October 1, 2002–March 31, 2003
Office of the Inspector General
THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
The DEA enforces laws and regulations of the United States related to the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances. In addition, the DEA recommends and supports non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets. In FY 2002, the DEA had approximately 9,400 employees, almost half of which were special agents. The DEA has 21 division offices in the United States and the Caribbean and maintains 78 offices in 56 countries throughout the world.
During this reporting period the OIG received 332 complaints involving the DEA. The most common allegations made against DEA employees included job performance failure, misuse of a credit card, and false statements. The vast majority of complaints dealt with less serious issues, and the OIG referred those allegations to the DEA OPR.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 20 open cases of alleged misconduct against DEA employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of offenses, including theft, drug offenses, and use of unnecessary force/denial of rights. The administrative investigations include serious allegations of misconduct, including allegations against high-level employees. Following are some of the cases investigated during this reporting period.
DEA USE OF INFORMANTS
The DEA uses confidential sources (informants) as an investigative tool in support of criminal investigations and the prosecution of drug cases. The OIG is assessing the DEA's payments to informants, compliance with regulations and controls over disbursements, and the effect that the information provided by informants had on arrests and prosecution of cases.
THE DEA'S DISCIPLINE PROCESS
This review is examining the process by which the DEA identifies, refers, and investigates employee misconduct and imposes and enforces disciplinary actions in response to substantiated employee misconduct allegations. We are evaluating the DEA's compliance with procedures for reporting allegations of misconduct to the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility as well as the timeliness of the process from referral of allegations to implementation of disciplinary actions. We also are examining the appropriateness and consistency of disciplinary actions.
THE DEA'S CONTROL OF SEIZED NARCOTICS AND CASH
This review is assessing the DEA's procedures for maintaining accountability of narcotics and cash received from other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. We are examining the procedures for the receipt, security, and final disposition of the narcotics and cash. As part of the review, we are examining procedures for maintaining accountability records.
THE DEA'S IMPLEMENTATION OF GPRA
We are reviewing the DEA's implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) to evaluate whether the DEA has: (1) developed strategic goals and objectives that are consistent with the Department's strategic goals and objectives, (2) established performance measures that are adequate to evaluate achievement of its goals and objectives, and (3) established an effective system to collect, analyze, and report data related to its performance measures.
FOLLOW-UP AUDIT OF THE DEA'S FORENSIC LABORATORY OPERATIONS
The DEA's forensic laboratories process drug evidence and provide forensic services to DEA investigators and other law enforcement entities. In 1995 the OIG audited laboratory operations and found that several facilities were outmoded and overcrowded. We also found that although services and controls over evidence were generally satisfactory, the results of lab analyses were sometimes slow to be reported, and controls over evidence could be improved. This follow-up audit is further evaluating the effectiveness of the DEA's forensic services and controls over evidence. We are assessing how effectively DEA forensic services support the gathering of drug intelligence and the investigation and prosecution of drug cases, and how DEA laboratories manage evidence to prevent loss or compromise.