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Tag: DEA

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Another Failure of Drug War is Lack of Accountability

dea-badgeBy Editorial Board
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Each year, the United States spends more than $51 billion on the war on drugs — a war we’re clearly losing. The war has become so futile that the federal agency charged with leading the fight has undermined its own mission — and no one is being held accountable.

A Justice Department review found that, for years, DEA agents assigned to Colombia indulged in sex parties involving prostitutes supplied by drug cartels. The report found that local police often stood guard during the parties, keeping an eye on the agents’ weapons and other belongings, and that three DEA supervisors involved in the parties accepted gifts of money, weapons and other items from the cartels.

“Most of the sex parties occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices and other government-issued equipment were present … potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail or coercion,” the report said.

Despite the fact that the misconduct put agents and national security at risk, the agency’s Office of Security Programs was never made aware of the issue, and the agents were issued paltry suspensions ranging from 10 to as little as two days.

But DEA misconduct goes much deeper.

According to newly released U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discipline logs reviewed by USA Today and the Huffington Post, agency employees have avoided termination for a variety of serious violations, including falsifying official records, having an “improper association with a criminal element” using and distributing drugs and driving government vehicles while drunk. And when administrators did recommend termination — which was rare — the agency’s Board of Professional Conduct often rolled back the punishments to suspensions and lesser penalties, and even forced the DEA to rehire the violators.

No accountability whatsoever within a federal agency? Where have we heard this before?

The findings in the Justice Department, USA Today and Huffington Post reviews highlight a culture of corruption within the DEA. It’s unrealistic to expect an entire workforce to be free of misconduct. But it’s reasonable to demand that problem employees are terminated.

This is more proof that the war on drugs is a counterproductive boondoggle of epic proportions.

To read more click here. 

Man Loses Lawsuit That Claimed DEA Supplied Him with Crack for Help in Investigation

220px-Crack_street_dosageBy Steve Neavling

A New Mexico man who claims federal agents gave him crack cocaine in exchange for help in an undercover investigation lost a lawsuit against he agency.

U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez dismissed the suit, which alleged that the plaintiff’s crack addiction was reignited, saying damages can’t sought when the person’s own wrongful conduct caused the injury, the Associated Press reports. 

The lawsuit claims Aaron Romero was given crack cocaine to help in a case known as “Operations Smack City,” an alleged violation of DEA policy.

Romero, 39, was seeking $8.5 million in damages.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Rarely Fires Agents Who Commit Serious Misconduct

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling

DEA agents who have lied to authorities, falsified records, dealt drugs and committed other serious misconduct have been allowed to stay on the job, USA Today reports.

The discovery comes after lawmakers expressed frustration that agents were never fired for attending “sex parties” in Columbia.

Records from the DEA’s disciplinary files show that was hardly the only instance in which the DEA opted not to fire employees despite apparently serious misconduct, The USA Today writes.

The newspaper found that only 13 of the 50 employees recommended to be fired by the DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct were actually terminated.

“If we conducted an investigation, and an employee actually got terminated, I was surprised,” said Carl Pike, a former DEA internal affairs investigator. “I was truly, truly surprised. Like, wow, the system actually got this guy.”

Some members of Congress are calling for more action.

“There is a culture of protection internally that has to change. If there’s a bad apple, they need to be fired, if not prosecuted, and that’s just not happening,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Federal law enforcement should be held to the highest standard.”

Other Stories of Interest

German Sniper Sentenced to 20 Years for Plot to Kill DEA Agent, Informant

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling

A German sniper who plotted to assassinate a federal DEA agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday, the New York Post reports. 

Dennis “Nico” Gogel was convicted in January of conspiring to murder the agent and a confidential informant in Liberia for $800,000, the Post wrote.

“How stupid I feel to have engaged in something like that,” Gogel said at his sentencing.

“I’m not the same person I was before.”

Other Stories of Interest

DEA’s No. 2 Official Refuses to Retire After Prison Escape of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

DEA's Jack Riley

DEA’s Jack Riley

By Steve Neavling

It has gotten personal for Jack Riley, the DEA’s No. 2 official.

Riley has put plans of retiring on hold after the prison escape of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the head of the deadly Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

“Just so you now, I was going to retire – until this dick escaped,” Riley told Yahoo News.

Now, he said, “I’m in it for the long haul.”

Riley was one of the targets of Guzman’s murderous trafficking organization.

Guzman escaped from prison three months ago through a mile-long tunnel and hasn’t been seen since.

Other Stories of Interest

Mexican Cartel Leader Convicted of Torture, Murder of DEA Agent Could Soon Be Released

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling

A Mexican cartel leader convicted of the 1985 torture and murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar could soon be released from prison in Mexico, Fox News reports.

Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseca Carrillo, 85, who was one of the leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel has served 30 years of a 40-year sentence.

Fonseca Carillo is eligible for house arrest.

The government is considering a proposal by defense attorneys to move Fonseca Carillo to a house, which would be guarded.

The “Dirty Politics” Behind the Imprisonment of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr.

