DEA Scam (or: How Law Enforcement Works)

I’m proud to say I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of how arrests are made by federal agencies such as the DEA.

And I intend to keep it that way, thank you very much. If I was going to make a list of “Things That Aren’t Worth the Trouble,” violating federal drug enforcement laws would be in the top five, along with “trying to play King’s Quest III without hints” and talk radio.

However, I read. I’ve seen a few news stories in my day. I listen. I’m educated enough to make a few guesses here and there, so I’m pretty confident in this assumption:

When the DEA is going to arrest you, they do this: show up with very little warning (usually none), place you in handcuffs or similar restraining device, read all the “rights” stuff and place you in an official vehicle (or “cuff ’em and stuff ’em,” if you’re Roscoe P. Coltrane).

When the DEA is going to arrest you, they don’t do this: call you on the phone a couple hours in advance to leave a message telling you of the impending arrest, and then offer a way for you to cough up some money to get out of it.

However, this is the basis of a current telephone scam. They accuse you of purchasing illegal diet pills on the Internet, then tell you the warrant will go away if you just pay some money.

I’m no expert on Standard Operating Procedure, but I’ll bet you a dollar-dang-fifty that ain’t it.

If you get one of these calls or messages claiming to come from the DEA (or ATF, FBI, CIA, Interpol, Scotland Yard, the dudes on Barney Miller or anybody else), here’s what you should do: hang up (or erase the message) and go about your day.