Drugs and the Military: No indictments for marines who shot Texas schoolboy Esequiel Hernandez... ALSO: Cartels hiring ex-US GI's 8/22/97

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A Texas grand jury has decided not to indict Cpl. Clemente Manuel Banuelos, the U.S. Marine who shot and killed Esequiel "Zeke" Hernandez, an 18 year-old high school student, near the border town of Redford. The 12 member grand jury reported on August 14 that they did not have the required 9 votes to indict. District Attorney Albert Valdez said that the panel "believes that Cpl. Banuelos was acting reasonably in defense of a third person when he fired the fatal shot."

There are still many questions surrounding the actions of both the marines involved and the Marine Corps investigation of their actions, and cries of cover-up continue unabated. The larger question, of course is that of the role of the military in the War on Drugs, especially in domestic law- enforcement capacities. The extent to which the military has become involved would have been unthinkable for over 200 years of this nation's history.

(If you didn't see the link of the week two issues ago, please check out the Drug Policy Forum of Texas' Esequiel Hernandez focus at http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/hernandez/.


U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, says that Mexican drug lords are hiring former U.S. soldiers both to protect them and to train their other hired forces in the use of high-tech equipment.

DRCNet Military Affairs Correspondent Joseph Miranda says that we ought not be surprised. "If you're going to militarize the Drug War, and that's what we seem to be doing, you have to expect that the other side will respond in kind. There's plenty of money for the drug traffickers to buy both hardware and expertise, whether it's U.S. expertise or somebody else's. It almost seems like a setup, however, with our actions driving their responses, and then their responses being used to justify more militarization on our end. With the Communist threat gone, the Drug War is seen by the military establishment as a justification for maintaining budgets. In that respect, escalation is just what the doctor ordered."

Joseph Miranda's article, "The Military and the War on Drugs," can be found on the DRCNet web site at http://www.drcnet.org/military/. Mr. Miranda is a former instructor at the U.S. School for Special Warfare.

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Issue #8, 8/22/97 Medical Marijuana: California, New Mexico, Netherlands MS Study | Needle Exchange: George Soros gives $1 Million for NEPs, Family Research Council Distorts Facts | Drugs and the Military: No indictments for marines who shot Texas schoolboy Esequiel Hernandez... ALSO: Cartels hiring ex-US GI's | International News: Australian Prime Minister Cancels Heroin Maintenance Trial, Dutch Prepare to Go Ahead With Their Own Version | Drug Education: Mario Cuomo and William Bennett to co-chair the Partnership for a Drug Free America, Another Study Finds D.A.R.E. Doesn't Work | Media Alert: New York Times Interviews George Soros | Link of the Week: A special friend of DRCNet, the November Coalition champions the cause of current -- and future -- prisoners of the Drug War | Quote of the Week: Undercover cops corruptible? The FBI knows | Editorial: "A Drug Free America"
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