Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA]


(Record Group 170)
1915-46, 1969-80

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 170.1 Administrative History
  • 170.2 Records of the Narcotic Division 1918-35
  • 170.3 Records of the Bureau of Narcotics 1915-46
  • 170.4 Records of the Drug Enforcement Administration 1969-80
    • 170.4.1 Records of Regional Offices 1969-70, 1972-75
    • 170.4.1.1 Records of Region 8, New Orleans, LA
    • 170.4.1.2 Records of the Narcotics Task Force, Los Angeles, CA
  • 170.5 Records of the Federal Narcotics Control Board 1915-32
  • 170.6 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 170.7 Still Pictures (General)

170.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Justice by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973, effective July 1, 1973.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of the Treasury:
  • Bureau of Internal Revenue (1914-21)
  • Narcotic Division, Bureau of Internal Revenue (1921-27)
  • Narcotic Division, Bureau of Prohibition (1927-30)
  • Bureau of Narcotics (1930-68)
In the Food and Drug Administration:
  • Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (1965-68)
In the Department of Justice:
  • Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (1968-73)

Functions: Enforces federal narcotics and controlled substance laws, including enforcement of regulations governing the legal manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances.

Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Narcotics," NC 50 (Mar. 1964).

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170.2 Records of the Narcotic Division
1918-35

History: Established in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, 1921, to assume enforcement responsibilities assigned to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue by the Harrison Narcotic Act (38 Stat. 785), December 27, 1914. Transferred to the Bureau of Prohibition, effective April 1, 1927, pursuant to the act creating the Bureaus of Customs and Prohibition, March 3, 1927 (44 Stat. 1381). Consolidated with the Federal Narcotics Control Board (See 170.5) by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585), to form the Bureau of Narcotics. See 170.3.

Textual Records : Division correspondence, 1919-28 (136 ft.). Correspondence of the Commissioners of Internal Revenue with revenue collectors, 1919-35, and letters sent by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Prohibition, 1924, concerning registrations under the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. Record cards listing reports received from drug companies, doctors, and narcotics agents, 1920-23, 1926-27. Record cards listing import licenses furnished, 1921-26, and listing purchases, sales, and drug stocks, 1925. State reports submitted in accordance with provisions of various narcotics laws, 1918-19.

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170.3 Records of the Bureau of Narcotics
1915-46

History: Established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585), consolidating the functions of the Federal Narcotics Control Board (See 170.5) and the Narcotic Division (See 170.2). Merged with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (Food and Drug Administration) by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1968, effective April 8, 1968, to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Department of Justice, which had responsibility for preventing illicit traffic in narcotic, stimulant, and depressant drugs and for controlling the legitimate manufacture of such drugs for medicinal purposes.

Textual Records : General correspondence, 1927-40 (67 ft.). Correspondence with narcotics agents and with collectors of internal revenue, 1930-40. Form letters ("Discontinuances") showing changes of address of registrants, discontinuance of licenses, and dissolution of partnerships, 1927-38. Monthly returns relating to the exportation of taxable narcotic drugs and preparations, 1915-46. Monthly and annual summaries, estimates, and statistical reports relating to narcotics activities, 1915-46. Newspaper clippings relating to the Harrison Narcotics Act, 1915-46. Proceedings of hearings relating to the supply and illegal sale of habit-forming drugs, 1915-46.

Motion Pictures: Films relating to drug traffic and enforcement of narcotics laws in Egypt, China, and the United States (13 reels) and a British instructional film on the culture of the poppy plant (1 reel), 1928-37.

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170.4 Records of the Drug Enforcement Administration
1969-80

Color and Black and White Slides (14,000 images): Activities of the DEA and related agencies, such as the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, 1973-80 (S).

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170.4.1 Records of Regional Offices
1969-70, 1972-75

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170.4.1.1 Records of Region 8, New Orleans, LA

Textual Records (in Fort Worth): Weekly narrative reports describing large drug seizures and unusual events, 1969-70. Monthly statistical and narrative reports, 1974-75.

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170.4.1.2 Records of the Narcotics Task Force, Los Angeles, CA

Textual Records (in Los Angeles): Enforcement program files, 1972-74.

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170.5 Records of the Federal Narcotics Control Board
1915-32

History: Established by the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act (42 Stat. 596), May 26, 1922, to make and publish regulations prohibiting import and export of specified narcotics. Composed of the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, and Commerce. Abolished by the act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585), creating the Bureau of Narcotics.

Textual Records : General correspondence, 1915-26 (234 ft.). Correspondence regarding import permits, 1922-32. Import licenses sent to the board by importers in foreign countries, 1923-25.

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170.6 Motion Pictures (General)

See Under 170.3.

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170.7 Still Pictures (General)

See Color and Black and White Slides Under 170.4.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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