Tag: DEA (page 2)
I've been writing for two years about the ever-increasing power given to the DEA and its involvement in sting after sting with no connection to drugs coming to the U.S. From the DEA's Excellent African Adventures to the case of Russian pilot Yuri Yaroshenko to Viktor Bout. (Two of the defendants in the Yaroshenko case were acquitted and sent home to Africa.)
The judges in the Southern District of New York have continuously defeated claims of manufactured jurisdiction, allowing the cases to proceed. The crimes are instigated by the DEA, don't come to fruition, and yet we (the taxpayers) end up funding their missions and then paying to incarcerate those snagged for the 20 plus year sentences they ultimately receive.
The newest Iran case is no different. The DEA is now a global police force, with offices in 83 countries and a budget in the billions. They are global holy warriors. [More..]
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In the continuing saga of the DEA vs. Aspen, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo says he did nothing out of the ordinary by stopping by a 65th birthday party for a long-time Aspen resident who had a pending drug charge. The party was at a local hotel. He stayed 15 minutes and didn't even have a drink. In the wake of criticism of his decision to attend the party, and whether it was a mistake, he said yesterday:
“Well, it’s hard for me to say anything else but ‘of course’ now, looking back. But in the day-to-day life of the way I’ve been for the last 30 years in Aspen, it just seems like another thing that I do. It just seems like another type of [a] day in the life of an Aspenite, and maybe even the Pitkin County sheriff. At least for the last 40 years.”
After reiterating that the majority of the Aspen community is opposed to undercover drug operations, and that they pose a safety risk, he addresses the war on drugs: [More...]
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Yesterday they wrote the DEA a letter, lambasting the agency for not telling local law enforcement what they were up to. The Commissioners urge the DEA to "“reconsider the directive you've given to your field agents and employees that places innocent people at risk.”
The letter has more details of the meeting between DEA and local law enforcement after the most recent bust.
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Still one of my favorite music videos of all time. And as true today as it was in 1984.
You see it in the headlines, you hear it every day
They say they're gonna stop it, but it doesn't go away
They move it through Miami and sell it in LA
They hide it up in Telluride, I mean it's here to stay
It's propping up the governments in Columbia and Peru
You ask any D.A., man, they'll say there's nothing we can do
From the office of the president right down to me and you
...It's a losing proposition, but one you can't refuse
It's the politics of contraband, it's the smugglers' blues
Time for a new approach? Hardly, according to testimony this week at a Senate Caucus hearing by DEA Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations Thomas M. Harrigan, on the DEA's five year plan for combating the cartels and drugs in Central America and Mexico. [More...]
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When the Chicago terror case against Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley and Tawawwur Hussein Rana first came to light, the most striking fact was that Headley had two prior heroin convictions and bargained his way out of heavy time for both by cooperating for the DEA. After 13 years of on and off again cooperation, he wasn't a newbie at the cooperation game, and he was well known to his handlers. Yet the DEA dropped the ball on Headley big time. And no heads have rolled.
In 1988 Gilani/Headley was busted at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, when a customs officer asked to check his belongings. Finding 2 kilos of heroin inside, he called for a D.E.A. agent stationed nearby and who arrived at the scene? Derek Maltz. Maltz, who has since been promoted to head of DEA Special Operations, is 48 now. (He still crows after every big bust, but he's been focused more on Mexico and South America lately, it seems. Here's a You Tube video of him a few months ago, pleased as punch with his new perps. Or read this description of one of his many talks.
He's been with the agency 25 years (his father also spent his career in drug enforcement). He would have been 25 when he was stationed in Frakfurt and made Headley's bust. Within two days (probably on the flight home) Headley agreed to cooperate. Two days later, he was back home at his apartment in Philly, all wired up for his first snare. [More...]
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All defendants except Yaroshenko acknowledged participation in cocaine transactions involving South America and Africa. They denied they were part of a conspiracy to have some of the drugs sent to the U.S. No cocaine was actually shipped anywhere, and the only connection to the U.S. was that the DEA informant in the sting operation told the others he planned to have his portion of the cocaine flown from Ghana to New York. I assume the two who were acquitted were Nathanial French and Mawuko Kudufia, whose alleged roles were to assist in the planned offload of the cocaine in Liberia after it arrived from South America. (Update: Those were the two who were acquitted, the U.S. Attorney's press release on the verdict is here.)
All four were flown from Africa to New York to stand trial in June, 2010, and have been detained since then. At least two will get to go home now. [More...]
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Next up: It will open an office in Nairobi, Kenya. Why? Because, like with Liberia and Ghana, it wants to stop drugs from going from South America to Africa and then Europe. From the State Departments 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report:
The principal U.S. counternarcotics objective in Kenya is to interdict the flow of narcotics to the United States. A related objective is to limit the corrosive effects of narcotics-related corruption in law enforcement, the judiciary, and political institutions. ....In support of this effort, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is in the process of opening a country office in Nairobi. Personnel from the DEA Pretoria Country Office offered support to the Government of Kenya in counter-narcotics over the course of FY 2010.
For information about all our drug enforcement efforts around the world, the full report is here. How much is this costing us? The State Department's 2011 international drug control budget runs 221 pages and is available here. Total: $2,136 million. [More...]
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I've been writing for over a year about what I call the DEA's African Vacations. Shorter version: DEA agents go to Africa, set up an elaborate sting, whereby cocaine from South America is flown to Ghana or elsewhere in Africa, so that it can be transported to Europe, its final destination. Even though the cocaine isn't headed to the U.S., the feds in the U.S. indict the participants, have them arrested/kidnapped in Africa and fly them to the U.S. to stand trial on charges ranging from conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit narco-terrorism, to conspiracy to distribute or import drugs.
