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Tag: Drugs

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Helping Smuggle Drugs

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who helped smuggle what he thought were drugs along the U.S.-Mexican border, was sentenced to 70 months in prison Wednesday.

Noe Lopez, 38, believed he was helping deliver meth and cocaine that was dropped off at the border, but he actually was talking to a confidential informant.

“You held a position of trust,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw scolded Lopez. “This was the ultimate betrayal and breach of that trust.”

Lopez apologized for his actions.

“It’s something I regret — I’m going to regret — the rest of my life,” said Lopez, who worked out of the Imperial Beach station.

DEA Investigates Ex-Agent Accused of Providing Intel to Colombian Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating a former agent accused of providing intelligence to Colombian drug traffickers.

The former agent, Jose Irizarry, resigned abruptly after investigators began suspecting he passed information to Colombia drug traffickers, BuzzFeed News reports. 

Sources told BuzzFeed the scope of the investigation is unprecedented.

“It’s a major case,” one of the sources said. 

The DEA confirmed the investigation.

“We are looking into his activities in Colombia,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the scope is unclear.”

She said the case is being handled by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One source said the Justice Department and FBI also are investigating Irizarry, who was based in the Cartagena, Colombia, field office.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Warns of New Drug More Potent Than Fentanyl After Death

Carfentanil is chemically similar to the deadly opioid fentanyl but is stronger.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is warning about a highly potent and dangerous drug that has already claimed a life in Arizona.

Carfentanil, which is chemically similar to the deadly opioid fentanyl but is stronger, is used to tranquilize elephants and has “an analgesic potency 10,000 times that of morphine and is used in veterinary practice to immobilize certain large animals,” according to the DEA’s online fentanyl fact sheet

A 21-year-old man with carfentanil in his system was found dead in his car parked outside of a restaurant, according to the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division.

“The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s report confirmed the presence of carfentanil, yet the source of the carfentanil remains unknown,” according to the alert.

Drug dealers are adding carfentanil into heroin and other illicit drugs because it’s relatively cheap and highly potent.

“Carfentanil is an extremely dangerous drug and its presence in Arizona should be incredibly alarming for all of us, including the DEA and our law enforcement partners who continue to combat the opioid epidemic in this state,” Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona, told the AZFamily.com. http://www.azfamily.com/story/37968096/new-drug-on-arizonas-streets-dea-confirms-first-carfentanil-overdose-death

Chicago Police Accused of Ripping Off Drug Dealers Are Stripped of Their Power

Chicago Police Department squad car.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A nearly yearlong investigation led by the FBI has revealed that several members of a Chicago police gang team ripped off drug dealers of their money and narcotics, law enforcement officials told the Chicago Tribune

A sergeant and at least three officers who are part of the cty’s Area Central gang team have been stripped over their powers as the federal probe continues.

No arrests have been made yet in the case, but authorities expect to bring charges against the police officials.

The investigation, which was triggered by an informant who told federal authorities that he had been robbed by the team, involved an undercover video sting to capture the police in action.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Sex Scandal Not Sufficient Reason to Dismiss Deadly Drug Conspiracy Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA sex scandal was not a sufficient reason to dismiss a St. Louis drug case, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah rejected defense lawyers’ claims on Jn. 12 that a deadly drug conspiracy case was compromised by an undisclosed affair between a DEA supervisor and a confidential informer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Lawyers for four people accused of a deadly drug conspiracy “failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that any government agent or any informant acting as a government agent deliberately or recklessly included a false statement” in an affidavit that resulted in permission to wiretap the suspects.

The wiretaps led to drug-related charges against Dionne L. Gatling, Andre Alphonso Rush, Timothy Lamont Rush and Lorenzo Gibbs. Further evidence was collected that prosecutors said showed Gatling and Rush were involved in the murder of two men whom the suspects believe were feeding information to police.

DEA supervisor Keith Cromer denied having a sexual affair with the informer, but admitted the relationship “became personal in violation of DEA policy but denied that it was ever sexual,” Mensah’s ruling says. 

The judge didn’t buy Mensah’s claims that the affair wasn’t sexual, citing “intimate photographs,” trips the pair took and court testimony.

The DEA forbids its investigators from being alone with an informant or having a relationship closer than “arm’s length.”

Cromer has since been suspended without pay.

The judge said the the alleged misconduct between the DEA supervisor and the informant had no impact on this case. 

DEA: Biggest Opioid Distribution in U.S. History ‘Hijacked’ by Federal Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A painstaking, two-year investigation into the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history yielded what investigators said was solid evidence that the company had failed to report suspicious orders of highly addictive painkillers.

But instead of bringing big penalties to the first-ever criminal case against a drug distribution company, the nation’s largest company, McKesson Corp., top attorneys at the DEA and Justice Department intervened, striking an agreement that was “far more lenient than the field division wanted,” according to the Washington Post

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Schiller, who recently retired as assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division after a 30-year career with the agency. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’ ”

Schiller called the intervention “insulting.”

“Morale has been broken because of it,” he added.

Helen Kaupang, a DEA investigator and supervisor for 29 years who worked on the McKesson case in Denver, minced no words: “Within the ranks, we feel like our system was hijacked.”

The Post wrote:

The result illustrates the long-standing conflict between drug investigators, who have taken an aggressive approach to a prescription opioid epidemic that killed nearly 200,000 people between 2000 and 2016, and the government attorneys who handle those cases at the DEA and the Justice Department.

None of McKesson’s warehouses would lose their DEA registrations. The company, a second-time offender, had promised in 2008 to be more diligent about the diversion of its pills to the street. It ultimately agreed to temporarily suspend controlled substance shipments at four distribution centers and pay a $150 million fine.

ATF Under Fire for Controversial Stings Primarily Targeting African Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF stings have come under fire because they’re predominately targeting African Americans and prompting allegations of racial profiling and entrapment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the ATF has “convinced hundreds of would-be robbers across the country that they were stealing large quantities of narcotics, only to find out the drugs were a figment of the government’s imagination.” 

Because of mandatory federal sentencing laws, suspects caught up in the controversial stings are spending decades or even life behind bars, even though the drugs never existed.

The Tribune wrote:

Now the legal battle is coming to a head in an unprecedented hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago before a panel of nine district judges overseeing a dozen separate cases involving more than 40 defendants.

The hearing, which has been four years in the making, will take place over two days in the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom. As many as 30 defendants, their relatives and individual attorneys are expected to attend, and an overflow courtroom has been set up to handle the anticipated crowd.

“In my 46 years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” attorney Richard Kling, who represents one of the defendants, told the Chicago Tribune this week.

The testimony will focus on dueling experts who reached starkly different conclusions about the racial breakdown of targets in the stash house cases.

A nationally renowned expert hired by the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School — which is spearheading the effort to have the cases dismissed — concluded that disparity between minority and white defendants in the stings was so large that there was “a zero percent likelihood” it happened by chance.

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

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