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Drug War Chronicle #534 - May 2, 2008

Phillip S. Smith, Editor - David Borden, Executive Director

In Mexico, Opposition to Plan Merida Emerges

High US officials hit the road for Latin America this week in a series of trips to lobby for passage of Plan Mérida, the $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package for Mexico. But at a forum on drug policy in Culiacán, Sinaloa, there was little but objections to the plan, especially its emphasis on using the Mexican military in the drug war.

In Mexico's Drug Heartland, A Debate on Alternatives to the Drug War Takes Place

Culiacán, Sinaloa, is the home of one of Mexico's most feared drug trafficking organizations, the Sinaloa Cartel. This week, it was also home to a groundbreaking conference on alternatives to the drug war. As that conference ended Wednesday evening, cops, soldiers, and narcos went at it on the streets of Culiacán, leaving two cops and two narcos dead, and providing poignant punctuation to the conference.

Sentencing: Woman Who Fled Michigan Drug Sentence 32 Years Ago Caught in California, Faces 20 Years

Susan LeFevre got busted in Michigan at age 19 for small-time heroin sales. She copped a plea in hopes of leniency, but was instead sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. In 1976, she jumped the wall and fled to California, where she has led an exemplary life every since. Now, thanks to an anonymous tip, she has been tracked down and jailed pending extradition to Michigan. Should she now have to serve her time?

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

New Haven's former top narc heads to prison, a Louisiana DARE officer goes down, a South Carolina jail guard gets caught shooting cocaine, and an Idaho deputy gets caught ripping off cash and drugs.

Sentencing: Federal Crack Sentence Reductions Begin to Take Hold

The US Sentencing Commission announced that changes in the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines would be retroactive, allowing current prisoners a chance at a sentence cut. In the month since prisoners began to be able to apply for cuts, some 3,000 have received them.

Canada: Supreme Court Nixes Random Use of Drug Dogs

In contrast with the US Supreme Court, which held that a drug dog sniff did not constitute a search, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled last week that it does, and that random drug dog searches are unconstitutional.
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