Information leakage shows DEA blew millions on the secret phone trackers it won't admit it bought

Michael from Muckrock says, "Over the past ten years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has spent millions of dollars on cell phone tracking. Federal purchasing documents that are already posted online indicate the make and model of the tracking device, and often even the DEA field office that bought it, according to federal payment records reviewed by MuckRock."

Despite all the details in these purchasing documents, the DEA still refuses to admit it has these trackers, or release their acquisition records.

In 2005, the DEA headquarters spent more than $130,000 on a StingRay device. The DEA also bought an antenna, called the AmberJack-X, which extends the spectrum of cell phones that the StingRay can detect, according to a Harris Corporation brochure from 2008.

The federal payments database also indicates that DEA headquarters paid $29,200 for "StingRay Training" in 2008.

The DEA's Office of Investigative Technology is, predictably, an enthusiastic buyer of cell phone trackers. The unit spent more than $180,000 on cell phone trackers in 2007, including for a vehicle-mounted StingRay and a detection spectrum upgrade. Two years later, the Office of Investigative Technology contracted with Harris Corp. for an upgrade from StingRay to the StingRay II model, as well as an upgrade for an AmberJack antenna, at a combined cost of $130,500.

DEA bought millions in cell phone trackers and training, payment data shows

[Shawn Musgrave/Muckrock]