This Couple Died by Suicide After the DEA Shut Down Their Pain Doctor

It was a Tuesday in early November when federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration paid a visit to the office of Dr. David Bockoff, a chronic pain specialist in Beverly Hills. It wasn’t a Hollywood-style raid—there were no shots fired or flash-bang grenades deployed—but the agents left behind a slip of paper that, according to those close to the doctor’s patients, had consequences just as deadly as any shootout.

On Nov. 1, the DEA suspended Bockoff’s ability to prescribe controlled substances, including powerful opioids such as fentanyl. While illicit fentanyl smuggled across the border by Mexican cartels has fueled a record surge in overdoses in recent years, doctors still use the pharmaceutical version during surgeries and for soothing the most severe types of pain. But amid efforts to shut down so-called “pill mills” and other illegal operations, advocates for pain patients say the DEA has gone too far, overcorrecting to the point that people with legitimate needs are blocked from obtaining the medication they need to live without suffering. 

One of Bockoff’s patients who relied on fentanyl was Danny Elliott, a 61-year-old native of Warner Robins, Georgia. In March 1991, Elliott was nearly electrocuted to death when a water pump he was using to drain a flooded basement malfunctioned, sending high-voltage shocks through his body for nearly 15 minutes until his father intervened to save his life. Elliott was never the same after the accident, which left him with debilitating, migraine-like headaches. Once a class president and basketball star in high school, he found himself spending days on end in a darkened bedroom, unable to bear sunlight or the sound of the outdoors. 

“I have these sensations like my brain is loose inside my skull,” Elliott told me in 2019, when I first interviewed him for the VICE News podcast series Painkiller. “If I turn my head too quickly, left or right, it feels like my brain sloshes around. Literally my eyes burn deep into my skull. My eyes hurt so bad that it hurts to blink.”

Keep reading

DEA’s most corrupt agent: Parties, sex amid ‘unwinnable war’

José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history, admitting he “became another man” in conspiring with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive sports cars, Tiffany jewels and paramours around the world.

But as he used his final hours of freedom to tell his story to The Associated Press, Irizarry says he won’t go down for this alone, accusing some long-trusted DEA colleagues of joining him in skimming millions of dollars from drug money laundering stings to fund a decade’s worth of luxury overseas travel, fine dining, top seats at sporting events and frat house-style debauchery.

The way Irizarry tells it, dozens of other federal agents, prosecutors, informants and in some cases cartel smugglers themselves were all in on the three-continent joyride known as “Team America” that chose cities for money laundering pick-ups mostly for party purposes or to coincide with Real Madrid soccer or Rafael Nadal tennis matches. That included stops along the way in VIP rooms of Caribbean strip joints, Amsterdam’s red-light district and aboard a Colombian yacht that launched with plenty of booze and more than a dozen prostitutes.

“We had free access to do whatever we wanted,” the 48-year-old Irizarry told the AP in a series of interviews before beginning a 12-year federal prison sentence. “We would generate money pick-ups in places we wanted to go. And once we got there it was about drinking and girls.”

Keep reading

Despite 144 Million Americans Living in Legal States, DEA Making More Cannabis Arrests Than Ever

Since 2012, 19 states and Washington, DC have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. In total, 38 states and DC have legalized medical marijuana — meaning that a majority of Americans have access to cannabis, whether medically or recreationally. There are just 12 states in the country left who outlaw cannabis entirely — and even they are fading fast.

Currently, 144 million Americans live in states where recreational marijuana is legal and decriminalization measures are currently sweeping through all the other states where it is not. The war on weed is crumbling and the drug warriors who’ve ruined an untold number of lives over this plant are quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of history.

Despite the prohibition wall collapsing and legal cannabis winning the drug war, there are still police state-addicted tyrants holding strong while attempting to maintain their relevancy through enforcement. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is full of these tyrants and their latest numbers prove just how bad their addiction to the drug war is.

In the last two years, one would think that cannabis plant seizures and arrests related to marijuana would go down thanks to widespread legalization. Unfortunately, however, one would be wrong. The DEA is still carrying out their Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program with a vengeance.

Federal law enforcement agents and their partners seized over 5.5 million cultivated marijuana plants and made more than 6,600 marijuana-related arrests in 2021, according to annual data compiled by the DEA.

According to figures published in the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, agents and their partners confiscated approximately 5.53 million cultivated cannabis plants last year – a 20 percent increase over 2020’s totals. Law enforcement also reported making 6,606 marijuana-related arrests, a 25 percent increase over the prior year’s totals (when agents reported 4,992 arrests) … for a plant.

These numbers are record breaking and are the highest since 2011 — before any states had legal weed. Since then, arrests have been going down, but in 2021 a surge began once more as police-state worshipping tyrants ramped up their hatred of this amazing plant and the people who choose to grow it.

Keep reading

Florida’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Reforms Haven’t Stopped the Shakedowns

On a May day in 2015, a task force of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and Miami-Dade Police Department officers raided Miladis Salgado’s suburban Miami home and seized $15,000 in cash that they found in her closet.

The DEA agents were acting on a tip from a confidential informant that Salgado’s estranged husband was laundering drug money.

The cash in Salgado’s closet was not drug proceeds, however. It was money that Salgado, who worked at a duty-free store in the Miami airport, had been saving up for her daughter’s quinceañera, an important coming-of-age 15th birthday party. Salgado had been planning to book a banquet hall, D.J., and -photographer. Suddenly bereft of her savings, she had to cancel the party.

