Semiannual Report to Congress

April 1, 2009-September 30, 2009
Office of the Inspector General

Drug Enforcement Administration
DEA logo 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.

Reports Issued

Follow-up Audit on the DEA’s Handling of Cash Seizures

The OIG’s Audit Division examined the DEA’s handling of cash seizures made during the 16-month period ending November 2008. We found that the DEA has made progress since our 2007 audit in safeguarding seized cash from loss or theft, but further improvements are still needed.

During our audit of 29 DEA offices, we found that the DEA has improved in following 8 of 10 cash-handling controls. However, the DEA took slightly longer to transport seized cash to banks for an official count because it experienced problems implementing a Department of Treasury program designed to streamline cash deposits by federal agencies. We concluded that DEA staff needed to improve preparing and reviewing records and other legal documents related to the seized cash.

We also found that DEA law enforcement officers did not prepare or review some of those documents until after an average of 9 months had elapsed. For 682 cash seizures we tested, DEA staff prepared 131 amended Reports of Investigation and other memoranda an average of more than 276 days after the date of seizure. Not conducting complete and timely reviews of the cash-seizure files can lead to errors in the cash-seizure documentation, which can make it difficult for prosecutors to successfully try cases.

The OIG concluded that the DEA needs to define how quickly supervisors should review cash seizure records and provide its staff with additional training on handling seized cash, preparing and reviewing cash seizure documents, and maintaining copies of records in the investigative case files.

We made five recommendations to the DEA to help improve its handling of seized cash. The DEA agreed with our recommendations.


During this reporting period, the OIG received 261 complaints involving the DEA. The most common allegations made against DEA employees included job performance failure; theft or loss of seized property, money, or drugs; waste; and mismanagement. The OIG opened 11 investigations. The majority of the complaints were considered management issues and were provided to the DEA for its review and appropriate action.

At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 22 open cases of alleged misconduct against DEA employees. The most common allegations were release of information, false statements, and job performance failure. The following are examples of cases involving the DEA that the OIG’s Investigations Division handled during this reporting period:

Ongoing Work

The DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center

The OIG is assessing the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center and the intelligence support it provides to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The review includes an assessment of the range of the Intelligence Center’s products and services and their value to the agencies that use them.

The DEA’s Clandestine Drug Laboratory Cleanup Program

The OIG is evaluating the effectiveness of the DEA’s Clandestine Laboratory Cleanup Program.


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