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What You Should Do When You Are Under Investigation by the DEA

Categories: Criminal Law & Process

dea investigations

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigates allegations of misconduct relating to controlled substances.  The scope of these violations is very diverse, from violent drug-trafficking cartels to record-keeping infractions at pharmacies.  Regardless of the reason that the DEA is investigating you, a DEA investigation is an extremely serious matter.  Without experienced legal counsel, your investigation may result in criminal charges and the possibility of significant prison time. Even if you do not face criminal charges, if you own or manage a pharmacy or are a healthcare provider, a DEA investigation could mean the end of your business or career.


The DEA is responsible for enforcing the nation’s controlled substance laws.  These laws include limitations on the manufacture, transportation, dispensing, and possession of controlled substances.  Controlled substances are organized by classes I-V ranging from illegal drugs like heroin and methamphetamine (Class I) to prescription drugs that serve legitimate clinical purposes but are subject to abuse or misuse (Classes II-V).  The DEA coordinates with other federal agencies like the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Protecting Yourself in a DEA Investigation

If you are a healthcare provider being investigated by the DEA, the subject of that investigation is your licensure, maintenance, recordkeeping, or dispensing of controlled substances.  You need to take immediate action to protect yourself from potential charges.

  1. Hire the right DEA defense attorney. You need an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the DEA.  Your attorney will manage communications with the DEA, and assist you in taking the necessary steps to eliminate or limit your liability.  You should not speak to DEA agents without first hiring an attorney.   Do not wait too long to engage counsel because the longer you wait, the more time the DEA will have to build its case against you.
  1. Immediately commence a review of your processes and procedures regarding controlled substances. Your attorney should assist you in hiring a consultant with experience in controlled substance procedures.  They will review your current practices and identify deficiencies in your paperwork and in your operations.  It is imperative to correct any deficiencies immediately so you can demonstrate a pattern of improvement.
  1. Respond appropriately to DEA requests. Your attorney will work with you to respond to any DEA request, whether it is an informal request for documents or a subpoena.  Your attorney can coordinate with the DEA so that the DEA investigation will me minimally disruptive to your operations.  You may need to make copies of certain information so that day-to-day operations can continue uninterrupted.
  1. Don’t talk about the investigation with third parties. To the extent possible, limit your discussions about the investigation to your legal counsel and let your counsel communicate with third parties or their attorneys as necessary.  Anything you say to others may be used against you and even friends and acquaintances may be cooperating with the government.

DEA Defense Attorneys

  • Nick Oberheiden has years of healthcare fraud defense experience, and has successfully defended doctors, pharmacies, laboratories, and healthcare business owners and executives against allegations of fraud, false claims, kickbacks, and prescription fraud, brought by the DOJ, OIG, CMS, IRS, FBI, DEA, DOD (Department of Defense), and other federal agencies. Dr. Oberheiden is trained in negotiations by Harvard Law School, and he received his Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law as well as a PhD in law.
  • Attorney Lynette S. Byrd focuses her practice on civil and criminal litigation, Medicare and insurance audits, and general advice and counseling in health care law. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney with years of substantial trial experience under her belt who merges excellent litigation skills with profound understanding of the law.

Our Track Record

  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP Today

If you are under DEA investigation, you may contact Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP for a free and confidential consultation.  Our DEA defense attorneys are available seven days a week, even on weekends, to speak with you about how we may be able to help you with your case.  Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP represents clients across the country facing DEA investigations.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
(800) 810-0259
(214) 469-9009
This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas LLP with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

Federal DEA Investigation Defense Attorneys – Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP