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DEA Lack of Data Storage Results In Dismissed Drug Case

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the wanna-borrow-a-flash-drive dept.

Crime 242

Nerval's Lobster writes "Dr. Armando Angulo was indicted in 2007 on charges of illegally selling prescription drugs. He fled the country in 2004, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Marshals Service eventually finding him in Panama. As the case developed (and Panama resisted calls to extradite Angulo back to the United States), the DEA apparently amassed so much electronic data that maintaining it is now a hardship; consequently, the government wants to drop the whole case. 'These materials include two terabytes of electronic data (which consume approximately 5 percent of DEA's world-wide electronic storage capacity),' Stephanie M. Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa, wrote in the government's July motion to dismiss the indictment. 'Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive.' In addition, information associated with the case had managed to fill 'several hundred boxes' of paper documents, along with dozens of computers and servers. As pointed out by Ars Technica, if two terabytes of data storage represents 5 percent of the DEA's global capacity, then the agency has only 40 terabytes worth of storage overall. That seems quite small for a law enforcement agency tasked with coordinating and pursuing any number of drug investigations at any given time."

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Dismiss every drug case (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057237)

The war on drugs is a disaster. Decriminalize all drugs, since that is the only thing that leads to a decrease in drug use and an increase in treatment.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057347)

Yes, but what's your opinion of UNEVENLY dismissing cases? Is that better or worse than dismissing none?

Re:Dismiss every drug case (5, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057495)

The fewer people sent to prison for drug crimes the better.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057829)

Legalize Drugs! And let me carry my weapon concealed....LOL. You'll see it all work out in the end.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (0, Offtopic)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057871)

Concealed guns work just fine in Texas. And Connecticut has no drug problems due to legalized marijuana.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057885)

As long as you have the proper licenses and accept quarterly evaluations I don't see a problem.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

geekanarchy (769840) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058121)

Four U.S. states do not require a permit to carry a concealed pistol, and the overwhelming majority of remaining states are "shall-issue" with regard to permits, which means you default to being allowed a permit unless the state can dig up some legal reason why you should be disqualified. Much like drug laws, people opposed to simple freedoms are usually fearful and misinformed, if not completely ignorant.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057905)

To be fair this guy is selling prescription drugs illegally.

That's like protected by copyrights and patents and shit. If he was selling coke or heroin to kids that might be one thing, but now he is messing the very fabric of our economy!

Re:Dismiss every drug case (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057965)

As long as he was monitoring the health and mental well being of those he was prescribing drugs to then that is pretty much the model of legalizing drugs that I support.

Absolutely not! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057497)

The war on drugs is a disaster. Decriminalize all drugs, since that is the only thing that leads to a decrease in drug use and an increase in treatment.

I own stock in prison companies and if we decriminalize all drugs, then what am I to do?! And then there are all those cops, prosecutors, rehab, and the thousands of people who depend on drugs being illegal for their livings!

And then there is the morality of it all. Alcohol is different I say!

And it's important that someone who's been caught several times with a joint go to jail for the rest of their life because we all know stoners are causing all this trouble in society - being all mellow and such rot! They should be in the rat race - working themselves to death to make sure that the 1% keep their socioeconomic status. Don't those pot heads know that they are destroying the fabric of society?!

And the Bible says somewhere "Thou shalt not smoke a toke. Thous shalt not do blow." and some others; which means drugs aren't Christian - except for alcohol. Jesus had red wine for blood so drinking red wine is drinking Jesus' blood and therefore will get you into heaven. Really! It's in the Bible!

Enough for now. I just wish you anti-society hippies would keep your mouths shut!

Re:Absolutely not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057755)

And the Bible says somewhere "Thou shalt not smoke a toke. Thous shalt not do blow." and some others; which means drugs aren't Christian - except for alcohol.

Interestingly enough, the Rastafari cite a Biblical verse that, when suitably translated (and you squint a little bit) reads "smoke weed".

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057513)

My Kingdom, for a Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB USB 3.0 drive!

Man. These guys are SO 2007!

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057595)

The war on drugs is a disaster. Decriminalize all drugs, since that is the only thing that leads to a decrease in drug use and an increase in treatment.

Some drugs are more problematic than others. I really don't want someone who's been doing steroids for 3 years to stand in front of my house and ingest PCP.

Not unless he's surrounded by several policemen with pre-drawn tasers.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057683)

The drugs would be decriminalized, but they'd still be restricted like other prescription drugs.

Oh and if dude did attack you, why do you need police? You should have your own taser for self-defense.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057943)

Because if the police were to stop him with deadly or non-deadly force, the risk of me getting sued or going to jail is close to nil.

