Posts tagged DEA
Posted by Judy Morris
Reuters: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
(Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records.
Read the rest at Reuters, here.
Feds Raid Marijuana Dispensaries in Washington State
Like an insecure bully trying to demonstrate how tough he or she is and feel better about itself, the Feds raided marijuana dispensaries in Washington state despite the fact that Proposition 502 made it legal. Recall, I warned about this last year in my piece: Colorado Legalizes Marijuana: Your Move Eric Holder.
In a country rampant with crony capitalism, bank theft, unconstitutional spying, IRS targeting of political groups and journalists’ Mercedes exploding on the streets of Los Angeles, it makes perfect sense to spend taxpayer money making sure human beings can’t light up a joint after the residents of the state decided to make it legal.
This is not what democracy looks like.
From NBC news:
Federal agents raided several medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday in Washington — a state which just decriminalized the drug last year.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Seattle office confirmed in a brief statement that “several search warrants were executed today involving marijuana storefronts” in the Puget Sound region around Seattle.
One of the dispensaries was the Bayside Collective in Olympia, the state capital, where seven government vehicles converged Wednesday morning.
Agents with guns drawn seized business records and about $2,500 worth of marijuana intended for cancer patients, Casey Lee, who works at the clinic, told NBC station KING of Seattle.
Washington was one of the first states to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana last year. But it remains illegal under federal law, and Lee claimed one of the agents told him, “Things are going to be hell for you.”
Meanwhile, things have been looking pretty hellish for Jon Corzine…
Full article here.
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For more than a year the CIA has been trafficking 300 kilos of cocaine a month from Ecuador to Chile for export on to Europe, according to recent credible media reports from Santiago, the Chilean capital.
Proceeds from the 300 kilo-a-month business have been used to create a war-chest to finance a Cocaine Coup in Ecuador that was scheduled to be “green-lighted” after the expected win in the just-concluded U.S. Presidential election—expected, at least, by some Agency officials—of Mitt Romney.
It’s a CIA “Ay, there’s the rub” moment.
He’s a leftist. Isn’t that enough?
The machinations were part of a plan to topple current Ecuador President Rafael Correa, who is unpopular in Washington.
An unexpected side effect of the revelation of the plan, which has received little publicity, has been to focus an observer’s attention on what’s going on in the drug trade in Ecuador lately. The country’s history in the drug business, almost as rich as Switzerland’s with banks, goes back a long way.
When it comes to efficiently moving drugs, this is far from Ecuador’s first rodeo, and the drug network there is one of long-standing, (Wikileaks PDF).
So too is its relationship with both the the CIA and DEA.
For example, when famous CIA drug pilot Barry Seal was first caught smuggling cocaine way back in 1979, he picked up his huge load of cocaine—it was 45 kilos; those were more innocent times—in Guayaquil, one of Ecuador’s three major seaports.
The Americans recently convicted of laundering money for the Ecuador-based network are no parvenus, either. One is a prominent Louisiana attorney; the other an aviation broker in Oklahoma. And both took direction from a drug pilot with his own long pedigree in the drug trade.
Jorge Arévalo Kessler has been flying drugs out of Ecuador since 1989, he states in an affadavit at his trial. He is the nephew of a long-time Mexican Secretary of Defense, and was the personal pilot of disgraced former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.
His American connections are visible too. When finally arrested, Arévalo Kessler was flying a former U.S. military plane that was part of the 1990’s Forest Service scandal, involving planes intended for firefighting diverted into CIA covert drug running operations, the most spectacular result being the C-130 busted on a runway at Mexico City’s Intl Airport carrying cocaine worth $1 billion.
Or maybe the most spectacular result was this: 14 firefighters burned to death in an out-of-control forest fire in Colorado in August of 1994. No planes were available to help. They’d all been leased out on more lucrative assignments.
By Stephen C. Webster
In a 13-minute segment broadcast Sunday night, CBS’s “60 Minutes” explored Colorado’s budding medical marijuana industry, and heard from a former drug cop turned tax enforcer who insisted that the industry has helped Denver beat the recession.
That runs contrary to President Barack Obama’s logic: he said in 2010 that legalizing marijuana is not “a good strategy to grow our economy.”
But the economic impact on Denver? According to Matt Cook, a former narcotics officer who oversees enforcement at the Colorado Department of Revenue, “it’s huge.”
Cook helped write the state’s medical marijuana law, and works as a consultant for medical marijuana businesses in the state. Speaking to “60 Minutes,” he said that the industry accounts for “over a million square feet of lease space in the Denver area.”
“Look at all the electrical contractors, HVAC contractors,” he said. “The number of ancillary businesses — it’s huge. Tax revenues exceeded, I believe the last number I heard was an excess of $20 million.”
