According to Mexican officials, a special investigative US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) unit was closed because it had been infiltrated by criminals.
Some media reports have indicated the special unit was “deeply dysfunctional and constantly leaking to the cartels.”
On a bipartisan basis, leading US senators are asking for answers.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) have been trying to get to the bottom of what actually unfolded in Mexico.
The senators requested an official response from the US government multiple times since last November, but have yet to receive substantive answers.
In their recent letter sent to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, the senators voice serious concerns about the DEA’s lack of engagement with this committee of jurisdiction, and outline concerns stemming from the Mexican president’s announcement that the DEA sensitive investigative unit had closed.
After 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. Furthermore, recent developments in Mexico raise additional concerns and speak to an ongoing need for congressional oversight.”Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
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 just the latest in a series of longstanding concerns about DEA’s oversight of its overseas operations.
An 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 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.
Full text of Grassley’s and Durbin’s letter to DEA can be found HERE.
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