If I were to do it, the risk is considerably higher.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058109)

You can be sued for any reason by anybody at any time.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057707)

Much like alcohol, or anything really, I go under the opinion of 'If whatever you want to do with your body doesn't interfere with other people's shit, go nuts'.

If said 'roid freak wants to injest a pound of PCP, I couldn't care less so long as he does it somewhere where he won't fuck up other people's anything. He wants to trash his house or run around in an open, unused field or something, I don't see a problem with this.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057865)

There should be doctors who specialize in non-medical drugs. In order to purchase drugs you will need to go to a doctor and get ok'd for specific drugs, you then get a card allowing you to purchase said drugs. If you do not go back for quarterly check-ups your card will be revoked.

If a significant portion of people who use currently illegal drugs go this route then there will not be enough of a market for illegal suppliers.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (2, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057673)

Did you even read the summary? It has nothing to do with illegal drugs. It's about illegally selling prescription (legal) drugs.

They guy was selling to people that didn't have a prescription.

So..... (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058135)

It's not about selling illegal drugs it's about illegally selling drugs?

Re:Dismiss every drug case (5, Interesting)

Mr.CRC (2330444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057857)

The problem is that "decriminalization" just means that users don't get punished, or just get a fine for possessing less than some threshold of substance. But the manufacturing and distribution are still illegal. Therefore the criminal black market is still incentivized to exist, along with its violence and the leech government entities that try to stop it and who's jobs depend on retaining this disgusting destructive relationship of illegality ensuring the profitability of illegal trafficking for drug dealers, and which ensures billions in government spending on the "War on Drugs" and employs hundreds of thousands of government employees.

I am simply fed up with the whole thing. Let people do what they want. I have never, ever run into a "meth freak" or any other drug crazed person that threatened me. The really scary people are drunks.

If just one stupid kid gets wasted on some drug like "bath salts" and gets killed (by accident, not directly from the drugs) then there are immediate calls to ban it. Well why the heck do we have "bath salts?" Because methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine are illegal! Yet they are much safer drugs with a long history of safety data and medical use! We know they are only harmful if you have a heart condition or if heavily abused. Well of course people are going to abuse them, but that's not my problem. At least if they are legal and you can buy them from a dispensary in pharmaceutical grade then we could benefit from:

1. People can be educated out in the open what is a safe dose, how to keep up your nutrition and minimize harm to your health, and where to get help if you loose control of your use and need help to stop.

2. Much of the damage to users that is actually caused by the IMPURITY of the drugs, the dirty needles, and the unhealthy lifestyles etc., will be eliminated or reduced. Perhaps we can even develop more quick acting oral drugs so that people will be less inclined to inject to get the same effects.

3. We can supply people with opiate antidote drugs to protect themselves in case of accidental overdose.

4. The risk of overdose will be much much lower since the purity will not vary.

5. The cost of treatment programs could be miniscule compared to criminalization and interdiction.

6. The black market and all it's innocent bystanders caught in the cross fire will be eliminated.

7. The price of the drugs will be 5-10x lower, making the theft crime needed for unemployed addicts to support their habits will be proportionally lower.

8. Many more addicts who were unemployable due to prohibition might be able to manage a "functional addict" lifestyle--remaining employed and productive members of society.

9. Medical research into safer and more effective anti-depressants, sleep aids, stimulants, and other psychoactive drugs could be dramatically accelerated.

The criminal black market and all its violence is what scares me. Not dope fiends. I'm personally morally committed to a drug abuse free lifestyle. My family and I don't even drink alcohol. But I'm just so sick of this prohibition crap.

The economy might even benefit from people using stimulants carefully and in non-abusive quantities. The classic drugs such as amphetamine really aren't all that bad, despite all the propaganda and the fact that on the street they are filled with potentially toxic contaminants!.

For those of you with an environmental inclination, look at some videos of how cocaine is extracted in the Amazon jungles, and what is done with the chemical waste. This is real tear-jerking stuff. It's just so disgusting and sad. Yet, if it were legal, then all of this could be done in the open by modern companies following international environmental standards, employing people in 9-5 jobs, who could pay taxes and live normal happy lives.

Now for the bad news: Prohibition is never, ever going to end. It's just too much of a wonderful bonanza for the state.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057995)

The problem is that "decriminalization" just means that users don't get punished, or just get a fine for possessing less than some threshold of substance. But the manufacturing and distribution are still illegal.

Grow. Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, ehh... Heroin clinics in Switzerland, uh... And this whole headline? I think real life stack overflow, not ENOSPC or EFBIG.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (1)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058175)

7. The price of the drugs will be 5-10x lower, making the theft crime needed for unemployed addicts to support their habits will be proportionally lower.

