The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is a United States federal police agency but they operate in over 60 other countries as well. They conduct investigations worldwide to arrest drug traffickers and producers, seize their assets and prosecute them in the United States. These actions are usually in cooperation with their foreign counterparts but covert illegal operations are frequent.
The DEA is legally bound by the US constitution which states, DEA agents are prohibited from active involvement in arrests of suspects in host countries and from participating in unilateral enforcement actions without the approval of officials from the host government. There are five different functions that DEA agents officially engage in while on foreign missions these are: bilateral investigations, foreign liaison, institution building, Intelligence gathering and international training.
In Canada DEA stretches these rules to the limit. Money from the DEA is paid to informants in Canada. Informants and agents from the US conduct reverse stings, undercover drug sales, on Canadian soil sometimes without telling the RCMP. The DEA is represented in Canada at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver. DEA’s official role in Canada is to coordinate international drug-trafficking investigations between the United States and Canadian law enforcement. The DEA website says “Both DEA offices in Canada are very operational, working with the Canadians on a full complement of cases while ensuring that our activities are in keeping with Canadian laws and existing agreements.”
In a RCMP/DEA joint operation a cocaine dealer was arrested in BC. The police made a deal with him in which he wouldn’t be charged if he became a confidential informant. He fed the RCMP information on local marijuana growers for months, he was paid $440,000 and moved out of town at DEA’s expense. Unlike Canadian police the DEA relies heavily on paid informants.
They use another technique referred to as a rouse. A Canadian marijuana smuggler was caught in the US with 43 pounds of marijuana. Police on both sides of the border did not press charges because they thought if would interfere with a larger investigation. Once the investigation was over the smuggler got a letter from US customs it said,
The state of Washington has declined to press charges in this case. Therefore the government is obligated to return seized items to you. You are requested to personally pick up these items as your original signatures are required.
When the smuggler showed up at the border he was arrested by DEA and sentenced in American court.
The case of Sam Brown is very disturbing. He was a thrill seeker from Nelson, BC who got into marijuana smuggling. In February 2009 he was lured into Washington state by a DEA reverse sting which was code-named “Operation Blade Runner”. Sam was supposed to fly a helicopter with 200kg of marijuana across the border and take 71kg of cocaine back to Canada. The guy with the cocaine was arrested by DEA and they used his phone to contact Sam. After being arrested Sam Brown hanged himself in his US jail cell (CBC documentary, very well done).
Of course there is the famous Marc Emery case. The price of pot was arrested by a RCMP/DEA task force for selling marijuana seeds online and is in the process of being extradited to the US (more on Marc Emery). No other Canadian has been extradited for seed sales. Emery was targeted only because of his political activity.
The United States uses political pressure to force Canadian law enforcement to cooperate. In 1999 DEA chief of staff, John Lampman, was asked “What if Canada doesn’t come through with some resources to keep up its end of the deal?” This is what he said,
I think what we’re looking at there is unilateral action by the United States. The United States is not going to fail to meet its commitment to its citizens. We want to do it with the cooperation of our neighbours, and that is the preferred way to go. But if Canada, for whatever reason, should fail to meet its part of the cooperative effort, we certainly are not going to fail to go unilaterally ahead and meet our commitment to our citizens.
The US does not stop at interfering with law enforcement they actually interfere with the legislative process. In 2004 Canada’s Liberal government proposed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Pressure from the US prevented the bill from becoming law. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada, on the situation,
It would be great for the Canadian economy because we’re huge producers of marijuana… We have actually talked about decriminalizing it, because our criminal law is federal. And it was pressure from the Americans that has kept Canada from decriminalizing possession of marijuana.
The US drug czar at the time, John Walters, said “We don’t want the border with Canada looking like the U.S.-Mexico border,” “You expect your friends to stop the movement of poison toward your neighbourhood” and “We have to be concerned about American citizens … When you make the penalties minimal, you get more drug production, you get more drug crime.”
Then president G.W. Bush said,
“United States would not look kindly on changes to Canadian marijuana laws and warned that it would be forced to take action”
At the time there were 12 states in the USA that had decriminalized marijuana for recreational use. The US is very sneaky in its methods of manipulation. The American’s disrespect of national sovereignty extends to many other countries all over the world. Check out this map,
DEA has always been heavily involved in South America. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the DEA ran Operation Snowcap, which involved the “dismantle and disruption” of the cocaine trade in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Chile,Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico. In 1986 the DEA was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in which the US sold arms to Iran through Israel in order to free 6 US hostages from Iran. The money was then used to fund Contra militants in Nicaragua. The DEA and CIA bought cocaine from the rebels and sold it on the streets in the US. Every part of this scandal was illegal but the fact that Drug Enforcement Agency actually smuggled drugs into the US and sold them to US citizens shows the true insanity of the war on drugs.
In 2005, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has kicked the DEA out of Venezuela, alleging that DEA agents are “spies” who are in his country not just to root out the illegal drug trade, but to assist a purported US attempt to overthrow Chavez, who was an outspoken critic of Bush administration foreign policy. DEA was accused later that year of collaborating with drug traffickers by the Venezuelan government.
The DEA treats Mexico as if there were no border. In 1984 DEA agent Enrique Camarena defied the Mexican government and searched for the gigantic marijuana fields controlled by the Quintero cartel. He found the fields and the DEA and Mexican Army raided the fields and claimed to have found 8,000 tons of marijuana baled and ready for shipping. The Mexican government protected the Quinteros and gave the pot back. On February 7, 1985 Camarena and his Mexican counterpart were kidnapped from in front of the US Embassy. An audio tape of the torture inflicted by the Quinteros was found along with their bodies. The torture was very gruesome and even involved a doctor who kept them alive so the torture could continue.
The DEA’s illegal investigations and arrests have surfaced in Europe as well. DEA have been criticized for violations of Dutch sovereignty in drug investigations. In 2005 DEA admitted to activities on Dutch soil. Minister of justice Piet Hein Donner, had denied to the Dutch parliament that he had given permission to the DEA for any such activities, which would have been a requirement by Dutch law in order to allow foreign agents to act within the territory.
The DEA reestablished its presence in Afghanistan in early 2003 after they were kicked out by the soviets in 1979. Crop eradication was the primary goal of DEA but they are now targeting trafficking and production rings. DEA paramilitary groups called Foreign-Deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) were deployed in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. FAST teams are basically the same as Operation Snowcap. They look like military but they are not, watch this video.
There are DEA offices and teams stationed all over the world but not one single foreign police agency is stationed on US soil. Their official story is that they cooperate with authorities in the host country. While that is true in many cases the DEA does not follow the rules. They see them selves as a global police force and will continue illegal operations with or without international support. It seems that filling US prisons and US hegemony are more important than national sovereignty.