6 Stories That Prove U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents Are Insane
The Drug Enforcement Administration doesn't have the greatest reputation. Either they're forcing doctors to pay $700 for a DEA license in order to be able to prescribe drugs, or they're inexplicably hostile shitheads trying to keep John Cusack from helping Nicolas Cage safely land a plane full of convicts so he can make it home to see his daughter. But regardless of how you feel about the war on drugs, it's pretty clear how they earned this reputation -- the DEA is one of the most bugshit crazy law enforcement agencies on the planet. Just within the past decade, the DEA has racked up a list of exploits that reads like the daily planner of a caricature of an insane police officer, including ...
Taking Cartel Bribes (In The Form Of Sex Parties)
If popular culture has taught us anything, it's that doling out bribes to law enforcement officials is an everyday part of being a criminal. The trick, however, is finding the right bribe for the right cop. Where the DEA is concerned, the right bribe is apparently a truck full of prostitutes.
According to a recently released report by the Department Of Justice, DEA agents stationed in Colombia would regularly meet with drug cartel leaders to discuss crucial issues, such as recent Academy Award snubs and the details of ongoing DEA investigations, including "how bad things looked for the boss in the United States, how much paper did they have on him, and ... how much money and routes had to be handed over to get a favorable deal," according to one source. The cartel leaders would routinely bring along prostitutes, who would then accompany the agents to a bedroom to "smuggle some packages" after the information exchange.
"This is way better than those melted Orange Juliuses they keep bribing my mall cop buddies with."
This arrangement continued for several years, with many of the parties being held in houses paid for by the federal government, during which lead agents would receive (in addition to the bankrolled sex workers) gifts of cash and even freaking weapons. The agents involved later tried to defend their actions by arguing that they didn't know that the women were prostitutes. They just figured the women were super into DEA agents (Note: This has never happened).
Designing Completely Insane Uniform Patches
It's the unofficial law of the land that if you're an elite soldier, you need a logo so aggressively macho that even a mere glimpse of it can spontaneously cause testicles to erupt from a person's body. Paradoxically, it's difficult to take someone in an authority position seriously if they're wearing a patch depicting a fire-breathing skull dragon with a dick made of knives. Luckily, the DEA would never let something like self-awareness get in the way of looking awesome, which is the reason they wear patches like this heroic talisman depicting the angel of death at a midnight rave, rolling his fucking face off:
He's gonna look like himself warmed over in the morning.
The DEA developed these patches to help members of different task forces more easily identify their fellow team members, because if you're a member of the Asset Forfeiture Program, the last thing you want to do is be seen canoodling with members of the Ecstasy & Club Drugs team. True to their purpose, the different patches are explosively easy to identity.
"Nice, but on the next batch can we tweak the angle so we can actually see
the plane going balls deep into the car?"
The mascot of the DEA Technical Operations team is a giant scorpion with a listening device for a stinger and a pair of Beats wrapped around its hideously enormous head. It is important to note that that sentence could've ended at "The mascot of the DEA Technical Operations team is a giant scorpion" and still been one of the most insane things we have ever read.
The scorpion was later fired for listening to Lovedrive on repeat instead of doing his job.
The sigil of the DEA's Heroin Intelligence Unit is an oriental dragon, which simultaneously makes sense while being intensely racist.
He's the disappointing child Daenerys never talks about.
Now, while these weren't "official" patches by any definition, the top brass of the DEA didn't order any of its agents to remove them, either. Probably because they're super badass -- like this one, which shows a skull biting the scales of justice with a sword exploding through its cranium while shedding a single tear of blood:
And then there's the Cocaine Intelligence Unit, which again features the angel of death, only this time he is lost in a snowstorm, drinking from a chalice of pure Colombian bam bam while dropping a bomb from a 1960s spy cartoon.
On second thought, that's probably not snow.
Using A Double Agent To Bring Down Silk Road (Who Then Went Crazy And Stole A Fortune)
As you'd probably expect from an untraceable form of currency, Bitcoin is used to buy a lot of drugs, mainly by people seeking to ease the pain of having invested in Bitcoin. For this reason, the DEA had a vested interest in keeping tabs on Bitcoin's use, and so they planted an undercover agent inside Silk Road (a black market website) posing as a drug dealer. Silk Road was eventually closed down in a joint operation between the DEA and the FBI, because nothing on the Internet is truly anonymous, and both agencies congratulated each other on a job well done and went home to celebrate ... right?
Not quite. As it turns out, the undercover agent, Carl Force, realized that he'd been given complete control over an untraceable font of money, and so he began siphoning funds seized from online buyers into his own private Bitcoin account. In a few months, he managed to amass hundreds of thousands of dollars, demonstrating that what he lacked in a moral compass, he made up for in pure hustle.
Thirty seconds later, he was down to $50.
To squeeze even more money from this Internet stone, Force contacted Silk Road's owner, Ross Ulbricht, and sold him classified information on the government investigation into Silk Road for the real-world sum of $55,000. And then, because he hadn't yet played this con from every possible angle, Force invented several pseudonyms and started blackmailing Ulbricht using information gleaned from the DEA's records.
"Signed 'Karl Farce'?"
