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Tag: DEA

Iran Says Disappearance of Robert Levinson Is an Ongoing ‘Missing Person’ Case

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007, expressed some relief after the Iranian government changed its tone on his disappearance.

The government of Iran acknowledged for the first time that the disappearance is an ongoing “missing person” case.

Levinson “has no judicial or criminal case in any Islamic Republic of Iran court whatsoever,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters, The Associated Press reports.

President Trump said Iran’s acknowledgment was “a very positive step.”

“If Iran is able to turn over to the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step,” President Trump tweeted Sunday night.

The State Department last week offered up to a $20 million reward for information leading to the safe return of Levinson, who is believed to have been abducted on March 9, 2007.

Retired DEA Agent Accused of Helping Drug Traffickers in Exchange for $250K

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired DEA agent is accused of accepting $250,000 in bribes to protect drug traffickers that he believed had ties to “Italian organized crime.”

Joseph Bongiovanni, 55, was charged with 11 counts in a federal case that alleges he took bribes from at least 2008 until he retired in February, Buffalo Law Journal reports, citing the indictment.

The Tonawanda, N.Y., resident faces up to life in prison on a drug conspiracy charge.

The indictment alleges Bongiovanni shared inside DEA information with his friends and associates who dealt large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutors say he lied to the DEA, hid information from the agency and dissuaded colleagues from investigating the drug traffickers.

Dayton Cop on DEA Task Force Shot and Wounded

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four people were arrested Monday night at a house in Dayton, Ohio where a police detective on a DEA Task Force was shot and wounded, the Dayton Daily News reports.

The task force was serving a warrant when the shooting occurred.

Authorities recovered a large amount of fentanyl, cash and weapons from the house.

DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ Removes Prescription Pills – and vaping devices – from Circulation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement agencies across the country will host the DEA’s Take Back Day on Saturday to help the public dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.

The idea is to help prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing people to anonymously drop off drugs.

It’s the 18th event in nine years. In the previous events, law enforcement officials collected a total of 11.8 million pounds of pills.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” the DEA says. “According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

For the first time, people can drop off their marijuana vaping devices.

“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” a DEA media release states. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”

To find a drop-off site, click here.

Group of Armed Men Tried to Rob a DEA Agent. It Didn’t Go Well

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A group of armed men chose the wrong person to mug.

An undercover DEA agent was in a residential area of northeast Atlanta investigating drug trafficking Tuesday when the armed men approached the agent and tried to mug him.

Nearby agents responded and exchanged fire with the muggers. One suspect was shot and taken to the hospital, Chad W. Cook, associate special agent in charge of the DEA in Atlanta, said told reporters.

“Other agents on the scene attempted to intervene and shots were exchanged between the assailants and the agents,” Cook said.

Three suspects were arrested, and they are being charged in federal court. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe.

No federal agents were injured.

DEA to Join Fight Against Illicit THC Cartridges Behind Lung Illness Outbreak

Counterfeit cannabis cartridges, via the New York State Department of Health.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Food and Drug Administration is asking the DEA to help with the ongoing investigation into a lung illness outbreak linked to vaping.

The FDA wants the DEA to help crack down on the supply side of the crisis because health experts have linked the illnesses to black market cannabis vape cartridges.

Health experts are increasingly focusing on illicit cannabis cartridges that are cut with vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent that resembles marijuana oil.

“To be clear, if we determine that someone is manufacturing or distributing illicit, adulterated products that caused illness or death for personal profit, we would consider that a criminal act,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday.

Last week, the FDA launched a criminal investigation focused on the black market makers of the cartridges.

In the past month, law enforcement has busted at least two major distributors of counterfeit, black market cannabis cartridges.

More than 53o people have been sickened by the mysterious lung illness, and at least nine people have died. In a vast majority of the cases, the patients vaped black market cannabis cartridges.

DEA Agent Who Protected Violent Puerto Rican Drug Cartel Pleads Guilty

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former police officer accused of joining the DEA so he could protect a violent Puerto Rican drug cartel has pleaded guilty.

Fernando Gomez, who infiltrated the DEA and was working in the Chicago field office, was arrested in December and charged with racketeering conspiracy for his alleged decade-long affiliation with the Organizacion de Narcotraficantes Unidos. The gang, which imported vast shipments of cocaine into the U.S., was accused in the indictment of participating in at least eight drug-related killings in New York and Puerto Rico and smuggling thousands of kilograms of cocaine.

Gomez is accused of helping the gang beginning in 2006 when he was a detective with the city of Evanston.

Under a plea deal, the 42-year-old former U.S. Marine faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, The Associated Press reports.

DEA Gets Serious about Studying Marijuana for Its Medical Values While Crack Down on Opioids

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The DEA is proposing to increase the amount of marijuana that can be legally grown for research by 30% in 2020, a promising sign for cannabis advocates who have long insisted the plant has healing properties.

Under the plans unveiled Wednesday, the DEA has called for 3.2 million grams of cannabis to be manufactured for scientific studies to determine the medical value of marijuana

“This will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana,” DEA said in a press release. “Over the last two years, the total number of individuals registered by DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has increased by more than 40 percent, from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019.”

The DEA also is proposing to reduce the amount of Schedule II opioids that can be manufactured in the U.S. next year. The DEA wants to reduce the amount by 31 percent, hydrocodone by 19 percent, hydromorphone by 25 percent, oxycodone by nine percent and oxymorphone by 55 percent.

“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a statement. “DEA takes seriously its obligations to both protect the public from illicit drug trafficking and ensure adequate supplies to meet the legitimate needs of patients and researchers for these substances.”

For decades, marijuana has been illegal because it was listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means researchers believe it has no medical value. More substantial research could change that.

Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, despite a federal law making it illegal.