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Tag: DEA

The Hill: Why Trump Needs to Appoint a New DEA Head to Combat Opioid Crisis

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s declaration of war against the opioid crisis is missing a critical weapon – the appointment of a new DEA administrator.

So says Emanuele Ottolegnhi, an opinion contributor to The Hill.

Ottolegnhi writes:

The new DEA administrator should have a clear vision for addressing the international dimension of the drug crisis, as well as the wreckage at home. In particular, the president should choose a DEA chief who not only understands the complex and global nature of drug cartels but is also cognizant of the growing convergence between transnational organized crime and terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

On that front, the first item on the new chief’s agenda should be to remove the handcuffs the Obama administration put on the DEA’s efforts to fight Hezbollah, for fear of scuttling the nascent Iran nuclear deal.

In the past decade, Hezbollah’s growing involvement in transnational organized crime has evolved into a multi-billion dollar global enterprise endorsed and coordinated by the group’s top leaders. Hezbollah’s involvement in producing and selling counterfeit medicines such as Captagon — a powerful amphetamine — is well documented and so is its growing involvement in cocaine trafficking.

Cocaine consumption has not reached the pandemic levels of the opioid crisis but is nonetheless an acute and growing threat. The use and availability of cocaine is on the rise; overdose deaths in 2015 were the highest since 2007. Less well understood are the close ties between cocaine trafficking and terrorism. One clear illustration is the recent extradition, from Paraguay to Miami, of suspected Hezbollah drug trafficker Ali Chamas. Court documents show that he was part of a larger network, likely based in Colombia. At the time of his arrest, he was conspiring to export as many as 100 kilos of cocaine a month to the U.S by air cargo.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Task Force Finds Enough Fentanyl to Kill 6 Million People

File photo of pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A joint investigation involving the DEA netted 16 arrests in New York City and the discovery of cocaine, heroin and enough fentanyl to kill 6 million people, NBC New York reports

DEA agents and local police seized a whopping 25 pounds of fentanyl, a deadly opioid that is resulting in an alarming number of overdoses nationwide.

“This investigation helped shut down a multi-state narcotics operation that dealt in cocaine, heroin and deadly fentanyl,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “If these defendants thought they could hide behind a call-in drug delivery service they underestimated the reach of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the DEA Strike Force.”

The drugs were smuggled from Florida and other areas and then sold in the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester County and New Jersey.

The investigation was handled by DEA New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, a team of federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime History: What a DEA Agent Did After Being Offered $3 Million

DEA Arrests Border Patrol Agent on Drug Possession Charges in Texas

Border Patrol Agent Gregory Dylan Sessions

Border Patrol Agent Gregory Dylan Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been arrested and charged on drug possession charges in Texas.

The DEA busted Gregory Dylan Sessions, who posted a $20,000 bond and has been released from jail, MySanAntonio.com reports

Sessions, who is assigned to the Carrizo Springs Station, which is about 80 miles north of Laredo, has worked with the agency for six years.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe,” read a statement from Customs and Border Protection Spokesman Dennis Smith. “We do not tolerate corruption within our ranks, nor acts which tarnish our agency’s reputation. We fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty.”

Details of the arrest remain murky. It wasn’t immediately clear what drugs were involved.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA’s Will Glaspy No Stranger to Drug Battle Along Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Will Glaspy, who recently took charge of the DEA’s Houston office, is no stranger to the drug battle.

Glaspy has spent more than decade battling drug traffickers along the Texas border, reports Click2Houston.com. He tells the station the Mexican cartels still have a strong presence in the Texas region.

Below is an interview with the station.

Congressional Committee Threatens DEA with Subpoena Over ‘Pill Dumping’

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Growing impatient with the DEA dragging its feet on the opioid epidemic, members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are threatening to subpoena the agency for information on “pill dumping” in West Virginia.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., blasted the DEA for its failure to fully respond to a May 8 request for data on drug suppliers sending millions of opioids into the state, the Hill reports

“Enough is enough. Will you, on behalf of the DEA, commit today to producing the documents and information we requested, and soon? Or do we simply need to issue a subpoena? Because we are done waiting,” Walden said to DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Neil Doherty at a hearing. 

West Virginia has been at the center of the opioid crisis, leading the nation in drug overdose deaths.

Drug suppliers pumped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into the state in six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

DEA Warns Cocaine Is Making a Comeback As Coca Production Rises

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cocaine is making a comeback.

That’s according to a recently released report by the DEA, which indicated that cocaine use and availability are rebounding, Newsweek reports

The DEA has found that coca production has significantly increased in Columbia, the primary supplier of cocaine in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.

“Average farmer profits increased more than 120 percent between 2012 and 2016,” the report underscores. “A Colombian coca farmer tending a mature quarter-hectare field realized some $1,200 in profits in 2016. This rise in potential profits provides the coca farmers with a strong economic incentive to grow more coca.”

Joe Rannazzisi, the Former DEA Official and Whistleblower Who Fought the Abusive Drug Firms

Joe Rannazzisi  on "60 Minutes"

Joe Rannazzisi on “60 Minutes”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joe Rannazzisi isn’t a household name, but he’s certainly getting well known, particularly after his appearance on Sunday on CBS’ s “60 Minutes,” where he was referred to as a whistleblower who tried cracking down on drug companies.

Scott Highham and Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post write:

Joe Rannazzisi  is a man of strong passions who admits that he has a temper. For more than a decade, he was the frontman in the government’s war against opioid abuse. As head of the Office of Diversion Control for the Drug Enforcement Administration, he was responsible for cracking down on doctors, pharmacies, drug manufacturers and distributors who did not follow the nation’s prescription drug laws.

He said he worked hard to uphold the law, until he was pushed out by members of Congress and an industry campaign that he says has resulted in a weakening of the nation’s drug laws at a time of unprecedented crisis.

The burly, tough-talking Long Islander is now a man in the news, appearing in The Washington Post and on “60 Minutes” this Sunday to give his views on how the DEA’s war on opioids got derailed by pressure from Congress and the drug industry.

To read the whole story click here.