Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

DEA Targets FedEx, UPS in Online Pharmacy Battle

Charged with cracking down on the diversion of prescription drugs, the DEA has pursed doctors, pharmacists, pharmacy chains, and wholesale drug suppliers. It has now turned a baleful eye on shipping companies as well, with differing results -- at least so far.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday that both UPS and FedEx had admitted in corporate filings that they were the targets of DEA probes into packages of pills shipped from online pharmacies. Prescriptions filled by online pharmacies are illegal if there is not a real doctor-patient relationship, and the DEA maintains that prescriptions written by "cyber doctors" relying on online questionnaires are not legal.

FedEx has strongly pushed back against the DEA probe, but UPS has now buckled under the pressure. In a Friday statement, the DEA announced that UPS had agreed to forfeit $40 million it had been paid for shipments by online pharmacies and to enter into a "compliance program" to ensure online pharmacies can't use its services. The deal was part of a non-prosecution agreement the shipper signed with federal prosecutors in Northern California.

DEA accused UPS of knowingly shipping the illegally-prescribed drugs between 2003 and 2010 because "it was on notice, through some employees" that such activities were occurring. DEA also accused UPS of failing to do anything about it.

"DEA is aggressively targeting the diversion of controlled substances, as well as those who facilitate their unlawful distribution," said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. "This investigation is significant and DEA applauds UPS for working to strengthen and enhance its practices in order to prevent future drug diversion."

FedEx may prove a tougher nut to crack. Officials there called the federal probe "absurd and disturbing" and said it threatened customer privacy. They also accused the DEA of failing to cooperate with them in efforts to resolve the problem.

"We are a transportation company -- we are not law enforcement, we are not doctors and we are not pharmacists," FedEx spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement. "We have no interest in violating the privacy of our customers by opening and inspecting their packages in an attempt to determine the legality of the contents. We stand ready and willing to support and assist law enforcement. We cannot, however, do their jobs for them."

FedEx complained that rather than working with the shipping industry to come up with solutions, the Justice Department appeared focused on finding ways to prosecute shippers.

"This is unwarranted by law and a dangerous distraction at a time when the purported illegal activity by these pharmacies continues," Fitzgerald said.

FedEx has been a major campaign contributor to US Rep. John Mica (R-FL), whom the Sentinel reported had sent a letter to Leonhart and Attorney General Eric Holder asking them to recognize "the difficulty and unfairness of requiring those carriers to assume responsibility for the legality and validity of the contents of the millions of sealed packages that they pick up and deliver ever day."

Mica told the Sentinel that while he is "concerned about prescription drugs," it was inefficient to try to turn shipping companies into drug policy enforcers. "You can't stop commerce; you can't open every package," Mica said. "I'm only asking them for a reasonable approach."

But it doesn't appear that DEA and the Justice Department see things the same way as Rep. Mica does.

San Francisco, CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Reasonable isn't a word the DEA understands

The DEA is an army of finger pointing bullies who understand nothing but the fact that Big Pharma pays them disturbing amounts of cash to enforce drug policy on their behalf, while sacrificing privacy and personal freedom for the rest of us. Along with lobbying, the addition of hidden laws that don't relate to larger laws being passed, and the drug war, the DEA should be dismantled and called what it is: a criminal enterprise.

$40 million

Watch and wait on the money . Then fine the company $40 million . You know , a kickback . No one goes to jail . Wall Street launders the money . Everything is fine . This is just a publicity stunt to justify a department budget .  Was the USPS also a target of this investigation ? How about American Airlines ? Delta ? Papa Johns pizza ? Big Green Tsunami .

This time the DEA has gone too far

Now they can just arbitrarily attack two long-standing big businesses in America, which FedEx and UPS are both solid job creators and pillars in our economy, and just attack them and demand $40 million and change the way they do business?


FUCK that.. good on FedEx for resisting.. and it's time to take action and write congress.  The DEA needs to be put in the corner on time out, or better yet.. disbanded.  Do we need a DEA in this country?  Certainly not.. so while the good men and women in the military get cutbacks and lose funding, this DEA is left loose like a dog unchained.. you want to really talk about spending cuts GET RID OF THE DEA, and fire each and every employee who works for them, no pension, no nothing.

I'll never use UPS again

for anything, ever. FedEx is a company i can agree with and stand by on a moral level now. thanks to stopthedrugwar for helping me make better life decisions with regards to my national and international shipping needs. no sarcasm btw. FedEx ROCK ON




I am with you, man. You hit it, too, this is EXACTLY how to make decisions about whom to support with your biz. UPS is off my list, period. FedEx goes to the head of the class. And remember -- check how friendly your cell co is with the gubmint, too. And for goodness' sake, QUIT FACEBOOK. The Zuckerboy is a Suckerboy for Smiling Pseudo-Centrist Politicians and can be trusted to TURN OVER EVERYTHING as long as he keeps getting invitations to the Lincoln Center and stuff.

