Confidential informants have been receiving millions of dollars in workers’ compensation benefits for their service to the Drug Enforcement Administration. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released an infuriating report that tells the tale of federal dope sniffers spending obscene amounts of the taxpayer’s money over the past 40 years to pay degenerates injured or killed while collecting evidence against the black market drug trade.
In an audit spawned by allegations regarding the DEA’s handing of working class tattletales, the federal watchdog discovered that some of these informants were being paid $500 per week in worker’s compensation while also continuing to earn federal wages for being a rat.
The report finds that between 1997 and 2012, the DEA spent over $2 million paying confidential informants for worker’s compensation benefits, bonuses, and expenses. Although federal employees, such as U.S. postal workers, have the right to collect insurance benefits if they are hurt on the job, the report speculates that felonious thugs and career dope dealers may not exactly meet the criteria spelled out by Uncle Sam’s human resources department.
Nevertheless, countless amounts of cash were spent on injuries and death benefits for informants and their families. The extent of the overall cost of this program remains a mystery, however, because the majority of these dealings appear to have been conducted off the books. Yet, with the current data in hand, it goes without saying that an enormous chunk of American tax dollars were mishandled and wasted.
“As a result of DEA’s lack of substantive involvement and record-keeping, as well as the atypical manual process (the Department of Labor) told us that it used for these cases at the request of DEA, we could not specifically determine how much money each recipient had been paid in FECA benefits or if the payments to the confidential sources or their families were ongoing,” reads the report.
When someone becomes a snitch for the DEA, it is sometimes done under extreme duress: an individual agrees to provide agents with relative information in exchange for not being sent to prison. However, other times, confidential informants are simply dope dealers with connections to organized crime that agents recruit to keep tabs on the state of the underworld drug trade.
The Inspector found that hundreds of these types of criminal informants were put on the DEA’s payroll and allowed to make illegal drug purchases without being forced to undergo any type of review process. In fact, the DEA did not require informants to seek prior approval for dope deals unless the amounts exceeded those specified in the United States Sentencing Guidelines — essentially giving these individuals a free pass to sell illegal drugs without fear of prosecution.
According to the report, DEA agents used “high-risk individuals as confidential sources” for years without being forced to “determine the appropriateness of the continued use of long term sources” under the guidance of the Sensitive Activity Review Committee. This and other lacking controls have resulted in the federal government paying out millions of dollar in benefits to “independent contractors, not employees.”
In one case, the wife of a confidential informant, killed in the line of snitching duty, received up to $6,311 a month. Theses payments, which totaled well over $1 million, began in 1989 and continued up until the time of her death in 2012.
The report suggests that many of these informants and their family members, some of whom were not even U.S. citizens, should have never qualified for benefits.
The Inspector General said the DEA’s confidential informant program remains under investigation.
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