An inside look at the Drug Enforcement Administration's warehouse where confiscated drugs are stored

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jun 16, 2017

ABC15 was recently granted special access inside the Drug Enforcement Administration's warehouse in Arizona, a place where few cameras are allowed.

It's a facility that processes nearly a million pounds of marijuana each year. When our cameras showed up, there was 200,000 pounds inside!

The location is so top secret, we can only say that it's here in Arizona, but we can't reveal any additional details.

It looks like an ordinary white van pulling up to a warehouse but there's nothing ordinary about what's inside.

Federal agents, high-powered assault rifles, and close to a thousand pounds of marijuana. And this isn't the day's only drop-off.

"It's a multi-billion dollar business," explains DEA Special Agent Doug Coleman.

It's also a business with deep roots in Arizona. Part of the reason why the DEA built this warehouse in Arizona is because of the amount of drug trafficking activity we see. The warehouse serves as a pit-stop for drugs intercepted along the border before they're destroyed.

On display inside the warehouse are different ways these smugglers operate. "Brand labeling" their drugs, dousing packaging with laundry detergent to throw off the scent and even using a "cannabis cannon" to shoot their products over the border from Mexico.

And in other ways, it's back to the basics.

We saw a number of burlap backpacks, weighing anywhere from 25-50lbs, that undocumented immigrants will sneak across the border with — trekking miles and miles in the triple digit heat — risking their lives to complete this mission.

"It's a dangerous, dangerous game for them," explains Coleman.

They're not the only ones. Coleman has been with the DEA for 27 years and in that time he explains his life has been threatened multiple times. But he says it's not his own life he's worried about.

"If we stop one person from going down a life of addiction, we stop one person from getting a hold of that meth or that coke that starts them on that path of addiction, then we've saved a life. "