Drug War Chronicle #697 - August 18, 2011

1. Plan Merida Focus to Shift to Border Region [FEATURE]

The University of Texas-El Paso Border Security Conference saw a shift announced in Plan Merida priorities and a lot of happy talk about defeating the cartels, but little discussion of ending the drug war.

2. Please Support Our New Legislative Center

We are pleased to announce a major new section of the StoptheDrugWar.org web site -- and we are seeking your support to continue to make it possible.

3. Greek Government Proposes Drug Decriminalization

The Greek government has submitted a bill that would decriminalize drug possession in most circumstances and provide for drug treatment instead of jail for addicts.

4. Majority in Colorado Poll Want Marijuana Legalized

A new poll has Coloradans voicing majority support for marijuana legalization, but just barely.

5. Victims of Deadly Tucson SWAT Raid Begin Legal Action

The family of Jose Guerena, the former Marine gunned down in his own home by an invading Arizona SWAT team, is laying the legal groundwork for a massive lawsuit.

6. Perry, Romney Burnish Drug Warrior Credentials

Two of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination had comments related to drug policy this week, and it wasn't pretty.

7. Alabama Bill Would Drug Test Medicaid Recipients

A proposed Alabama law would require Medicaid beneficiaries to take random suspicionless drug tests -- and pay for them -- and would throw them off the rolls for at least a year if they test positive.

8. Portland, ME, Marijuana Initiative Dies… For Now

A municipal initiative to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority has come up just short in Portland, Maine.

9. IL School District Teachers Strike Over Drug Testing

An Illinois school board demands that teachers submit to mandatory random drug testing even as it concedes there is no need for it. As a result, instead of teachers welcoming students to school this week, they're hitting the picket line.

10. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, it's drug task forces gone bad! And a dope-snorting and -peddling sheriff, too.

11. This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

1. Plan Merida Focus to Shift to Border Region [FEATURE]

US officials said this week in El Paso that the Merida Initiative to help Mexico strengthen its security forces and judicial system in their ongoing battle with criminal drug trafficking organizations -- the so-called cartels -- will shift its focus to Mexico's border states. Other officials defended the "Fast and Furious" Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) gun-running scheme that resulted in weapons from the US being transferred to cartel members.

The remarks came at the eighth annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), just across the Rio Grande River from Ciudad Juarez, one of the most deadly cities in the world in recent years because of prohibition-related violence plaguing Mexico. The conference is a joint undertaking of UTEP and US Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), a former El Paso sector Border Patrol head.

Somewhere around 40,000 people -- there are no official figures -- have been killed in the violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of troops and federal police in December 2006 to confront the increasingly brazen cartels head on. Despite the killing or arrest of dozens of high-profile cartel leaders, the flow of drugs north and guns and cash south has continued largely unabated.

The Merida Initiative, unveiled in 2008, allocated $1.5 billion in US aid to fight the drug traffic. Some of that money was destined for Central America, where Mexican cartels are increasingly encroaching, but the bulk of it is going to Mexico. Much of the Mexico funding has gone to the military and different law enforcement agencies, but given that both the military and the Mexican police are deeply compromised by cartel corruption, it is questionable whether throwing more money at them will accomplish much.

Now, said US Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs assistant secretary William Brownfield in remarks reported by the El Paso Times, the emphasis will shift to Mexico's border states and their state and local police forces. That would be the best way advancing the goals of the initiative's four pillar strategy of disrupting the ability of the cartels to operate, enhancing Mexico's capacity to sustain the rule of law, creating a modern border infrastructure, and building resilient communities, he said.

The US-Mexico border. Drugs flow north, and cash, guns, and violence flow south. (Image via Wikimedia)
"This is where most of the cartels have focused their activities," Brownfield said Tuesday, adding that Plan Merida will continue no matter who wins next year's Mexican presidential election. "I want to make this clear, it does not matter if it is the PAN, the PRI or another party that wins the elections, the initiative will continue working, even if it undergoes some minor adjustments," he said. "We will proceed and we will succeed. We have no choice," he said.

