Request for records of seizure (and surrounding circumstances) of "Etizolam"

Adrian Lamo filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.
Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents



Good afternoon,

Please shorten the subject of this email as it is too long to attach to the request in our system.



November 14, 2016 ADRIAN LAMO MUCKROCK DEPT MR 22625 411A HIGHLAND AVE SOMERVILLE, MA 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2017-ICFO-05928 Dear Mr. LAMO: This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), dated November 12, 2016, and to your request for expedited treatment and a waiver of all assessable FOIA fees. Your request was received in this office on November 12, 2016. Specifically, you requested records of seizures or other enforcement actions - formal or informal - (and related memorandum) by ICE, specifically including Homeland Security Investigations, to include internal discussions via any medium regarding encouraging, instructing, ordering, or incentivizing payment processors (credit card companies, banks, merchant accounts, etc et al.) to cease processing payments for distributors of the non-scheduled, non-prescription chemical Elitizam (see request for specific details). Your request for expedited treatment is hereby denied. Under the DHS FOIA regulations, expedited processing of a FOIA request is warranted if the request involves “circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual,” 6 C.F.R. § 5.5(d)(1)(i), or “an urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information,” 6 C.F.R. § 5.5(d)(l)(ii).  Requesters seeking expedited processing must submit a statement explaining in detail the basis for the request, and that statement must be certified by the requester to be true and correct.  6 C.F.R. § 5.5(d)(3). Your request for expedited processing is denied because you do not qualify for either category under 6 C.F.R. § 5.5(d)(1).  You failed to demonstrate a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request beyond the public’s right to know about government activity generally.  Your letter was conclusory in nature and did not present any facts to justify a grant of expedited processing under the applicable standards. Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Per Section 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, ICE processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt. Although ICE’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, the FOIA does permit a 10- day extension of this time period. As your request seeks numerous documents that will necessitate a thorough and wide-ranging search, ICE will invoke a 10-day extension for your request, as allowed by Title 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If you care to narrow the scope of your request, please contact our office. We will make every effort to comply with your request in a timely manner.
As it pertains to your request for a fee waiver, after thoroughly reviewing your letter, ICE has determined that you have not presented a convincing argument that MUCKROCK is entitled to a blanket waiver of applicable fees. The DHS FOIA Regulations at 6 CFR § 5.11(k)(2) set forth six factors to examine in determining whether the applicable legal standard for a fee waiver has been met.  We will consider these factors in our evaluation of your request for a fee waiver: (1) Whether the subject of the requested records concerns “the operations or activities of the government”; (2) Whether the disclosure is “likely to contribute” to an understanding of government operations or activities; (3) Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the public at large, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requestor or a narrow segment of interested persons; (4) Whether the contribution to public understanding of government operations or activities will be "significant"; (5) Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and (6) Whether the magnitude of any identified commercial interest to the requestor is sufficiently large in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor. As a requester, you bear the burden under FOIA of showing that the fee waiver requirements have been met.  Based on my review of your November 12, 2016 letter and for the reasons stated herein, I have determined that your fee waiver request is deficient because your request has failed to satisfy factors 4, 5, and 6.  Since your request for a fee waiver has failed to satisfy each of the required factors, I am denying your fee waiver request. Provisions of the FOIA allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS Interim FOIA regulations as they apply to non-commercial requesters.  As a non-commercial requester, you will be charged 10 cents per page for duplication; the first 100 pages are free, as are the first two hours of search time, after which you will pay the per quarter-hour rate ($4.00 for clerical personnel, $7.00 for professional personnel, $10.25 for managerial personnel) of the searcher.  We will construe the submission of your request as an agreement to pay up to $25.00. You will be contacted before any further fees are accrued. If you are not satisfied with the response to this request, you have the right to appeal following the procedures outlined in the DHS regulations at 6 C.F.R. § 5.9. Should you wish to do so, you must send your appeal and a copy of this letter, within 90 days of the date of this letter, to:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Office of the Principal Legal Advisor
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
500 12th Street, S.W., Mail Stop 5900
Washington, D.C. 20536-5900
Your envelope and letter should be marked “FOIA Appeal.” Copies of the FOIA and DHS regulations are available at
ICE has queried the appropriate program offices within ICE for responsive records. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request. If you have any questions or wish to discuss reformulation or an alternative time frame for the processing of your request, please contact FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to, call free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769.
Your request has been assigned reference number 2017-ICFO-05928. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2017-ICFO-XXXXX tracking number. (
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at

From: Adrian Lamo

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act on behalf of Adrian Lamo, 2600 Magazine. 2600 is the oldest computer security print publication in continuous operation, having opened its doors in 1984. Apart from serving as a staff writer, I am social media editor and will be keeping out ~20,000 group members apprised of this request. Similarly, I will be updating my ~250,000 social media followers as events develop.

