With the rise of heroin use in Washington state and nationwide, DEA has been seeking information about heroin distributers and drug market activity. It also has been reminding the public that prescription drugs can be abused.
In the last year, DEA has turned to texting as a way for citizens to contact them with tips about illegal drug activity. Throughout the U.S., it has publicized an anonymous way to text tips to it. To send a text to the DEA, enter 847411 (“TIP411”) then, start your message with “TIP-DEA.”
All texts are anonymous. The DEA has contracted with a company called Citizen Observer (https://tip411.com/) for this texting capability. The system strips away any phone number and other identifying information before forwarding the text to the DEA. The system also allows DEA agents to follow up with texts to senders for additional information.
As with many law enforcement agencies, the DEA is finding ways to use the new methods of communication that have developed over the years to gather information about criminal activity. Texting can have an advantage of being discrete, and timely while protecting the informant from retaliation and keeping his or her privacy. In addition, it is an appealing way for younger users of smart phones who are used to texting as a method of communication.
For those who want to use more traditional methods of passing information to the Seattle Division of the DEA you can call their tip line at (206) 553-5443 or go online at http://www.dea.gov/ops/submit.php.
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