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February 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Drugs

DEA Booted Top Official in Mexico over Cozy Relationship with Drug Lawyers

By Steve Neavling

The DEA quietly removed a former top official in Mexico for allegedly having ties to Miami-based defense attorneys representing accused drug traffickers.

Nicholas Palmeri is accused of socializing and vacationing with Miami drug lawyers after serving 14 months as the DEA’s regional director, the Associated Press reports, citing confidential records.

Palmeri, who worked for the agency for more than two decades, was transferred to Washington headquarters in May 2021 before his forced retirement in March 2022. 

“The post of regional director in Mexico is the most important one in DEA’s foreign operations, and when something like this happens, it’s disruptive,” Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former chief of international operations, said.

According to internal investigative records, Miami defense attorney David Macey hosted Palmeri and his wife at his home in the Florida Keys. The trip was not work-related and violated rules governing interactions with attorneys, the records state. 

Palmeri, 53, admitted to investigators that he had stayed at Macey’s home and that his Mexican-born wife worked as a translator for another prominent attorney, Ruben Oliva. 

He acknowledged that he also took an unauthorized trip to Miami in February 2021, when he said he was debriefing a confidential source. But the party took place at a private home, and Palmeri arrived with his wife and a bottle of wife, according to the internal report. 

“The meeting had the appearance of a social interaction with a confidential source,” the investigators wrote, “and there was no contemporaneous official DEA documentation concerning the substance of the debrief, both of which violate DEA policy.”

Those violations led to Palmeri being transferred to Washington headquarters. 

New Haven Man Accused of Crashing into DEA Agents, Injuring Them During Surveillance Operation

By Steve Neavling

A New Haven man accused of crashing a minivan into a car carrying DEA special agents was indicted on charges of distributing fentanyl and crack cocaine, the Justice Department announced Thursday. 

Dereck Brock, 36, was under surveillance by the DEA’s New Haven Task Force and New Haven Police Department at 5:20 a.m. on Jan. 10 when he was suspected of distributing narcotics. 

When a law enforcement vehicle tried to stop Brock’s vehicle, he allegedly fled at a high-rate of speed through stop sticks that deflated the minivan’s tires before he crashed head-on with the vehicle carrying two DEA agents. 

Brock and the two agents were injured and taken to a hospital. 

The injuries were non-life-threatening. 

Brock faces up to 20 years in prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and crack cocaine. 

Brock remained in custody as of Thursday. 

TSA Reveals Top 10 Most Bizarre Findings at Airport Checkpoints

Cattle prod inside a guitar case at Washington Dulles International Airport. Photo via TSA

By Steve Neavling

From a cattle prod in a guitar case to an inert grenade, the TSA revealed its 10 most unusual findings at airport checkpoints in 2022.

The list is revealed in a video, which counts down to the No. 1 strangest item – fentanyl inside candy wrappers, and each is accompanied with a clever clip. 

Most of the bizarre discoveries were weapons hidden inside everyday items. One was a knife in a laptop, and others were guns hidden in a Play Station, an arm sling, a jar of peanut butter, and even a raw chicken. 

Check out the video here:


DEA Seized Massive Amounts of Fentanyl in 2022

Rainbow fentanyl pills seized by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl this year, enough to kill every American. 

The DEA revealed Wednesday that it had seized 50.6 million fentanyl-laced bills and 10,000 pounds of the synthetic opioid powder, ABC reports

“These seizures – enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American – reflect the DEA’s unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives, by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.

The seizures come at a time when overdoses are reaching alarming levels.  

CBP also announced a record amount of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022. 

In April, the DEA warned of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths. In the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths were from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC. More Americans are dying from fentanyl overdoses than gun- and auto-related deaths combined. 

Border Patrol Announces Largest Seizure of Liquid Fentanyl in U.S. History

Border Patrol agents find record amount of liquid fentanyl. Photo via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents seized the “largest” amount of liquid fentanyl in U.S. history, officials said Friday. 

Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez of the Rio Grande Valley Sector made the announcement on Twitter. 