I agree with everything except point 7. Introduce it at a low enough cost to put all of the illegal avenues out of business. Then slowly increase the price and make it more expensive that it used to be. Just like alcohol and tobacco. Overall usage will decrease dramatically and the government will make money in the form of taxes that can be used to fund rehab, abstinence campaigns and hospitals.

Re:Dismiss every drug case (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058021)

Decriminalization is NOT the answer. If we'd simply decriminalized alcohol in 1933 rather than outright legalizing it, we'd still have the bar bombings etc we had when it was completely illegal.

Legalize it and the gangs and gang violence goes away, the prices drop drastically so maybe that crackhead doesn't have to burglarize your house for his crack, etc.

If someone wants to shoot heroin, let him shoot heroin. Your drug use is not my business. If you have to steal to support your habit, it's your theivery that's my business when you rob me, not your drug habit.

However, there is one class of drugs I would keep illegal -- antibiotics. Your illicit use of heroin doesn't affect me, but your use of antibiotics breeds supergerms which DO affect me.

Don't decriminalize it -- legalize it, regulate it, and tax it. I have a acquaintence who is a crack addict, she was surprised to find when she checked into rehab that there was not only cocaine in her system, but meth as well. Back in the '70s they used to dust pot with PCP. Regulation will keep adulterants out of dope, the dope they're doing is bad enough.

Lagalizing alcohol worked well. Yes, we still have alcoholics, but a lot lower percentage of teenagers are drinking now than in 1925.

It smells, like yesterday's fish! (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057243)

Am I allowed to pup up and point out the obvious that the two Terabytes needed to store this information can be purchased from Seagate via Amazon for $139 bucks [amazon.com] ?

DEA: Buy two drives. One for yourselves, one for discovery. You can take it out of the taxes I paid last year. Pay me back when you collect reasonable discovery charges [cooley.com] .

The trifling cost aside, this seems to suggest that the DEA is aware that their case is fatally weak, and relies on sifting mountains of data that no jury on earth is capable of understanding in the hope of finding some faint pattern in the data that suggests intent. If there were obvious infractions, it would be easy to prove by pointing out 20 or 30 of them and call it a day. If it is so subtle that you need two terabytes to prove it, you probably don't have much of a case anyway.

Even if the Goods Doctor (see what I did there?) was guilty as hell, and the DEA is worried that purging some evidence and concentrating on specific acts might give grounds for appeal due to hiding evidence, the simple precaution of copying it to cheap off line storage should be sufficient.

Something is rotten about this whole story, and I suspect its a huge smoke screen for some other operation, or perhaps proceeding with the case would put methods or undercover operatives at risk, or require personnel that are current not available. Or maybe they know the Doctor is on his death bed or will soon contract some fatal disease, at which will make the whole point moot. Or maybe the doctor is singing like a canary these days.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057351)

Nice job of making stuff up. You'll fit right in here!

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057361)

No.. they're just like so many other professionals and too uppity to talk to their own I.T. guys.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (3, Informative)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057389)

Agreed. Even if you want to say that they need the storage network-available and in a RAID, you could buy an entry level commercial NAS for under a thousand dollars plus the cost of drives. So even with say, 6 drives, you're still looking at sub 3 grand for 10TB of usable storage, and that's assuming you probably paid too much for the drives. I would be that cost wise, that is about the equivalent maybe five to ten hours of a government lawyer's time, to say nothing of the investigators, etc, etc.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057403)

To clarify: Agreed that the storage issue sounds odd. Dunno about the rest of your conclusions. :)

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (2)

torkus (1133985) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057985)

Don't these things have to go out for bid? :)

Bidding process cost >>> actual delivered service or hardware

Go government! On a more serious note, a prosumer NAS sounds nice but this is storing evidence for a federal investigation. The server must be able to pass an audit review, show detailed metadata, and show that data wasn't tampered with. Just like physical evidence is secured and has a chain of custody. If you question where that pound of heroin came from, you can show - signature to signature - how it got from your trunk to the DEA's analysis office to the courtroom evidence table and question each individual in the process if necessary.

Just because the evidence is digital doesn't mean you can throw out all those requirements by slapping truecrypt on a NAS or eSATA drive. If anything, it's more important because digital information is easier to manipulate - especially from afar. It's much harder to replace that brick of coke with flour from outside the evidence locker unless you brought your portal gun.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057413)

Yeah, they probably lack real evidence, like a truckload of cocaine or something. Somebody drove that off and baked it into crack, which everybody who believes them is smoking.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057431)

Pay me back when you collect reasonable discovery charges [cooley.com]

I think those only apply to civil cases.

