DEA to Open Office in Sofia, Bulgaria

The DEA, our global holy warriors, have announced the opening of a new office is Sofia, Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Embassy notice is here.

The DEA has been training Bulgarian law enforcement officials from the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) since 2008. DEA Regional Director of DEA, Mark Destito is in Bulgaria today for meetings. [More...]

According to reports in June, drug traffickers have been avoiding Bulgaria. According to the State Department's 2010 report, the only illegal drug crop in Bulgaria is marijuana, and it's primarily for domestic consumption. (See p. 166-167.)

So why Sofia? Is it because of this two year old report that Bulgarian drug traffickers are funding Islamic terrorists? Because farmers in Bulgaria have been switching from growing tomatoes to marijuana? More on that here. Is it because efforts have been underway to legalize marijuana in Bulgaria?

According to the 2010 report (p. 168), the DEA's involvement in Bulgaria already includes:

DEA operations for Bulgaria are managed from the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. DEA’s current emphasis in Bulgaria is on conducting and coordinating joint international investigations with MOI counterparts and providing DEA technical and legal expertise and assistance.

DEA, with some support from DoD through the U.S. European Command, also strives to arrange for
counternarcotics training for Bulgarian law enforcement personnel; for example, a U.S. Coast Guard mobile training team provided a course in professional military education in 2009.

A joint operation between DEA and local police resulted in closing a laboratory for synthetic drugs production near Sofia and seizing 150 kilograms of amphetamine tablets and 2.5 kilograms of amphetamine substances.

A DOJ resident legal advisor, funded by State Department INL assistance, works with the Bulgarian government on law enforcement issues, including trafficking in drugs and persons, intellectual property, cyber-crime, and other issues. Another DOJ prosecutor advises the Bulgarian government on organized crime cases.

Isn't that enough? Do we really need the DEA to be in 64 countries instead of 63? The New York Times recently reported here on the extended global reach of the DEA.

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    Paging (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 03:20:04 PM EST
    Kdog. Do we really need to be in the majority of countries we have our tentacles in? I would say probably not.

    I'm thinking the DEA... (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 03:30:03 PM EST
    is fronting for the CIA or something, like a bodega front for a weed spot...cuz it makes no sense to be in Bulgaria.  Something very fishy about the DEA foreign adventures.

    Sh*t the DEA makes no sense period.  Wanna combat organized crime?  Legalize and regulate all drugs...organized crime has their primary revenue source cut out from under them.


    Bulgaria's one of the (none / 0) (#3)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 04:17:25 PM EST
    heroin routes to Europe, Romania also.

    I found out when reading Romanian newspapers online. Instead of from Turkey to the west, often it's from central asia or turkey to Bulgaria, then to the west, based on Black Sea ports and overland routes through the caucasus/central asia, Ukraine, Moldova, into Romania. By ship and land routes to  Varna Bulgaria or Constanta Romania.

    Southwest Asia, primarily Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey, account for about 1/3 of the heroin production worldwide.

    there's a decent border between Bulgaria and Turkey, and sea routes through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, even Iran, into the Caspian Sea, then through the caucasus region, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, even southern FRS to the Black Sea.


    Interesting... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:59:27 AM EST
    Lets hope Romania & Bulgaria, with a DEA assist, aren't too successful in closing the heroin routes, lest their junkies turn to Krokodil.

    The prohibition of cocaine brought us the plague of meth, the prohibition of heroin brought us this new plague of Krokodil.  (Warning, do not search for pics if you're faint of heart.)

    How destructively dumb can we be...as long as people are gonna chase highs, and they will always chase highs...may as well make the purer cleaner safer stuff available.


    Ugh (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 09:03:44 AM EST
    Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. People literally rot to death.

    That's Bulgaria's problem, imo. n/t (none / 0) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 04:24:33 PM EST
    I am not arguing for the DEA (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 04:31:52 PM EST
    to be there, simply explaining why the DEA wants to open offices there.

    I think the DEA is a worthless and destabilizing organization. I find the extra-legal powers, such as arresting people in Africa or any other country, to be totalitarian.


    Information is important (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 09:34:03 AM EST
    When it comes to addressing or challenging any situation, no matter what side of the argument one takes.

    Facts are important. (none / 0) (#13)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 11:13:16 AM EST
    I wasn't saying otherwise.

    Just offering my take which is that it is Bulgaria's problem.


    Has the "totalitarian" DEA, then, (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 09:02:35 PM EST
    found a compatible domicile in Bulgaria et al? (Trans: While I agree that some of the extra-territorial work of units like the DEA go a little too far for my comfort, it does take "two to tango"...and, the classic locales suitable for that kind of help may have an interesting profile on the international survey of corrupt/closed governments, esp. in some of the former SSRs. Hey, they could make the DEA look like choirboys.)

    It isn't my responsibility to make Bulgaria's (none / 0) (#16)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 11:15:27 AM EST
    or any other country's law enforcement agencies act in accordance with US laws, Christine. I HAVE worked with the DEA on more than a few occasions during my short time in law enforcement, and I trained some of the DEA agents while I was in the Army. I must tell you that the agents disgusted me with their actions and attitudes were at best unprofessional, and at worst criminally thuggish.

    I also meant to add (none / 0) (#17)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 11:17:00 AM EST
    that the DEA agents and the culture of the organization fits well within the model you suggest.

    Thank you for your answer, jeff (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 01:48:22 PM EST
    Yes, Bulgaria's model is not our responsibility.  But, as you might surmise, I have studied thoughts about the habits of some former SSR states as well as our own DEA's approaches.  And, it isn't just the ol' "sauce for the goose & gander" stuff...it is more a short-hand notation of the difficulties faced by countries with a long history of totalitarian and/or authoritarian rule (see, e.g., Russia's tsarist regimes, followed by Soviet regimes, followed by the Putin version) as they transit to a democratic form of government.

    As in a similar comment from me referencing Kazakhstan the other cay, it does concern me that in our urgency to decry certain off-the-path & less-than-acceptable  actions by such as the CIA, DEA at different times, we occasionally are tempted to embrace rhetorically other countries where unacceptable behavior is the norm.  My push-back is only about perspective.


    I guess my perspective is somewhat (none / 0) (#19)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 10:38:51 PM EST
    different... a country that existed as a former SSR or former dictatorship (long-term, i mean) wouldn't have (what used to be) values and ideals in general that more free countries would.

    So I give more leeway to countries that are 20 to 30 years out of despotism to make errors. The US, however, I hold to a higher standard. Since 2001 the US hasn't achieved that standard in many ways.

    There are plenty of examples throughout US history of not reaching the standards, but for a Bulgaria or a Romania or a Turkmenistan, the standards may be unclear even to the populace and/or those governong. Heck, I could include the FRS in this.


    I know their CIA affiliation is BIG (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:11:01 AM EST
    It all started in Afghanistan and the war on terror, trying to defund the Taliban.  I can't remember the name of the five person investigation teams on the ground in Afghanistan but they include a member of the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, and military entities.  I think you are spot on.

    I would agree (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 04:44:45 PM EST
    This administration is talking about cutting funding for all kinds of things that will actually help the people in this country.  They want to save money?  Rein in the DEA.  Among other things.

    So now, even the DEA is (none / 0) (#7)
    by me only on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 04:47:49 PM EST

    More (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:56:54 PM EST
    of our tax dollars down the drain.

    Hard to believe we can afford such things (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:11:28 AM EST