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Gonzalez: Yes. In the House of Death case, the prosecutor’s office is involved, the U.S. Attorney is involved. So it gets covered up. If there had been no involvement of the prosecutor’s office in the misconduct, they might have gone after some of the agents. But Sutton’s people were in the thick of things. So, you know, it gets covered up.
reason: Have the higher-ups in Sutton’s office, the DEA, or ICE been questioned about the case? About why they allowed it to continue?
Gonzalez: No. Who’s going to question them? No one made the decision to investigate the initial misconduct, so everyone’s off the hook. I mean, the key person here is United States Attorney Sutton. He’s independent from Washington in the sense that if he decides to conduct an investigation, it gets done. I guess conceivably he could get enough pressure from the DOJ to step on it, but by then, so many people would know about it, it would turn into a major scandal. But if the U.S. Attorney wanted—if he had wanted this looked into—it would’ve happened.
reason: You’re now retired after a career in the federal government. What have you taken away from all of this?
Gonzalez: I think the American people would be justified in believing that their own government may be as corrupt as any of the countries our government criticizes for corruption.
reason: You’ve had more than a 30-year career as a DEA agent and you’ve seen all of this corruption go down. Has it caused you to rethink or reconsider the War on Drugs?
Gonzalez: I’m not ready to say that we should legalize drugs, if that’s what you’re talking about. I just don’t think that the problem has been dealt with properly. I think that we probably should concentrate more effort on demand reduction than give, for example, the Pentagon a bunch of money so they could run their ships and planes and say that it’s detection and monitoring, which doesn’t work.
Maybe concentrate more on education, when kids are young—making an effort in their formative years to make it so that they don’t ever think of using drugs. I know this is wishful thinking but just going at it through enforcement alone...I think it’s been shown that it really doesn’t work. We’re successful in putting people behind bars, but then other people take their place right away. It’s a never-ending cycle.