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Follow-up Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Laboratory Operations*

Report No. 04-17
January 2004
Office of the Inspector General

Redacted Version
Appendix III
Drug Enforcement Administration's Response to the
Draft Audit Report

Official seal of the Drug Enforcement Administration U. S. Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Administration
  FEB 04 2004

TO: Guy K. Zimmerman
Assistant Inspector General for Audit
FROM: Karen P. Tandy original signed
SUBJECT: Draft Audit Report: Follow-up Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Laboratory Operations

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reviewed the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) draft audit report entitled, Follow-up Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Laboratory Operations. DEA provides the following comments, as requested in your memorandum dated January 14, 2004.

DEA agrees with all recommendations resulting from this audit. I concur with your assessment that DEA laboratory services are effective overall and the quality of work is well-managed. As the report accurately reflects, DEA has been independently working to resolve most of the recommendations identified by OIG auditors. Successful implementation of the attached action plan to resolve several of these recommendations is contingent upon enhancements to DEA's available resources, which DEA has requested and is committed to pursuing, in furtherance of its drug law enforcement mission. I am confident that completed actions to resolve OIG's recommendations will strengthen our laboratory operations.

DEA has completed a sensitivity review of the draft audit report. This information will be provided under separate cover.

Documentation detailing DEA's efforts to implement the action plan will he provided to OIG until all corrective actions are employed. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Audit Liaison Sheldon Shoemaker at (202) 307-4205.




Follow-up Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administrationís Laboratory Operations
Recommendations Action Planned Projected
Completion Date
1. Consider allocating DEA resources for additional fingerprint and digital evidence positions that would support turnaround times comparable to those for drug services. DEAís Office of Forensic Sciences (SF) will continue to pursue additional positions for both programs. 3/31/2007
2. Ensure that supervisors of fingerprint specialists are qualified and experienced in the analysis of latent fingerprints. Pursue positions for this purpose. In the interim, more technical oversight responsibilities will be given to the Senior Fingerprint Specialists in each laboratory. 3/31/2007
3. Provide direct access to additional local, state, and regional latent print databases for matching latent prints, Finalize the identification of local databases to determine which would be most beneficial, obtain funding and complete the connection. 12/31/2005
4. Provide detailed instructions and training for agents to ensure they properly handle and describe exhibits critical for developing latent prints. Review and revise curriculum used to train agents regarding fingerprint evidence handling, as appropriate. 12/31/2004
5. Increase the use of DEA fingerprint specialists at appropriate crime scenes. Continue to pursue additional positions for the program. 3/30/2007
6. Ensure that potential latent print residues are protected when drug exhibits that will also be analyzed for latent prints are opened and separated. This may involve additional training for chemists and increasing the use of joint decision-making or handling by chemists and fingerprint specialists when exhibits identified as high priority for print analysis are opened and separated. Review and revise policy in this area, as appropriate, to maximize the preservation of potential latent print evidence. Provide additional training to chemist staffs regarding the handling of drug packaging to protect latent prints. 9/30/2004
7. Ensure that laboratories use standardized procedures for recording information in data systems to ensure that all types of exhibits are tracked appropriately, and that the new information system will clearly track analysis data and turnaround times for all types of exhibits and analyses. Continue to pursue implementation of a Laboratory Information Management System that will track analytical results and provide management reports for all types of evidence. 9/30/2006
8. Ensure that exhibits are destroyed within the 90-day standard. Monitor compliance over the next 12 months. Take additional action, if necessary. 3/31/2005
9. Ensure the Southeast Laboratory is relocated to a suitable facility as soon as possible. Continue to monitor the progress of the building prospectus that General Services Administration (GSA) submitted to OMB. Additional action will be taken as needed. 3/31/2007
10. Ensure that improvements are made to correct the ventilation, [DELETED] problems at the Southeast Laboratory pending relocation. Action has been taken by the property manager to correct the ventilation problem. A security survey will be conducted in February 2004 by the Office of Security Programs. Solutions to resolve identified security issues will be explored with the intent of alleviating them prior to the laboratory relocation. 12/31/2004
11. Ensure the ventilation system and fume hood improvements in the Western Laboratory are effective, Obtain and review the final report of the industrial hygiene survey that was conducted in March 2003. Additional action will be taken, if necessary. 9/30/2004
12. Ensure that the Southeast Laboratory maintains complete records of requests for services from the leaseholder. The Southeast Laboratory Director has been maintaining a complete record of requests for services from the leaseholder. 1/31/2004
13. Press the GSA to enforce all terms of the lease for the Southeast Laboratory. GSA has taken action to ensure compliance with the terms of the lease. 1/31/2004
14. [DELETED] [DELETED] 6/30/2004
15. [DELETED] [DELETED] 10/31/2004

*Because this report contained information designated as "Law Enforcement Sensitive" by the Drug Enforcement Administration, we redacted (whited out) that information from the version of the report that is being publicly released. Where such information was redacted is noted in the report.

Redacted Version