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Weekly: This Week in History

Submitted by dguard on (Issue #560)

November 15, 1875: San Francisco passes the first US anti-drug law, an ordinance outlawing Chinese opium dens.

November 15, 1984: Spanish police arrest Jorge Ochoa on a US warrant and both the US and Colombia apply for his extradition. Soon after, the Medellin cartel publicly threatens to murder five Americans for every Colombian extradition. The Spanish courts ultimately rule in favor of Colombia's request and Ochoa is deported. He serves a month in jail on charges of bull-smuggling before being paroled.

November 18, 1986: A US federal grand jury in Miami releases the indictment of the Ochoas, Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha under the RICO statute. The indictment names the Medellin cartel as the largest cocaine smuggling organization in the world.

November 21, 1987: Jorge Ochoa is arrested in Colombia. Ochoa is held in prison on the bull-smuggling charge for which he was extradited from Spain. Twenty-four hours later a gang of thugs arrive at the house of Juan Gómez Martínez, the editor of Medellin's daily newspaper El Colombiano. They present Martinez with a communique signed by "The Extraditables," which threatens execution of Colombian political leaders if Ochoa is extradited. On December 30, Ochoa is released under dubious legal circumstances. In January 1988, the murder of Colombian Attorney General Carlos Mauro Hoyos is claimed by the Extraditables.

November 17, 1993: President Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement which results in an enormous increase in legitimate trade across the US-Mexican border. The volume of trade increases the difficulty for US Customs officials seeking to find narcotics hidden within legitimate goods. [Ed: Of course, reducing the supply of drugs was already an essentially hopeless task.]

November 17, 1993: At an International Network of Cities on Drug Policy conference in Baltimore, Maryland former Colombian high court judge Gomez Hurtado tells the Americans present, "Forget about drug deaths, and acquisitive crime, and addiction, and AIDS. All this pales into insignificance before the prospect facing the liberal societies of the West. The income of the drug barons is greater than the American defense budget. With this financial power they can suborn the institutions of the State and, if the State resists... they can purchase the firepower to outgun it. We are threatened with a return to the Dark Ages."

November 19, 1993: In Missouri, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) helicopter crashes while conducting surveillance of suspected drug activity, killing a St. Louis police officer and critically injuring the pilot. The crash occurs in a rural, heavily wooded area 15 miles south of St. Louis. The man killed is Stephen Strehl, 35, a 14-year department veteran assigned to a DEA drug task force. The pilot, Hawthorn Lee, is hospitalized in critical condition.

November 15, 2001: Asa Hutchinson, administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Republican Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico debate the war on drugs in front of about 150 people in Yale's Law School auditorium.

November 19, 2001: Former West Vancouver (Canada) school superintendent Ed Carlin becomes furious with the North Vancouver Royal Canadian Mounted Police after a blunder during which the emergency response team raids a basement rental suite occupied by his son and three others in search of drugs and guns -- the police find Nintendo controllers in the home, but no guns or drugs.

November 15, 2002: NFL star and NORML advisory board member Mark Stepnoski is interviewed on the O'Reilly Factor.

November 20, 2008: Irvin Rosenfeld marks his twenty-sixth anniversary of receiving a monthly tin of about 300 pre-rolled medical marijuana cigarettes from the United States government, as one of five living patients grandfathered into the now defunct Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program.

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.

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