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Lawsuit Alleges DEA Will Trade Crack For Help on Investigations

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United States Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration has seen its share of scandals, but a lawsuit filed this week may be one of the more shocking.

According to a report by the Associated Press, a lawsuit alleges that DEA agents paid an addict in crack cocaine for his assistance with an undercover operation in 2011. According to court papers filed this week, Aaron Romero said he was approached by agents to help with the New Mexico-based "Operation Smack City." In exchange for his working with the agents, Romero said he received portions of the drugs confiscated by five DEA agents working on the case.

A recovering addict at the time of the investigation, Romero's lawsuit says his addiction was reignited from his use aided by the five agents who supplied him with the drugs. The lawsuit is seeking $8.5 million in damages for emotional and physical harm. Romero's lawyer says he is now drug free.

"The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to 'stack drug related charges' against him," the suit reads.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque declined to comment to AP. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the DEA. The Associated Press has more on the case.

Prior to joining Government Executive’s online production staff, Ross Gianfortune worked at The Washington Post, The Gazette Newspapers, WXRT Radio and The Columbia Missourian. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Missouri and a master's in communications from the American University.

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