Category Archives: DEA

Current Events DEA Uncategorized

Sex Parties the Job Perks for DEA Agents

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A sign with a DEA badge marks the entrance to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, VirginiaAgents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enjoyed “sex parties” on government-leased property with women hired by Colombian drug cartels, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The agents were not undercover, and Colombian police officers even provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property” during these Bogotá shindigs.

Yes, you read that correctly: federal law enforcement agents entrusted their guns and headquarters to foreign cops while they went off to have sex with women procured by the very organized criminals they’re allegedly targeting. The war on drugs in action, folks!

Ten DEA agents admitted to attending the sex parties, for which they were punished with suspensions of two to 10 days, Politico reports.

 

The OIG report encompasses a larger investigation into recent sexual misconduct and harassment within the DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It accuses all the agencies of repeated failure to report improper sexual conduct. But the most serious allegations by far are aimed at drug enforcement agents and their superiors.

The DEA was apparently not very forthcoming with information about its Colombian activities. “We interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case,” states the OIG, noting that “our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.”

Based on the available information, the OIG concluded that a “foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters,” where DEA laptops, BlackBerry devices, and other government-issued equipment were present.

The parties reportedly took place from 2005 to 2008, but the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility became aware of them only in 2010, after it received an anonymous complaint. DEA supervisors, however, had been aware of the allegations for several years because of complaints from management of the building in which the DEA office in Bogotá was located.

DEA agents attending the parties say they didn’t know the Colombian sex workers were paid with cartel funds but evidence suggests otherwise, notes the OIG. “The foreign officers further alleged that … three DEA [agents were] provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”

DEA Surveillance Uncategorized

License Plate Surveillance!

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shutterstock_70825069-300x173 Surveillance state is going Hay Wire!

The drug war has made a series of waves recently, but one in particular hasn’t been receiving the attention it deserves and the surveillance state too.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American public had the opportunity to learn more about the high-speed license plate cameras and the Drug Enforcement Administration program behind them. Such details were kept under wraps until ACLU took action.

The program that stores data pertaining to motorists nationwide has one use: to gather drivers’ personal information.

Once the cameras harvest the data, it is either sold to third-party companies or made available to local law enforcement agencies. To some extent, it’s safe to say data collected may have been widely used in civil asset forfeiture operations–the legal practice that got President Obama’s Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch under the spotlight recently.

Drug trafficking activity near the Mexican border prompted the DEA to first launch the program. But as officers’ access to the technology expanded, so did the program’s reach.

In an interview with Watchdog Arena,  EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) spokesperson Dave Maass said it’s hard to pinpoint just one rationale behind the development of the national license plate reader program.  Regardless of its goals, Maass says, “Maintaining a massive database of locational data on everyday people is a disproportionate response to the amount of crime the DEA seeks to investigate.”

Reporters and activists have been voicing concerns linked to how officers are making use of this data. Considering we’re dealing with officers having hands-on access to this powerful tool, it’s not unlikely that the program may be vulnerable to malfeasance. According to Maass, “Such databases invite opportunities for abuse, whether it’s police using it to stalk women or using it to spy on political adversaries.”

Maass explained to Watchdog Arena how the DEA is jeopardizing our privacy by collecting license plate information on all Americans:

It only takes a few locational data points to begin to identify the individual traits of a person. Combined with other forms of data collection, plate data can create detailed pictures of the private lives of citizens and visitors to this country.

But if the program was allowed to be carried out unchecked surveillance for so long, what could be done now to turn things around?

In the name of transparency, EFF is filing a lawsuit against the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s offices “to gain access to one week’s worth of ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) data.” The action would offer more details into how the program works. Such information would play an important role in making the public understand the importance of challenging the DEA surveillance.

But that is not all; pressuring lawmakers could also make a difference, Maass said. “Too often, policymakers aren’t even asking questions about civil liberties and privacy when approving this surveillance technology.”