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Drug seizures a common DEA tool in drug cases

Many different government agencies are involved in the investigation of alleged drug crimes and the enforcement of drug laws. This includes federal agencies, most notably: the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA conducts drug investigations throughout the country. Sometimes, such investigations result in individuals being arrested and federal drug charges being brought. Last year, the DEA made 30,688 arrests here in the United States.

One of the major tools that the DEA uses in its investigative efforts regarding drug crimes are drug seizures. The amount of drugs the DEA seizes in a year can be rather staggering. Take, for instance, the DEA's drug seizure numbers from last year. Over the course of 2013, the DEA seized the following here in the United States:

  • 267,957 kilograms of marijuana.
  • 22,512 kilograms of cocaine.
  • 3,990 kilograms of meth.
  • 965 kilograms of heroin.
  • 116,215 dosages of hallucinogens.

Seized drugs can end up being significant evidence in drug crime cases.

Like any government law enforcement agency here in America, the DEA is required to respect a person's Fourth Amendment rights when engaging in searches and seizures. There are many rules regarding what the protection of the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to do when it comes to searches and seizures. Investigating whether these rules were complied with can be important in any drug crime case in which the DEA or another law enforcement agency seized drugs, as drugs seized by methods that violated a person's constitutional rights may be barred from being used as evidence in a case.

Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, "Statistics & Facts," Accessed Oct. 9, 2014

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