“Fentanyl Bust!!! Extremely proud of our #USBP agents & @NuecesCoSo [Nueces County Sheriff’s Office] authorities who worked together, interdicted, & seized largest amount of liquid #fentanyl in the history of the #USA from a traffic stop in Robstown, Texas,” Chavez tweeted.

About 25 pounds – or three gallons – of liquid fentanyl was found in a compartment inside a gas tank. That’s enough fentanyl to kill 5.7 million people, Chavez said. 

The fentanyl’s value was $1.8 million.   

CBP announced a record amount of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022. 

The seizures come at a time when overdoses are reaching alarming levels. 

In April, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths. In the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths were from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC. More Americans are dying from fentanyl overdoses than gun- and auto-related deaths combined. 

Corrupt Ex-DEA Agent Points Finger at Former Colleagues, Says War on Drugs ‘Is a Game’

By Steve Neavling

A corrupt ex-DEA agent spent his final hours of freedom blowing the whistle on his former colleagues and berating the war on drugs. 

In an interview with the Associated Press before he went to prison, José Irizarry, 48, said he was far from alone in skimming from drug money-laundering stings to build a lavish lifestyle.

Irizarry was sentenced last year to more than 12 years in prison for diverting more than $9 million from undercover money-laundering investigations to his own accounts to buy luxury cars, jewelry, and a home.

According to Irizarry, dozens of other federal agents, prosecutors, informants and even cartel smugglers were also involved, choosing locations across three continents to indulge in decadence.   

“We had free access to do whatever we wanted,” the 48-year-old Irizarry told the AP in a series of interviews. “We would generate money pick-ups in places we wanted to go. And once we got there it was about drinking and girls.”

Irizarry said authorities were resigned to the fact that the war on drugs was a useless endeavor. 

“You can’t win an unwinnable war. DEA knows this and the agents know this,” Irizarry said. “There’s so much dope leaving Colombia. And there’s so much money. We know we’re not making a difference.”

“The drug war is a game. … It was a very fun game that we were playing.”

Secret Service Officers Hospitalized Following Exposure to ‘Powdery Substance’

Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Photo by Abovfold via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

Several Secret Service officers were taken to a hospital Tuesday morning after being exposed to a “powdery substance” during a traffic stop a block from the White House. 

The substance was suspected of being narcotics, the Daily Mail reports.

Officers with the Secret Service Uniformed Division conducted the traffic stop outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. 

“One individual was taken into custody and officers were transported to an area hospital for precautionary evaluation,” the Secret Service said in a statement. 

Also on Tuesday, authorities locked down a section of the Rayburn House Office building after a suspicious package was found in the office of Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. 

DEA, Chinese chemical Manufactures Are Responsible for Deadly Fentanyl Crisis, DEA and DOJ Say

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. Photo: DEA.

By Steve Neavling

Mexican cartels and Chinese chemical manufactures are to blame for the deadly fentanyl crisis in the U.S., the DEA and Justice Department said this week. 

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said Tuesday that the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are behind the deadly, synthetic opioids getting across the border.

“These cartels are responsible for virtually all the fentanyl, and they currently dominate the worldwide fentanyl distribution and supply chain. They are sourcing these precursor chemicals from China, that are the building blocks of synthetic and man-made fentanyl,” Milgram said during a Tuesday press conference at DEA headquarters. “They are in charge of the production of the fentanyl that is happening across Mexico. They are operating the transportation networks that are bringing the fentanyl into the United States. They run and oversee the sales of fentanyl on social media and in our cities, our communities, and our towns.”

Milgram said the agency’s “core mission” is to “target those two networks as they operate worldwide, from China to Mexico to the United States.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to partner with the DEA to combat fentanyl. 

“Every day, thousands of employees and professionals of the Department of Homeland Security, together with professionals across the United States government, including the Justice Department, are working to secure the border,” Garland said Tuesday. “What we’re trying to do at the DEA, as the administrator described, is to take down the cartels that are the cause in the United States, to take down the distributors for the cartels who are working in the United States, and to stop the companies that are providing the precursor chemicals from China.”