Drug Enforcement Administration
| Drug Enforcement Administration|
|Drug Enforcement Administration|
|Formed||July 1, 1973|
|Preceding Agencies|| Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs |
Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement
|Annual Budget||$2.415 billion USD (2006)|
|Minister Responsible||Michael Mukasey, Attorney General|
|Agency Executives|| (Vacant), Administrator |
Michele Leonhart, Deputy Administrator
|Parent agency||United States Department of Justice|
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a United States Department of Justice law enforcement agency tasked with combating the war on drugs. Not only is the DEA the lead agency for domestic enforcement of illegal drug trade (sharing concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation), it also has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad.
History and mandate1 July 1973, by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973, signed by President Richard Nixon on 28 March 1973. It proposed the creation of a single federal agency to enforce the federal drug laws as well as consolidate and coordinate the government's drug control activities. Congress accepted the proposal, as they were concerned with the growing availability of drugs. As a result, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), and other Federal offices merged together to create the DEA.
In 1999, the DEA opened the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum in Arlington, Virginia. In February 2003, the DEA established a Digital Evidence Laboratory within its Office of Forensic Sciences.
The DEA is headed by an Administrator of Drug Enforcement appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate. The Administrator reports to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General. The Administrator is assisted by a Deputy Administrator, the Chief of Operations, the Chief Inspector, and three Assistant Administrators (for the Operations Support, Intelligence, and Human Resources Divisions). Other senior staff include the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Counsel. The Administrator and Deputy Administrator are the only Presidentially-appointed personnel in the DEA; all other DEA officials are career government employees. DEA's headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia across from the Pentagon. It maintains its own DEA Academy located on the United States Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia along with the FBI Academy. It maintains 21 domestic field divisions with 237 field offices and 80 foreign offices in 58 countries. With a budget exceeding 2.415 billion dollars, DEA employs over 10,800 people, including over 5,500 Special Agents.
Job applicants who have a history of hard drug use are excluded from consideration. Investigation usually includes a polygraph test for special agent, diversion investigator, and intelligence research specialist positions.
|“||Applicants who are found, through investigation or personal admission, to have experimented with or used narcotics or dangerous drugs, except those medically prescribed, will not be considered for employment with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Exceptions to this policy may be made for applicants who admit to limited youthful and experimental use of marijuana. Such applicants may be considered for employment if there is no evidence of regular, confirmed usage and the full-field background investigation and results of the other steps in the process are otherwise favorable.||”|
The DEA's relatively firm stance on this issue is in contrast to that of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which, in 2005, considered relaxing its' hiring policy relevant to individual drug use history. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9646619/from/RL.4/)
Mobile Enforcement Teams
Mobile Enforcement Teams (METs) are specialized squads designed as a support service dedicated to attacking and dismantling drug trafficking and urban violence in close cooperation with local authorities. METs are located throughout the United States in DEA’s 21 field divisions. They often focus their efforts in rural and some smaller urban areas that are deficient in the law enforcement resources to combat organized drug gangs.
Impact on the drug trade
In 2005, the DEA seized a reported $1.4 billion in drug trade related assets and $477 million worth of drugs. However, according to the White House's Office of Drug Control Policy, the total value of all of the drugs sold in the US is as much as $64 billion a year, making the DEA's efforts to intercept the flow of drugs into and within the US less than 1% effective. Defenders of the agency's performance record argue that the DEA has had a positive effect beyond their relatively small annual seizures by placing pressure on traffickers, raising prices for consumers which, it is hoped, may reduce the affordability of drugs.
Critics of this theory (including the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, prior to his death a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) point out that demand for illegal drugs shows little price sensitivity; the people who are buying drugs will continue to buy them with little regard to price, often turning to crime to support expensive drug habits when the drug prices rise. One recent study published in the The Atlantic lending credence to the criticism shows that in every major US city, from New York to Los Angeles, the price of street cocaine has dropped. 
