In the News
Cops on drugs
According to The Denver Post, a growing number of applicants
for police jobs have admitted prior illegal drug use. It's a
national problem, they say.
Paul Torres, executive director of the Denver Civil Service Commission,
told the Post that up to 70 percent of the applicants for police
jobs in Denver admit to some type of illegal drug use. "It's
the rule rather than the exception any more," he stated.
Killers of teenage informant sentenced
In 1999 17-year-old Chad McDonald of Brea, California was
viciously beaten and murdered for working as a police drug informant,
while his girlfriend was raped, shot in the face and left for
In January his killers were sentenced to life in prison without
parole. The officials who cynically coerced MacDonald to work
as an informant face no penalties whatsoever. Police in Brea
acknowledge that MacDonald was recruited as an informant after
he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, but claim
he was no longer working for them when he was murdered.
Feds "missing" a lot of drugs
In early December, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO)
released a report detailing an ongoing problem: drugs are constantly
disappearing from federal evidence lockers and labs, and the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can't explain why. Among
Over 50 grams of cocaine missing from a packet of evidence slated
to be destroyed.
About 300 grams of cocaine disappeared from one sample at a southwestern
DEA lab, with another 200 grams later missing from the same lab.
Bags of marijuana kept in the DEA's Miami office lost 25 pounds,
or half the weight from the time the haul was seized.
DEA agents told congressional investigators that "natural
evaporation could account for some of the shortages."
In many cases, according to Donnie Marshall, acting director
of the DEA, agents did not properly weigh their evidence samples
before sending them on to labs or evidence lockers. The GAO noted
that the issue of the weights is critical because the amount
of drugs seized is the primary factor in establishing prison
sentences upon conviction.
Scott lawsuit settled for $5 million
In 1992 Donald P. Scott awoke to the sounds of 20 or more
heavily armed, black-hooded men crashing through the front door
of his $5 million, 200-acre ranch near the Los Angeles-Ventura
county line. Understandably alarmed and still half-asleep, he
grabbed his pistol from the nightstand and headed downstairs
to protect his family. He was shot dead by agents of a multi-jurisdictional
drug task force, who later claimed they were acting on an 'anonymous
In January 2000, Los Angeles County and the federal government
tentatively agreed to pay $5 million to the Scott family. No
drugs were ever found on the estate, and the survivors of Mr.
Scott contend authorities staged the raid to seize the ranch
under drug-forfeiture laws. Officials deny those charges, but
said they agreed to settle the lawsuit because they feared jurors
would not believe government agents.
Police killed their patriarch
A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles for the survivors of a police
shooting victim tells a story of death and terror inflicted on
a family by mistake. SWAT officers in camouflage and black ski
masks shot their way into the Compton home of Mario Paz just
before midnight August 9, 1999 and shot the 65-year-old grandfather
in the back as he kneeled beside his bed. But the raid yielded
no drugs, no arrests, and no charges were ever filed.
His widow, Maria, said that as she was handcuffed and led outside
she heard an officer say, "I think we hit the wrong house."
"At the time the shots were fired, Mario Paz Sr., clad only
in his underwear, was kneeling beside his bed with both hands
resting on top of the bed," said family attorney Johnnie
Cochran. "In my 37 years of practicing law this case is
one of the most egregious I've ever seen, an outrage for everyone."
240 year sentence - plus probation?
In Buffalo, New York, Luis "Danny" Cruz, 21, was
sentenced to 240 years by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara,
who lamented that he had no choice in the matter. Then Cruz was
told he also must complete 8 years probation.
Defense attorney John J. Lavin told The Buffalo News that Cruz
was arrested for selling an amount of cocaine that would barely
fill a coffee cup.
Federal prosecutors boasted Cruz has set a record for the longest
sentence ever under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Cops use 14-year-old in drug deal
Tucson, Arizona undercover officers knowingly bought $2,980
worth of cocaine from a 14-year-old boy before arresting him
and two adults. Because of the multiple drug transactions, the
boy is now facing a possible 150 year prison sentence.
Defense attorney D. Jesse Smith has publicly accused the officers
in The Arizona Daily Star of committing a series of felony offenses
- felony child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor
and use of a minor in a drug transaction - far more serious than
what they were investigating.
"The issue is we didn't put him into business and we weren't
making him sell drugs. That's a decision he made," said
Tucson police Capt. Kermit Miller.
Hunch not enough for search
The Nebraska Supreme Court has decided in a 7-0 opinion that
simply acting nervous does not justify detaining a motorist after
a routine traffic stop, concluding that "reasonable suspicion
amounts to more than just a hunch."
The court ruled that the drugs gathered from the resulting search
of Christopher Anderson's vehicle - 230 pounds of marijuana -
should not have been admitted into evidence. Anderson's three-year
sentence has been set aside pending retrial, according to the
Jury acquits entrapped defendant
Edwin Rodriguez, 32, and 58 other workers were arrested in
August at Miami International Airport and charged with conspiring,
to smuggle guns and drugs onto American Airlines passenger planes.
A Miami federal court jury acquitted him of all charges.
The employees thought the drug ring was run by a major dealer.
In fact, the ring was a fake, completely organized and operated
by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Customs
and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Rodriguez's attorney, Louis Casuso, argued that the entire operation
amounted to entrapment. Casuso said the federal agents dangled
$15,000 in front of Rodriguez to get him to carry the contraband
on the airliner.
"Jurors don't like entrapment, and that's exactly what this
was," Casuso told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Wyoming sheriffs are tough on feds
Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis has served notice that
all federal officials are forbidden to enter his county without
his prior approval, and risk arrest and custody if they do so.
Sheriff Mattis stated: "I am reacting to the actions of
federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of my
county of their privacy, their liberty, and their property without
regard to constitutional safeguards. I hope that more sheriffs
all across America will join us in protecting their citizens
from the illegal activities of the IRS, EPA, DEA, BATF, FBI,
or any other federal agency that is operating outside the confines
of constitutional law. [Federal agents] are no longer welcome
in Bighorn County unless they intend to operate in conformance
to constitutional law."
Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriffs' Association
brought a suit against the federal government in the Wyoming
Federal District Court district seeking restoration of the protections
enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.
The court ruled in favor of the sheriffs, stating that, "Wyoming
is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county
is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has
law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal
The sheriffs are also demanding that federal agencies immediately
cease the seizure of private property and the impoundment of
private bank accounts without regard to due process in state
Customs using X-rated X-rays
According to a press release from the National Libertarian
Party, U.S. Customs can now peer right through your clothing
at airport security checkpoints. The high resolution imaging
machines, called the BodySearch, are already in operation at
JFK Airport in New York and five other major airports around
the country, and will be installed in every large airport in
the USA by June.
"Since airport officials don't need a search warrant to
use these X-rated X-rays, everyone from your teenage daughter
to your grandmother can be technologically stripped stark naked
- in stark violation of their right to privacy," warned
Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party national director.
Giuliani's war on civil rights
New York Mayor Rudolph (rhymes with Adolph) Giuliani seems
intent on completely eviscerating the U.S. Constitution. His
latest plan is to seize and auction off cars for traffic violations.
"If you get arrested for reckless driving to the point that
we can charge you with a misdemeanor, we're going to take your
automobile from you. And we're going to take your automobile
from you because we're entitled to it" Giuliani announced
during his latest State of the City address in January.
Under the new seizure policy, police are instructed to watch
for behavior that "unreasonably endangers others",
such as speeding, driving too close to another vehicle, or excessive