While the state’s taxes on marijuana actually took in about $5 million during 2011, it certainly could spike as high or higher than Cook said: a recent study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that legalized marijuana could pull in about $24 million in new revenue from an excise tax on marijuana production alone.
The report adds that state sales taxes on pot could generate up to $8.7 million more, with local governments seeing an additional $14.5 million just in the first year. Savings on enforcement and incarceration during that same period would also top more than $12 million, the group said.
By Tim Brown
According to a high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative, who is currently in U.S. custody, there are some things that the American people are not being told about Fast and Furious. We obviously knew something was not being told behind the scenes because of Barack Obama issuing executive privilege and Holder being in contempt of Congress for failing to comply. But this makes even the sleepiest of people perk up their ears and pay attention.
Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator,” has brought allegations that the gunwalking operation had nothing to do with tracking guns and everything to do with supplying them. According to Zambada-Niebla it was part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.
Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 — during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations — as long as the intel kept coming.
This pending court case against Zambada-Niebla is being closely monitored by some members of Congress, who expect potential legal ramifications if any of his claims are substantiated. The trial was delayed but is now scheduled to begin on Oct. 9.
Zambada-Niebla is reportedly a close associate of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, both of which remain fugitives, likely because of the deal made with the DEA, federal court documents allege.
Zambada-Niebla believes that he, like the leadership of the Sinaloa cartel, was “immune from arrest or prosecution” because he also actively provided information to US federal agents.
By Alex Newman
July 29, 2012
The Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in drug trafficking is back in the media spotlight after a spokesman for the violence-plagued Mexican state of Chihuahua became the latest high-profile individual to accuse the CIA, which has been linked to narcotics trafficking for decades, of ongoing efforts to “manage the drug trade.” The infamous American spy agency refused to comment.
In a recent interview, Chihuahua state spokesman Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva told Al Jazeera that the CIA and other international “security” outfits “don’t fight drug traffickers.” Instead, Villanueva argued, they try to control and manage the illegal drug market for their own benefit.
“It’s like pest control companies, they only control,” Villanueva told the Qatar-based media outlet last month at his office in Juarez. “If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”
Another Mexican official, apparently a mid-level officer with Mexico’s equivalent of the U.S. Department of “Homeland Security,” echoed those remarks, saying he knew that the allegations against the CIA were correct based on talks with American agents in Mexico. “It’s true, they want to control it,” the official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity.
Credibility issues with employees of the notoriously corrupt Mexican government aside, the latest accusations were hardly earth shattering — the American espionage agency has been implicated in drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Vietnam to Latin America and everywhere in between. Similar allegations of drug running have been made against the CIA for decades by former agents, American officials, lawmakers, investigators, and even drug traffickers themselves.
Some of the most prominent officials to level charges of CIA drug trafficking include the former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Robert Bonner. During an interview with CBS, Bonner accused the American “intelligence” outfit of unlawfully importing a ton of cocaine into the U.S. in collaboration with the Venezuelan government.
Even the New York Times eventually covered part of the scandal in a piece entitled “Anti-Drug Unit of C.I.A. Sent Ton of Cocaine to U.S. in 1990.” And the agency’s Inspector General, Frederick Hitz, was eventually forced to concede to a congressional committee that the CIA has indeed worked with drug traffickers and obtained a waiver from the Department of Justice in the 1980s allowing it to conceal its contractors’ illicit dealings.
By Stephen C. Webster
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said Tuesday that it expects to add 26 new synthetic drugs to its list of temporary Schedule I substances, an emergency authority that’s used to control little-known, poorly researched new substances that the agency feels pose a threat to public health.
In the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, passed by the Senate in May and reconciled by the House last night, Congress agreed to expand the DEA’s authority to control such substances by fiat, expanding the time they can temporarily ban a new drug from 18 to 36 months. Congress also set up an explicit framework for identifying “similar chemical compounds” that produce the same or similar effects on humans as any other Schedule I substance.
By Joe Wright
The War on Drugs has been threatening the fundamental rights of ordinary Americans, and greatly impinging upon states rights, as agencies like the DEA continue to claim that their federal authority supersedes local decisions.
Despite protections afforded under the U.S. Constitution, the federal DEA has been trying to initiate a blanket sweep of all license plates traveling along Interstates 15 and 70 in Utah, with the intent to store the information in a centralized database.
Furthermore, as noted by the ACLU which attended a recent hearing about the rollout, this federal agency is employing a scanning technology called ALPR to collect data from “unspecified other sources and sharing it with over ten thousand law enforcement agencies around the nation.”
The deployment of any personal data collection technology by a federal agency carries with it additional responsibilities under the Privacy Act of 1974. For now, it appears that the DEA will be adhering to those guidelines after local resistance to the new initiative. Or, are they merely planning an end-run once they think people have forgotten about the issue?