If the Government is successful in the prosecutions, we will bear not only the cost of the overseas investigation, the cost of prosecution (and in many cases, the cost of defending those charged), and the cost of pre-trial detention, but also the cost of incarceration of those convicted for the next 10 or 20 years. [More...]
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The D.E.A. exercised its emergency rule making authority today and banned five chemicals used in smokable herbal products it calls fake marijuana. Included are the chemicals in Spice, K-2, Blaze and Red X Dawn.
Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the United States. This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety.
The ban will be in effect for a year. The DEA says:
They are designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances are reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.
The text of the rule, as appears in the Federal Register, is here. [More...]
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Here's the White House statement outlining funds in the budget for the War on Drugs. Is there more prevention, alternative incarceration and re-entry funding? Yes. And we appreciate it.
But, it's still top-heavy on enforcement. While it says the DEA gets $24.8 million less this year, it points out that last year's amount included supplemental funding for the Southwest Border. So it probably isn't a decrease at all. And those African vacations keep on coming. Today the feds indicted 7 in Liberia and Romania as part of a reverse sting by DEA agents. (DEA agents posed as drug sellers.)
The men allegedly "agreed to receive and store multi-ton shipments of Taliban-owned heroin" and "sell multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to the Taliban," while the two Americans -- identified as Alwar Pouryan and Oded Orbach -- allegedly agreed to sell the missiles, the statement said.
The U.S. Attorney's press release is here. Once again, it sounds like the drugs weren't intended for the U.S., but needing jurisdiction, the DEA talked the men into sending some here, with the promise of huge profits. Why are we flying these men from Liberia and Romania to New York to prosecute them? The cost of the prosecution, defense and their incarceration if convicted will be huge. [More...]
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The New York Times examines the Wikileaks cables and the DEA. What it finds: the D.E.A. has been expanding its global reach. It now has 87 offices in 63 countries. One of the things foreign governments love about the agency: its wiretapping capability.
The DEA has emerged from the shadow of the FBI and become much more than a drug agency. Its intelligence capabilities are in great demand, world-wide, but not always for the right reasons. This detailed article on the leaked Wikileaks cables concerning the DEA and war on drugs begins with Central and South America, where some governments want access to its technologies to go after political opponents. [More...]
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A year ago I wrote about the DEA's expensive "African vacation" during which it sent informants and agents to Ghana as part of an elaborate sting operation to intercept cocaine on its way to Europe. It ended up with no cocaine or money, but flew three African men back to the U.S. to face criminal charges. (A year later, the court's docket in U.S. v. Oumar Issa, et. al., SDNY, shows the three are still in custody and the case hasn't even gotten past the discovery phase to the filing of pre-trial motions.)
I'm sure the men's lawyers (some of whom are court-appointed since some of those charged are indigent) will be very interested in Wikileaks' release of embarrassing cables today pertaining to cocaine enforcement operations in Ghana, Mali and elsewhere in West Africa. One set of cables pertains to a longstanding and expensive UK operation called Westbridge, in which the UK teamed up with the Ghana Government. Cables by American diplomats claim corruption in Ghana has ruined the operation. [More...]
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If this press release wasn't on the DEA's website, I'd think it was a hoax. Incredibly, it celebrates the killing of a suspect.
Justice is done when a suspect is brought before a court and tried, not when he's murdered before his guilt has been determined. Yet, DEA Director Michelle M. Leonhart writes:
“President Calderon of Mexico scored a major victory against the Arturo Beltran-Leyva drug cartel. Last August when DEA, along with our U.S. law enforcement partners, announced the indictment of Mexican drug kingpin Arturo Beltran-Leyva, we were confident that our Mexican counterparts would work with us to pursue him and hold him accountable for his horrific crimes. And last night they did.”
Some background: Alleged Mexican cartel leader Arturo Beltran-Leyva was shot and killed by the Mexican military last Wednesday. He was under indictment in the U.S. (available here), As Leonhart writes:
...[W]hen the Mexican Navy closed in on Beltran-Leyva’s apartment complex, a sustained firefight ensued and Arturo Beltran-Leyva was killed, along with several of his bodyguards.”
As for the future, it looks like we can expect more of the same: Forget the trial, just shoot the perp on sight. Leonhart continues: [More...]
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Not surprisingly, I don't often get promotional e-mails from the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration. Today I did, with the news that another convention will be taking place in Colorado just before the Democratic National Convention. It's the Law Enforcement Explorers.
Law Enforcement Exploring is a worksite-based program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are 14-20 years old. Law Enforcement Explorer posts around the country help youth to gain insight into a variety of programs that offer hands-on career activities. For young men and women who are interested in careers in the field of law enforcement, Exploring offers experiential learning with lots of fun-filled, hands-on activities that promote the growth and development of adolescent youth.
4,500 teens from all 50 states will be attending the conference. Details of the "fun-filled activities":
The week-long conference will take place on the campus of Colorado State University and will feature several team competitions including arrest and search techniques, crime scene investigation, bomb threat response, and hostage negotiations. Seminars on gang violence, psychological profiling, effective communication, narcotics trafficking and interdiction, and border protection are also planned.
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[Photo from the DEA Gift Shop]
It was created by executive order of President Richard Nixon and went live on July 1 1973.
At its outset, the DEA had 1,470 Special Agents and a budget of less than $75 million. Furthermore, in 1974, the DEA had 43 foreign offices in 31 countries. Today, the DEA has 5,235 Special Agents, a budget of more than $2.3 billion and 86 foreign offices in 62 countries.
Since 1973, drug arrests have tripled: [more...]
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