[

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057523)

When the government does it, it's $1.39 million per drive.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057535)

Am I allowed to pup up and point out the obvious that the two Terabytes needed to store this information can be purchased from Seagate via Amazon for $139 bucks [amazon.com] ?

A single disk drive is not someplace to store data you want to keep. It should at a minimum be on a RAID array that does automatic scrubbing for data errors, and is backed up offsite (either through tape or live replication).

But still, that shouldn't bring the cost beyond a few thousand dollars - which seems a small price to pay to keep a 5 year old case alive.

Properly backed up storage costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057611)

Properly backed up storage costs about $8,000 per terabyte a year. For backup, checking, replacement, and spinning drive costs.

Re:Properly backed up storage costs (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057787)

Properly backed up storage costs about $8,000 per terabyte a year. For backup, checking, replacement, and spinning drive costs.

I may have understated the cost by saying "A few thousand dollars", but I know that my incremental cost to add 2TB of storage is around $3500 including the cost of disk at both the primary and remote site (but excluding bandwidth). This assumes that I add an entire disk shelf at a time, which is more than 2TB.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057635)

Am I allowed to pup up and point out the obvious that the two Terabytes needed to store this information can be purchased from Seagate via Amazon for $139 bucks [amazon.com] ?

A single disk drive is not someplace to store data you want to keep. .

If you are going to quote me in order to pontificate on the obvious, at least quote the first TWO paragraphs.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057717)

Am I allowed to pup up and point out the obvious that the two Terabytes needed to store this information can be purchased from Seagate via Amazon for $139 bucks [amazon.com] ?

A single disk drive is not someplace to store data you want to keep. .

If you are going to quote me in order to pontificate on the obvious, at least quote the first TWO paragraphs.

I didn't include the second paragraph because it doesn't change my point:

DEA: Buy two drives. One for yourselves, one for discovery. You can take it out of the taxes I paid last year. Pay me back when you collect reasonable discovery charges [cooley.com].

When drive #1 suffers a head crash and massive corruption, how do you recover your data when drive #2 starts developing random block errors?

Without RAID and constant consistency check with automatic rebuild, two independent drives are only marginally better than one.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057649)

a RAID array? Of redundant disks?

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057971)

I run a redundant array of independent RAIDs on my network for added redundancy.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (3, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057757)

"A single disk drive is not someplace to store data you want to keep."

Yes it is, of course it is. IT claims to be an engineering and engineering is about solving problems, rationally, and under current constrains.

That means that when the current option is dismissing a case and trash all data , a meagre 150US$ SATA disk is a perfectly suitable alternative.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057889)

"A single disk drive is not someplace to store data you want to keep."

Yes it is, of course it is. IT claims to be an engineering and engineering is about solving problems, rationally, and under current constrains.

That means that when the current option is dismissing a case and trash all data , a meagre 150US$ SATA disk is a perfectly suitable alternative.

Well, no, it's still not a suitable alternative because what happens after you've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs getting the case to trial when the disk drive crashes and you can't produce the evidence that you said you had? For the cost of a week's worth of an attorney's time you can store the data properly, no need to shop at Newegg for the cheapest possible solution.

IT is not about implementing unreasonable solutions, it's about pointing out why a proposed solution is not reasonable. My boss may ask me to replace our $4000 Cisco switches with $200 Netgear switches, and my job is to explain why that's not workable in our environment despite what seems like a cost savings.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058119)

"Well, no, it's still not a suitable alternative"

Yes, it is.

"because what happens after you've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs getting the case to trial when the disk drive crashes and you can't produce the evidence that you said you had?"

In any first world county (and USA allegedly is) the heaviest costs are always those of personnel. You *already* have spent the thousands, probably tens of thousands, of hours needed to collect the evidence. If you *now* just dismish the case, it becomes a *lost* sink cost. Now, the MTBF of a consummer market HDD against the difderential of all the already incurred costs versus the delta of adding those because of the trial is enormously possitive such as *even* a Newegg HDD makes sense.

"IT is not about implementing unreasonable solutions"

Of course not. And throwing away millions in already spent costs becouse you think unprofessional to store the data in a single HDD -provided that's the only option, is absolutly unreasonable.

"My boss may ask me to replace our $4000 Cisco switches with $200 Netgear switches, and my job is to explain why that's not workable"

Apples to oranges. What if your boss offers you the alternative of Netgear switches or no switches at all? Because that's what we are talking here.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057615)

The trifling cost aside, this seems to suggest that the DEA is aware that their case is fatally weak, and relies on sifting mountains of data that no jury on earth is capable of understanding in the hope of finding some faint pattern in the data that suggests intent. If there were obvious infractions, it would be easy to prove by pointing out 20 or 30 of them and call it a day. If it is so subtle that you need two terabytes to prove it, you probably don't have much of a case anyway.