This Michigan Department of Corrections record shows his earliest  and latest release dates as never at the bottom right.

. Vince Wade is a former investigative reporter for WXYZ and Fox 2. He now lives in California and runs Informant America, described as ” a blog about the shadowy world of law enforcement informants with particular focus on . . . Richard Wershe, Jr.” This investigative story is republished with permission. It is part of an ongoing series on Wershe.

By Vince Wade

The story of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe, Jr. is an epic tale, sprawling and complex. It is a challenge to keep the story straight because there are so many players, so many events. It is a challenge to tell you about it.

It is much more than a story about a white teenage dope dealer in the black underworld. It is every bit as much a tale about police criminality, political corruption and what appears to be a decades-long vendetta, a dark and chilling conspiracy within the criminal justice system against a teenager who dared to help the FBI put politically-connected dope dealers and corrupt cops in jail.

It appears to be an organized violation of one man’s civil rights over his entire adult life. There are dozens of important events and hundreds of characters in this story.

Two key episodes were Wershe’s 1988 drug trial and his 2003 parole hearing. This lengthy blog post touches on both. Those bothered by how long it takes to read this should remember Rick Wershe has lived with all of this every day, 24/7, in an 8 X 12 prison cell for the past 27 years.

Featured_screen_shot_2015-09-11_at_10.39.42_pm_18471Ricahrd Wershe Jr. in court Sept. 4

A fierce, fast-moving battle of legal briefs is now being fought in the Michigan Court of Appeals over the re-sentencing of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. who is serving a life prison term for dealing drugs. Hitman murderers, serial rapists and habitual child molesters have been let out of prison by the Michigan Parole Board during the nearly three decades Rick Wershe has been kept behind bars. Others convicted of selling far more dope than Wershe ever saw in his life have been in and out  of Michigan prisons during his time behind bars.

Many Detroit news organizations have been wrong in their reporting dating back to when Wershe was convicted. Last Friday, for instance, two Detroit TV stations reported a Court of Appeals-ordered postponement of Wershe’s re-sentencing was a setback for Wershe. That is wrong. All parties agreed to the delay and Wershe’s defense team breathed a sigh of relief that the fast-moving court battle had slowed to give them time to hone their legal briefs.

The entire basis for demanding that Wershe remain in prison is the claim that his drug crimes were so vast, so deadly, that he poses a menace to society. If that claim can be shown to be false, there is no evidentiary basis, no factual basis for keeping Wershe in prison one more day.

Mike Duggan’s Letter

There are thousands of pages of documents related to Richard J. Wershe Jr., also known as White Boy Rick, in the files of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The most damning by far is a letter from former Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor Mike Duggan to the Michigan Parole Board. Duggan is now the Mayor of the City of Detroit. In that letter Duggan urges the Parole Board to keep Wershe in prison until he dies. The Feb. 17, 2003 letter is dated several weeks ahead of Wershe’s one and only parole hearing since he was sentenced to mandatory life in 1988 for possession of eight kilos of cocaine.

The law was later changed to life with the possibility of parole.

Featured_whiteboyrick_8100Richard Wershe as a teen and now.

The three-page letter purportedly written by Duggan contains serious allegations in stunningly harsh language about the crimes and misdeeds of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. The use of the word “purportedly” will be clear later in this article.

In Michigan politics and in its courts, the name Mike Duggan has marquee value. He made a name for himself as the number two man to Ed McNamara, the late Wayne County Executive. McNamara was an old-school machine politics boss and he taught Duggan how to use the levers of power.

Read more »

A New Show on Netflix Worth Watching: ‘Narco,’ The Story About Pablo Escobar

By Allan Lengel

Having finished watching a series of TV shows including “Breaking Bad” and “Sons of Anarchy,” I was looking for a new show.  I stumbled across “Narco,” a Netflix-made series on drug lord Pablo Escobar and the DEA in Colombia.

Wagner Moura plays Pablo Escobar

Wagner Moura plays Pablo Escobar

It’s a show worth watching. It intersperses real news video clips to give it some authenticity. Escobar died in 1993 at age 44.

Deadline Hollywood describes it this way:

Written by Chris Brancato and directed by Jose Padilha, Narcos is the true-life story of the growth and spread of cocaine drug cartels across the globe and attendant efforts of law enforcement to meet them head on in brutal, bloody conflict. It centers on notorious Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), a DEA agent sent to Colombia on a U.S mission to capture and ultimately kill him.

Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro writes:

“If you’re at a party and snort a gram of cocaine, look at how many people died (for it), how many lives were destroyed. ” That’s what Narcos executive producer Jose Padilha wants audiences to be conscious of when they watch his 10-hour Netflix series Narcos, which follows the 1980 drug war between the U.S. and Colombia’s kingpin Pablo Escobar.

“The drug policy that we have in the U.S. hasn’t worked in the last 30 years,” said Padilha, “The Nancy Reagan ‘Just Say No’ approach doesn’t work.”

“So many people have died and there were so many dead bodies,” said Padilha about the aftermath of the ’80s drug wars.