The DEA has a registration system in place which authorizes medical professionals, researchers and manufacturers access to "Schedule I" drugs. Authorized registrants receive a "DEA number" that is to be solely used for tracking controlled substances. The DEA number, however, is often used by the industry as a general "prescriber" number as a unique identifier for anyone who can prescribe medication.
Diversion control system
Many problems associated with drug abuse are the result of legitimately-manufactured controlled substances being diverted from their lawful purpose into the illicit drug traffic. Many of the narcotics, depressants and stimulants manufactured for legitimate medical use are subject to abuse, and have therefore been brought under legal control. The goal of controls is to ensure that these "controlled substances" are readily available for medical use, while preventing their distribution for illicit sale and abuse.
Under federal law, all businesses which manufacture or distribute controlled drugs, all health professionals entitled to dispense, administer or prescribe them, and all pharmacies entitled to fill prescriptions must register with the DEA. Registrants must comply with a series of regulatory requirements relating to drug security, records accountability, and adherence to standards.
All of these investigations are conducted by Diversion Investigators (DIs). DIs conduct investigations to uncover and investigate suspected sources of diversion and take appropriate civil and administrative actions.
MDMA DEA Scheduling Overturn
In 1985 MDMA and its analogues were under review by the American government as a drug for potential of abuse. During this time, several public hearings on the new drug were held by the DEA. Based on all of the evidence and facts presented at the time, The DEA's administrative law judge did not see MDMA and its analogues as being of large concern and recommended that they be placed in Schedule III. The DEA administrator, expressing concern for abuse potential, overruled the recommendation and ruled that MDMA be put in Schedule I, the Controlled Substances Act's most restrictive category.
The DEA has been criticized for placing highly restrictive schedules on a few narcotics which researchers in the fields of pharmacology and medicine regard as having medical uses. Critics assert that some such decisions are motivated primarily by political factors stemming from the US government's War on Drugs, and that many benefits of such substances remain unrecognized due to the difficulty of conducting scientific research. A counterpoint to that criticism is that under the Controlled Substances Act it is the Department of Health and Human Services (through the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse), not the DEA, which has the legal responsibility to make scientific and medical determinations with respect to drug scheduling; no drug can be scheduled if the Secretary of Health and Human Services recommends against it on a scientific or medical basis, and no drug can be placed in the most restrictive schedule (Schedule I) if DHHS finds that the drug has a currently accepted medical use. Jon Gettman's essay Science and the End of Marijuana Prohibition describes the DEA as "a fall guy to deflect responsibility from the key decision-makers" and opines, "HHS calls the shots when it comes to marijuana prohibition, and the cops at DEA and the general over at ONDCP take the heat."
The DEA is also criticized for allegedly focusing only on the operations from which it can seize the most money, namely the organized cross-border trafficking of heroin and cocaine. Some individuals contemplating the nature of the DEA's charter advise that, based on order of popularity, the DEA should be most focused on marijuana. Others suggest that, based on opiate popularity, the DEA should focus much more on prescription opiates used recreationally, which critics contend is far more widespread than heroin use. Some scheduled substances are extremely rare, with no clear reason behind the scheduling of 4-Methyl-aminorex or bufotenine.
Others, such as the Cato Institute and the Drug Policy Alliance criticize the very existence of the DEA and the War on Drugs as inimical to the concept of civil liberties by arguing that anybody should be free to put any substance they choose into their own bodies for any reason, particularly when legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs are also open to abuse, and that any harm caused by a drug user or addict is covered under existing law, just as it is for a non-user. Recurrently, billions are spent yearly, focusing largely on criminal law and demand reduction campaigns, which has only resulted in millions of US citizens imprisoned. Demand for recreational drugs is somewhat static as the market for most illegal drugs has been saturated, forcing the cartels to expand their market to Europe and other areas than the United States. It is common for illicit drugs to be widely available in most urban, suburban, and even rural areas in the United States, which leads drug legalization proponents to claim that drug laws, like most other laws, have little effect on those who choose not to obey them, and that the resources spent enforcing drug laws, as well as many other laws, are wasted. As it relates to the DEA specifically, the vast majority of individual arrests stemming from illegal drug possession and distribution are narrow and more local in scope and are made by local law enforcement officers, while the DEA tends to focus on larger, interstate and international distribution networks and the higher ranking members of such organizations in addition to operating in conjunction with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies along US borders.
