Drug Enforcement Administration

AuthorJeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

Page 24

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established in 1973 by President RICHARD M. NIXON as part of the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, thus uniting a number of federal drug agencies that had often worked at cross-purposes. Its mission is to "enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system those organizations and principal members of organizations who are involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances in the United States." In addition to its domestic oversight the DEA has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad. The DEA also works closely with federal, state, local, and INTERNATIONAL LAW enforcement agencies to address drugs and drug-related crime.

The DEA concentrates on investigating and prosecuting organizations and their members who are involved in the cultivation, production, SMUGGLING, distribution, or diversion of controlled substances in or destined for the United States. The agency seeks to disrupt these organizations by arresting their members, confiscating their drugs, and seizing their assets. It creates, manages, and supports enforcement-related programs, both domestically and internationally, aimed at reducing the availability of and demand for controlled substances. This effort requires the ongoing management of a national narcotics intelligence system, the fruits of which are shared with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities.

Because the importation of controlled substances is the main source of illegal drugs, the DEA has increasingly put its energies into international enforcement programs. It currently has offices in 56 foreign countries and maintains contacts with the UNITED NATIONS, INTERPOL (the international police organization. It is headquartered in Paris and has approximately 180 member countries), and other international drug enforcement agencies.

Training DEA agents and other law enforcement personnel on the intricacies of the drug trade has led the DEA to create rigorous educational courses. It provides training to DEA agents and support personnel, as well as to state and local police, international law enforcement officials, and other law enforcement employees on a wide range of critical subject matter. In 1999, this effort took a significant step forward with the opening of the DEA Justice...

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