Dallas ATF special agent in charge Robert Champion traced today's horrifying levels of violence not to Calderon's deployment of the troops at the end of 2006, but to conflicts that broke out when the Zetas, former Mexican special forces soldiers turned enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, turned on the Gulf Cartel.

"That's the genesis of where the violence began," said Champion.

Since then, Champion said, gun running has evolved from being a solely a border issue to being an issue as far north of the border as Indianapolis, St. Paul, and Atlanta.

"We now have organized arms trafficking rings," he said, adding that some of them use teenagers to smuggle weapons with the serial numbers erased.

Noting that the number of high powered rifles being smuggled into Mexico has increased dramatically in recent years, Champion felt compelled to defend ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, which has excited tremendous anger in Congress after it was found that guns smuggled in the operation ended up being used to kill a US Border Patrol agent and in at least two other killings in the US, as well as countless murders in Mexico. The operation was designed to track the weapons, which would lead to the cartels, but ATF lost track of many of them, effectively acting as an arms supplier for the cartels.

"We (ATF) were criticized because we only focused our efforts on attacking the suppliers of these weapons and when we wanted to expand our efforts and attack the criminal organizations, it worked out badly," Champion said by way of explanation.

Despite the determined optimism of US officials, others at the conference warned that the situation was deteriorating. Mexico is unable to retain effective control of parts of its national territory, they said.

The situation in Mexico "is starting to look like a civil war," said UTEP political science Professor Charles Boehmer. "Juarez is one of the hottest battlegrounds," he added.

Nearly 9,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence in Ciudad Juarez in the past two and a half years.

Mexicans are dying to supply the insatiable appetite for drugs north of the border, said Mexican officials. The easy availability of firearms isn't helping either, they said.

"That is what has brought about the violence -- the fight for control of US drug distribution," said Alejandro Poire, technical secretary to the Mexican National Security Council. "It's an unprecedented business opportunity for cartels in Mexico." The availability of weapons from the US has created a cartel "arms race," he added.

The conference featured lots of happy talk about how to win the Mexican drug war, but largely ignored the most radical option for doing so: legalizing the drug supply and sucking out the oxygen on which the cartels rely. That would not mortally wound the cartels, which are now morphing into all-around criminal enterprises, but it would cut off their main source of income. Maybe next year.

back to top

2. Please Support Our New Legislative Center

Dear drug policy reformer:

I am pleased to announce the new StoptheDrugWar.org Legislative Center. The Legislative Center can be accessed online here or by following the "Legislation" link from any page on our web site. The Legislative Center already includes:

  • Info on hundreds of drug policy and related bills in Congress and the state legislatures, organized by issue category.
  • An expanded set of federal action alerts. (State alerts coming next.)
  • Legislative vote tallies and legislator voting records.
  • Additional resources like a media outlet lookup, a basic how to guide for lobbying Congress and a voter registration tool.

Some of the highlights you'll find there:

  • Legalization and decriminalization bills from 18 states and Congress.
  • Zip code lookup of state legislators and US Representatives -- how they voted, their bios and histories, how to contact them.
  • Alerts to take action on marijuana legalization, medical marijuana, sentencing reform, stopping new drug prohibitions and a commission to revamp the criminal justice system.

Please visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate to support this new and expanded part of our online publishing. We need your support in these challenging economic times to afford the legislative tracking and advocacy system that makes it possible for us to do this, and to continue to take further steps to expand our advocacy programs. StoptheDrugWar.org offers a range of books, videos and other items in thanks for donations above specified levels.

We also need volunteers. There's a lot of information in our Legislative Center now, but there is more that can be done -- finding any bills we may have missed, spotting new bills as they come out, tracking the legislation we know about, more. Please use our contact form or reply to this email to let us know if you'd like to get involved.

Thank you for being a part of changing drug policy, for the better!


Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

back to top

3. Greek Government Proposes Drug Decriminalization

The Greek government is proposing to decriminalize the possession of drugs under a bill sent to parliament by Justice Minister Miltadis Papioannou, the British web site Talking Drugs reported this week. Under the bill, drug possession would be decriminalized as long as the drug use does not affect others.

Athens Cycle Tour (cityofathens.gr)
The bill is a response to continuing high drug overdose numbers -- more than 300 deaths a year in recent years -- and high levels of imprisonment. Some 40% of Greek prisoners are doing time for drug or drug-related offenses.

Under the proposed bill, drug possession for personal use would qualify only as "misconduct" instead of a more serious criminal offense. The decriminalization provision would also apply to people growing marijuana for their personal use.

The bill would also guarantee the right to drug treatment, including for people currently imprisoned. People deemed "addict offenders" by the courts would be provided treatment instead of being jailed.

Under the "treatment not jail" approach, addicts would be admitted to an approved treatment program for detoxification, then granted deferred prosecution and conditional release under a drug monitoring program. It is unclear what would happen to addicts who relapse while in the program.

The bill does not legalize the sale of drugs, which would remain a felony offense. Like other decriminalization schemes, the measure would make life easier for drug users in some ways, but would do little to reduce the deleterious effects of the black market in proscribed substances.

back to top

4. Majority in Colorado Poll Want Marijuana Legalized

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows support for marijuana legalization in Colorado at 51%, with 38% opposed. The poll comes as activists there are prepare to put at least one marijuana legalization initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

The poll did not ask whether Coloradans should "regulate marijuana like alcohol," which is the language used in the best positioned initiative, the one led by SAFER and Sensible Colorado. Instead, the poll simply asked, "Do you think marijuana usage ought to be legal or illegal?"

Pot legalization was favored by people who voted for Obama in 2008 (68%), moderates (53%), liberals (68%), and the very liberal (82%). In terms of party affiliation, legalization scored well with Democrats (65%) and independents (55%), but only won the support of 31% of Republicans.

Legalization won majority support among men (54%), but not women (49%), and among whites (51%), but not Hispanics (49%), although, with the poll's +/- 4.3% margin of error, both findings suggest a virtual dead heat. By age group, legalization had the greatest support among 18-to-29-year-olds (71%), followed by 46-to-65-year-olds (53%), 30-to-45-year-olds (52%). Only among the post-65-year-olds did legalization fail to win majority support (36%).

While the poll shows a slim majority favoring legalization, the conventional wisdom among initiative campaigners is that an initiative should be polling at least 60% when the campaign hits the ground running, so these results suggest campaigners in Colorado have their work cut out for them -- building support for legalization in principle and/or finding an initiative model that answers the questions causing some to go with no or undecided so far. These results also suggest that campaigners are going to have to craft messages that resonate with key demographic groups, particularly middle-aged mothers.

At least marijuana legalization is polling ahead of other hot-button social issues in Colorado. While a narrow majority favor freeing the weed, only 45% thought gay marriage should be legal or approved of a small state tax increase, while only 38% approved of the Tea Party and only 32% approved of legalizing prostitution.

back to top

5. Victims of Deadly Tucson SWAT Raid Begin Legal Action

The attorney for the family of Jose Guerena, the ex-Marine gunned down in his own home as a Pima County SWAT team burst in, has filed a notice of claim. Such a legal maneuver lays the groundwork for a damage-seeking lawsuit.

Jose Guerena survived tours of duty in Iran and Afghanistan, but not his encounter with a Tucson, AZ SWAT team.
Earlier reports said that the lawsuit will seek $20 million in damages from the Pima County Sheriff's Office, several Pima County municipalities, and the SWAT team members. It will claim that the SWAT team used excessive force and was negligent in the raid.

Guerena, who shared the home with his wife and young son, died after SWAT team members fired 71 rounds at him as they burst through his door and confronted him in his underwear in a hallway holding a weapon. The fatal May 5 raid was part of a series of raids that day in what police said was the investigation of a drug rip-off gang.