Some groups advocate legalization of certain controlled substances under the premise that doing so may reduce the volume of illicit trafficking and associated crime as well as yield a valuable tax source, although some of the results of drug legalization have raised doubt about some of these beliefs. For example, marijuana is now available as a palliative agent, in Canada, with a medical prescription. Yet 86% of Canadians with HIV/AIDS, eligible for a prescription, continue to obtain marijuana illegally (AIDS Care. 2007 Apr;19(4):500-6.) However, this could be due to the availability, and often the quality of illegal cannabis compared to the procedural hoops a patient has to jump through when receiving it from the government.
The DEA was accused in 2005 by the Venezuelan government of collaborating with drug traffickers, after which President Hugo Chávez decided to end any collaboration with the agency. In 2007, after the State Department criticized Venezuela in its annual report on drug trafficking, the Venezuelan Minister of Justice reiterated the accusations: "A large quantity of drug shipments left the country through that organization,.....We were in the presence of a new drug cartel."
In the Netherlands both the Dutch government and the DEA have been criticized for violations of Dutch sovereignty in drug investigations. According to Peter R. de Vries, a Dutch journalist present at the 2005 trial of Henk Orlando Rommy, the DEA has admitted to activities on Dutch soil. Earlier, then minister of justice Piet Hein Donner, had denied to the Dutch parliament that he had given permission to the DEA for any such activities, which would have been a requirement by Dutch law in order to allow foreign agents to act within the territory .
This table lists all Administrators of the DEA, their dates of service, and under which administration they served.
|John R. Bartels, Jr.||1973–1975||Nixon, Ford|
|Peter B. Bensinger||1976–1981||Ford, Carter, Reagan|
|Francis M. Mullen||1981–1985||Reagan|
|John C. Lawn||1985-1990||Reagan, G.H.W. Bush|
|Robert C. Bonner||1990-1993||G.H.W. Bush, Clinton|
|Stephen H. Greene (Acting)||1993-1994||Clinton|
|Thomas A. Constantine||1994-1999||Clinton|
|Donnie R. Marshall||1999-2001||Clinton, G.W. Bush|
|Asa Hutchinson||2001-2003||G.W. Bush|
|Karen Tandy||2003-2007||G.W. Bush|
|Michele Leonhart (Acting)||2007–||G.W. Bush|
The DEA in popular culture
- Gary Oldman played a corrupt DEA Agent in Léon. It was one of his most critically acclaimed roles.
- Luis Guzmán and Don Cheadle play two DEA agents in the movie Traffic.
- Vin Diesel and Larenz Tate play DEA agents in the movie A Man Apart.
- David Duchovny plays a transvestite DEA agent in Twin Peaks. The acronym 'DEA' was mistakenly said to stand for 'Drug Enforcement Agency'.
- Max Payne is an NYPD police officer who later becomes a DEA agent in the video game series Max Payne.
- Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker) finds out that her boyfriend is a DEA agent on the Showtime series "Weeds."
- In the game Narc, one of the two playable characters is DEA Agent Marcus Hill played by Bill Bellamy
- In The Power of the Dog Don Winslow follows the main character Art Keller through the DEA's beginnings with the War on Drugs (Operation Condor) in Sinaloa, Mexico in 1975 to the year 2004
- In the movie Swordfish, the character Ginger (Halle Berry) claims to be an undercover DEA agent.
- In the television program Painkiller Jane, Kristanna Loken plays the titular character, who at the beginning of the series is a DEA agent.
