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DEA Overseas Review Ignores Corruption Scandals

by Gabriel Martinez
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The Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States just released a report after spending almost two years and over $1.4 million. The report does not mention any scandals that recently happened, but people think the ideas are too unclear.

The DEA wrote a 50-page report about their work in 69 different countries. The report showed how they plugged up problems with secret money laundering and had units in all those countries to be sure everything was running smoothly.

Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa said that a report from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) is not giving enough information about the problems in the agency and how to fix them. He believes this shows they are trying to avoid being monitored. Grassley plans to continue his investigation even though they have resisted it so far.

In 2021, the government announced an external investigation after Big Big News revealed José Irizarry’s criminal activities. José was a former DEA agent who got caught and is now in prison for 12 years. He confessed to stealing money from drug cartels, taking money from seizures and informants, and using it to pay for luxurious trips, fancy meals, wild parties, and prostitutes.

Irizarry said to the Associated Press (AP) one year ago that even though police are trying hard, they can’t do anything to stop drugs like cocaine and opioids from coming into America. That’s why there have been more than 100,000 drug overdoses in just one year!

He also said that it was like playing a game trying to limit drugs – Irizarry called it very ‘fun’.

Irizarry’s story was briefly mentioned in an external report. There is a government investigation going on against some of his old DEA co-workers who liked to live an expensive life. Irizarry’s lawyer said he offered for Irizarry to answer questions for the review but no one ever asked him about it.

According to a review, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) already followed most of the suggestions that was given to them by the United States Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General in order to make sure they have strong oversight when doing any international work.

The investigation discovered that too much paperwork prevents the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from recruiting staff for posts in foreign countries. It suggested offering rewards to get the best people to take those jobs. It also blamed ‘cartels’ for any bad behaviour by DEA employees.

The report also said that DEA should double check its supervisors and make sure they do their job properly.

Two experts, Jack Lawn and Boyd Johnson, reviewed how the government fights drug crimes from foreign countries. These two person were chosen by a law firm called WilmerHale without any bidding process for a price of $1.4 million. The review had many suggestions such as checking foreign offices and police units more often and controlling expenses better than before. Sadly, Boyd Johnson didn’t respond to anyone who asked about this work.

The report didn’t talk much about the chaos in Mexico for DEA operations, where working with law enforcement became impossible due to a regional director that was let go from his job because he interacted with narcotraffickers’ lawyers.

This year, Nicholas Palmeri was only active for 14 months as the regional director and left before an official review discovered he asked for money to cover costs for his own birthday!

Bonnie Klapper, a former federal prosecutor in New York said that even though the government spent more than $1.4 million on a report, it didn’t suggest changes that could keep something like the Irizarry incident from happening again. Even though the report was very detailed about what the DEA was supposed to do and some of the misconduct that took place, its suggestions weren’t strong enough to stop bad things from happening in the future.

In 2020, the US tried to arrest a former Mexican Defense Secretary called Salvador Cienfuegos when he arrived at Los Angeles airport. However, Mexico’s President disagreed and put pressure on the US causing them to release Cienfuegos. As a result of this, Mexico got rid of an important police unit that before worked with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).

The report doesn’t talk about a certain incident that happened in Cienfuegos nor the arrest of Genaro Garcia Luna, who is an important American ally from Mexico.

John Feeley, who used to work with the DEA in various places worldwide, said that the leader’s suggestion about bettering communication and breaking down walls between departments is great. But he highlighted one idea that needs immediate attention: The DEA should tell leaders of countries where it is investigating government officials.

The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement that all 17 recommendations from a report would be put into place. She said, “We want to do our job well and take on the problems of drugs in the world today.” If anyone has any other tips to help us fight against drug threats, they can email [email protected].

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