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires any federal agency engaged in the collection of personal data to disclose to the American people exactly what will be collected, how it will be stored, and whether that information will be shared. It makes this quite clear under “conditions of disclosure”:
No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains.
This is followed by 12 conditions which enable an expansion of scope and function, but detail very specific controls and scenarios for establishing just cause and the accounting of any disclosure.
By Madison Ruppert
If you’re unfamiliar with this technology, a great primer on the subject has been written by Brent Daggett for End the Lie and I highly recommend you take a few minutes to explore some of the other applications of RFID, many of which are nothing short of disturbing.
As is so often done when it comes to surveillance technology, this is being sold to us as something for our own good and the good of our children. This is identical to how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is pushing their ludicrously unconstitutional license plate surveillance program I detail in the below video:
The Northside Independent School District (NISD) of San Antonio, Texas has already approved the tracking devices and according to local news outlet KVUE, an ABC affiliate, two schools in the district will have the program in place next year.
They characterize the RFID-equipped student IDs as somewhat “like a GPS for teachers and administrators” which will help them pinpoint the location of students around campus.
“Every parent wants us to know where their child is at school,” claimed NISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez.
I find this claim nothing short of laughable. Never before has this even been an issue, let alone one which “every parent” would be concerned about.
Growing up my parents knew I was at school; they couldn’t care less if I was in the bathroom, the library, a classroom or any other location.
To me, Gonzalez’s claim is so absurd that it is almost hard to believe that anyone would even attempt to use such a nonsensical argument.
What parent cares what particular room their child is in? One legitimate concern might be if your child is ditching school, but an RFID isn’t required for that, there’s this crazy newfangled thing called “attendance” or “roll” which determines if students are present in class.
If I had a child in a public school, I would be much more concerned about him or her being targeted by police, attacked and/or criminalized. The last of my concerns would be if my child was in the restroom at 11:18 AM or where in the cafeteria they were during lunch time.
Any parent who desperately wants to know precisely where their child is at school during every minute of every day would, in my humble opinion, likely benefit from some professional counseling.
By: John Ransom
As if Congress didn’t have enough evidence that the Department of Justice has completely lost its mind, the New York Times is reporting that the Drug Enforcement Agency has helped launder “millions of dollars in drug proceeds” on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, a figure much higher than previously estimated.
The Department of Justice has been under investigation by Congress for facilitating gun smuggling during Operation Fast and Furious. Fast and Furious was a gun running scheme on the US-Mexican border that’s resulted in violence and death on both sides of the border including the deaths of federal agents in the line of duty. The operation used illegal weapons purchases with reluctant gun dealers who cooperated with the ATF on the so-called stings.
The problem however is that there has never been a sting, an arrest or results that would justify breaking the law- there were just illegal arms pouring over the border and escalating violence all facilitated by the Department of Justice in an effort, in part to make a case for stricter gun control laws.
One source who was quoted anonymously in the money-laundering story in the Times was concerned about similar negative results saying that the “D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”
Consequently, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, chair of the oversight committee already investigating Fast and Furious has done some fast and furious of his own. Issa has opened a probe into the money-laundering program according to the Houston Chronicle.
He sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder informing him of the probe, drawing “a parallel between the reported money-laundering operation’s tactics and those in Fast and Furious,” according to the Chronicle.
“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote in a letter to Holder, says the Texas newspaper. “The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes. The consequences have been disastrous.”
The DEA denies the charge saying that they have been running money-laundering stings since 1984. “The Drug Enforcement Administration has been working collaboratively with the Mexican government to fight money laundering for years. As a result of this cooperation, DEA has seized illicit transnational criminal organization money all around the world.”
Obviously whoever wrote the press release for the DEA flunked the “irony” portion of their English exam.
The DEA has become the leading money-laundering crime fighter by becoming one of the leading money-launders?
Man, this has become a government that can justify anything it does by whatever tortured logic it chooses.
And that’s what you get when you’re governed by people who think that, as our own Guy Benson pointed out, lying is a complicated concept that revolves around a state of mind as does Mr. Attorney General Holder.
Issa is having none of it, though, since he’s been given the run around on Fast and Furious from the beginning.
He knows what he has to deal with at Justice.
Issa indicated he’s skeptical, particularly after the Justice Department on Friday gave Congress hundreds of pages of documents showing how Justice officials initially provided inaccurate information about Fast and Furious.
“The first answer you get from this Justice Department doesn’t have a high credibility,” Issa said.
And no answer ever will have credibility in the Department of Justice as long as Holder remains at the helm.
[CIM Comment: Eric Holder photo added to the original story.]