Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

  1. Justice Department agency charged with enforcing laws that cover trafficking in controlled substances. The DEA works with other agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (q.v.), the Internal Revenue Service (q.v.), the U.S. Coast Guard (q.v.), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (q.v.), to control the cultivation, production, smuggling, and distribution of illicit drugs. Most of its efforts are directed against international narcotics smuggling organizations, but it also coordinates domestic efforts aimed at closing down interstate operations. It maintains 86 overseas offices and 221 domestic offices as well as an intelligence center, forensic laboratories, and an air wing.