Data Sources and
The information on this Web site about the federal
enforcement of the criminal laws by the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration and Justice Department
prosecutors comes from many sources. This is a guide
to the major agency data sources that were used. It
is organized by Web site area.
DEA at Work
This area draws upon a wide scope of information
sources, including background information about
the agency, its history and evolving
responsibilities, as well as its activities. Key
sources of information were DEA agency reports,
congressional hearings, GAO reports, budget
documents, federal court records, and interviews.
Additional information is drawn from a book by
TRAC's co-director, David Burnham, Above the
Law: Secret Deals, Political Fixes and Other
Misadventures of the U.S. Department of
Justice, Scribner [New York, 1996]. Other
prior scholarly work on the agency was also
examined. Specific figures reported are also
drawn from other areas on this site, sources
for which are discussed below.
National Profile and
Enforcement Trends Over Time
Historical staffing information about the DEA
was obtained from the Office of Personnel
Management. The primary source for criminal
enforcement figures is the federal prosecutor
database compiled by TRAC from U.S. Justice
Department case management data systems. Reports
by the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy were also used to track budget
allocations for DEA investigative activities.
Context concerning federal drug enforcement more
generally also relied upon reports from the
Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts and the
U.S. Sentencing Commission.
District Enforcement Annual
The primary source for these figures is the federal
prosecutor database compiled by TRAC from
U.S. Justice Department case management data
systems. DEA internal sources were not used.
Inquiries to the agency to review TRAC's findings
were declined by the DEA.
Coverage includes all referrals recommending
criminal prosecution recorded as received by
federal prosecutors where the DEA is recorded
by Justice as the lead investigative agency.
All criminal enforcement figures are based upon
number of individuals (defendants or potential
defendants) involved -- rather than number of
cases. A single referral or case filed in court
may involve more than one individual. Each
defendant involved is separately counted in
Population figures used in computing per
capita rates and ranks are county level annual
estimates from the United States Census Bureau.
DEA staff figures are based upon the number of
individuals on the payroll at the end of the
fiscal year by post-of-duty and were compiled
by TRAC from Office of Personnel Management
sources. Unless otherwise noted, the figures
include only fulltime staff in each