Cartagena, COLOMBIA -- At least a dozen Secret Service agents covering President Obama in Colombia for a leaders summit were sent back to the United States because of allegations involving prostitution, Fox News' Ed Henry confirms through a senior law enforcement official.
The source says that the situation got serious enough that diplomats were brought in to mediate and the Secret Service agents were expelled from the country.
A new crew of agents were rushed into the country to help cover, and officials stress the president was not in any danger.
Of those sent home, it was not immediately clear if all of the agents were involved in prostitution or just associated with incidents surrounding it.
Agents have made headlines before on trips, but the large number involved in this case is unusual.
The behavior in question happened prior to the president’s arrival Friday for the Summit of the Americas, a Secret Service spokesman said. Obama is slated to be here through Sunday and attend several working sessions and meetings with leaders.
The agency did not specify the misconduct or the exact number of people involved, but did confirm there were allegations and that they were sent home.
"The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. This entire matter has been turned over to our Office of Professional Responsibility, which serves as the agency's internal affairs component," agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said.
The alleged misconduct is an embarrassing headline as the president kicks off meeting with 33 western hemisphere leaders, where issues of trade and economy are intended to be the focus.
On a foreign trip of this size, there’s a sizeable fleet of agents sent in to cover all aspects of the president’s trip and security – from driving official vehicles, to scouting locations over multiple shifts and several days.
Also, agents will typically come in several days ahead of the president’s arrival.
Prostitution is legal in Colombia, in so-called “tolerance zones.”
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter and author of a book on the Secret Service first reported the allegations.
The White House did not comment and referred questions to the Secret Service.