DEA Agents Have Handed Out Drugs, Kept Jobs

Records reveal that it's pretty hard to get fired from agency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2015 3:15 AM CDT
DEA Agents Have Handed Out Drugs, Kept Jobs
A firearm and 154 pounds of heroin worth at least $50 million are displayed at a Drug Enforcement Administration news conference in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

It is technically possible to get fired from the Drug Enforcement Administration, but you apparently have to work pretty hard at it. Records from the agency's files show that since 2010, agents have escaped with warnings or suspensions after falsifying records, misusing government vehicles while drunk, associating with criminals, failing drug tests, and even distributing drugs, reports USA Today. Some of the few who were actually fired—including an agent who threatened to give a homemade sex video to his girlfriend's 8-year-old daughter—were reinstated by the independent agency that reviews federal firings.

"If we conducted an investigation, and an employee actually got terminated, I was surprised," a former DEA internal affairs investigator tells USA Today. "I was truly, truly surprised. Like, wow, the system actually got this guy." Lawmakers have long criticized the agency for failing to crack down hard enough on misconduct, and earlier this year, Michele Leonhart stepped down as DEA chief after it emerged that agents who admitted attending cartel-funded sex parties in Colombia received a maximum punishment of a 10-day suspension. (A student forgotten in a DEA cell for five days received a $4.1 million payout, while the six agents involved received letters of reprimand and two of them were suspended for up to a week.)

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