He spent five years writing and endless stream of perscriptions for painkillers and sedatives/anti-anxiety meds.
So an alternative theory, which fits the facts, is that the two TB and boxes of files reflect the massive scale of the the Doctor's illegal acts.

Something is rotten about this whole story, and I suspect its a huge smoke screen for some other operation, or perhaps proceeding with the case would put methods or undercover operatives at risk, or require personnel that are current not available. Or maybe they know the Doctor is on his death bed or will soon contract some fatal disease, at which will make the whole point moot. Or maybe the doctor is singing like a canary these days.

This is conspiracy theory fabricated out of thin air.
A journalist wrote an article about the Doctor's habit of perscribing pills, then the fraud unit of the US Attorney General started looking into his practice.
The DEA and Medicare had all the perscriptions on file, the illegal acts were out in the open.
There's no smoke screen or undercover operations.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057679)

He spent five years writing and endless stream of perscriptions for painkillers and sedatives/anti-anxiety meds.

He's a doctor. He's legally entitled to do that if there is a legitimate medical reason. And in borderline cases, he's entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057727)

Something is rotten about this whole story

charges of illegally selling prescription drugs

Big Pharm. They invent and manufacture insanely addictive narcotics, and are using incentives and even extortion to aggressively market these life-destroyers, pushing doctors to over-prescribe when the drugs are NOT necessary.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058067)

+1.21 Interesting. Why AC?

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

defcon-11 (2181232) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057777)

Yes, but this data is evidence in a case, which means it has to follow chain of custody rules. They can't just through it onto a harddrive and put it on the shelf. They have to ensure the data is not tampered with to have it admissible in court, which probably means access to the drive and storage is restricted and monitored, and they probably have to hash the data and restrict and monitor access to the hash, so that it can be proved that the data is untampered.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057841)

So, customary and normal police procedures is all that is required.
Buy drives (maybe 4 or 6 for contingencies.
Fill them.
Put them back in the protective shipping containers.
Put that in the evidence box.
Seal box.
Sign the seal.
Send to evidence locker along with 4 zillion other boxes.
Done.

Cops. Do. This. EVERY. DAY.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057847)

This whole slashdot story is a sham, and so is your speculation. If you just follow a couple links you can get to the motion itself. What it says is, they know exactly where the guy is, efforts to get Panama to extradite him have failed for years, and since the case is dead they want to close out the files.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with these silly stories. They're always bogus, and they always lead to pages and pages of wild conspiracy theories and political rants. You're making fools of yourselves.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058059)

None of that is a valid reason to dismiss the case.

Once an indictment is issued, the statute of limitation clock is stopped. It can sit dormant until the death of the subject. It costs nothing to move the case records to storage, and let them sit there for 20 years.

Re:It smells, like yesterday's fish! (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058031)

I suspect its a huge smoke screen for some other operation

It's probably not that interesting. The DEA is most likely the same as every other large user-base of users. Storing their cases in word docs, spreadsheets and Jet databases and saving them to the root of the C:, the Desktop, network drives, laptops, etc. Have countless directories named "New Folder" and "DEA stuff" in all levels of the filesystem along with sharing access to "My Documents"

Sure there's 14TB of data, but I'll bet nobody knows quite where the hell it's all at and not all that willing to dig through it all to find it.

Someone is going to be "disappeared" (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057313)

Just watch...

Note to the DEA (4, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057339)

I guess $150 is too much for the DEA to spend.

Note to criminals: To avoid prosecution, buy a few 2TB hard drives and fill them with dd if=/dev/urandom of=/mnt/hardrive1

sooo... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057341)

Okay... so based on that the DEA's storage capability is about 40 TB.

Well... that's a little bit less than stellar.

Re:sooo... (3, Funny)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057547)

On the other hand.....

Maybe a good thing. If we can't limit the size of government lets limit the size of their data storage.

The DEA (4, Informative)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057353)

Is underfunded because they aren't there to stop drug trafficking, but rather to stop "unapproved" drug smugglers, some one/group in political power makes a lot of untraceable money by selling drugs, this is why they can not be made legal, the drug money finances black ops with money they don't have to ask congress for or get any approval on.

Re:The DEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41058053)

Iran-Contra

Yep, been going on for a long time, and of course Republicans are behind it.

Funding (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057393)

This seems to me to be evidence that the DEA is purposefully underfunded... I mean sure, a "War On Drugs" is all well and good, until you give the feds the resources they need to start busting the bankers.

Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057397)

I noticed the summary conveniently forgets to mention that there are also several hundred boxes of paper evidence. The electronic evidence is only one piece they mentioned: claiming, as the summary does, that they are dropping it due to lack of electronic data storage is somewhat misleading. And of course if Panama isn't going to extradite him anyways, which seems extremely likely, keeping the case open is a waste of resources no matter how you look at it.

And of course it isn't like these are 2 terabytes of Blu-ray movies: it's probably mostly text and image files, and that is a lot of text documents to keep track of and make sure are backed up on a regular basis, with a full chain of custody to ensure they aren't being tampered with and whatnot. Sure, 40 TB sounds like a small amount of data, but then again if you introduce 4 or 5 backups with tampering resistance... it suddenly starts looking like quite a bit.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (3, Funny)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057501)

I noticed the summary conveniently forgets to mention that there are also several hundred boxes of paper evidence.

From the summary:

In addition, information associated with the case had managed to fill 'several hundred boxes' of paper documents

Next time you decide to bash the summary, read it first.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057605)

Exactly.

Further, storing several hundred boxes of paper documents is not a huge financial burden. Finding it again may be problematic, but the government has plenty of document storage facilities. Scan them all in and store them at the CIA's Utah Data Center.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057791)

Next time you decide to bash the summary, read it first.

He may have meant to say the title, not the summary:

DEA Lack of Data Storage Results In Dismissed Drug Case

Documents are "documents" or "evidence" not to be confused with "Data Storage". Or perhaps this is splitting hairs.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057589)

I noticed the summary conveniently forgets to mention that there are also several hundred boxes of paper evidence.

When you already own entire warehouses to hold evidence, storing a few hundred boxes of paper is not expensive

And of course it isn't like these are 2 terabytes of Blu-ray movies: it's probably mostly text and image files, and that is a lot of text documents to keep track of and make sure are backed up on a regular basis, with a full chain of custody to ensure they aren't being tampered with and whatnot. Sure, 40 TB sounds like a small amount of data, but then again if you introduce 4 or 5 backups with tampering resistance... it suddenly starts looking like quite a bit.

Any of the major storage vendors will be happy to sell you a WORM storage array that prevents tampering and has remote replication.

http://www.emc-centera.com/more-about-emc-centera.htm [emc-centera.com]
https://communities.netapp.com/community/products_and_solutions/netapp_integrated_data_protection/blog/2011/12/19/netapp-snaplock-where-compliance-and-efficiency-meet [netapp.com]

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057593)

I noticed the summary conveniently forgets to mention that there are also several hundred boxes of paper evidence.

But, really, is hundreds of boxes of paper records even that unusual in these kind of cases? (And, TFS actually does mention them, so it was either updated or you didn't read far enough.)

Sure, 40 TB sounds like a small amount of data, but then again if you introduce 4 or 5 backups with tampering resistance... it suddenly starts looking like quite a bit.

Industry handles these kind of numbers all the time. I know people who work in SAN stuff, and between the disks, the tape backups (which go off-site under lock and key) and whatnot ... 40TB of data, even with good backups, is in this day and age a manageable number.

It's not like it's petabytes or exabytes ... it's frigging 2TB of source data, plus a few hundred boxes of data. I should think a few hundred boxes of paper is a slow week for some government departments.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057601)

...Panama isn't going to extradite him anyways...

That shouldn't matter. They didn't extradite Noriega either. If the DEA really wants him, they'll go and get him.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057625)

That's essentially what happened.

Panama will not extradite its citizens so there's no way the US will get him as long as he stays in Panama or only visits non-extradition countries. So the evidence, both digital and physical is just sitting there wasting space when it's unlikely that the case will go forward. So the case was dismissed and they get to dispose of all the evidence. The other thing to note is that the case was dismissed with prejudice so it cannot be reopened. The reality was that the only purpose to keeping the case open was to keep the doctor bottled up in Panama.

The case itself was a company setup to basically gives prescriptions to anyone who asked for them without consulting or even visiting the doctor and there's plenty of specific evidence regarding this doctor never meeting people that he gave prescriptions to.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057701)

Which then sounds like he could readily come back to the US.

So is the message here (guilty or not, because I have no idea) to skip off to a non-extradition country until they can't afford to keep your case open, and then come back a free man as the charges have been dropped with prejudice?

And, as I said elsewhere, I find it really hard to believe that it's beyond their means to keep storing this stuff. That just doesn't sound right. Storing large amounts of data is something the government should have a lot of experience in.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057837)

"Panama will not extradite its citizens so there's no way the US will get him as long as he stays in Panama"

Maybe Noriega can illustrate you about the options.

