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Tag: DEA

DEA Program Manager Charged in Credit Card Fraud Involving $115,000; Prosecutors Allege She Took Out 33 DEA Credit Cards

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A DEA program manager from Maryland has been charged in a fraudulent scheme involving DEA credit cards.

She’s charged with using the cards to withdraw from ATM machines about $115,000 for her own use.

Keenya Meshell Banks, age 41, of Upper Marlboro, Md. is charged in a criminal complaint with access device fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. She made her initial appearance on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

According to a government affidavit, Banks worked as a DEA Program Manager in Northern Virginia, and was responsible for the approval and issuance of government credit cards to DEA employees, authorities said in a press release. The affidavit alleges that from June 2010 through October 2014, Banks fraudulently acquired 33 DEA credit cards.

According to the press release:

Specifically, Banks allegedly submitted applications that included the names and identifying information of individuals who did not work for DEA and therefore were not eligible to receive DEA government credit cards. On at least one occasion, Banks submitted an application that matched a current DEA employee. The employee never received the card and Banks allegedly used the personal information of the employee without the employee’s knowledge or approval. The credit cards were ordered by Banks via email, and the cards were sent to Banks via Federal Express or other mail, based on her certification on the applications.

The criminal complaint alleges that Banks used the cards at Automated Teller Machines in Maryland and Northern Virginia, withdrawing approximately $115,841.74 over the course of the scheme. No payment was ever made to the credit card issuer.

Is DEA Out of Touch When it Comes to Marijuana?

By  Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is the DEA out of touch when it comes to classifying marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, the same as drugs like heroin and LSD?

Some might think so.

The website Government Executive has written a story entitled: “The DEA Still Thinks Marijuana is as Dangerous as Heroin.”

The website writes:

At the federal level, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies cannabis as a schedule 1 substance, the most dangerous class under the Controlled Substances Act, with “a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”

Many scientists say there is little basis to put marijuana in that category, and the DEA’s stance that marijuana has no medicinal use has been widely rebuked in recent years.

To read more click here.

3 Columbians Who Helped Kidnap, Murder FBI Agent sentenced to 20+ Years

James Terry Watson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three Columbian nationals who participated in the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson in Bogota, Columbia, on June 20, 2013, were sentenced to 20 to 27 years.

The defendants had previously entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person, the Latin American Herald Tribune .

Héctor Leonardo López, 34, Julio Estiven Gracia Ramírez, 32, and Andrés Álvaro Oviedo García, 22, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person. Today, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced López to 25 years, Gracia Ramírez to 27 years, and Oviedo García to 20 years.

The defendants admitted they lured victims, including Watson, into taxis, kidnapping and mugging them.

On June 20, Watson was attacked with a knife and stun gun while in the back of the cab. He managed to escape but died from his injuries.

“Throughout his law enforcement career, Special Agent Watson’s service was both selfless and courageous,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “With this action, we continue our work to hold accountable those who were responsible for his murder. In the weeks ahead, we expect to take additional steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. And in all that we do, our nation’s Department of Justice will continue to honor Special Agent Watson’s sacrifice, to safeguard the nation he served, and to protect the values and principles he defended all his life.”

 

Congress Is About to Block the Feds from Cracking Down on Medical Marijuana

By Tim Burger
Vice

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of the deadline to pass spending legislation that will avoid another government shutdown debacle, Congress appears poised to send a bill to President Obama that would ban the Department of Justice from meddling with state medical marijuana laws.

Tucked at the bottom of page 213 o​f the latest omnibus appropriations bill, a provision states that “[n]one of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used… to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana,” listing 32 states, as well as the District of Columbia, where the amendment would apply.

To read the full story click here. 

Former DEA Agent Reveals Details of His Undercover Career in New Book

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A former DEA agent has uncovered fascinating details of his undercover career in a book entitled, “The Dar Art: Inside the World’s Most Dangerous Narco-Terrorist Organization.”

Ed Follis talked with St. Louis Public radio about the book.

“The book was cathartic,” Follis said. “I finally looked back on all those days and the stuff we did.”

Follis’ career with the DEA spans nearly 30 years when he pursued drug traffickers.

Follis said the war on drugs would be more successful if law enforcement targeted the bigger dealers.

“The war on drugs is somewhat like a number of other wars that we’ve advanced since Vietnam,” Follis said. “I’m not quite sure that we’re pressing in as hard as we should. I did, personally, as an agent. But the war on drugs has to focus emphatically on the larger figures. I never pursued people that were addicted. They’re not victims, but they are in need of extreme assistance. It’s those who exploit them … They’re not concerned about the addicts and the people that are hopelessly addicted.”

Follis said he never used drugs in his career and got by on two things.

“Number one, beyond anything else, you have to have the right access. That’s through informants, of course, because they already have standing with these people. Number two, you have to be like them, because once they trust you, they don’t want to disbelieve their trust with you.”

Stories of Other Interest


DEA Special Agent Suffered Head Injuries, Broken Leg After Suspect’s Car Strikes Him

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A DEA special agent was seriously injured after trying to stop a drug dealing suspect in a car as it entered a gas station in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The fleeing car struck the agent, causing head injuries and a broken leg.

The agent, whose identity has not yet been released, was in serious critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn on Sunday evening but has been improving.

Local police and the DEA were pursuing the suspect because of information that the driver was transporting cocaine.

At least one man is in custody in connection with the case.

DEA Investigations NFL Football Teams over Allegations of Mishandling RX Drugs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating claims that NFL teams have mishandled prescription drugs.

Boston.com reports that agents showed up unannounced Sunday to examine the medical staffs of three away teams – San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.

The extent of the investigation remains a mystery, and no arrests were made Sunday.

‘‘DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act),’’ Payne said.

The investigation involves questions about NFL teams’ compliance with federal law when it comes to controlled substances. No teams were specifically targeted.

‘‘Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,’’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is heading up the probe.

The investigation follows complaints from former NFL players who allege violations of federal drug laws.

 

 

Ex-DEA Administrator Criticizes NYC Mayor’s Decision to Stop Arrests for Petty Pot Possession

Ex-DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger
For New York Daily News

The announcement by Mayor de Blasio that the NYPD would not be making arrests for small amounts of marijuana is in defiance of federal law and the laws of almost every country around the world.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana is still a violation of New York State law.

There is a misperception that our prisons and jails are full of offenders arrested for the possession or use of marijuana, when in fact, out of the 1,341,804 inmates in state prisons, less than one-third of 1% are there for the simple possession or use of marijuana.

Less than a handful of individuals in any big-city jail are there for the use or possession of marijuana.

New York City and the United States have to ask whether we enforce the laws we have or ask Congress or the state Legislature to make changes and penalties.

To read more click here.

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