|The DEA enforces federal laws and regulations related to the growth, production, or distribution of controlled substances. In addition, the DEA seeks to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs, both domestically and internationally. The DEA has approximately 10,800 employees staffing its 21 division offices in the United States and the Caribbean and 87 offices in 63 other countries.|
During this reporting period, the OIG received 202 complaints involving the DEA. The most common allegations made against DEA employees were job performance failure, off-duty misconduct, waste, and mismanagement. The OIG opened eight investigations and referred other allegations to the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility for review.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 20 open cases of alleged misconduct against DEA employees. The most common allegation was improper release of information. The following are examples of cases involving the DEA that the OIG’s Investigations Division handled during this reporting period:
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s Dallas Field Office and the DEA OPR led to the arrest of a DEA special agent on charges of bribery, accepting gratuities, and aiding and abetting false statements on visa applications. The investigation revealed that the DEA special agent fraudulently obtained visas for Mexican nationals so they could legally enter the United States. The investigation also revealed that the special agent falsified several visa referrals in return for $2,500 and a diamond ring valued at $1,000. Judicial proceedings continue.
- An investigation by the OIG’s Boston Area Office resulted in the arrest of a DEA task force member assigned to a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force on charges of making false statements, altering and falsifying records in a federal investigation, and wire fraud resulting in the theft of honest services from the National Guard and the DEA. The task force member served as a criminal intelligence analyst for HIDTA, a position that provided him with access to computer databases containing sensitive case information. OIG investigators developed evidence that the task force member accessed state records regarding his ex-girlfriend for harassment purposes and misused DEA subpoenas when he falsely implicated her in an active drug investigation. Judicial proceedings continue.
- The OIG’s Dallas Field Office investigated an allegation that a DEA special agent was involved in a sexual relationship with a confidential source that he allegedly protected from criminal prosecution for illegal drug activities. The investigation confirmed the existence of the sexual relationship between the agent and the informant and that the agent likely protected the informant from criminal prosecution because of this relationship. The investigation also established that the DEA agent attempted to obstruct the OIG investigation by advising the informant not to cooperate with the OIG. Because the subject’s admissions were administratively obtained, criminal prosecution was not pursued, and the OIG provided its report to the DEA for appropriate administrative action.
Follow-up on the DEA’s Handling of Cash Seizures
This follow-up review is assessing if the DEA has taken appropriate actions to implement our prior audit recommendations for handling cash seizures and whether the DEA’s corrective actions have improved its handling of seized cash.
The DEA’s Clandestine Drug Laboratory Cleanup Program
The OIG is evaluating the effectiveness of the DEA’s Clandestine Laboratory Cleanup Program.
The DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center
The OIG is reviewing how the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center provides intelligence support to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.