DEA Agents Caught Soliciting Prostitutes Rewarded With Light Punishments, Bonus Checks

from the saving-throw-on-'integrity-check'-fails dept

At the end of September, Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer of USA Today published a DEA disciplinary log they’d obtained through an FOIA request. The document was obviously misnamed, as it showed plenty of misconduct by DEA agents, but not much in the way of discipline.

Damning, yes, but apparently we still haven’t scraped the bottom of the DEA’s disciplinary barrel. The DOJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has released a new report on DEA misconduct — specifically dealing with the DEA agents who were caught soliciting prostitutes, engaging in “sex parties” and harassing local employees while working overseas.

None of the 14 agents involved lost their job. Two still remain at their overseas posts and the rest (with the exception of one retiree) are still working as agents or supervisory agents. Apparently, DEA misconduct pays pretty well. (h/t

Although none of the 14 individuals received promotions, we found that in 10 instances, 8 employees received bonuses, awards, or other favorable personnel actions, contrary to DEA policy.

The agency’s policy states that agents under investigation are not entitled to collect bonuses for three years after being disciplined for “serious misconduct.” Any agent seeking advancement/bonuses must be subjected to an “integrity check” by the DEA’s HR department to ensure they are not currently under investigation or subject to other disciplinary actions. If the agent fails to clear the “integrity check,” the information is passed on to the Chief Inspector, who has the power to override the three-year waiting period.

Exceptions were made. But the Inspector General’s office is damned if it can figure out why.

The eight employees who received awards were subjects in an ongoing OPR investigation in which the offenses involved integrity and/or sexual harassment issues, with some of the employees serving as supervisors and managers. In many instances, we could not determine the reason why exceptions were made and we were unable to determine when, or if, an integrity check was performed, the results of the integrity check, or the reason for the approval of the proposed personnel action, because the DEA was unable to provide the OIG with complete documentation.

IG Horowitz is very familiar with the DEA’s reluctance to provide documentation. He took his battle with the DEA and FBI over the release of pertinent information to Congress, sailing over the head of the DOJ. In a letter to a Congressional committee, Horowitz threatened these agencies’ budgets by pointing out to legislators that the DOJ components are not allowed to use their funding to thwart their oversight.

But the DEA may have a not-very-legitimate excuse for not handing over documents. It apparently doesn’t care much for recordkeeping, even when it involves a regional supervisor who “failed” to report his underlings’ hiring of prostitutes and brothel patronage.

The DEA also told us that it was unable to provide us with any documents that reflect when the counseling session occurred with the Regional Director, the DEA Administrator, and the Deputy Administrator, or what matters they discussed. Given the gravity of the allegations, and the importance of keeping records related to misconduct reviews, we are concerned that the DEA was unable to provide any written documentation confirming that the counseling occurred and the substance of the counseling.

This official — who was apparently given an undocumented tongue-lashing — landed a $12,000 bonus. This was his reward for covering up the misconduct of his agents.

A Supervisory Special Agent who did nothing to prevent “sex parties” with prostitutes from occurring at DEA offices (arranged by local law enforcement officials) was given three bonuses totalling $8,500 — all while still under investigation.

In the private sector, soliciting prostitutes while on the clock is a good way to get yourself fired. In the DEA, where integrity is a must — considering the constant temptation of money and drugs — it’s barely worth a two-week suspension. Most agents saw single-digit suspensions, while others only received “letters of caution.” And a regional director overseeing all of this received nothing but an alleged, completely undocumented verbal rebuke. At the DEA, the only thing better than the lack of serious discipline is the bonus checks agents receive while still under investigation.

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Comments on “DEA Agents Caught Soliciting Prostitutes Rewarded With Light Punishments, Bonus Checks”

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lars626 (profile) says:


What they need at the DEA and many other federal agencies is a serious set of middle management purges, followed up by clear and explicit policy changes. To be followed by ass kicking and/or further purges for noncompliance.

The only way to remove a cancer this far along is with some radical surgery. Those are MY tax dollars paying those worthless scum and I am Not happy.

