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At an April 4 congressional hearing, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s acting director told Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) that he would “get back” to him on whether his agents intentionally permit drug trafficking into some neighborhoods to get “bigger fish.”

The Washington Post said it’s not surprising that Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, did not get an “entirely forthcoming” response.

There’s “considerable evidence,” the newspaper said, that the agency allows drugs to enter certain communities with the stated aim of catching major dealers.

DEA spokesman Russell Baer told The Post that agents or informants “commonly pose as buyers or sellers,” and the informants are allowed to conduct “illegal activities, even the large-scale trafficking of drugs.”

Outside experts told The Post that DEA-approved drug sales are common.

Tony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance told The Post that the drug trafficking tactic is “embedded in DEA practices.” In the 1980s, Papa received a 15-year to life sentence for delivering an envelope containing cocaine for a friend who turned out to be a DEA informant.

The agency has received criticism over its use of informants for drug trafficking, explored in a CBS News’ “60 Minutes” investigation. The Post also pointed to a Department of Justice oversight report that criticized how the DEA tracked and approved the “otherwise illegal activity” of its informants.

Law enforcement agencies also look the other way while drugs enter certain communities because they’re keeping their eyes on the cash flow. State and federal agencies are often permitted to keep cash they seize under asset forfeiture laws.

The Post reported that the DEA seized $3.2 billion in cash since 2007 from people not charged with a crime.

SOURCE: Washington Post


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