But no drugs, cash, or illegal items were found at Guerena's home, and, to date, no one has been arrested for anything in relation to that investigation or those raids. The officers involved in the raid have already been exonerated of any wrongdoing by local officials.

On Friday, Guerena family attorney Chris Scileppi told Fox 11 News that a newly released sheriff's department video showing Vanessa Guerena being pulled from the house and 4-year-old Joel Guerena running to safety after his father had been shot demonstrated just how horrific Guerena's death at the hands of police had been.

"They just give a snapshot of the horror that his wife his small child went through as they crawled past their dying husband and dying father," said Scileppi.

Two days earlier, Scileppi filed the 15-page claim outlining what it calls reckless actions by the SWAT team.  "They were negligent and grossly negligent in how they performed this the execution of this warrant in killing Mr. Guerena," said Scileppi. The $20 million figure would "accommodate the children's loss of their father," he said. "No amount of money can replace Mr. Guerena to his wife, to his children, to his family."

The two sides have 60 days from last week to reach an agreement on the claim, or a lawsuit will be filed. Comments from Mike Storie, an attorney for Pima County SWAT team suggest, that agreement is unlikely and this matter will end up in the courts.

The $20 million figure was "obscene," he told Fox 11. "I would be absolutely shocked if anybody settles this case and did not fight it vigorously and if asked, I would say it would be a ridiculous result," said Storie. "I think a dollar is excessive. Any type of settlement for any type of award would be unwarranted in this case."

Jose Guerena was the 25th person to be killed this year in domestic law enforcement operations. This year's toll of drug war killings is currently at 32.

back to top

6. Perry, Romney Burnish Drug Warrior Credentials

Two of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination sought to win votes by talking tough on drugs this week, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry calling for unmanned drones to overfly the US-Mexico border and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney saying the war on drugs must continue.

Rick Perry wants drones to overfly the US-Mexico border to surveil the drug traffic, but they already are. (image via Wikimedia)
Meanwhile Rep. Ron Paul, one of two GOP contenders who have staked out positions critical of the drug war (the other is former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson), has seemingly vanished from the mainstream media despite coming in a very close second to Rep. Michele Bachmann in last weekend's Iowa straw poll.

Going on the offensive against President Obama as he announced his candidacy Saturday, Perry accused Obama of being "an abject failure in his constitutional duty to protect our borders in the United States." Perry waved his right hand toward Mexico as he made those remarks.

Later the same day, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, the tough-talking Texan again laid into Obama, this time calling for the use of unmanned drones to track the flow of drugs coming from Mexico. The Predator drones can stay aloft for up to 20 hours and are equipped with video and tracking technologies.

"We know that there are Predator drones being flown for practice every day because we're seeing them; we're preparing these young people to fly missions in these war zones that we have," Perry told the crowd. "But some of those, they have all the equipment, they're obviously unarmed, they've got the downward-looking radar, they've got the ability to do night work and through clouds. Why not be flying those missions and using (that) real-time information to help our law enforcement?" he asked.

That could be a valid question if one accepts the war on drugs paradigm, which Perry obviously does. The only problem with Perry's query is that the Department of Homeland Security is already deploying drones along the entirety of the US-Mexico border.

Romney, for his part, addressed substance use and the war on drugs in response to questions from the audience, including one from drug war zealot Steven Steiner, who founded Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMAD) after his 19-year-old son died of a drug overdose.

"We've got to not only continue our war on drugs from a police standpoint, but also to market again to our young people about the perils of drugs," the front-running candidate said in response to questions in Littleton.

Romney was responding to one local businessman who complained that he and fellow rural business owners had trouble finding educated workers who can pass a drug test. He replied that people have to teach their children to get an education and stay away from drugs.

