The US Department of Justice wants us all to know that internet swindlers are impersonating DEA agents and scamming money from people online. Unfortunately, the warning doesn’t include a similar public concern about the DEA’s own scams.
Actual DEA agents in plain-clothes are mugging airline passengers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by tricking disembarking passengers into being searched for cash when the passengers don’t know they are legally free to reject the search and simply walk away. Any cash seized by the agents disappears into a quagmire of red tape while returning the money to the traveler is made complicated. Passengers with a darker skin color make up 68-percent of the targeted travelers.
Recently the DEA repeated an unsuccessful attempt to prohibit certain psychedelic drugs by failing again to get them placed on Schedule I before researchers can discover any new medicinal information about the drugs. Allowing the DEA to arbitrarily choose what it prohibits or regulates can result in major conflicts of interest that benefit only the DEA. A Schedule I drug ranking can always be expected to extend the bureaucratic tenure of the DEA by encumbering new research for a drug and by arresting people who need it as a medicine.
For all this and more the DEA’s operations cost the American taxpayer more than $2.4 billion each year. Any progress toward winning the drug war should result in defunding the DEA and the socioeconomic complex it created. In some cases it might be possible to minimize the DEA’s impact by transferring the agency’s present duties to the Food and Drug Administration – like the scheduling of drugs – but these changes and any others designed to diminish the drug war won’t be encouraged by law enforcement agencies or the federal government. It would mean giving up their authority to mug airline passengers.