Horror Stories from the DEA

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes, bad things happen to government agencies. From commandeering a truck for an undercover operation to participating in parties paid for by cartels, here are some of the DEA’s own horror stories

May 9, 2015

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes, bad things happen to government agencies. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is tasked with taking care of all sorts of illegal drug activities, but sometimes they themselves get into trouble — the kind of trouble that leads to one critic calling the administration “out of control”. From commandeering a truck for an undercover operation to participating in parties paid for by cartels, here are some of the DEA’s own horror stories.

Trucker Doesn’t Know His Truck Is Used by DEA
truck 1024x683 How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: Tony Webster

A Houston trucker was woken early one morning with news that his truck had been used by the DEA in an undercover marijuana operation. Craig Patty, owner of the trucking company only learned about the situation when his driver, who was part of the operation, was shot by hijackers in front of law enforcement officers. Patty’s company was pushed to near bankruptcy and he lives in fear because his name has been in the paper for mobsters to see.

Student Left Alone in Holding Cell for Five Days—Drinks Own Urine to Survive
jail 1024x683 How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: KamrenB Photography

A young student who was arrested by DEA officials in San Diego was questioned and told he could leave, but not before being put into a holding cell, where DEA officials reportedly forgot about him. Daniel Chong was left by himself for five days with no food or water and drank his own urine to survive. In an attempt to commit suicide, he perforated his lung. When he was found, Chong was unresponsive and spent three days in intensive care.

DEA Informant Charged With Murder
gun 1024x683 How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: Greta Ceresini

The family of a 30-year-old man who was shot to death by an alleged DEA informant filed a $50 million lawsuit against the DEA. The family claims the DEA didn’t do a good enough job supervising the man, who reportedly used his DEA-issued cell phone to plan an assault on the victim. The victim, Jason Estrada, was apparently shot after accusing the informant of sexually assaulting his six-year-old son.

Federal Agents Charged With Profiting On Silk Road
bitcoin 1024x683 How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: Antana

Carl Force, a Special Agent with the DEA, and Shaun Bridges with the US Secret Service were assigned to cover illegal activity in the Silk Road marketplace. The Force allegedly engaged in illegal activities during the operation to bring financial gain, including receiving digital currency (bitcoin) that he put in his account instead of reporting and selling information about the investigation to the investigation’s target. Both accused were charged with wire fraud and money laundering; the Force was also charged with conflict of interest and theft of government property.

DEA Agents Party with Prostitutes
cuffs How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: Victor

Several DEA agents have been accused of attending sex parties—yes, with prostitutes—paid for by drug cartels. Reports from the Justice Department suggest these parties have been going on since 2001. The parties reportedly took place at locations leased by the US government, where cartels would have had access to agents’ electronic devices. Seven agents admitted to taking part in the parties and were suspended for up to 10 days.

DEA Covers Up Investigations
court 1024x683 How do you explain your brain on drugs to someone whos never tried them? Visually of course.
Photo credit: Joe Gratz

Reuters reports that a secretive unit of the DEA obtains information through wiretaps and telephone records, then recreates the investigation so no one—not even prosecutors and judges—known where the information came from. DEA officials refer to the process as parallel construction, and they say it’s perfectly legal.

Featured image Brett Neilson

May 9, 2015