Later that evening, at a Berlin town hall, Steiner stood up and said he was frustrated with presidential candidates not talking more about drugs. Romney offered his condolences, said parents must do a better job of warning young people, mentioned his advisors on drug policy are worried about the medical marijuana movement, and offered a joke about it.

"There's a lot of marijuana on the beach," Romney said, referring to California and his home there. "It's amazing how many teenagers have medical problems that require marijuana. I'm saying that facetiously."

Drug policy is beginning to emerge as a campaign issue for the Republican contenders. Look for an in-depth Chronicle article on the candidates and their positions after Labor Day.



(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

back to top

7. Alabama Bill Would Drug Test Medicaid Recipients

Lawmakers in Alabama are pushing the envelope on the drug testing of people who receive public benefits. While legislators in a number of states have targeted welfare or unemployment recipients for drug testing, a bill in Montgomery would require drug testing of Medicaid recipients.

Poor Alabamians who use drugs would be ineligible for Medicaid under a proposed law. (image via Wikimedia)
Distinct from Medicare, the federal program aimed at senior citizens, Medicaid is run by the individual states and is designed to make health care accessible for low-income people who are blind or disabled. It also covers low-income pregnant women, children, seniors, and people residing in nursing homes.

Pre-filed by state Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), Senate Bill 26, also known as the Patient Accountability and Personal Responsibility Act, would require that Medicaid recipients undergo random suspicionless drug tests at least once each year and that new applicants undergo a drug test before deemed eligible for Medicaid benefits. The cost of the drug tests would be added to recipients' premiums (e.g. poor people will have to pay for the drug tests).

People who fail to take a drug test or test positive would be denied Medicaid benefits. There is no provision for treatment, but those who are thrown off the rolls could be reinstated if they pass another drug test a year later. The drug test results could  not be used in any criminal proceedings "without the consent of the person tested."

The bill would not apply to nursing home residents, prisoners, people in mental hospitals or those in other long-term care facilities.

Lawmakers favoring the bill claimed the number of illegal drug users getting state-funded health care has "skyrocketed" in recent years, with the cost estimated at "unknown millions." State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) told WHNT News the proposed law would save taxpayer money while forcing accountability on Medicaid recipients.

"If you want to use drugs and you want the taxpayers to pick up the tab on your health care, if this bill passes, forget about it," said Senator Orr. "If I'm going to use illegal drugs that are going to hurt myself, why ask taxpayers to fund my medical care?"

Random suspicionless drug testing for welfare recipients and state employees have been struck down by various state and federal courts as violating the right to be free of unwarranted searches, although a new Florida welfare drug testing law has yet to be challenged. Lawmakers told WHNT News they thought the Alabama bill is more legally sound because it only deals with public health programs, and if the bill ever becomes law, they are likely to find out in the courts if their legal theory is correct.

SB 26 has passed a first reading and has been assigned to the Senate Health Committee.

back to top

8. Portland, ME, Marijuana Initiative Dies… For Now

A Portland, Maine, campaign that aimed to put an initiative making marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority on this year's November ballot is over, stymied by its failure to collect enough valid signatures. Although initiative sponsors Sensible Portland handed in well over the required number of signatures, there were not enough of them found valid by local election officials for the initiative to qualify.

Sensible Portland turned in 2,141 signatures last month. They only needed 1,500 valid ones to make the ballot, but with an invalidation rate of more than one out of three -- because the signers either didn't live in Portland or weren't registered to vote -- they came up 93 votes short, with 1,407 valid signatures. [Ed: It is common for about one in three signatures on a ballot petition to come up invalid.]

The group and supporters asked the city council to allow them an extra 10 days to collect the necessary signatures. But that effort was turned aside Monday night when the council voted unanimously to postpone any decision on the group's request until October, making it impossible to get the measure on the ballot this year.

The campaign is down, but not out. Sensible Portland has vowed to continue signature-gathering with an eye toward qualifying for a later ballot.

