24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196

AS SEEN ON

EXPERIENCEDTop Rated

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN TODD SPODEK ON THE NETFLIX SHOW
INVENTING ANNA

When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Strategies for Responding to Target Letters From the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad

Target Letters From DEA Tactical Diversion Squads: What You Need to Know

If you have received a target letter from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), it likely came as an unwelcome surprise. However, try not to panic. While being investigated by federal agents is daunting, having an understanding of the process and your rights can help you navigate it more smoothly. This article provides an overview of DEA target letters, TDS operations, potential charges, and legal defenses to consider.

What is a DEA Tactical Diversion Squad?

The DEA Tactical Diversion Squads are specialized units combining DEA resources with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Their purpose is to investigate and build cases against individuals and organizations suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other related statutes[1].

TDS units focus their efforts on preventing, detecting, and investigating the diversion of legitimately produced controlled substances into the illicit market. The diversion of prescription opioids and other medications with a potential for abuse is a major concern. TDS agents specifically target “pill mills”, unethical pharmacies, and medical professionals contributing to the opioid epidemic through over-prescribing. They also go after illegal distribution networks and interstate drug trafficking organizations[2].

In recent years, combating opioid diversion has become a top priority for the DEA. The agency has expanded TDS groups across the country to ramp up diversion control efforts. Teams now operate in over half of DEA’s field divisions[3].

What is a DEA Target Letter?

A target letter is an official notification you are under investigation and may face criminal charges. This letter is sent out by federal agencies like the DEA when they have identified you as a target in an ongoing case. Receiving one means you are now part of an active law enforcement operation[4].

Target letters mark the beginning of the pre-indictment phase of a federal investigation. At this point, charges have not been filed yet. The letter serves as an invitation to engage with investigators and provide your side of the story. It will typically contain a “proffer letter” offering you the chance to cooperate as a witness[5].

Receiving a target letter means investigators likely have evidence implicating you in a crime. However, the case against you isn’t solidified yet. This gives you some wiggle room to negotiate if you choose to cooperate. Though ignoring the letter altogether is ill-advised.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Charges in DEA Diversion Investigations

There are a wide range of charges potentially brought in DEA diversion control investigations depending on the specifics of each case. Some potential criminal offenses include:

  • Unlawful distribution of controlled substances
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Racketeering
  • Tax evasion
  • Obstruction of justice

Penalties vary based on the offense, but may include substantial fines and years in federal prison. Those convicted also commonly face license revocation, asset forfeiture, and loss of hospital/clinic privileges.

Distribution of Controlled Substances

One of the most common charges in TDS cases relates to the illegal distribution of controlled substances in violation of the CSA[1]. This may involve:

  • Distributing without a valid prescription
  • Distributing outside the usual course of professional practice
  • Prescribing without a legitimate medical purpose
  • Filling invalid prescriptions
  • Diverting drugs for non-medical use
  • Trafficking controlled substances

Penalties under the CSA depend on several factors like the substance, quantity, and whether serious bodily injury or death resulted. Fines range from $250,000 to $10 million. Prison sentences range from 3 years to life.

Healthcare Fraud

Another common charge is healthcare fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1347. This covers schemes to defraud healthcare benefit programs like Medicare or private insurers. Tactics may include:

  • Billing for unnecessary services
  • Billing for services never provided
  • Upcoding office visits
  • Accepting kickbacks
  • Waiving patient co-pays

Penalties can include up to 10 years imprisonment, fines up to $250,000, and restitution payments. Healthcare fraud often leads to administrative consequences like exclusion from federal healthcare programs.

Money Laundering

Money laundering charges may apply under 18 U.S.C. § 1956 if illicit profits were generated from the diversion scheme. This includes attempting to conceal criminal proceeds or funnel them through legitimate businesses to conceal the source. Charges may involve[1]:

  • Knowingly conducting transactions with criminal profits
  • Transporting funds derived from criminal activity
  • Attempting to disguise the source of illegal funds
  • Engaging in transactions to avoid reporting requirements

Penalties can be severe. Fines can reach $500,000 or twice the amount laundered. Prison sentences can be up to 20 years[3].

Responding to a DEA Target Letter

If you receive a target letter, you face some big decisions. Carefully weighing your options is critical. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Get Legal Representation

Consulting with an attorney experienced in federal investigations should be your first move. They can provide guidance at every stage, protecting your rights and interests[5]. An adept lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable resolution before charges are filed.

Don’t Panic

Try to remain calm. Target letters aim to pressure suspects into making poor choices. While the situation is serious, losing your cool helps no one. Take time to process the information with counsel present.

Evaluate the Evidence

Through your attorney, request to see the prosecution’s current evidence. This will reveal the scope of their investigation and strength of their case. Understanding their position better informs your strategy.

Explore Resolution Options

In many investigations, cooperating as a witness and entering a plea bargain resolves the matter without a trial. Your lawyer can advise if this route is suitable based on the charges and evidence.

Don’t Speak to Investigators

Politely decline interviews or information requests from investigators without counsel present. Anything you say may be used against you. Let your lawyer handle communication.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy

While target letters put you on the defensive, the case is far from unwinnable. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s position. They will thoroughly analyze the evidence and applicable laws to build the strongest defense.

Some potential defenses to explore include:

Lack of Criminal Intent

Many charges require proving you knowingly and intentionally committed a crime. Evidence showing you acted in good faith may undermine arguments you had criminal intent.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

If evidence was obtained improperly in violation of your 4th Amendment rights, your lawyer may be able to get it suppressed. This could cripple the prosecution’s case.

Entrapment

Undercover tactics that encouraged otherwise innocent people to commit a crime may support an entrapment defense. This is very fact specific.

Statute of Limitations

Certain statutes of limitations dictate how long after an alleged crime charges can be filed. An experienced lawyer may identify bases to argue the statute expired.

While challenging a DEA investigation is daunting, all hope is not lost if you are targeted. With an experienced federal defense lawyer guiding you, it is possible to mitigate charges or even defeat them in court. Don’t go it alone. Consult with counsel as soon as possible to map out an effective strategy.

References

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1956
[2] https://www.federalcriminallawyer.us/federal-money-laundering/
[3] https://www.keglawyers.com/federal-money-laundering
[4] https://federal-lawyer.com/securities-litigation/anti-money-laundering/federal-defense/

Schedule Your Consultation Now