The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines drug diversion as “the unlawful distribution of controlled pharmaceuticals,” which may include illegal prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and controlled substances. While the vast majority of drug diversion cases involve controlled substances, any medication that requires a prescription may be subject to diversion charges if it’s sold or distributed without a valid prescription.
The DEA has also identified three types of drug diversion:
Why Does the DEA Investigate Drug Diversion?
The DEA is tasked with investigating drug crimes and enforcing federal laws related to controlled substances in the United States. The agency investigates all types of drug crimes, including trafficking, smuggling, and distribution cases involving illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine as well as prescription medications like oxycodone and Adderall.
While many people think of illegal drugs when they hear about DEA investigations, the agency is also responsible for investigating cases involving legal prescription medications that are being distributed without a valid prescription or sold illegally by patients who have been prescribed them by healthcare professionals. In many cases, these investigations are initiated after someone reports suspicious activity to the DEA hotline or local law enforcement agencies receive tips about possible illegal activity involving pharmaceuticals in their communities.
What Happens During a DEA Drug Diversion Investigation?
DEA drug diversion investigations are often initiated after someone reports suspicious activity to the DEA hotline or local law enforcement agencies receive tips about possible illegal activity involving pharmaceuticals in their communities. In many cases, these investigations are initiated after someone reports suspicious activity to the DEA hotline or local law enforcement agencies receive tips about possible illegal activity involving pharmaceuticals in their communities.
If the DEA receives a tip that someone may be involved in illegal drug diversion activities, they will likely open an investigation and assign an agent to the case. The agent will then begin collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses to determine if there is enough evidence to support criminal charges.
In some cases, the agent may also use undercover operatives or informants to gather additional information about the alleged drug diversion activities. Once the agent has collected enough evidence, they will present their findings to a prosecutor who will decide whether or not to file criminal charges against the individual under investigation.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Diversion?
The penalties for drug diversion depend on a number of factors, including the type and amount of drugs involved in the crime as well as the defendant’s prior criminal history. In most cases, drug diversion is charged as a felony offense and punishable by up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
In some cases, defendants may also be required to forfeit any property that was used in connection with the crime, such as vehicles or real estate. Additionally, defendants who are convicted of drug diversion may lose their professional licenses and be barred from working in their chosen professions in the future.
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