Former DEA chief reveals the truth about “reverse sting operations”


New York City skyline

by Derek Maltz

I’m very familiar with the DEA “reverse sting operations” discussed in an article written by Shayna Jacobs in the Washington Post titled, 10 years. 179 arrests. No white defendants. DEA tactics face scrutiny in New York. The article focuses on “a fierce debate here over whether certain tactics used by federal law enforcement disproportionately target minorities.”

I would like to share some comments.

The original investigative group in the NYDETF that focused on these types of investigations was named “REDRUM”, murder spelled backward. This name was picked for an appropriate reason as the law enforcement group concentrated on the most violent gangs in NYC who had extensive criminal backgrounds. I’m proud of the work they have accomplished over the last 50 years in this elite NYC task force. They are a group of very professional law enforcement investigators and I thank them for their years of outstanding service.

The DEA focuses its efforts to keep Americans safe by targeting organizations. The DEA doesn’t target specific groups of people nor do they target any gender, race or color. They target violent criminal organizations all over the United States and the world. The DEA doesn’t tell citizens to engage in illegal business; this is a personal decision. Individuals are responsible for their decisions to violate the nation’s laws and the media shouldn’t try and push political messages when it comes to violent criminals.

The DEA is paid to keep the drugs that are killing Americans at record levels off the streets and arrest those associated with the distribution of the poison. The DEA doesn’t pick the robbery crews who break into homes and try to steal drugs and money, and in many cases harm innocent people. Just like in the most recent operation, they took several dangerous criminals off the New York streets. This is a great thing for NYC.

In these sting operations, the DEA often seizes weapons and kidnapping materials from these violent crews. It’s never about Black, Asian, White or Hispanic, it’s about targeting those who engage in severe violence to rip-off and harm people. DEA and their brave partners put their lives on the line every day to take these nasty predators off the streets to help the public.

The DEA doesn’t pick the people who are involved in the global drug business. The Mexican “Terror” Cartels dominate the US drug business and it just so happens that the Dominicans are the leaders in NYC for street distribution. DEA didn’t select those two Hispanic groups to engage in the criminal business nor does the DEA direct those groups to engage in illegal business.

The DEA also didn’t select the doctors, pharmacists, corporate drug traffickers and nurse practitioners that have been arrested over the last several years as they engaged in the illegal distribution of opioids that have contributed to the worst drug crisis in history. Please keep in mind the majority of those arrested were white.

The DEA is a very productive and dedicated group of Americans that try every day to keep the poison and criminals off the streets. I applaud them for their continued commitment to public safety and encourage the press to support this dedicated group of Americans.

DEA with their law enforcement partners will continue to rip apart the drug cartels and will never pick the race of their targets. They will continue to make communities safer.


Derek Maltz
National Security- Public Safety Executive Former Director, Special Operations Division

Derek Maltz is retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after a 28-year career. His father was also a 30-year veteran of the DEA. They both worked a combined 13 years as the Agents in Charge of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) in New York City. Father and son worked proudly side by side with brave warriors from the New York City Police Department and the New York State Police in the oldest and largest Drug Task Force in America.

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