Unfortunately for Force, his blackmail material was actually information about another suspect, tipping Ulbricht off to the fact that he wasn't dealing with a criminal mastermind here. Nevertheless, this guy was able to re-enact the plot of Die Hard using nothing but some throwaway email accounts and the misplaced trust of the federal government.
Creating Fake Facebook Profiles Using Real People's Names And Photos To Contact Dangerous Criminals
If you were running a criminal gang through Facebook, you'd be awfully suspicious if one day you received a friend request from Philip R. Notacop. Luckily, the DEA had a sure-fire way of bypassing even the most suspicious social media manager: setting up social media profiles using the names and photos of real people with drug connections, and not telling those people about it.
This was the situation that Sondra Arquiett found herself in after being convicted of various drug offenses. For three months following her arrest, the DEA maintained a specially created profile for Sondra and used it to contact members of a drug gang with whom she had been in contact with, to the extent that they even tried to friend request a wanted fugitive.
They stopped shy of poking, though, because that's just creepy.
Not satisfied with potentially subjecting Sondra to the unwanted attention that comes with bombarding hardened thugs with requests for Candy Crush, the DEA ratcheted up the creepy by adding several photos of her in her underwear. These were also accompanied by a photo of Sondra posing alongside her son and niece, presumably because the DEA thought that the paperwork for this investigation would benefit from a kidnapping.
"Try to use a shot where their school sign and address is clearly visible."
After confirming that she wasn't a victim of shapeshifting alien abductors, Sondra lawyered up and sued the government for $250,000. The government argued that she'd implicitly consented to the operation by allowing law enforcement agents to access her cellphone, which, incidentally, is where they found all those photos of Sondra in her underwear.
The court agreed that Sondra's arrest wasn't an invite to use her as bait in other investigations and awarded her $134,000. More recently, Facebook contacted the DEA and banned them from using the site for undercover operations, alleging that they were undermining people's trust in the platform.
They could still harass all the women they wanted, however. Facebook's not unreasonable or anything.
Heads up, guys: If you're ever in a situation where Facebook is calling you out for putting people's private information to nefarious use, it's time to take a good, long look in the mirror.
Allowing A Major Drug Cartel To Operate Freely In The U.S.
If you've learned anything about the DEA so far, it's that they're duplicitous philanderers who dress like Expendables cosplayers. However, the important thing is that they get the job done. Without their poor grasp on the morality spectrum, we could very well be drowning in mind-altering substances right now, which is apparently a bad thing. So it may come as a surprise to learn that the DEA has allowed a drug cartel to run with impunity for an entire decade and gain a major foothold in the USA from which, even today, they show no signs of relinquishing.
"I'll give you my guns/drugs/money/prostitutes/hostages/exotic animals
when you pry them from my cold, dead hands."
Between 2000 and 2012, the DEA and the Sinaloa cartel were the diplomatic equivalent of friends with benefits: In return for information about other cartels, the Sinaloa were promised that the DEA wouldn't interfere in their operations. Clearly, at no point did anyone think that it was a bad idea to give these guys a surefire (legal) way of wiping out their competition. Consequently, during the years that the DEA and Sinaloa were best buddies, there was a major surge in violent clashes between drug cartels in Mexico. Can you guess the cartel that was leading the charge? If you said anything other than the Sinaloa, you are incorrect. As a result of the type of monopoly that develops after your competitors receive a million bullets to the face, the Sinaloa began expanding their operations into the United States, where, according to the most recent figures, they continue to provide the city of Chicago with 80 percent of its heroin, cocaine, and meth. The other 20 percent comes from small-business owners, because that's what America is all about.
"This week only, buy five bricks of yayo and get a bag of nuts absolutely free!"
In exchange for the limitless credit card the DEA handed them, the Sinaloa provided information that led to the seizure of a 23-ton shipment of cocaine. Or, to put that in terms that the Sinaloa will understand, the equivalent of a single day's delivery. Seems like a pretty solid trade.
Leaving An Informant's Name And Photograph At A Drug Dealer's House
On the rare occasions where the DEA solves a case without breaking a bazillion laws, it's thanks to an informant -- someone who provides valuable insider information in exchange for the understanding that their partnership with the government is kept secret.
You can probably guess where this is going.
Following a bust of a suspected drug ring, the DEA ransacked the ringleader's house, searching for contraband and any other incriminating evidence. Satisfied with their work, they left the house, possibly on their way to Hooters to reward themselves for a job well done. However, for reasons that cannot possibly be explained, they left behind a collection of sensitive legal documents used to organize the bust, among which lay details of their investigation as well as the identity of the informant who had ratted the criminals out.
"I would drive back to get them, but I'm already drunk, and that would be irresponsible."
The paperwork was discovered by the ringleader's father, who photographed the documents, distributing the images as far and wide as he could, and then contacting the informant and threatening them with the sorts of acts that vengeful drug dealers are known for (chainsaws, tigers, etc.).
Thankfully, the father was arrested before he could make good on any of his threats, but holy shit -- the DEA basically left their secret informant's name tag at the home of the drug dealer he had just informed on. That's like robbing someone's house and leaving your yearbook photo with your home address and a list of the times you are most likely to be alone.
"Oh, shit, I forgot to include my biggest fears and the combination to my gun cabinet."