillance videotape captured Figueroa facing the girl, as she had described, records said. After the teenage girl left, police said, video shows Figueroa reseating himself facing other food court occupants a few tables over.

After he sat down, police said, his hands again moved to his lap.

"This is very disturbing to all of us at ICE," agency spokeswoman Pam McCullough said. "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes any allegations of wrongdoing by its employees seriously and thoroughly investigates such allegations."

Figueroa was placed on paid administrative leave while internal affairs investigates. Ray Connolly has been named interim special agent in charge.

Before overseeing area offices of the agency - formerly known as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS - the agency assigned Figueroa to customs offices in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to a profile story in the Oct. 16 Tampa Tribune. He said he was sent to those offices to fix management problems.

His badge number is 007, though he told the Tribune he chose the ID because it was similar to his former customs badge number of 777, and not because it is the number of fictional special agent James Bond.

But like Bond, Figueroa is known for his love of gadgets and fine clothes.

After a stint working in upstate New York, he applied for an agent's position in Miami in the 1980s, when it was notorious for cocaine trafficking.

Figueroa grew up in South Bronx, N.Y., the son of Puerto Rican immigrants. His father was a Bronze and Silver star recipient for fighting in Korea.

According to the Tribune, Figueroa worked in customs narcotics and financial investigations. After he was promoted to deputy assistant commissioner of investigations, he was in Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

He took the Central Florida post earlier this year, and most recently made news after federal agents arrested seven Central Florida residents last week, accused of operating a brothel out of a Davenport mobile home that served predominantly migrant workers.

"ICE's enforcement action focused on eradicating what are believed to be brothels and prosecuting their operators who allegedly promoted prostitution and other criminal acts," Figueroa said in a statement then.

"This generally doesn't hit the radar screen because it doesn't impact the normal citizen," he told the Orlando Sentinel after those arrests. "Their ability to stay under our radar screen was somewhat successful."

WTSP-Ch. 10 contributed to this report.

Justin George can be reached at 813 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com

[Last modified October 27, 2005, 01:27:13]


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