BigNews.Biz - Apr 07,2017 - DEA Resists Recommended Policy Changes in Wake of Review following Agent’s Death
Grassley, Feinstein, Chaffetz, Cummings seek answers after DEA rebuffs IG’s call for improved info sharing
WASHINGTON – House and Senate oversight leaders are calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to explain its refusal to update its information sharing policies after the agency watchdog discovered failures in a 2010 case that led to the trafficking of a firearm to Mexico where it was used in the shooting death of one federal officer and serious injury of another. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein and House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings today called on the DEA to provide details of remedial actions taken since the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) released its report on the Osorio and Barba trafficking rings.
The recent IG report detailed the events that led to a 2011 attack on two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, which seriously wounded Special Agent Victor Avila and killed Special Agent Jaime Zapata. One of the firearms used in that attack was trafficked by Manuel Gomez Barba, whom the DEA was investigating for dealing narcotics. During the course of its investigation, DEA agents obtained information about Barba’s involvement in firearms trafficking. Despite this information and existing agency policy, the DEA failed to notify the United States Attorney’s Office or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This failure to act led to Barba’s release from custody, after which he facilitated the purchase and shipment to Mexico of 10 AK-47 rifles, including one that ended up in the hands of Avila’s and Zapata’s assailants.
While the IG report recommends clarifications to DEA’s information sharing policy, the IG reported that DEA has refused to make any changes, claiming that they already have policies in place that sufficiently manage the risk related to firearms transfers.
In a letter to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, Grassley, Feinstein, Chaffetz and Cummings requested records relating to disciplinary actions or remedial policy changes taken in relation to the events described in the DOJ OIG report of March 2017. The lawmakers also requested a briefing from DEA officials on these matters.
“We agree with the OIG that the DEA should implement a more instructive policy and are troubled by the DEA’s refusal to implement the OIG’s recommendations and resistance to acknowledge such a serious problem,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
Grassley, Feinstein, Chaffetz and Cummings previously received a briefing from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the investigation, which was originally requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee in 2012.
Text of the letter can be found here.
April 4, 2017
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202