The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Its mission is to enforce existing laws and regulations of controlled substances. They collaborate with other law enforcement agencies – state, local and federal – to seize illegal drugs and arrest individuals involved in their manufacturing (growth and harvesting), dispensing and selling or distribution. They also play a significant role in assisting foreign governments.
DEA agents also gather evidence for the prosecution of violators, at interstate or international levels. Federal law’s punishment for offenders can be still. The conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin could range from 10 years to life imprisonment. When prosecutors add the intent to launder money to the charges, the sentence can rise to 20 years to life.
The list of controlled substances continues to expand rapidly. In addition to narcotics like heroin, oxycodone, opium and morphine, there are stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines. Illegal drugs are under the umbrella of hallucinogens and include LSD, Inhalants and another classification are depressants like barbiturates. Like the FBI, the DEA also publishes a list of their top wanted fugitives. It’s not just illegal drug kingpins who are involved in dispensing controlled substances. Often, those in the medical field, such as physicians or pharmacies.
In October 2015, a physician in Los Angeles was the first medical professional was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder. His charges stemmed for illegally prescribing massive amounts of dangerous, addictive drugs to patients who had no need of them. Consequently, the patients died of overdoses. This guilty verdict was the first doctor in the U.S. to be convicted of murder in a crime involving illegal drugs. The doctor was sentenced to 30 years to life.
Another capture of a drug war lord that made the news was that of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman-Loera. He had been an elusive fugitive for years, and even escaped from his Mexican prison. He was extradited from Mexico in January 2017 to New York and awaits charges for allegedly organizing a drug trafficking enterprise, murder and money laundering.