Mr. Nice (DEA)

Emma Best filed this request with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 1348411-000
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to Dennis Howard Marks AKA Mr. Nice (August 13, 1945 – April 10, 2016) who was a Welsh drug smuggler turned author.

At his peak he was supposedly smuggling consignments of the drug as large as 30 tons, and was connected with groups as diverse as the CIA, the IRA, MI6, and the Mafia. He was eventually convicted by the American Drug Enforcement Administration and handed a 25-year sentence to be served at Terre Haute; he was released in April 1995 after serving seven years. Though he had up to 43 different aliases, he became known as "Mr Nice" after he bought a passport from convicted murderer Donald Nice.

Proof of death is not required, as his death has been widely reported by reputable outlets such as the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/books/howard-marks-drug-smuggler-turned-author-dies.html

FOIA case law establishes the extent to which agencies MUST search all records system reasonably believed to contain responsive documents, even if it means contacting former employees. Truitt v. Department of State, 897 F.2d 540, 542 (D.C. Cir. 1990) makes it explicitly clear that it is the obligation of the Department to “conduct a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.” In addition, the Justice Department’s May 2004 FOIA Guide states that an agency “cannot limit its search to only one record system if there are others that are likely to turn up the information requested.”

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: DEA.FOIA

Dear MuckRock,

Please note that reference number #1348411-000 is not a DEA reference number. However, the first half of your email below cites 16-00497-F which is a DEA SARF case number. Our determination letter for this case, dated June 23, 2016, was received by you per correspondence below. Again, this case was closed on June 23, 2016. No further action will be taken regarding this closed case.

Drug Enforcement Administration
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit
202-307-7596 (Customer Service Line)
202-307-8556 (Fax)

From: Michael Best

The case was incorrectly closed after you improperly requested fees. I am a member of the press and thus search and review fees are not applicable. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category.

From: DEA.FOIA

Dear MuckRock,

We have reviewed your recent correspondence. After further review and as stated below, DEA SARF Case Number 16-00497-F was closed on June 23, 2016 and shall remain closed. At the time of processing 16-00497-F, you were correctly deemed an “all others” requester and as such you received 2 hours of free search. If you submit the required fee payment, SARF will assign a new case number and process the remainder of your request.

Please note that we cannot speak to #1348411-000 as this is not a DEA tracking number.

Drug Enforcement Administration
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit
202-307-7596 (Customer Service Line)
202-307-8556 (Fax)

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision that I am not a member of the news media and the DEA's decision to illegally deny me this status while ignoring many of my communications. My attempts to followup with them, and their decision to ignore those attempts, are documented here: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/mr-nice-dea-25118/

I am a member of the press and thus search and review fees are not applicable. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/15/2017 12:21 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002295

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002295 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- Untimely.

  • Best, Michael, AP-2017-002295, DEA, fee, untimely, Appeal response let

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