In the News
DEA returns seized birdseed
An embarrassed Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), yielding to pressure from the Canadian government, has returned 50,000 pounds of sterile hemp seed seized at the border in August. DEA must also promise to let future shipments through U.S. Customs unimpeded. The owner of the seed, Kenex Ltd. of Ontario, has not ruled out the option of suing DEA to recover legal and other expenses.
Sheriff Tom Russell's Miller County, Missouri jail operation
is the subject of an intense corruption investigation by State
Attorney General Jay Nixon. The probe had already resulted in
a deputy sheriff, three jailers and two former prisoners pleading
guilty to corruption and assorted criminal charges. Two other
jailers arrested in the probe have pleaded innocent and are awaiting
Crack babies: another drug war myth
According to a recent study, babies exposed to cocaine or
crack before birth show no significant trends towards retardation
or other health problems, compared to babies not exposed. In
fact, poverty has a far greater negative impact on the ability
of a young child's brain to focus, organize, and problem-solve
than exposure to cocaine before birth.
Five Baltimore women were slain in a single day as a warning to rival drug dealers, according to the Associated Press. Authorities say the women were not involved with drug dealing but were shot to send a message to friends or relatives who were. The 22-year-old son of one of the five victims was also found fatally shot the morning after the killings.
Drug test results in suicide
An Atlantic City, New Jersey police officer, home on disability since May and in constant pain from a back injury, was selected at random for a drug test under a new 'zero tolerance' departmental policy. He failed, putting his job and pension at risk. Officer Michael Strehle then went home, locked himself in his bedroom, and hanged himself. Officer Strehle was 15 months away from retirement.
Customs fires whistleblower
U.S. Customs Service has given a termination notice to an inspector who went public with allegations that black and Hispanic airline passengers were being targeted for drug searches because of their race. Cathy Harris had allowed a television station access to internal records showing that black passengers in Atlanta were singled out for searches at a higher rate than whites. Customs official deny any racial bias and cited 'regulations' as the reason for the termination.
Oklahoma governor branded a racist
A state senator has called on Gov. Frank Keating to apologize
for remarks he made during a conference on methamphetamine use
Officer worked for drug dealer
A veteran New York City police officer has been accused of acting as a guard for a drug dealer. Federal agents have alleged that Officer Mark Acosta of the 26th Precinct in West Harlem worked as a paid escort for numerous narcotics deals. Officer Acosta has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Wife of drug warrior indicted
A federal grand jury has indicted the wife of the former commander
of the U.S. antidrug operation in Colombia on 13 drug-trafficking
Johnson appoints new top cop
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has named Albuquerque police
chief Nicholas Bakas as the new director of the Department of
Public Safety. Bakas succeeds Darren White, who resigned because
he disagreed with what he called Johnson's "crusade to legalize
Rewriting the Bill of Rights
Grand Prairie, Texas police and city officials are confident that a new ordinance that does not require officers to have probable cause to detain a "suspected drug dealer or user" can survive possible court challenges. Hopefully the courts will feel otherwise.
Potential life sentence leads to double suicide
A Sacramento, California couple was found dead in an apparent
double suicide in December, hours after the man was to have appeared
in court to face a possible life sentence under the notorious
"three strikes and you're out" law. He was charged
with possession of marijuana and amphetamines.
Industry challenges prison labor
Rick Cipple, president of American Apparel in Selma, Alabama,
recognizes the threat that prison industries pose to the American
workforce. He has accused Federal Prison Industries (FPI, or
UNICOR) of costing many Americans their livlihoods, including
the loss of 120 jobs in American Apparel's Brantley, Alabama
plant when FPI entered the apparel industry. Appearing before
Congress, Cipple claimed FPI is operating outside its own charter,
which mandates " . . .the program may not materially affect
any one industry or business."
Girl dies in 'boot camp'
The death of a 14-year-old girl has prompted an FBI inquiry
into the practices of state-run "boot camps" for juvenile
40 years for pot
Arthur Donnel Miller, Jr., a Payne County, Oklahoma prisoner, received an astonishing 40-year sentence for being caught with marijuana in his cell. Miller's cellmate, Eric Thompson, who was also charged and earlier pleaded guilty, had already testified the marijuana was his, according to the local district attorney's office.
Packing those prisons!
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Gov. George E. Pataki
have each proposed laws that would sharply increase the penalties
faced by people who repeatedly commit misdemeanor crimes like
trespassing, turnstile-jumping or possessing small amounts of