- In the Third Person Shooter game Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories, the DEA is Largely involved in the many missions. Most notably DEA Agent Brian Forbes.
- The ambient/electronic band The American Dollar has a song called DEA on their album The Technicolour Sleep.
- In the soap opera Passions, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald Crane was rescued from shark-infested waters by DEA agents after Mexican drug kingpin Juanita Vasquez.
- In the movie Basic, DEA agent John Travolta investigates an Army Ranger mission gone wrong.
- In April 2008, Spike TV premiered a new show, "DEA", chronicling the day to day operations of DEA officers operating in Detroit. It was filmed over the summer of 2007.
- Bureau of Prohibition
- Bureau of Narcotics
- Bureau of Drug Abuse Control
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Drug-related crime
- War on Drugs
- Operation Web Tryp, a DEA investigation culminating in 10 arrests and the closure of 5 suppliers of research chemicals.
- ↑ Drug Enforcement Administration: Drug Abuse Prevention Service Award. Learning for Life. Retrieved on 2007-12-13.
- ↑ History of the DEA: 1970 - 1975. www.deamuseum.org. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
- ↑ Marijuana Timeline. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
- ↑ 1999-2003. DEA. Retrieved on 2007-06-03.
- ↑ Title 28, C.F.R., Part 0.102. Department of Justice. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
- ↑ Drug Questionnaire. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
- ↑ Drug Enforcement Administration Highlights Year’s Accomplishments. dea.gov (December 28, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
- ↑ What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs 1988–1998. Office of National Drug Control Policy (December 2000). Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
- ↑ http://www.sharedresponsibility.gov.co/?idcategoria=697,How Cocaine Defies the First Rule in Economics,Shared Responsibility
- ↑ http://www.drugtext.org/library/research/mdma/archive/15/default.htm, 24 MDMA,Chorles S. Grob and Russell E Polond
- ↑ Video Documentary: "Hooked - Illegal Drugs and How They Got That Way: LSD, Ecstasy and Raves",The History Channel
- ↑ Millennium Marijuana March
- ↑ Boaz, David; Timothy Lynch (2004-08-12). The war on drugs. Cato Handbook on Policy. Cato Institute. Retrieved on 2007-05-03.
- ↑ Drug Policy Alliance. Mission and Vision. Retrieved on 2007-05-03.
- ↑ Christopher Toothaker. Venezuela rejects U.S. drug report, accuses DEA of collaborating with traffickers. New County Times. Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
- ↑ de Vries, Peter R. (2005-10-02). Dossier: ‘De zwarte Cobra’ (Dutch). Programma. Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
- ↑ From July 1981 - November 1983, Mullen served as Acting Administrator. He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on 21 January 1982, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 30 September 1983, and sworn in as Administrator on 10 November 1983.
- ↑ From March - July 1985, Lawn served as Acting Administrator. He was nominated by President Reagan on 4 April 1985, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 16 July 1985, and sworn in as Administrator on 26 July 1985.
- ↑ From July 1999 - June 2000, Marshall served as Acting Administrator.
- DEA official web site
- The History of the DEA from 1973 to 1998
- List of former DEA Administrators
- Agency of Fear - The History of the origins of the DEA in the Nixon White House
- Results of Prohibition The financial costs of drug use and drug prohibition in the US, impact on levels of drug use and prices.
- A response to the DEA web site
- "98 Percent Of All Domestically Eradicated Marijuana Is "Ditchweed," DEA Admits", NORML News Archive, 7 September 2006. Retrieved on 2007-03-27.
- Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy Full text of major government commission reports on the effects of drug enforcement
- The Drug Hang-Up by Rufus King A history of the drug laws with special emphasis on the predecessors to the DEA
- DEA Watch - A dissenting view of the DEA
- Drug Enforcement Administration Meeting Notices and Rule Changes from The Federal Register RSS Feed
- DEA Lookup.com Commercial DEA number database search service
- Office of Diversion Control
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