When Bill Czopek decided to transfer to the Naval Academy, he knew that he wanted the structure and support of a military career. Through persistence and dedication, he was accepted. Little did he know, that experience would lead him to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Special Agent Bill Czopek discusses his time in the Navy, his experience in the DEA, and some things Veterans should be concerned about when it comes to counterfeit pills and the illegal drug trade.

In the Navy, Czopek served as a Surface Warfare Officer. He became a “jack of all trades” and learned versatility in this role. His first-ever “drug bust” happened off the coast of North Africa, where his ship intercepted a dhow (fishing boat) smuggling two tons of hashish.

After his service, Czopeck turned his eyes toward serving his country in a civilian role, today as a DEA officer, and and he talks the state of drug trafficking in America, including:

  • DEA foreign offices
  • Counterfeit pills
  • The drug trafficking supply chain
  • Online drug sales
  • How Veterans and other citizens can protect themselves from the effects of drug trafficking

He also gives advice for other Veterans planning on applying to federal agencies after their service.


Want to know more about counterfeit pills, an issue that directly affects Veterans receiving medical care? Among other details in the podcast, Czopeck shared:

  • Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl can look exactly like legitimate prescription pills.
  • According to the DEA, the number of counterfeit pills in circulation has increased 430% since 2019.
  • According to the FDA, consumers should ensure their pill and drug packing look normal before taking any medication.

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By Maggie Thomas is a writing intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. She studies International Studies and Spanish at the University of Mississippi.

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Published on Oct. 11, 2021

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 242

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