Newsbrief: Federal Prosecutors in Seattle Use Patriot Act in Marijuana Case 8/6/04

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Legislative Mission Creep Alert: Federal prosecutors in Seattle have charged 15 people involved in a marijuana smuggling operation with violations of the Patriot Act, the bill hastily passed by Congress in the wake of the 9-11 attacks to protect the US from foreign terror attacks. That's a first, at least for the Seattle office, one government lawyer told the Seattle Times.

And no, clarified Assistant US Attorney Todd Greenberg, the Canadians and Americans under arrest were not sending their proceeds to Al Qaeda. They were indicted for conspiring with a Canadian marijuana-smuggling operation to deliver $3.4 million in profits from Washington state back to British Columbia.

Still, all 15 were charged with one count of "bulk-cash smuggling," a Patriot Act offense. For years, federal law has made it a criminal offense to take more than $10,000 out of the country without reporting it, but the Patriot Act changed that from a mere reporting violation to a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and the forfeiture of the cash in question.

And although there was no terror connection, invoking the Patriot Act was still appropriate, said Greenberg. "They're trying to get money from here to support crime somewhere else, so it's a way to crack down on that," he remarked cryptically.

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Issue #349, 8/6/04 Medical Marijuana Victory in Detroit | Supreme Court to Fast Track Effort to End Federal Sentencing Chaos | Massachusetts Needle Exchange Activists Hold Day of Protest, Demand Action from Legislature | Newsbrief: Defendant Can Post Pictures of Narcotics Agents in Info Search, Federal Court Says | Newsbrief: Nevada Marijuana Initiative Wins Legal Victory, Still Alive | Newsbrief: Justice Department Backs Off on Plan to Destroy Library Asset Forfeiture Pamphlets | Newsbrief: Israeli Soldiers to Get Cannabis Therapy for Stress? | Newsbrief: Marijuana Charges Down 30% in Canada | Newsbrief: California Narc Indicted in Rudy Cardenas Killing | Newsbrief: Federal Prosecutors in Seattle Use Patriot Act in Marijuana Case | Newsbrief: Bolivian Coca Growers Call for Referendum on Legal Coca | Newsbrief: Highway Travel Advisory -- South Dakota/Sturgis Rally | Press Release: Students for Sensible Drug Policy Activists to Take "Skate for Justice" Through New York State Tomorrow (8/7) | Media Scan: Peter Moskos in the Baltimore Sun | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar
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