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The Obama administration has launched a quiet campaign over the past two months to seize from local officials a key drug used in lethal injections -- part of a spreading investigation that has contributed to a de facto death penalty freeze in several states.
The investigation stems from concerns about the overseas source of the drug, though some question whether those concerns make a handy excuse to slow the pace of executions. The seizures started in Georgia, where the Drug Enforcement Administration in March grabbed their supply of sodium thiopental. From there, the DEA swooped into Tennessee, Kentucky and other states to confiscate their stash, forcing the states to either find an alternative chemical or suspend executions.
"It's very strange," said Kent Scheidegger, legal director with the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
Sodium thiopental is just one drug in a three-drug mix used to execute prisoners. It is used as the first drug in the process to induce general anesthesia. The subsequent drugs paralyze and then kill the inmate.
The administration is keeping its probe under wraps. Though the DEA said in March they had "concerns" about the way the drug was imported into the United States, federal officials have since stopped talking about it entirely. The DEA referred questions from FoxNews.com to the Justice Department. A representative at the Justice Department said she could not comment on the case.
Read more: www.foxnews.com...