Re:Don't forget the hundreds of boxes of paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057661)

And this, in a nutshell, is why the current insanity of prohibition will eventually end: the expense is unsustainable.
Let me spell it out a little: the police forces and all their expenses (as illustrated by TFA), courts, jails, etc.
Then there are the human costs: the USA has (per capita) the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Are USAians more evil than the rest of the planet? I dont really think so.
We realise that alcohol prohibition was a mistake, but somehow we dont recognise the same mistake WRT
the other drugs, probably because those other drugs are much less popular and, until recently, were somewhat
restricted to certain minority groups.
Basically the problem is you cannot get people to respect and obey laws which:
(a) dont make much sense, and (b) cannot be fully enforced in a "free" society.
Don't misunderstand me: I know that some drugs can be used in very dangerous ways,
but prohibition laws are exactly the wrong way to deal with them
--
A.C.

40 terabytes ought to be enough for anybody... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057419)

40 terabytes ought to be enough for anybody...

What the hell? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057425)

These materials include two terabytes of electronic data (which consume approximately 5 percent of DEA's world-wide electronic storage capacity)

I'm sorry, but a major government agency can't afford two terabytes of data?

What happens to all of the stuff they seize and sell off? There should be no good reason why they can't have enough funds to pay for this.

If 2TB is 5%, then they've got, what, 40TB total? At one point last year on a project we were using almost 100TB with various backups and the like, but we're easily using 40-50TB right now. This is a solved problem.

I realize large-scale enterprise storage gets a little more spendy, but surely they have tape backup technology or can afford some disks for a SAN.

This is like finding out they only really have 10 cars to share among themselves or something. It makes me wonder if this is the "real" reason they're looking to drop the case. It just sounds improbable they can't manage this.

Re:What the hell? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057451)

LOL, ok, so TFS even said 40TB. :-P

Re:What the hell? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058033)

> I'm sorry, but a major government agency can't afford two terabytes of data?

I like it. We need more agencies like this.

2 billion dollar budget and 2TB is too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057441)

Yeah.. amazon cloud service .. 2TB 1000$ per year. Problem solved. Government incompetence at it's peak right there folks.

Re:2 billion dollar budget and 2TB is too much? (5, Funny)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057461)

You grossly underestimate government incompetence.

Re:2 billion dollar budget and 2TB is too much? (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057559)

For me the question is why would you want someone to spend $1000 per year of your money maintaining something that might be evidence against someone who might be guilty of something that might have harmed people? There are probably a large number of people who might be guilty of something and might have more than 2GB of data that might prove it, but do we want to pay to keep it all?

What no confiscated assets? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057493)

Come one DEA, can't just say someone's data center was used in drug trafficking and just confiscate whatever they need and boom problem solved? I mean seams to cover the motor pool.

move DEA to google docs cloud storage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057543)

open doors goverment! FOIA request? => Share doc with requestor

I added 2TB to my DVR before the Olympics . . . (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057577)

. . . so I have to figure it's the boxes of papers. After all, evidence is supposed to be tracked better than leaving it in a self-storage closet.

Stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057637)

First, 2TB is miniscule by modern standards. Second, if all 2TB is needed to convict, then something is wrong. The DEA has put people in prison for life without parole for just a few documents and some supporting physical evidence. If they can't find something actionable in a few minutes, then they never had a case to begin with. Blaming it on the size of the data set is foolish. They should run with the evidence that first led them to believe he was committing a crime.

Article is baseless speculation (4, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057639)

FTFA:

Yet the motion to dismiss refers to storage of evidence related to Angulo’s case as an “economic and practical hardship.” The reference to “practical” may be key

No, the practical means the guy is in Panama, and Panama has already said they're not going to extradite him. So quit wasting time and resources - drop the case and move on.

Re:Article is baseless speculation (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058099)

FTFA:

Yet the motion to dismiss refers to storage of evidence related to Angulo’s case as an “economic and practical hardship.” The reference to “practical” may be key

No, the practical means the guy is in Panama, and Panama has already said they're not going to extradite him. So quit wasting time and resources - drop the case and move on.

Which is what they did from the sound of it, they just offered up some lame excuse about that thar computer related stuff to placate the republicans.

Most likely he made a large campaign donation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057659)

....thus effectively buying a pardon.

Re:Most likely he made a large campaign donation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41058177)

....thus effectively buying a pardon.

