A new report by the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Inspector General (IG), has revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) failed to manage crypto-oriented investigations properly.
The report, which was published on June 17, goes on to highlight that the drug buster did not implement adequate oversight frameworks despite the ambiguity in crypto operations.
The report, known as the ‘income-generating, undercover operations' audit, paints a picture of a law enforcement agency whose monitoring ability got ahead of itself.
Consequently, underlying loopholes have exposed the DEA to the extent that one of its agents stole $700,000 worth of Bitcoin back in 2015. The IG report cites the lack of proper training and policies as some of the contributing factors towards this situation:
“The DEA's management of virtual currency-related activities was insufficient due to inadequate headquarters management, lack of policies, inadequate internal control procedures, insufficient supervisory oversight, and lack of training.”
Notably, the DEA also failed to match up the pace in record-keeping despite the volatile nature of crypto assets. According to the report, this has had implications in tracking historical transactions due to currency fluctuations. Lack of proper records made it harder for DEA to consolidate discrepancies in money laundering transactions within the crypto ecosystem.
Following this review, the IG office expressed concerns that DEA was yet to implement adequate oversight on crypto investigations despite the 2015 incident:
“We are concerned that following this incident, the DEA did not implement additional internal controls specifically related to investigations involving virtual currency.”