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Drug Enforcement Agency
February 16, 2018

Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created in 1973 to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States, and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

US laws contain specific provisions that criminalize activities that take place outside the borders of the United States.  International drug trafficking is one of these criminal activities as it is a criminal enterprise that respects no nation’s borders or laws.  Drug trafficking is no longer a problem of a single country as it has spread worldwide like cancer weakening each country it touches.  To combat this international scourge and to reduce drug availability the DEA works to identify, investigate and prosecute drug trafficking organizations wherever they are located.

Currently, the DEA has over 11,000 employees, of which 5,000 are special agents assigned in all 50 states and in 91 foreign offices located in 70 other countries.

Main Responsibilities

In the United States, its primary responsibilities include:

  • Investigation and preparation for the prosecution of major violators of controlled substance laws operating at interstate and international levels.
  • Investigation and preparation for prosecution of criminals and drug gangs who perpetrate violence in our communities and terrorize citizens through fear and intimidation.
  • Management of a national drug intelligence program in cooperation with federal, state, local, and foreign officials to collect, analyze, and disseminate strategic and operational drug intelligence information.
  • Seizure and forfeiture of assets derived from, traceable to, or intended to be used for illicit drug trafficking.
  • Enforcement of the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act as they pertain to the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of legally produced controlled substances.
  • Coordination and cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement officials on mutual drug enforcement efforts and enhancement of such efforts through exploitation of potential interstate and international investigations beyond local or limited federal jurisdictions and resources.
  • Coordination and cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies, and with foreign governments, in programs designed to reduce the availability of illicit abuse-type drugs on the United States market through non-enforcement methods such as crop eradication, crop substitution, and training of foreign officials.
  • Responsibility, under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors, for all programs associated with drug law enforcement counterparts in foreign countries.
  • Liaison with the United Nations, Interpol, and other organizations on matters relating to international drug control programs.

DEA in Colombia

The DEA has an excellent working relationship with the Colombian National Police and the Colombian National Prosecutor’s Office.  In Colombia, DEA agents do not have the power to arrest nor seize drugs or assets.  The DEA may gather information and collect evidence to be used in U.S. courts, or provide assistance with information that leads to drug seizures anywhere in the world.  DEA Special Agents, Diversion Investigators and Intelligence Analysts provide intelligence to the Colombian National Police and Prosecutor’s Office and work with them to develop national and international investigations that may be used for arrests and prosecutions in Colombia the United States and in many other countries.

To carry out its mission, the DEA accepts information on any aspect of drug trafficking such as production, transportation, distribution, money laundering, or the administration and activities of criminal organizations. Anyone who wishes to offer information confidentially may send a letter to the DEA Office in the Embassy, including his/her name and telephone number, in case it is necessary to extend the investigation, or the information involves compensation or reward.

DEA Office in Colombia
Oficina de la DEA
Embajada de Estados Unidos de América
Carrera 45 # 22D-45
Bogotá, D.C.