Weekly: This Week in History7/14/06
July 14, 1969: President Richard Nixon sends a message to Congress entitled "Special Message to the Congress on Control of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs." The message asks Congress to enact legislation to combat rising levels of drug use.
July 15, 1998: US drug czar Barry McCaffrey visits Switzerland to meet with officials responsible for drug policy and to see the heroin distribution program firsthand. McCaffrey makes clear the administration's concern about the program, noting that while such policies may bring short-term benefits, the US thinks they will in the long run prove detrimental to the well-being of Swiss society.
July 16, 2003: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo orders weekly public burnings of illegal drugs seized by the police, as well as the publication of mug shots of arrested drug dealers. "Let us put a face and identity to these people and get the public involved in hunting them down," says Arroyo.
July 17, 1984: The Drug War and Cold War collide, as the Washington Times runs a story detailing DEA informant Barry Seal's successful infiltration of the Medellin cartel's operations in Panama. The story was leaked by Oliver North and shows the Nicaraguan Sandanistas' involvement in the drug trade. Ten days later, Carlos Lehder, Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa, and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha are indicted by a Miami Federal grand jury based on evidence obtained by Seal. In February 1986, Seal is assassinated in Baton Rouge, LA, by gunmen hired by the cartel.
July 17, 1980: Financed by wealthy ranchers and drug lords under Roberto Suarez Gomez, the "Cocaine Generals" of the Bolivian "cocaine coup" seize power. Within months it is learned that two of them, Pierluigi Pagliai and Stefano Delle Chiaie, are right-wing Propaganda Due (P-2) terrorists with suspected kills on three continents, and another, Klaus Altmann, is none other than fugitive Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyons. Barbie, who had sent hundreds of Jews to their deaths, had avoided prosecution when Americans in occupied Germany recruited him as an informer in 1947 and engineered his escape.
July 18, 1956: The Narcotics Control Act/Daniel Act is passed, establishing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.
July 20, 1995: The total number of marijuana arrests since 1965 passes the 10,000,000 mark, according to an estimate by NORML.