WASHINGTON — The US Drug Enforcement Administration has grown into a global intelligence organization whose reach extends far beyond international drug trafficking, The New York Times reported.
Citing documents from the secrets website WikiLeaks, the newspaper said the DEA’s operations had become so expansive the agency has had to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies.
One August 2009 cable reported Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli as having sent an urgent BlackBerry message to the US ambassador asking the DEA go after his political enemies.
“I need help with tapping phones,” the paper quoted the president as saying.
A May 2008 cable from the West African nation of Guinea, reported that the country?s biggest narcotics kingpin was Ousman Conte, the son of the then president, Lansana Conte.
A March 2008 cable from Guinea said diplomats had discovered that before police there had destroyed a huge narcotics seizure, the drugs had been replaced by flour.
Army officer Lansana Conte was arrested in February 2009, two months after a junta led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power on the death of his father after 24 years at the head of the west African nation.
He was released on bail in July this year after spending more than 16 months in prison for alleged drug trafficking.
An October 2009 cable from the US embassy in Mexico, said leaders of the military there had issued private pleas for closer collaboration with the US drug agency, because they did not trust their own police force.
The cable said Mexico’s Defense Secretary, Guillermo Galvan “will try to keep military actions in its own channels rather than working more broadly with Mexico’s law enforcement community.”
In Sierra Leone, the attorney general solicited 2.5 million dollars in bribes from defendants in a major cocaine-trafficking prosecution, according to a March 2009 cable, quoted by The Times.
But the country’s president Ernest Koroma, had intervened to scuttle the deal.
Cables from Myanmar describe DEA informants reporting both on how the military junta enriches itself with drug money and on the political activities of the junta’s opponents, the paper noted.
US government officials declined to discuss what they said was information that should never have been made public, the report said.