There's a better reason to never use UPS now

Not simply because they caved and gave in to the DEA.. the real reason to never use UPS now is that they will go through your personal stuff looking for drugs whenever you ship through them.  Privacy utterly violated.. that's a good reason to stay far away from UPS.


Right-on dismantle the dea their not worth a shit,the dea has bullied doctors,pharmacies,u name it they done it,dea stop with the gastopo shit and u don't run the country we the people do and u will never in a 100 yrs stop the drug flo u will end up costing the country money we don't have,unless u guys take a cut in pay,,,didn't think so,so find real crooks and kidnappers,rapist but u persist to bother us people for what we want u will never stop it hel u tried 100 different ways have they worked?NO dismantle u nuts,,


the dea had to stop messing with the money coming in from MMJ and now tryin to get UPS and FED-X why don't u go get the whole dam company they make the drugs, for a good reason people need them and if it wasn't for u, people could get their meds here, don't u c what ur doin,At the worst time since the depression u dea r doing ur best  to work against us, we need income,jobs,and everything else to but ur stopping it,UPS took ur bullying FED-X said fuck you,and if the big Pharma pays u money,  ur not gonna stop HEMP,MARIJUANA,MMJ because we make billions from it and now we need it,u just screwed up by demanding 40 million i would of told u like FED-X did,wtg FED-EX,u may as well give up on stopping the marijuana business legal or illegal u never have, and Nixon's drug war on his people was a disgrace they turn around and make a known drug head an agent Elvis,omg but one thing had u rather have our country back like it was propering we got a chance to do this with hemp,and marijuana all kind of jobs,i know u got real crooks like all the drugs in florida people go get loaded up,isn't that worse,why r u so fixaded on a plant that is great,






I have had glaucoma since age 12, and now am on three different eye drops to stall the effects.

Since the middle of the last decade, it has been much more difficult to acquire my prescriptions. It seems there is always multiple areas of miscommunication between doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies. I am often left doing their job, and left waiting unnecessarily between 3 days and weeks to get the refills.

I'm proactive about refills, but years of dealing with this BS has seriously frayed my nerves.

To HELL with the DEA and the "Patriot" Act.

"drug enforcement"

                                              W  ha t k ind of all  -t i me          oxymoron is that, "DRUG ENFORCEMENT"?  Sorta in a class with Criminal Justice?  heh heh.

"Whosoever postureth before you as a Drug Enforcer, ask first what Drug, or shall I say Who$e Drug$ they propose to enforce??"

I know nothing about drugs, maybe this drug-chasing will give job-needy bureaucrats something legitimate to pick on after they stop bullying us over cannabis?   Like up till now, "enforcing" up the price of my herb so that impoverished teens will try tobacco cigarettes instead of cannabis, get hooked and feed money into corporations the rest of their lives?  R. J. Reynolds website says cigarette taxes feed $44.5-bil. in US govt. all levels per year, govt. spends $20.bil/year suppressing cannabis.  Think folks, to force them out of prosecuting cannabis any more might be easier if we let them use up that $20-bil chasing "drugs" instead?

DEA is corrupt, Michele Leonhart: friend of the Cartels

Michele Leonhart is committed to keeping the criminal drug cartels in business.. DEA will stop at nothing to perpetuate the status quo and keep drugs on the black market.  She refused to answer a simple yes or no question about whether Marijuana was as dangerous as Heroin or not.. she would not give an answer in the yes or no, she refused to answer the congressman.  It is clear that the DEA is used as a tool by the cartels to keep their monopoly over the drug trade... much blood has been spilled and many politicians pockets were lined with money.. while big banks caught laundering money for the Cartels are given a free pass, meanwhile the Attorney General admits some banks are just too big to prosecute.

One day someone special will come along, someone with the influence and support they will need to CLEAN OUT Washington, to wash all the filth and corruption out and expose it.. but that day isn't today.  There's no hero big enough for the task.

this is awesome

i love this. this is so awesome. it reminds me of apocalypse now when kilgore says "one day this war is gonna end." i bet you anything a few years ago everybody would be on here condemning FedEx and praising UPS and look at whats happened. HA!! I love it. We're all putting UPS on blast. This is so good. Next anti drug war convention or gathering im gonna sell crossed out UPS logo shirts.


bubba i like your style man. find me on facebook /unionjack.


i just thought about it... i read something on here about statistics once. 100+ million marijuana smokers in the world. 50 million opiate users. millions of amphetamine users, upper lovers, shroom eaters, acid droppers, general bangers, rippers, blowers/sniffers, bangers etc. its so time for a global junkie call to arms.


you see we've never ever organized and got together. NOT ONCE!


They perpetuate this war on drugs on us, they persecute us, they subjugate us to suffer for the sake of "getting better" or more like better get in line. I think the most ironic thing would be for us to all just one time, in one felt swoop, unite for one moment, despite 100 years of their efforts and organization, if we organized just once, we'd put them down forever, like the tsunami that eliminated the mongol invasion of 100,000 men off the shore of japan in one final cataclysmic elimination.

Let the DEA hang themselves...

Give the DEA all the rope they need...

I think FedEx stated the issue clearly. The shipper is not responsible for the contents of the package. The shipper is not responsible for doing the DEA's job. I think they can win in court and this sort of thing needs to go to court. This is not an issue pertaining to privacy. This is an issue that concerns the overreaching power of a federal agency. The DEA needs to be curtailed. What a bunch of arrogant self serving prohibitionists...

Wait a minute is the DEA looking to acquire some resources through asset forfeiture, since the planes, trucks and buildings were used in the illegal trade of pharmaceuticals. What about money laundering from the banking industry? Does the DEA only steal (through asset forfeiture) from private citizens?

Shutdown the DEA!

DEA and UPS try focus us buy drug in USA that cost 80 times!

They try make us buy drugs here in USA that cost 50-80 times than one we order online that save our money by use Internet. I have order Anti-inflammatory and tramadol on internet for my back and my elbow, save me $200 from go to Walgreen or cvs!
Drew B's picture

Common Carrier

This is the same baloney they pulled, or tried to pull, on the freight train systems. They threatened at least one train shipper in the same way from what I recall a few years ago. (Terry Nelson of LEAP reported on it for )

Fact is there is something called "common carrier" which means that phone companies can not be held liable for the conversations their lines carry. The mail system can not be held liable for the rantings of crazy people contained in the letters they carry. And so forth.

Clearly this latest effort shows what the DEA does best: power grabs, elevating themselves over everyone else, breaking laws, and forcing their evil religion of hate on everyone.

DEA Protects and Serves Big Pharma Profits

There was an experimental federal program in the early 1990s that allowed American citizens to order drugs from overseas.  The purpose of the program was to enable AIDS patients to acquire AIDS drugs that weren’t yet available in the United States by prescription or any other means.  For many others the program morphed into a way of acquiring cheaper pharmaceutical drugs from other countries, which benefited people on fixed incomes, or with no health insurance.  That’s when Big Pharma started tossing its weight around, once they could see themselves losing money.

The DEA is no friend of the common citizen.  And it’s even less a friend to those who are poor and in need.

one candidate

There was one candidate running for President that proposed as part of his spending cuts to abolish the DEA. Did you vote for him in the primaries? I did? Ron Paul

Excellent !!

Excellent !!


The Sinaloa Cartel is " to big to fail " , " to big to prosecute " . They kept the wall street banks in business during the meltdown . follow the $$$ .

The DEA is apparently made up of 16 year old morons

This supposed "war on drugs" is pathetic. These online pharmacies do not sell narcotics and medications like Xanax. They sell non-controlled drugs that are not scheduled in the USA. When a substance, such as tramadol, DOES become scheduled, they no longer ship that medication. The vast majority do it by-the-book, but the DEA couldn't just let legit companies sell the same drugs they do for way less than what you would pay for a ridiculous co pay plus your rx going throu a doctor, now could they?? Pressuring doctors and pharmacists into denying legitimate pain patients the drugs they need to live a normal life is revolting. I have ordered medications online for years and online us pharmacies are far from drug dealers with a cache of addictive drugs to sell. Yes, they have found tramadol and soma to be addictive, which online pharms sell, but who placed those drugs at schedule 5 as non controlled substances?? It was perfectly legal to fill out a medical questionnaire, have a doctor look it over and pass on an rx for those drugs because they weren't controlled substances by the DEA's own classification! The people babbling about shutting these places down because they're selling children vicodin and Valium don't know what they're talking about. Also, these pharmacies require a drivers license copy before they will prescribe to any new patient, and the name of the patient must match the credit card much of the time. These pharms were ALREADY regulated and following the rules- the DEA just wants to flex their ridiculous muscles and pretend they didn't know about this before, but now that they do, oh boy, are they gonna do something about it! Pathetic. Nice mess you've made, idiots.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School