It took two years for Salgado to get her money back, even after a DEA agent admitted in a deposition that there was no connection between her cash and the alleged criminal activity. In the meantime, Florida passed a law reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture process, which allows law enforcement to seize property—cash, cars, houses—even when the owner isn’t convicted of a crime. The 2016 law raised the burden of proof for forfeiting property and now requires at least an arrest before most property can be forfeited.

But despite tightening the rules for when police can keep seized property, Florida remains one of the most prolific practitioners of civil forfeiture. The Sunshine State took in more revenue through forfeitures than any other state in 2018, according to a survey by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm. Local and state police can evade the new restrictions by working with the federal government, just like the Miami-Dade police did in Salgado’s case. In return for calling in the feds, they get a cut of the proceeds.

Keep reading

Thieving Cops Steal Innocent Retired Marine’s Life Savings, $86K, Because It Smelled Like Drugs

Stephen Lara dedicated 20 years of his life to serving this country as a United States Marine. This father of two served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking his life to protect a political system only to be chewed up and spit out by that very system when he returned. Because this system is set up to extract revenue through various means of extortion and theft, when armed agents of the state robbed Lara of his life savings on the side of the road, everything they did was considered “legal.”

In February of this year, Lara was driving from Texas to California to visit his two daughters who live with his ex-wife. He had committed no crime, police had no probable cause for which to pull him over, he had had broken no traffic laws, yet still, a Nevada Highway Patrol officer decided to initiate a traffic stop.

This wasn’t an ordinary traffic stop that would end in a small extortion via citation, however. No, this was legalized road piracy in which police would steal an innocent father’s life savings.

As the video below shows, after Lara was pulled over, the cop who detained him actually complimented his driving. This psychopath, who was about to rob a man of his life savings was cordial and nice as he carried out his roadside theft.

Lara was completely honest with the officer and told him that he had a large sum of cash in his car because he had withdrawn his cash from the bank. He actually had the receipts from the bank to prove this, yet the officer claimed something nefarious was afoot and he called in his fellow officers to separate Lara from his life savings.

Because they can’t simply take the cash for themselves, these thieving road pirates have to go through a federal procedure via the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) known as “adoption.” If they steal his life savings in the name of the DEA, the DEA will “adopt” the money and then kick back 80% of that money back to the department through a program called “equitable sharing.”

“Adoption,” as the Institute for Justice points out, is a process by which federal law enforcement agencies can take over a seizure by state and local law enforcement. If the federal government is successful in forfeiting the property, its “equitable sharing” program guarantees the state or local agency that seized the property up to 80% of the proceeds for use in the agency’s budget.

It literally creates an incentive for cops to steal money from innocent people like Lara.

Since Lara had committed no crime, the officers on the scene needed to manufacture a reason to steal his life savings, so they called in a drug dog to smell Lara’s cash.

It is widely known that a large percentage (upwards 0f 90%) of U.S. paper money contains trace amounts of cocaine. Having a large amount of cash will most assuredly alert a drug dog.

In fact, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that government does not have probable cause to seize cash from individuals based only on a drug-detection dog’s reaction; stating specifically that the majority of money in circulation has drugs on it.

But court precedents and ethical enforcement of the law apparently mean very little the road pirates who targeted Lara that day and when the drug dog alerted to Lara’s cash, the officers used this a reason to steal an innocent man’s life savings.

As he had committed no crime, after they robbed him, the officers left Lara on the side of the road with nothing — not even enough money to get gas to make it home. Lara had to ask his brother to wire him money just so he could make it to see his daughters.

It would take Lara the remainder of the year to get his money back, only after he sued the DEA in federal court. Even though he’s gotten his money back, however, Lara is going to continue to fight and the Institute for Justice is helping him wage his war.

Keep reading

FBI And Other Agencies Paid Informants $548 Million In Recent Years With Many Committing Authorized Crimes

Federal agencies paid out at least $548 million to informants working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in recent years, according to government audits.

  • A few informants became millionaires, with some Amtrak and “parcel” delivery workers making nearly $1 million or more.
  • Many informants were authorized to commit “crimes” with the permission of their federal handlers. In a four-year period, there were 22,800 crime authorizations (2011-2014).
  • The FBI paid approximately $294 million (FY2012-2018), the DEA paid at least $237 million (FY2011-2015), and ATF paid approximately $17.2 million total (FY2012-2015) to informants.

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com compiled this information by reviewing federal reports. While some of the data is several-years old; it’s apparently the most recent available.

The FBI spent an average of $42 million a year on confidential human sources between fiscal years 2012 and 2018. “Long term” informants comprised 20 percent of its intelligence relationships (source: DOJ IG 2019 report).

The ATF employed 1,855 informants who were paid $4.3 million annually (FY2012-2015). Therefore, on average, each informant made $2,318 for the year. (source: DOJ IG report 2017).

Keep reading

Men Who Killed Haiti President Revealed as FBI Informants, as Three Presidents Die After Blocking Vaccine Distribution

According to a report from the Daily Mail, one of the Americans arrested for the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a DEA informant who handed over a warlord responsible for heading up the last coup in the country.  

The DEA has admitted some of their ‘confidential sources’ were involved in the assassination but denied the US government orchestrated the plot.

Joseph Vincent, 55, has been named by sources to the Miami Herald as one of the informants. 

Vincent was one of three US citizens arrested for being behind the early morning raid on the president’s home. The two others named are James Solages, and Christian Emmanuel Sanon. Approximately 20 Colombians are also under arrest for the assassination.

According to a report, several of the arrested suspects are FBI informants, and many of the Columbians were once trained by the US Military according to the Washington Post.

An associate of Sanon suggested that Washington DC backed the president’s assassination, claiming their friend said the mission was supposed to ‘save Haiti from hell, with full support from the US government’.  

Keep reading