I hereby request the following records:

I seek records of seizures or other enforcement actions - formal or informal - (and related memorandum) by ICE, specifically including Homeland Security Investigations, to include internal discussions via any medium regarding encouraging, instructing, ordering, or incentivizing payment processors (credit card companies, banks, merchant accounts, etc et al.) to cease processing payments for distributors of the non-scheduled, non-prescription chemical Elitizam, which is not covered under the Federal Analogue Act. I similarly request anny such records of "training" for banks or any other institutions or businesses engaged in interstate commerce related to Internet stores selling Etizolam or "research chemicals".

Particularly but not exclusively I seek records related to investigations of web sites d/b/a and However, this request encompasses any site affected by the above-referenced (or similar) conduct as though fully set forth herein.

A separate request has been served to FinCEN along similar lines. However, it is the expectation of this writer that substantially similar records nay be produced by both parties (and other government agencies served but not named herein). In the even that material should be missing or occluded or otherwise fungible responsive documents may appear similar but not identical, it is my preference that all copies be considered responsive as a matter of good faith.

I am a journalist who has been published in Forbes, Newsweek, Slate, The Guardian, HuffPo, ThoughtCatalog, and 2600 Magazine. The foregoing is a representative sampling only and does not cover my entire work experience. My writing ranges from computer security, crime & the courts, relationship advice, computer hacking, national security & policy issues, and tangential topics. You are welcome to Google me for additional information. It may be interesting.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. The clear, present, and immediate impact on merchants, any of whom are family owned militates for a fee waiver to allow the most prompt processing possible

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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. E-mail is strongly preferred as a means of bringing USG into the 21st century, especially given the relatively high CD-ROM duplication costs in contrast to their typically low volume of content.

However, given certain information provided by two separate confidential sources close to the issue to the effect that DEA is considering emergency scheduling of Etizolam, and related public interest, it is the position of this writer that fees should be waived and any fee waiver denial should be explained in at least as much detail as it took to request such. Expedited processing is validly predicated on the possibility of DEA announcing an intent to schedule at any time, and a fee waiver is warranted in order to explore for the public USG's adverse action against an unscheduled substance legal to possess in most states, and the underlying legal basis for this action.

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.

Based on information and belief, I assert under penalty of perjury that the above is correct to the best of my knowledge.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Adrian Lamo

+1 202 459 9800 x. 130 // +1 202 459 9800 // adrian@2600.COM


Good afternoon,

WE are currently waiting for a response from the tasked agency within ICE.


From: Adrian Lamo

To whom it may concern,

As a courtesy, please be advised that you are rapidly approaching your 10-day extension.

This letter serves as an appeal of your denial of fee waiver and expedited processing.

As for point 1, I direct your attention to, which contains a line-item for etizolam. Additionally, etizolam has been scheduled at the state level, and an informed source close to the issue has related to my office discussions at least one major division within DEA has had with regard to emergency scheduling of etizolam at the federal level.

As for point 2, it is a matter of direct public interest when the government seizes any item sua sponte, as though by bill of attainder, but without the item itself being illegal or restricted. If ICE provided evidence that specific batches were substandard or not of acceptable quality, this would not be an issue. However, as it stands, public examination of ICE practices would either exonerate them or resound with the controversy over local law enforcement's broad use of civil asset forfeiture - the two are essentially fungible.

Addressing point 3, the public at large will never have an interest in this particular topic if barriers to access are set to topics which might interest them, creating a Catch-22. I submit that the general public is very interested in how their taxes are spent, and in the integrity and accountability of their government agencies, which are covered in this matter.

Approaching point 4, this information will significantly affect public understanding of the instant issue, given that most are unaware that it exists at all. Informing them of the details of its existence is thus a 100% increase in public understanding, and moreover will be timely in light of probable attempts at emergency scheduling.

Addressing point 5, I will not profit directly or indirectly from publishing this information.

Point 6 is rendered null by the contents of point five.

Turning my attention to your denial of my expedited processing request, I am a widely-read author on the Internet, receiving over 22,000,000 hits to specific articles I wrote in response to questions over a period of 12 months. A number of said articles have been syndicated on Forbes, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, and others. I have also written original content for The (London) Guardian, Network World, Mobile Magazine, Pando Daily, and others. I am followed by the CNN National Security Desk on Twitter, blocked (and vilified) by @Wikileaks, & am very persistent when needed.

This is not an exhaustive listing of the grounds known to me on which your denials fail, merely those necessary to satisfy statute. I look forward to corresponding further.


Adrian Lamo



At this time FOIA request 2017-ICFO-05928 is assigned to a FOIA analyst for processing and response to you.




ICE's final response to your FOIA request, 2017-ICFO-05928, for records of seizures or other enforcement actions - formal or informal - (and related memorandum) by ICE, specifically including Homeland Security Investigations, to include internal discussions via any medium regarding encouraging, instructing, ordering, or incentivizing payment processors (credit card companies, banks, merchant accounts, etc et al.) to cease processing payments for distributors of the non-scheduled, non-prescription chemical Elitizam (see request for specific details) is attached.
Please note that the attachment may be password protected. If you are prompted to enter a password when opening the attachment and you did not receive a password it may be in your junk/spam folder.