An influential U.S. senator is looking into allegations of misconduct in the Atlanta office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
An Atlanta-based supervisor allegedly had a sexual relationship with two DEA confidential informants and arranged for the agency to pay one of them $212,000, according to Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Earlier this month, Grassley wrote to the DEA’s acting administrator, Chuck Rosenberg, seeking details on an internal investigation of the Atlanta supervisor. Grassley’s letter suggested that the DEA had previously investigated the supervisor and two other Atlanta-based agents. He identified neither the supervisor nor the agents.
The allegations became public last month in a federal drug trial in St. Louis.
Defense lawyers for four men fighting federal drug charges have challenged the veracity of the informant who received $212,000 from the DEA, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The woman purportedly gave DEA agents key details that enabled them to place wiretaps that implicated the defendants, all of whom allegedly are connected to the notorious Black Mafia Family drug ring. Defense lawyers said the woman had done business with one of the defendants years earlier but had no current knowledge of his activities when she provided information to the DEA.
The four men are accused of distributing heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Two have been implicated in the killings of two potential witnesses.
In testimony, the Atlanta supervisor denied having sex with the informant but acknowledged having a personal relationship with her, according to news reports.
Nothing in Grassley’s letter or in court records explains why the DEA’s Atlanta office became involved in the St. Louis case. However, the Black Mafia Family has been implicated in several major Atlanta-area drug cases and homicides.
Grassley’s letter said the informant received a monthly stipend of $2,500 for about 2 ½ years. She also got two large bonuses: one for $55,000 and one for $80,750.
The monthly payments apparently covered the approximate cost of an apartment the woman rented near the home of the DEA supervisor. Grassley’s letter also said the supervisor forced subordinates to falsify reports to justify the woman’s payments.
Grassley pointed out that the inspector general of the Department of Justice recently concluded that the DEA does not adequately oversee its confidential source program.
“Without improved oversight and accountability,” Grassley wrote, “I have serious concerns about the DEA’s ability to maintain the effectiveness and integrity of its confidential source program.”