The House of Death: An Interview with DEA Whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez

Radley Balko, senior editor of Reason magazine, says: "Federal agents looked the other way while one of their drug informants [Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, also known as "Lalo"] participated in a series of gruesome murders. They knew about the murders, but refused to call off the drug investigation. When an outraged DEA agent [Sandy Gonzalez] blew the whistle, the DEA, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and DOJ forced him into early retirement. The government is now trying to deport the informant they've paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to over the years. They want to send him to Mexico, where he'll almost certainly be killed."
Reason: The DEA administrator at the time, Karen Tandy, has admitted in court testimony that she gave you the only poor performance review of your career because of your letter calling for an investigation into the murders. That led to your retirement. Have any of the ICE officers who handled the Lalo case been held accountable --criminally, professionally, or otherwise?

Gonzalez: Not to my knowledge. I doubt it. I would have heard about it.

Reason: Have you had any indication that Congress might step in? Have you talked to anyone on Capitol Hill?

Gonzalez: Back in 2005 I went and briefed the senior staff of two senators.

Reason: Which ones?

Gonzalez: [Iowa Sen. Charles] Grassley and [Vermont Sen. Patrick] Leahy. I think what happened is one of the members of Leahy’s staff was a Justice Department officer who was on loan on a detail to the senator’s staff. I think she knew [U.S. Attorney] Johnny Sutton. She worked out of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. She knew Sutton personally and throughout the whole interview she was antagonistic. My guess is that she railroaded the whole thing.

An Interview with DEA Whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez


  1. so? It’s been long established the DEA is a criminal gang bent on perpetuating its sinecure. What restrains them?

  2. #1: There’s an actual political term used by lobbyists and the like for politicans and aging government types: Walrus. A person who stakes out a flat hot rock in the the political landscape and defends it viciously.

  3. reason: You said at a conference earlier this year that while corruption is a problem, the bigger problem is that federal prosecutors don’t hold corrupt agents accountable. Is that an accurate assessment of your opinion?

    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.

    He should just contact the agency that watchdogs the justice dept…. oh, wait.

  4. Look, everyone knows the US government is totally corrupt. It’s not just the “justice” department–look at the structure of this week’s bailout. The questions are what do we do about it, how, and when? Frankly, I don’t see much hope coming out of the elections.

  5. I see a lot of Hope and Change coming out of the elections:

    “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though
    Dreams of my Father

    This sounds to me like a president who might choose to dismantle the DEA?

  6. I tried really hard to find a positive point for the DEA on this case – unsuccessfully. I’m suprised I haven’t heard of this before.

    I don’t have any problem with marihuana’s legalization – I’m pretty sure it’s way less harmful than alcohol abuse. The really bad drugs, drugs that place people on the street, stealing from family members, and whoring themselves – they should stay illegal imo.

  7. so that those who use must steal from family members, whore thmselves,and live on the streets. yeah, makes perfect sense!

  8. @ MINTPHRESH, Those are the ones I have to deal with – constantly with the job I have. To those that can use crack cocaine, heroin, crystal meth without becoming addicted, and it taking over your life – more power to you.

    The point here is that the DEA tried and is still trying to cover up a series of atrocious crimes that they had the power to stop. My comment about legalization was in response to other comments.

  9. Too late FOETUSNAIL!

    “To those that can use crack cocaine, heroin, crystal meth without becoming addicted, and it taking over your life – more power to you.”

    IE. The vast majority of all users.

  10. and i was only answering your comment,@9. the reason MOST people fall into those traps that you mention (mainly : stealing and/or whoring to get $ to fund their addiction) is due to the drugs illegality. personally i hate drugs. even when confronted with prescribed drugs, i usually will opt for a more natural approach, when available. that doesn’t change the reality of drugs. there have always been drugs, there will always be drugs. as long as there are people, people will do them. locking away close to a million of them, stigmatizing them with an arrest record( i’m talking about the using, not the stealing and/or whoring) , and not offering any viable alternative seems far more criminal to me than someone who wishes to get high. and could you imagine the tax windfall for both state and fed. coffers? sorry about the threadjack. i think people like gonzales should be lionized, not demonized.

  11. This war of which we speak, and the current illegality is only to make sure they continue to control it, and supplies remain scarce to keep prices high (no pun intended.)

    Pot remains illegal chiefly because of the power of the alcohol, tobacco, & pharmaceutical companies, as I have said in similar threads here before (and will continue to bring up while it continues to remain valid.) Also because it is an entheogen, and entheogens expand consciousness, allowing people to see how they herd us like sheep. Why else are drugs like DMT and psilocybin considered Class One substances?

    Holland is hard on hard drugs and soft on soft ones and it seems to work pretty darn well over there. I have seen the direct result of hard drugs to consume souls, but the illegality of these substances and the hard time they promise did not dissuade any from dabbling who are interested. Legality brings control. How many are still bootlegging whiskey out there?

    Prison creates criminals. These people need help and rehabilitation, not to become fodder for a corrupt privatized prison system.

    When there is no oversight, corruption becomes absolute, while in reality it is obsolete. If everyone is forced to play by the same rules, these problems will go away. This, transparency of government is key to dissolving this status quo.

  12. @#8, Kevin:
    You see hope because of something you read in a book Obama wrote 13 years ago. I see a candidate who in the present is rapidly swinging to the right.

  13. the reason MOST people fall into those traps that you mention (mainly : stealing and/or whoring to get $ to fund their addiction) is due to the drugs illegality.

    Really? I don’t see the connection. The reason they fall into those terrible behaviours is because the drugs take over their lives, they can’t keep their jobs, and so they have no source of legal income to support their habits. And I don’t see how legalizing those drugs would make it any easier for said people… If anything, it will be *harder* for them. You think that crack, cocaine and meth would be cheaper if the government decided to legalize them? Looking at the amount of tax the government takes in on tobacco and alcohol, I *highly* doubt it.

  14. #13: You’re kidding right? I’ve known plenty of heroin addicts, and not a single one of them wasn’t addicted. I’m just shocked that anybody can even think that the majority of heroin or crack users aren’t addicted. You’re out-and-out fooing yourself, possibly about your own addiction.

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