Only if mitt the twitt wins the election.

everyone here can buy the storage for $100's (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057689)

But don't forget the chain of custody requirements for evidence to be used in court. You need to physically store it securely. Provide an audit-able method for prosecutors (and others) to access it if they need. Provide a way to get it to court with a full report of custody/access. Any evidence costs much more to keep than you and I keeping the same paper or electronic data. And that's a good thing.

My fortune 100 company spends many 100x as much per GB to store customer data (web PII) than I spend to store my personal data. And that's just the direct $/GB/month, it doesn't include the process we have on top to use the data. I've argued a few times that it's overkill, but it's one area that I'm ok with the lawyer's replies when we disagree.

Let's get real here, DEA. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057721)

In 2010, your budget was US$2,415,000,000. ($2.4B or so).

You can go on fucking Amazon and get a 6 TB RAID for $376, mmmmkay? So, all you need to do is get eight of these little puppies and that will give you 48 TBs of RAIDed drives. It will cost you all of $3008. And then you just need to hire some junior flunkie to keep an eye on the thing. Pay him or her, say $50k. It's not a tough job. So, with benefits etc. it will cost, say $100k to hire them, and that includes buying the arrays and a computer to track them. Now, let's do the math. This is going to cost less than 1/2 of 1/100th of 1 percent of your budget to protect all of your precious data, in a RAID no less.

Face it - the DEA is either lying, completely full of bullshit, or so hopelessly incompetent they should all be fired.

Re:Let's get real here, DEA. (1)

Zrako (1306145) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057851)

Face it - the DEA is either lying, completely full of bullshit, or so hopelessly incompetent they should all be fired.

Or all of the above ;)

Re:Let's get real here, DEA. (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057967)

I would prefer to see the worthless government organization completely dissolved. Firing the whole group just to hire more lunatics wouldn't do shit.

Re:Let's get real here, DEA. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058155)

They're gearing up to fight for more funding in next year's budget. "Senator, we had to drop a case against a dangerous drug dealer because we couldn't afford enough data storage!" "Okay, I know computer stuff is expensive. Here's a check with an extra couple of zeroes on it. Oh, and there happens to be an excellent data storage company in the great state of East Dakota."

Roll it to tape? (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057765)

About $40 on Amazon gets you an LTO5 cartridge that would hold the entire case's data. This whole thing doesn't pass the sniff test.

Simple Solution (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057775)

Just use all those servers the US confiscated from MegaUpload to save your data on

Anyone being boring and pointing out they were only "borrowed" will be killed by custard pie squad.

The solution! (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057795)

For a mere $2200 bucks they can double their storage. Ok so they might need to spend 500 bucks more for a case to contain the drives.

Drives: http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Internal-ST320005N4A1AS-RK-Retail/dp/B002AQSVDA/ref=sr_1_13?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1345488036&sr=1-13&keywords=hard+drive [amazon.com]

Case: http://www.mountainmods.com/extended-ascension-cyo-custom-computer-case-p-493.html?osCsid=lobk16afmjb8rq8kt13ns7bsc3 [mountainmods.com]

Now that I've solved the DEA's problems, I'm not sure what to do with the rest of my day.

An Exception to a Rule (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41057817)

This must be the first time where preponderance of evidence (standard used for civil cases) was effectively applied to a criminal case and caused dismissal instead of the reasonable doubt standard.

Or did this not ever even go to court?

What? Am I reading that right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057833)

I just got TWO 3 TB hard drives from Amazon for right around $300. They are sitting right here on my desk, not doing much of anything. I wouldn't want the DEA to have them, but I can't believe that I read this right. I keep looking again and again to see if it is peta and not tera.

God told man, And a man told me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41057987)

They can drop the case. They know they can, but nice guy DEA has a plan. They smell the data center coming. They will pick the case up again when they can. They hope that for now people on drugs can stay that way, until said establishments have said data center. As for amazon, yes the jungle will be upon us soon.

Seriously? Only 40 TB worldwide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41058073)

I have close to half that amount in my own household, including a single computer (running WHS 2011) that has 9.5 TB. ..bruce..

BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41058095)

I have 10 Terabytes in my own home. Storage is cheap, and you expect me to believe the DEA only has 40 TB?

Either it's a complete lie and tied into Fast and Furious, or it is proof that government agencies are all incompetent idiots in which case they can all kiss my ass.

Not that much and Probably for the Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41058125)

Two terabytes is nothing nowadays. They should revoke the DEA's charter if they can't figure out how to buy basic infrastructure like this.

That said, Two Terabytes of evidence, and they still can't get an extradition?, then yes, I think it's time to dismiss the case, and put your effort elsewhere.

Online Storage. (1)

RHoltslander (2132652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41058165)

It's a pity their sister agency took down MegaUpload. It would have been perfect for this.
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