Justme says:

Re: Purge

What we need is the end of the DEA, The war on drugs has resulted in many negative effects on society as a whole. . .

militarization of domestic law enforcement.
The increasing use of aggressive tactics as the first choice, when it should be the last.
Interfering with science education by lessening the ability of student to get hands on lab experience.
Intimidation of doctors that would treat their patients in a manner not approved by the DEA.
Decreasing the ability of a former drug addicts to become productive members of society.
Increasing racial tensions resulting from disparity in enforcement and punishment

Drug addiction is certainly destructive to those individuals and families touched by it. But looking at the drug war’s effect’s on society as a whole, it is likely as destructive as the problem it was designed to solve, and it certainly hasn’t solved it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Purge

Meth is semi-synthetic, one could make it from ephedrine if they were so inclined (not a very good way to make it, the semi-synthetic pseudoephedrine comes into play).

There are tons of gray area drugs sold on the internet which, well, are variations of psilocin, mescaline or LSD, which are either natural, natural and semi-synthetic. And I’m not saying fully synthetic drugs are necessarily bad, tons of meds are fully synthetic and useful. I’ve enjoyed in the past variations of the DMT molecule and have no shame about it, DPT and 4-aco-DiPT were all very enlightening experiences. Granted, there is stuff out there I don’t think anyone without a proof of age and qualifications should buy, because effective doses are in the milligram ranges and most people have scales that only go as low as 100mg. (one can always use the very safe method of diluting a compound in ethanol or water, depending on solubility).

The natural vs synthetic debate is moot. Especially since some people do not understand most drugs/meds out there are semi-synthetics, meaning that something in nature is very close to it, example : Morphine and Hydromorphone. Both have their places for pain killing, they just have different properties (HM lasts a lot less longer, but is stronger when it is having an effect).

-TechDirt’s in-house Pharmacologist (who is anti-prohibitionist, to the fullest extent).

Anonymous Coward says:

They also have blackmail

Don’t forget that they will have records of a good percentage of the people in power or their relatives being caught red handed in some of their investigations. When you don’t have to worry about being reigned in due to you calling the shots, behavior like this is to be expected. If I were a defense attorney, I would call into question their entire moral right to be believed regarding anything. Chain of custody depends on trusting that no one would have reason or motive to tamper with evidence. When the agents themselves can be demonstrated to not only act like this, but to be rewarded in spite of it, the entire organization is as corrupt.
By their fruits, you will know them.

Mingus says:

end the War on Sex

When will the USA legalize prostitution? Sane countries all over the world have a framework that protects the women. (Nevada still hasn’t gotten it right, but it’s better than banning it outright) Keeping paid sex illegal merely creates criminals. Who cares if these agents were visiting prostitutes as long as it’s not during work hours.

I feel I should mention that whores are not my thing, it’s about the reality that keeping it a crime destroys lives. Legalizing would protect the women AND the john, while bringing in revenue for the state. Just like drugs…

Personanongrata says:

Business as Usual

Please take the time and read about how the CIA infiltrated the DEA at all levels:

September 11, 2015
Creating a Crime: How the CIA Commandeered the DEA

by Douglas Valentine

The outlawing of narcotic drugs at the start of the Twentieth Century, the turning of the matter from public health to social control, coincided with American’s imperial Open Door policy and the belief that the government had an obligation to American industrialists to create markets in every nation in the world, whether those nations liked it or not.

Civic institutions, like public education, were required to sanctify this policy, while “security” bureaucracies were established to ensure the citizenry conformed to the state ideology. Secret services, both public and private, were likewise established to promote the expansion of private American economic interests overseas.

It takes a book to explain the economic foundations of the war on drugs, and the reasons behind the regulation of the medical, pharmaceutical and drug manufacturers industries. Suffice it to say that by 1943, the nations of the “free world” were relying on America for their opium derivatives, under the guardianship of Harry Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN).

Link to full report:

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t know if it’s because I’m Canadian and I view it as impossible to have something like the DEA preventing a doctor from giving me pain meds when I need them because said doctor has reached some kind of arbitrary limit in the painkiller scripts he can make in a year and imprisoning people for 15 years for growing a few plants in still 3/4 of the states of the US, but to me the DEA are the tip of the scum and were the ones who started the whole mass surveillance nightmare because zomg drugs (while their compatriots in the CIA made nice black budget profits with those drugs). Since they enforce the most draconian laws out there down south and were put into existence because Nixon was scared of hippies, the US has dragged its close allies into its scary dragnet by using the blueprints of the DEA, who were doing that illegal surveillance thing since their existence came into being. It really takes a special kind of dipshit to actually want to work at DEA and here we’re seeing how much so in a most glaring example.

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