– Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), respectively ranking
member and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are seeking additional
information about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) oversight of its
foreign operations, including the closure of a special DEA unit in Mexico that
Mexican officials claim was infiltrated by criminals. The senators’ letter
follows an unanswered inquiry from last November.
more than six months, and despite multiple follow-up requests from both of our
offices, we have received neither the briefing we requested nor a response to
our November 16, 2021, letter. By any measure, such an extended delay is
unacceptable,” the senators wrote. “…Furthermore, recent developments in
Mexico raise additional concerns and speak to an ongoing need for congressional
their letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, the senators voice serious
concerns about the DEA’s lack of engagement with its committee of jurisdiction
and outline concerns stemming from the Mexican president’s announcement that a
DEA sensitive investigative unit operating in Mexico was closed last year.
Other media reports describe this unit as “deeply dysfunctional and constantly
leaking to the cartels.” The senators also ask the DEA to explain the
circumstances surrounding the reported removal of an airplane used in DEA
missions against drug cartels. This is the latest in a series of longstanding
concerns about DEA’s oversight of its overseas operations.
August 2021 report
by the Justice
Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and a report from U.S.
Office of Special Counsel
(OSC) raised serious concerns about the lack of
oversight of DEA operations abroad. Grassley and
Durbin sought specific information
about the status of some of these
operations and the steps being taken to comply with OIG’s recommendations in
November 2021. They raised specific concerns about operations involving a leak
in Mexico, agents fraternizing with prostitutes in Colombia and two
DEA-associated individuals in Haiti arrested or wanted by authorities in
connection with the assassination of that country’s president. The senators
have not received any substantive response from the DEA.
text of Grassley’s and Durbin’s letter to DEA can be found HERE.