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Sentencing: Federal Bill to Create Criminal Drug Dealer Registry Introduced

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #456)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

It was just a matter of time. First came the laws mandating that society's favorite demonized criminals, sex offenders, must register their whereabouts with the state even after they have completed serving their sentences. Next, various states began passing legislation requiring convicted methamphetamine cooks to do the same. Now, a Republican congressman from New Mexico, Rep. Steve Pearce, has filed federal legislation that would create a national online "criminal drug dealer" registry and require the states to do the same or risk losing federal aid.

Do we really want to help kids find the drug dealers?
Last month, Pearce introduced yet another cutesy acronym of a bill, HR 6155, the "Communities Leading Everyone Away From Narcotics through Online Warning Notification Act," or the "CLEAN TOWN Act." Under the proposed bill, anyone convicted of a drug distribution, conspiracy, or possession with intent to distribute offense would be required to register with authorities annually and provide them with their name, address, employer and/or school information, social security number, criminal history, physical description, copy of official identification, and other personal information. Length of registration would vary from five years from the end of sentence for a first offender to 10 years for a second offender to life for a three-time offender.

The bill would require both the US attorney general and the various states to establish such registries. States that failed to comply would be penalized by withholding a percentage of the federal crime control funds they receive through the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Convicted drug dealers could be exempted from registration if they become snitches, or in the anodyne language of the bill, if they provide "substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense."

The bill mandates that states pass laws criminalizing failure to register. Such laws must carry sentences of greater than one year. In other words, they must be felonies.

In a press release touting his new legislative baby, Pearce coached his sponsorship of the bill in terms of protecting the children and gave his constituents credit for the idea. "During our methamphetamine awareness tour across the 2nd District in August, I heard repeatedly that we should treat convicted drug dealers like we do convicted sex offenders," Rep. Pearce said. "Both have the capacity to violate our children and destroy their lives. Our communities need more tools to protect our children. In particular, parents and teachers have a right to know when someone who could poison their son or daughter lives in their neighborhood."

No other legislators have so far stepped forward to cosponsor the bill. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

This could be the new myspace for dope dealing....
Name: Dee
Age: 21
Sex: M
Convicted For: promotion of dangerous drugs
Phone #: 212-555-1212
pager#: 212-555-1213
Address: Your Neighboorhood
Currently selling: anything you need
Interests: Selling dope making money and jail house tattoos
Available for transactions: Yes
Informant status: currently not informing but open in case of further conviction.


Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:20pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)


A right to know when someone who could poison their son or daughter lives in their neighborhood... Dam'! It just seems to me that that is EVERYBODY! I mean, anybody COULD, I suppose.

So maybe we should save our money setting up this assinine registry and presume that there just ARE people in our neighborhoods that COULD do this.

I wonder how we managed all this time until now with all these people who COULD do this living in our neighborhoods.

And while we're at it... Let's start a registry for all those who bought something (bleach, Drain-o, anti-freeze, whatever) that COULD be used to poison or dhildren! I think THAT would be the answer!


Sun, 10/08/2006 - 10:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

what an assinine bill,,just one of many reasons why he didnt get my vote.

Tue, 12/19/2006 - 2:32am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

If dealers are made to register, what kind of impact will that have on the individuals who are trying to get "real" decent jobs. Most employers won't even look at a qualified individual with that type of background. I think it will just make things harder for that individual to find a good paying job. Suppose that person is looking to change their lifestyle, all this registration does is make it harder for them to leave the drug life behind. Maybe employers should pay better so that people do not feel the need to sell drugs to survive and thrive. Gov Johnson should have asked for the cash to help rehabilitate these people, Not for cash to build prisons to lock people up as a quick fix. His decision to build prisons only hurt the people of NM. Now Prisons are overcrowded, understaffed and filled with People who lost everything when what needed was help with their illness not incarceration. The only people that I think were helped by building these Private Prisons were those companies who stand to profit on the incarceration of people. Locking people up should not be profitable. Plus, a person that is locked up is not rehabilitated, the person is only taught how to be a better criminal and shown that the system turned it's back on them when they needed the help most. People do not deal drugs because they want to. A person deals drugs because there is no other option available. Thank God that Gov Richardson is looking to help people by investing money in Rehab Programs, which should have been done in the first place. Also maybe physicians should register as drug dealers, many of them are users as well. The ignorance of drug use by non users should also be addressed. Many are quick to judge without walking in someone elses shoes. Helping dealers find alternate methods of income is more prudent than the "excommunication" of them in our society. After all, someone you know, a friend, may be dealing drugs and you would never expect it. What a shame to lock them up instead of helping them.

Sat, 02/10/2007 - 9:36am Permalink
Birdie (not verified)

As a 29 year law enforcement officer who primarily investigates drug dealers, I think it is a good idea. The reason being is that most (not all) of the dealers are repeat offenders. They do their time, get out and start all over again. The probation officers are overwhelmed by all sorts of criminals so they can't really keep up with them. To me these are the worst kind of people. They don't want to work because they want the fast easy money. They fight over territory and usually along with another dealer, a innocent bystander or two gets shot. What really makes me mad is that they purchase all of these material things and put them in other people's names so if they get caught they can't be confiscated but at the same time they are receiving assistance from the state and federal government for themselves and their seven kids. The big thing now is they all claim they are going to college on line to get an education to better themselves. They get these student loans from the government for $9000 and flip it for cocaine or buy cars with it. I have interviewed quite a few who have admitted to this. In three drug infested areas in my community,  the federal government gave community block grants so they could have new houses. The whole thing is crazy. It seems like if you get out here and work, you are not rewarded but rather taxed to death . But if you sleep all day, party and sell drugs all night you can have a new home built for you , get food stamps so you can eat, own 3 or 4 nice cars and motorcycles, get all kinds of assistance from the federal government and best of all if you are irresponsible and have a boat load of kids that you can't pay for, the state will do it for you. Then when you forget to report that $80,000 a year or more that you made with your drug dealing business to the IRS, they just total up the number of kids you got and send you $3,000 a piece for them in way of a tax refund. I say let's put their ass on a list and expose them for what they are, keep track of them and make them stay on the straight and narrow. If all funding to these people were cut off and they were made to maintain a real job or go back to jail some of them might wake up. Whether they are in jail or on the street, the responsible citizens are footing the bill for them anyway.              

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 12:02pm Permalink

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