Nebraska ACLU Legal Director Amy Miller claims documents obtained through an open records request indicate federal authorities informed state officials federal law prohibits the importing of the drugs.
Miller contradicts Gov. Pete Ricketts’ assertion that the state is in discussions with the Drug Enforcement Agency to import the drugs.
“The DEA is not in negotiations,” Miller tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The DEA has said we will stop these items at the border. It is illegal; cease and desist. So, the governor’s assertion that there are negotiations happening does not match up with the clear, written documents of the DEA.”
During a news conference earlier this week, Ricketts stated Nebraska is working with the DEA to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out executions using lethal injection. He stated he did not have a timeline for when the state might obtain the drugs.
Miller claims documents from both the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration warn that lethal injection drugs paid for by the state cannot enter the country.
The ACLU says Nebraska paid more than $50,000 to India-based Harris Pharma for the drugs.
ACLU Legal Director Amy Miller has written U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, requesting the probe.
“We want to make sure that someone is aware of the fact that despite the fact that the state of Nebraska has been told no, they are moving forward as if they have never received that prohibition,” Miller says.
In the letter, the ACLU of Nebraska requests Gilg open an investigation into Nebraska’s “ongoing efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs from a foreign source.”
The letter lists multiple communications between state officials and federal authorities between May and August of this year.
For links to the documents, click here for the ACLU Nebraska website.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this article.