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September 13, 2006 - Daily Southtown (IL)

OpEd: Cops, Like Kids, Lured By Drug-War Profits

By James E. Gierach, Oak Lawn attorney

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Four cops from the elite Chicago special operations section are charged with robbing, beating, kidnapping and intimidating suspected drug dealers.

According to published reports, as many as nine cops are suspected of abusing their police power in the latest episode of drug-war corruption.

Part of the drug-war strategy is to take the ill-gotten goods from the drug dealers -- take their real estate, their fancy ccars, boats, airplanes and cash. Seize and forfeit, seize and forfeit -- that's the drug-war way. Half the confiscated loot goes to the arresting agency and half to the feds.

Tempting, all that money and property.

"Why not just confiscate it for ourselves?" whiz kid of Chicago's elite gang crime unit, officer Joseph Miedzianowski, thought. He graduated from super-drug cop to super-drug conspirator to super-drug prisoner locked away in a federal hoosegow.

Cops are tempted by drug profits just like our kids -- both sets nurtured, too often, into drug dealers in the imagined ""drug-free" world our drug laws have made for us.

Drug war saves our kids from drugs, the old saw goes, and the recently released annual survey of drug use in America shows that drug use by teenagers is down this past year.

Trouble is: Drug use is up among the baby boomers. (Laughably, it's the old folks that need DARE classes.)

Net change in U.S. drug use: none. Net drug-war success: none.

Tough prison sentences were going to make drug prohibition stick. And our prisons are packed with drug users, packed to the point where the Land of the Free is now the Home of the Prisons, as the U.S. sports the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world with millions of people behind bars.

But drug war reduces drug availability, right? Nope. The United Nations just reported record-breaking opium production in Afghanistan despite an army of U.S. soldiers on the ground there.

Opium production is up 50 percent over the previous year, with the 2006 opium harvest fixed at 6,000 metric tons, enough for 60 tons of heroin. And heroin is the dope of preference among those drug dealers who have recently taken to lacing their illegal dope with killer Fentanyl, a legal drug.

All heroin dealers are unlicensed. In fact, all dealers of illegal drugs are unlicensed. Maybe they should be licensed.

Heroin manufacture is uncontrolled. In fact, the manufacture of all illegal drugs is uncontrolled. Maybe the manufacture of illegal drugs should be controlled and regulated. There's been lots of drug-war news, but it's all bad.

I told my ear doctor that I ran for governor once on a platform of legalized drugs. He said, "If you run to legalize drugs again, I'll vote for you." Now that's an earful.

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