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DOJ OIG Releases Report on DEA’s Controls over Weapons and Munitions

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) controls over weapons and munitions. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the DEA generally has strong physical controls over its own and seized weapons and munitions, but the OIG identified weaknesses related to tracking weapons, ammunition, and less lethal munitions, and noncompliance with certain policies.

The specific findings in the report include:

• Lost or stolen firearms. The DEA reported 26 instances of firearms being lost or stolen between fiscal years 2014 and 2018. We found that the DEA’s monthly rate of lost and stolen firearms decreased by almost 69%, as compared to a prior 2008 OIG audit. The DEA has substantially reduced the monthly rate of lost firearms, and it must continuously work towards reducing this rate. Additionally, the DEA does not track data on whether its lost or stolen firearms were used in a crime.

• Weaknesses with firearms tracking system. The DEA’s firearms inventory system does not adequately track firearms. This issue was first identified in an OIG audit over 16 years ago.

• Noncompliance with firearms policies. We identified instances in which the DEA circumvented its policies for assigning firearms in order to permanently assign more weapons to individual Special Agents than permitted.

• Tracking and inventory of ammunition. Of the 16 DEA sites included in our audit, 7 had inaccurate ammunition tracking records, and 5 did not fully comply with the DEA’s ammunition tracking and inventory requirements.

Tracking and inventory of less lethal munitions. We identified several issues with tracking of less lethal munition, including: certain types of less lethal munitions were not tracked; discrepancies existed between quantities of actual and logged diversionary devices, such as flash bang grenades; and the DEA was not conducting an annual physical inventory of less lethal munitions and diversionary devices.

Today’s report makes nine recommendations to improve the DEA’s controls over its weapons, ammunition, less lethal munitions and diversionary devices. The DEA agreed with all of our recommendations.


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