Newsbriefs 12/10/99

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Mass Graves Reveal Two FBI Informants

In a none-too-surprising twist, the bodies of two Mexicans who worked as informants for the FBI were found among the first eight bodies exhumed from mass graves in Juarez, Mexico. Informants, many of who are peripheral players forced into service by law enforcement under threat of long prison sentences, are at serious risk of discovery and death. Experts have long criticized U.S. drug enforcement for its over-reliance on informants. In January (1999) the 10th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, en banc, overturned an earlier ruling which would have prohibited the federal government from exchanging money, leniency or freedom for information (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#singleton).

Teen's Death Spurs Inquiry of Abuse at State-Run "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 offenders. The girl, who weighed over 200 pounds, was dragged, shackled, on a nearly 3-mile run last July 21, then left lying in the sun, untreated for more than three hours, by staff at the South Dakota State Training School. The probe has given rise to a debate over the widespread practice of sending teens, some adjudicated and some because their parents simply turned them over to the state, to institutions where, many say, they are physically and emotionally abused. South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow, a former U.S. Marine, defended boot camps, saying, "we're getting the booze and drugs out of their mind."

"Super Poppy" Developed in Australia

Scientists who work in Australia's legal opiate industry have genetically designed a "super poppy" capable of producing double the amount of opiate of normal poppies. This report follows similar reports of "super coca" plants, reportedly being used in Colombia by farmers.

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Issue #118, 12/10/99 INTERVIEW: Lynn Curtis, President, Eisenhower Foundation | Republican Congressman, Senate Candidate Calls for Drug Maintenance Programs | Protesters Take Over Office of NYC Secretary of Human Resources | FDA-Approved Medical Marijuana Research Blocked Under New Federal Guidelines | Study Finds Poverty More Harmful to Children than Pre-Natal Exposure to Cocaine | Newsbriefs | Rebroadcast of Snitch Next Week | New Issue of Harm Reduction Communication Available Online | Deadline Extended for Year 2000 Drug Policy Foundation Achievement Awards | Editorial: A Typical Week in the Drug War
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