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Tag: narcotics

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Working with Drug Traffickers

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent in South Texas is accused of working with drug traffickers to stage narcotics seizures and sell the drugs for profit.

Eduardo Bazan Jr. was arrested Friday and charged with making false statements about a federal investigation of drug traffickers, San Antonio Express-News reports. 

Bazan’s alleged crimes occurred in February 2007, but agents with Homeland Security Investigations in McCallen didn’t learn of it until October 2013.

“The drug trafficking organization coordinated staged narcotic seizures of sham, or diluted, narcotics with the assistance of law enforcement officials, which enabled the organization to steal drug loads from unwitting narcotics sources of supply,” the complaint says.

The Express-News wrote:

Investigators say one such cocaine seizure took place near the McAllen Border Patrol station with Bazan’s assistance. Federal agents searched the agency database for the report Bazan filed in 2007 detailing the incident.

When HSI agents recently interviewed Bazan, he recalled seizing the load, telling investigators that border agents had discovered bundles of cocaine in a Honda Civic, the criminal complaint says. At first, Bazan denied being tipped off to the location of the drug load and to having received payment for making the seizure.

But when HSI agents interviewed Bazan two days later, he admitted to lying, the document states. Bazan told them he had received information that led to the seizure of about 150 pounds of cocaine and that in return he was paid around $8,000. At first, Bazan claimed to have chased suspects from the drug-laden vehicle, but he later admitted there were no suspects, confessing it was a ruse to make the seizure appear legitimate to other agents, according to the criminal complaint.

Former DEA Task Force Member Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Cash, Drugs

DEALetterHatBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran narcotics officer who was member of a DEA task force in New Orleans has been indicted on federal charges of allegedly stealing drugs and seized cash.

The Advocate reports that former Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Karl E. Newman is the second member of the DEA task force to charged criminally.

Newman’s attorney declined to comment on the case.

Newman has been in jail since May 13 on a federal detainer.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Warns of Pills Laced with Deadly Opioid in American Market

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is bracing for overdoses after warning that hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills are laced with a potentially deadly synthetic opioid.

The DEA said the drugs, which look like legitimate painkillers, have infiltrated the U.S. drug market, the Guardian reports. 

The pills contain fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

The DEA warned that only a small amount can kill.

“It’s a huge concern. People don’t know what they are getting,” said the DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson, citing an uptick in accidental overdoses by unwitting users.

Other Stories of Interest

Steve Cook Elected President of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Steve Cook

Steven H. Cook, chief of the Criminal Division in the Eastern District of Tennessee, has been elected president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

Cook has been a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Tennessee for 28 years. Over the years, he has worked in the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, the General Crimes Section handling white collar crime, fraud and public corruption cases and as chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crime Section.

“NAAUSA’s first priority is eliminating the large pay gap between new and mid-career AUSAs and their DOJ trial attorney counterparts, improving security for AUSAs and their families and assuring AUSAs have the necessary tools to perform their responsibilities,” he said in a statement.

Others newly elected to the Executive Committee include:

  • Vice President of Policy: John Nordin, Central District of California
  • Vice President for Operations and and Membership: Larry Leiser, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Secretary: Kathleen Bickers, District of Oregon
  • Treasurer: Steve Wasserman, District of Columbia
  • At-Large: Greg Bowman, Eastern District of Tennessee
  • At Large: Karen Escobar, Eastern District of California
  • At-Large: Craig Haller, Western District of Pennsylvania

DEA Cracks Down on Painkillers by Making it More Difficult to Get Them at Pharmacy

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is cracking down on narcotic painkiller abuse by restricting how patients can receive the medication, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The DEA plans to reclassify hydrocodone combination drugs like Vicodin, a move that will require people to receive a new prescription for painkillers every 90 days. Currently, painkiller users can get prescriptions for 18- days, with up to five refills.

Patients also must present a prescription for the pills and can no longer rely on having the drugs phone-in by doctors.

The change takes effect in 45 days.

“Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

Even DEA’s Own Hiring Policies Recognize Pot Isn’t As Dangerous As Other Drugs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Although the DEA has insisted that marijuana is one of the “most dangerous” drugs available, the agency’s own drug policy contradicts that.

The Huffington Post reports that DEA applicants are prohibited from working for the agency if they have used narcotics or dangerous drugs in the past.

There’s one exception – marijuana.

It’s a 7-year-old policy, according to Huffington Post.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

DEA: Doctors Not Taking Pain Killer Abuse Seriously Enough

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Doctors are largely responsible for the high rate of pain killer abuse because they don’t take the risks seriously enough, the DEA said Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

“This drug has got a hold of this society and it’s killing us,” Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator in the DEA’s office of diversion control, said at a FDA advisory meeting in Silver Springs, Md. “There’s so many prescriptions out there and I’ll tell you why. The medical community, in my humble opinion, is not taking this drug seriously.”

The FDA is debating the DEA’s request to reduce how long doctors can prescribe hydrocodone pills.

The request also would bar physicians assistants and nurse practitioners from prescribing pain killers, Bloomberg reported.

Guilty Verdicts Returned for Mexican Cartel Affiliates

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things did not go the way Gerardo Castillo-Chavez and Armado Garcia had hoped in Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday.

Both men saw guilty verdicts returned on all charges against them, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced. Castillo-Chavez, a 25-year-old from Tamaulipas, Mexico, was convicted of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel in aid of racketeering (ITAR) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence,” according to the Justice Department.

The guilty verdicts were returned unanimously after a four-day trial and six-hours of deliberation.

A Feb. 17, 2010 indictment charged Castillo-Chavez and 33 other individuals with 47 counts of conspiracy to kidnap and murder U.S. citizens in a foreign country, drug conspiracy, kidnapping conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, use of juveniles to commit a violent crime, accessory after the fact and solicitation as well as substantive money laundering, drug trafficking and ITAR charges, according to the Justice Department. To date, 14 of those charged have been convicted.

Several witnesses in the trial tied Castillo-Chavez to the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, and implicated Castillo-Chavez, also known as “Cachetes,” in a double murder on April 2, 2006, as well as other attempted murders a violent attacks in Mexico.

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