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Drug War Chronicle #534 - May 2, 2008

1. In Mexico, Opposition to Plan Merida Emerges

High US officials hit the road for Latin America this week in a series of trips to lobby for passage of Plan Mérida, the $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package for Mexico. But at a forum on drug policy in Culiacán, Sinaloa, there was little but objections to the plan, especially its emphasis on using the Mexican military in the drug war.

2. In Mexico's Drug Heartland, A Debate on Alternatives to the Drug War Takes Place

Culiacán, Sinaloa, is the home of one of Mexico's most feared drug trafficking organizations, the Sinaloa Cartel. This week, it was also home to a groundbreaking conference on alternatives to the drug war. As that conference ended Wednesday evening, cops, soldiers, and narcos went at it on the streets of Culiacán, leaving two cops and two narcos dead, and providing poignant punctuation to the conference.

3. Dedication: Seattle Musician Timothy Garon, Victim of the Drug War

Seattle-area musician Timothy Garon passed away late last night after being denied a needed transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center because of his medical marijuana use.

4. Offer: New Clergy Anti-Drug-War Video

Clergy are speaking out against the war on drugs! Donate $16 or more (or whatever you can afford) and we'll send you a copy.

5. Sentencing: Woman Who Fled Michigan Drug Sentence 32 Years Ago Caught in California, Faces 20 Years

Susan LeFevre got busted in Michigan at age 19 for small-time heroin sales. She copped a plea in hopes of leniency, but was instead sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. In 1976, she jumped the wall and fled to California, where she has led an exemplary life every since. Now, thanks to an anonymous tip, she has been tracked down and jailed pending extradition to Michigan. Should she now have to serve her time?

6. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

New Haven's former top narc heads to prison, a Louisiana DARE officer goes down, a South Carolina jail guard gets caught shooting cocaine, and an Idaho deputy gets caught ripping off cash and drugs.

7. Sentencing: Federal Crack Sentence Reductions Begin to Take Hold

The US Sentencing Commission announced that changes in the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines would be retroactive, allowing current prisoners a chance at a sentence cut. In the month since prisoners began to be able to apply for cuts, some 3,000 have received them.

8. Marijuana: New York City Pot Arrest Capital of the World

New York City decriminalized marijuana possession nearly three decades ago, but cops there still managed to arrest nearly 40,000 people for pot last year and 400,000 in the last decade.

9. Europe: Dutch Ban on Magic Mushrooms Moves Closer

The Dutch are about to ban magic mushrooms. The cabinet passed a proposal and sent it to parliament, where it is expected to be approved.

10. Canada: Supreme Court Nixes Random Use of Drug Dogs

In contrast with the US Supreme Court, which held that a drug dog sniff did not constitute a search, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled last week that it does, and that random drug dog searches are unconstitutional.

11. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

12. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

13. Job Listing: Field Coordinator, Americans for Safe Access, Oakland

Americans for Safe Access is looking to hire a field coordinator for their Oakland, California headquarters.
Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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