DEA ignored prosecutor's warning about illegal wiretap warrants, now it's losing big

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This feels like the same core issue as the EPA issue:

What you do is too important to risk your shenanigans.

Only wrinkle being I think the DEA, while doing some important work, is probably less vital than the EPA. :wink:


…and the DEA is different from organized crime how precisely?


Reading the article, it seems like the real problem was the D.A., Zellerbach, didn’t personally sign the warrants but had deputies do it. Sure, the judge approved them, but it seems a bit harsh to lay all the blame on his “mill” when it was the elected DA who wasn’t doing his job.

cops and crooks are different sides of the same coin…

The drug war has turned into a war on the citizens of America. As usual, the DEA has failed and for some reason they believe that all they need to do is more of the same. Increased asset forfeiture, increased surveillance, decreased American freedom. It is time to end the agency. They are a true detriment to society.


DEA spokespeople are furious… with the defendants…

How dare those criminals mount a legal defense? Don’t they know they’re guilty?


It’s less organized.


It’s absolutely malpractice on his part.

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Fruit of the poisonous tree; choke it down!

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This is for me the most important part and especially devastating for the DEA. Even the (often very flexible and creative) prosecutors cannot construct a legal argument in favour of the wiretappings.


The DEA stole with immunity from legal risk.

I’m trying to think of a domestic war that hasn’t been against the people…

Given the number of cases that the article reports where the perp was allowed to walk and/or slapped on the wrist because even the prosecutors didn’t want evidence that lousy in the courtroom; but the ‘civil forfeiture’ went ahead; it does seem rather likely that one of the reasons that nobody gave a damn about legality is that they could still score cash through the much less stringent state wiretap process and a bit of ‘parallel reconstruction’, while boring old “convictions” would have required pesky federal approval.

The fact that the local DA (Zellerbach) had this to say also suggests that the motives were…a bit fishy:

Zellerbach said the taps yielded significant arrests and seizures. And they paid other dividends. “We liked it because in these difficult economic times, my budget was being cut, and that was a way to somewhat supplement funding for my office,” he said in an interview. Prosecutors would not say how much money they received.

Unpleasantly, that might actually be what causes the shit to hit the fan: not the blatant abuses, or the fact that the blatant abuses trampled on everyone’s due-process protection and let a number of known traffickers walk; but because all that sweet, sweet, civil forfeiture slush money might be endangered by the sheer illegality of the process under which it was seized.

If the department ends up having to disgorge multiple years of drug money, they will be pissed.


Civil forfeiture is ethically wrong in so many ways, but the fact that it actually discourages proper enforcement of the law… Insanity!


Well, I’m guessing that the DEA don’t personally get rich from their work.
Also, organised crime is organised, this doesn’t look very well organised.
And at the end of the day, I’d rather have a drug dealer show up at my house than a DEA agent.

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Absolutely! The drug dealer might have drugs, that you can buy, and get high with. DEA agents usually have piddly little samples so small, you can’t get high with them, and then they frame you for possession and throw a flashbang into your sleeping baby’s crib.

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Turned into? Since when wasn’t it a war on the citizens of America?

Also, from the OP:

followed by:

This is very confusing writing, Mr Doctorow.

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