Tag Archives: War on Drugs

At least he’s not dead

Another example of under reported stories of the costs of the drug war, from Reason.

James was pulled over for speeding in 2006 in Vero Beach, Florida while driving back to his home in Jacksonville after a concert. The officer who pulled him over said the car smelled like marijuana, and asked to conduct a search. James agreed, because neither he nor his passenger had been using drugs. When his passenger was found to be in possession of a pipe and several screens (but no marijuana), the officer searched James. His pockets were empty save for a single Oxycontin pill. James told the officer he received the pill from a friend at the concert, but that he had never tried Oxycontin, and intended to give it away.

A second officer was called to the scene. James’ passenger was arrested for possession of paraphernalia, and James was arrested for illegal possession of a prescription narcotic.

The next morning, James’ mother drove to Indian River County to plead for a lightening of her son’s bond. She told the judge that James, then 24, was both a full-time graduate student at the University of North Florida and a full-time stock broker with Merrill Lynch. James’ lawyer advised him to plead no-contest, saying he would likely get probation and then have his record expunged.

“After being assured that the penalty would be light,” James told Reason in an email, “it turned into a bigger ordeal than I could ever imagine.”

The judge who heard James’ case accepted the no-contest plea. Then he began stacking on penalties.

Despite having no criminal record and never having taken Oxycontin, James was required to attend two Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week for an entire year, and 15 weekend-long state-run drug classes (the latter he was required to pay for). Despite the fact that he was going to school at night for his MBA, James was given a curfew, and had to be inside his own home between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day of the week, for the entire year. As a final punishment, the judge instructed James to immediately report his arrest to his employer, and to let his probation officer know when he had done so.

As you can imagine, this hasn’t worked out so well for James.  Feel safer?  Are your children safer after James’ punishment?

You can vote for someone who will really change this in November.  (Hint:  it isn’t Obama or Romney).

Will you?  Or do you think this is OK?


DEA Disaster

Via Q and O comes this example of another drug war disaster.

Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers.

At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers – all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.

In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.

How many people need to die?  Is this really worth it?

Oh, and the truck, and the poor guy who owned it?  Well, sorry about that, bud.

“When you start a new business, there are obvious pitfalls you go through, a learning curve,” said Patty, who before buying his two trucks worked in the pharmaceutical industry. “But who would ever be ready to deal with this?

“How am I — a small businessman, father of three, American Joe from Texas — supposed to make a claim against a federal agency that has conveniently shrouded itself behind a red, white and blue cloak of confidentiality and secrecy?”

Copies of letters and emails from Patty’s insurance company state that it won’t pay for repairs because the truck was part of a law-enforcement operation. Patty drew from his 401K retirement fund to repair the truck, which was out of operation for 100 days.

“I was not part of this,” he said. “I had absolutely no knowledge of any of it until after it happened.”

For its part, the DEA has not admitted that it was using Chapa as a spy because its official policy is not to comment on whether someone was an informant.

You have the power to stop this madness.  Your responsibility lies in your action in November.  A vote for either of the two major party candidates is a vote to continue this.  Know that.  The blood is on YOUR hands if you keep electing these people.


This Can Happen To You

This story highlights a couple of things:

  • The war on drugs leads to horrific violations of individual rights.
  • Allowing the government to confiscate property from people suspected of drug law violations is a crime
  • A dog ‘alert’ is not probable cause.

When Pompton Lakes police seized Darren Richardson’s car on a rainy September afternoon, they told him it was headed for an impound lot. When they returned it three weeks later, he says, the 2004 BMW belonged in a junk yard.

The instrument cluster and leather dashboard were gone. The caramel-colored seats were torn up. The gear shift was ripped out and stray wires hung limp everywhere. Geico, Richardson’s insurance company estimated the damage at $12,636.42 — more than he paid for the car — and declared the vehicle a “total loss.”

According to police reports, the damage to the black BMW 325i came in the aftermath of a traffic stop during which officers detected a “strong odor of raw marijuana” inside the vehicle. Searching for a cache of drugs, members of three different police agencies and a detective from a federal drug task force spent two days tearing the car apart, the reports said.

So what did police find after their $12,000 search?

Absolutely nothing.

Now to me, it doesn’t matter what they found, but it’s important to lots of other people, who think it’s just fine to ignore individual rights if we get bad guys.  (See also:  TSA).  Those people are ignorant sheep.

Before you get indignant, mouthing off to a cop isn’t a crime, and in some cases is our duty.

If anyone thinks any officer will be held responsible or that the state will reimburse the insurance company after the investigation, I’ve got some nice waterfront property for you.  They will find the officers acted appropriately, maybe even congratulate them.




Political Prisoners

So which country has the most political prisoners?  Why, the good old US of A!

(Drug users are political prisoners.  Drug policy is political, not based on any violation of anothers’ rights, property or otherwise).

Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

This is the war on drugs

Take a gander at this post at Reason, and watch the video.

Happy with that?

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