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Special Operations Division fabricated evidence trails
In 2013 Reuters published a report about the DEA's Special Operations Division (SOD) stating that it conceals where an investigative trail about a suspect truly originates from and creates a parallel set of evidence given to prosecutors, judges, and defense lawyers. This DEA program mainly affects common criminals such as drug dealers. The concealment of evidence means the defendant is unaware of how his or her investigation began and will be unable to request a review possible sources of exculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence may include biased witnesses, mistakes, or entrapment. Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge who had served from 1994 to 2011 and a Harvard Law School professor, stated that "It is one thing to create special rules for national security. Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations." Andrew O'Hehir of Salon wrote that "It’s the first clear evidence that the “special rules” and disregard for constitutional law that have characterized the hunt for so-called terrorists have crept into the domestic criminal justice system on a significant scale."

Cannabis rescheduling
A 2014 report by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the Drug Policy Alliance accuses the DEA of unfairly blocking the removal of cannabis from Schedule I. The report alleges that the methods employed by the DEA to achieve this include: delaying rescheduling petitions for years, overruling DEA administrative law judges, and systematically impeding scientific research. The DEA continues to refuse the removal of cannabis from Schedule I despite wide-scale acceptance of the substance among the medical community, including 76% of doctors, for the treatment of various disease.

Domestic anti-drug advocacy
The DEA, in addition to enforcement, also regularly engage in advocacy, specifically against rescheduling marijuana, by publishing policy-based papers on certain drugs. Some have criticized the DEA for using tax dollars in what they call an attempt to change public opinion, which they call an overreach from the scope of the agency's job of enforcement, and that by releasing such non-peer-reviewed reports is a transparent attempt to justify its own activities. They have claimed that since the DEA is not, by law, an advocacy group, but a legal enforcement group, that those press releases are tantamount to what they consider domestic propaganda.

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