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DEA Agents Ambushed in Afghanistan (Firefight)
 Part of channel(s): Iraq (current event), Afghanistan (current event)

As the Obama administration ramps up the Drug Enforcement Administration's presence in Afghanistan, some special-agent pilots contend that they're being illegally forced to go to a combat zone, while others who've volunteered say they're not being properly equipped.

In interviews with McClatchy Newspapers, more than a dozen DEA agents describe a badly managed system in which some pilots have been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.

Such complaints, so far mostly arising from the DEA's Aviation Division, could complicate the Obama administration's efforts to send dozens of additional DEA agents to Afghanistan as part of a civilian and military personnel "surge" that aims to stabilize the country.

Veteran DEA pilot Daniel Offield has alleged in an employment discrimination complaint he was told if he refuses to go to Afghanistan in July he'll be demoted. The Stockton, Calif., agent asked for a reprieve because he was in the process of adopting two special-needs children and offered to serve his required temporary duty in other countries.

Another agent, David Beavers, told McClatchy Newspapers that he was ordered in July 2007 to prepare to go to Afghanistan in two weeks while he was on bereavement leave after his mother-in-law died. To avoid going, the Orlando, Fla., pilot decided to retire early.

Both men have flown for the DEA in Latin American countries wracked by drug violence, but they say service in a combat zone should be treated as voluntary because they're not military personnel.

"You could say that the war on drugs is dangerous," said Beavers, a DEA pilot for more than 20 years. "But it's not quite like Afghanistan, where you can get your legs blown off by an (improvised explosive device)."

Agents said supervisors told them that working in dangerous countries is part of their job requirements, but Offield's Sacramento, Calif.-based lawyer said such compulsory duty violates a 2008 federal law that requires civilian personnel to serve voluntarily.

"The DEA is not only violating the law," said attorney Richard Margarita, a former DEA agent and county prosecutor. "They could very well be sending Dan Offield to his death."

The Obama administration has said it doesn't expect problems with finding volunteers for Afghanistan missions, despite an ambitious strategy that calls for sending hundreds of additional civilian personnel. The plan already faces long odds in a country of resurgent Islamic militants, endemic corruption and widespread opium trafficking.

At least one other agency has faced similar complaints about compulsory duty.

Two years ago, the State Department told U.S. diplomats that they might be forced to serve in Iraq in the largest call-up since Vietnam. The announcement triggered an outcry, but the department eventually found enough volunteers to fill the jobs.

DEA officials with the Aviation Division referred questions about the Afghanistan assignments to agency headquarters. Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman who responded to written questions, said that agents aren't being demoted, because even if they lose their pilot position, the salary is the same.

Courtney said pilots "are expected to support DEA's global mission," and that the Aviation Division "does not have the luxury" of allowing them to pick where they fly on temporary duty because many of the more than 100 pilots don't have the experience to fly in Afghanistan.

He said if pilots don't want to go, they have "the option to transfer back to an enforcement division and conduct domestic drug enforcement investigations."

By MARISA TAYLOR
McClatchy Newspapers

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Added: Jun-23-2009 
By: HajiSayib
In:
Iraq, Afghanistan, News, Middle East
Tags: DEA, Drug, Enforcement, Agency, Agents, Ambushed, in, Afghanistan, Firefight, with, Afghan, National, Army, Police, ANA, ANP, A10, Marines, USMC, Firefight, JDAM, 500lb, Airstrike,
Location: Kandahar, Kandahar, Afghanistan (load item map)
Views: 31257 | Comments: 40 | Votes: 4 | Favorites: 7 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 4
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  • i don't understand why they have DEA in a combat zone

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • they're using the columbian model

      Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

      (-2) | Report

    • Comment of user 'PimeTaradox' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • Because the Taliban and Al Qaeda, while condemning drugs, force locals to grow Opium for drug production. The profits from the sale of these drugs, mostly to westerners, directly funds terrorist operations.

      The DEA has the most experience in dealing with these kinds of problems. Most of the guys in these DEA teams are ex-military/special forces and are very able to handle the job.

      Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • Comment of user 'PimeTaradox' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Why is a DEA agent handling a SAW? WTF? Moreover, you took the job, you knew you can be sent wherever they want, and now youre complaining? Suck it up, cocksmoker.

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • whats the DEA doing there? .... maybe they want to get a share of all those poppies ... are there any reports of them burning the fields? ... The DEA is international ???
      This N.W.O. thing is getting out of hand

      Posted Jul-4-2009 By 

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  • waste of time, lives, and resources. nothing more.

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • The DEA's presence there is huge. The Taliban makes most of their money from drugs. Cut out their money supply and you kill the beast.

    I don't see a reason to hinder any pilots that go over there but it could happen.

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • @carfo Is that why Marines have been known to guard entire fields?

      Its a scam!

      All they have to do is pretend like they are fighting it and they can grow something more valuable than gold.

      You need treasure to build houses and fund wars.

      Posted Jul-7-2013 By 

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  • i would hate to rely on that turd in a firefight. is he f""kin blind?

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • Another good read on the US DRUG TRADE...LOL

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5514

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Yay, heroin.

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • Did anyone catch the British flag on his Shirtsleeve at the very beginning?

    Posted Jun-24-2009 By 

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  • The USA is the one growing poppies....

    the production has soared since we've been there..LOL

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG

    that's the only thing that makes sense.....

    Unless you think the 'we're that bad'....

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • British radio ads SUPPORT POPPY GROWTH....LOL

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/27/afghanistan.declanwalsh

    LOL... what a joke....

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • all i hear is tax money coming out of that saw

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • Listen again, dude. All I hear is rounds coming out of that weapon. And if you listen closer you can hear the SNAP of incoming. Go pay your cable bill so you can watch more of this stuff, after you pay your taxes.

      Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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    • like i said in private msgs sloop...the heroin started flowing after we went in and it hasnt and probably won't stop. drugs is big business behind arms. senind a couple of "spcial"(short bus) cannon fodder won't solve the problem.

      Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • looks like another shitty day at the office

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • If they're complaining, fire em.

    Posted Jul-5-2009 By 

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  • thats something we dont see too often on the news. There you go folks. Dont think you wont have to go to afghanistan if you join federal law enforcement. These guys are everywhere, colombia, Turkey, central america, south america, mexico. Big drug problem, they are there. They even die by the numbers as well. Thats because they lack the proper protection lol.

    Posted Jul-5-2009 By 

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  • Pretty smart to wear a black cap in an dessert environment. Makes it easier for the enemy sniper.
    By the way wtf is the DEA doing over there?

    Posted Jun-24-2009 By 

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  • First yeah!
    Btw did he died?
    oh, and That was an M249 saw II (captain obvius at work)
    :D :D

    Posted Jun-23-2009 By 

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  • This war is so pointless. I guarantee that the poppies and hash plantations will be there long after the last DEA agent leaves. What a waste of time and money this whole thing has been. Not to mention all the dead. Our Govt. has basically said Afghans are more important than our own country which is falling apart while the Govt. dicks around in Afghanistan and more drugs are coming into America via the Mexican border and the Carribean than Afghanistan. Meanwhile, you squeeze opium productio More..

    Posted Dec-27-2010 By 

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  • Stupid college kids.

    Posted Dec-26-2010 By 

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  • Wow the DEA finally being put to good use. It would take a tremendous amount of effort on my part to feel bad for them.

    Posted Oct-8-2010 By 

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  • Comment of user 'cgarcia1125' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • would love to see those DEA agents get their legs blown off, would feel good to see them blinded too.

    Pure garbage is what those folks are.

    Posted Dec-25-2010 By 

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  • Sending the DEA to Afghanistan is just plain stupid policy. Just like the war on drugs is stupid. This Nixonist/Reaganist approach to irradicate drugs is waste of American resources, tax money and lives. It hasn't worked, is not working now and will not work in the future.

    Posted Aug-10-2011 By 

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  • lame

    Posted Aug-10-2011 By 

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  • Comment of user 'dallenvt' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • sincce when is the DEA used as a paramilitary group? To be honest, this guy could be anyone i.e cia, delta, contractor etc.

    Fail on the binos for vision, where is the scope

    Posted Aug-11-2011 By 

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