The Drug Enforcement Administration is joining the investigation into Michael Jackson's death, a law enforcement official said late Wednesday.
The DEA is stepping in at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation. The federal agency can provide resources and experience in investigating drug abuse, illicit drug manufacturers known as "pill mills" and substances local police may not be familiar with, the official said.
The DEA would likely play a role in looking at Jackson's doctors, the drugs they prescribed and whether the doctors were registered with the DEA to prescribe those substances as federal law requires. Also, investigators are expected to look at the sources of the drugs provided to Jackson or his associates to determine if there was a pattern of trafficking.
Following Jackson's death, allegations emerged that the 50-year-old King of Pop had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants. But Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse whose specialty includes nutritional counseling, said she encountered a man tortured by sleep deprivation and one who expressed opposition to recreational drug use.
Lee told the AP Tuesday she repeatedly rejected Jackson's demands for the drug, Diprivan. Several months ago, Jackson had begun badgering Lee about Diprivan, also known as Propofol, Lee said. It is an intravenous anesthetic drug widely used in operating rooms to induce unconsciousness. It is generally given through an IV needle in the hand.
But the federal law enforcement official said that Propofol is not a controlled substance. "It's not the kind of drug the DEA has seen being abused," the official said.