Maine has already decriminalized the possession of up to 2 ½ ounces of pot, but the fines are significant, ranging from $350 to $600 for a first offense. The fine is $550 if you get busted a second time within six months.

back to top

9. IL School District Teachers Strike Over Drug Testing

Teachers in one Illinois school district went on strike Wednesday after the district failed to remove contract language demanding they submit to random, suspicionless drug testing. The teachers had offered to accept drug testing on reasonable cause, but at last minute Tuesday night meeting, the board rejected the compromise.

No school in Glaston, Illinois, this week. Teachers struck rather than submit to random drug tests. (Image: IBSD 327)
The matter had festered since last year, when it had been removed from contract negotiations as an intractable issue. The Illini Bluffs District 327 school board in May brought back the drug testing language in this year's contract negotiations and, remaining immune to suasion from the teachers, included the language in its formal final offer and items not agreed statement to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board last month. The board did try to sweeten the deal by offering to get drug tested, too, but the teachers weren't buying.

The board's demand for random, suspicionless teacher drug testing came despite its implicit admission that it was unneeded. In a July 21 press release chastising the union for refusing to buckle before its demands, the board wrote: "The testing program is not intended as a 'witchhunt' as the Board of Education believes that all District teachers would satisfactorily pass a drug and alcohol test."

At the same time, the teachers, represented by the Illini Bluffs Federation of Teachers, submitted their final offer, including their proposal for reasonable cause testing. They tersely noted that even reasonable cause testing was a concession, and that the estimated $6,000 cost to test the three-school district's 62 teachers could be better spent.

"While neither mandatory, random drug testing nor cause testing is an industry standard in the education profession, the Union offered the Board of Education a plan that would allow an administrator to deal with an employee drug problem if they ever have cause to do so," teacher negotiators wrote. "The Board admitted they have no specific concerns with any teacher or reason to believe a teacher has a problem. The Union looked at the $6,000 or more cost of the district’s policy and proposed the probable cause policy because they felt the cost of random testing would be better spent on students and classrooms."

School is supposed to start Thursday in Glaston, home of the Illini Bluffs District 327, but it looks like that isn't going to happen. The district has already canceled classes for the remainder of the week, and the teachers will be hitting the picket line instead of the books.

"We’ll be out there [picketing] from about 7:30 [am] to about 4:30 [pm]," said Keith Brown, lead negotiator for the union. "We want to be in a classroom instead of on the street. But they [the school board] didn't have that same agenda tonight," he told the Peoria Star-Journal after Tuesday's failed last-chance meeting.

back to top

10. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, it's drug task forces gone bad! And a dope-snorting and -peddling sheriff, too. Let's get to it:

In Nashville, Tennessee, an audit of West Tennessee's 24th Judicial Drug Task Force has found abuses, including thefts by the group's administrative assistant and jail trustees partying with seized crack cocaine. The investigation conducted by the state Comptroller's Division of County Audit, which also found that District Attorney General Hansel McCadams and Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew liked to drive around in a seized BMW Z-3 on personal business. Auditors found that items seized from drug defendants were stolen or misused, with the administrative assistant and her ex-husband admitting to taking drugs, utility trailers, and a flat-screen television from the task force. Auditors also found that jail trustees had access to seized items and were not adequately supervised. Some trustees gained access to drug case files, smoked pot and crack while at the task force headquarters, and stole cash, coins, and other items. Prosecutor McCadams was cited for using a variety of seized vehicles including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a golf cart, a go cart, a four-wheeler and a trailer for his personal use. He flew on task force airplanes and a helicopter on non-official business, according to the report. No word yet on whether anyone is going to face criminal charges.

In San Francisco, the former commander of an East Bay drug task force was indicted Monday on a slew of federal corruption charges along with a friend who is a private investigator. Norman Wielsch, the former commander of the Contra Costa County Central Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), and private eye Chris Butler face numerous counts in an ongoing scandal that has already enveloped other members of the squad. They allegedly ripped-off marijuana and methamphetamine from the evidence room and resold it, provided protection to a bordello, and committed armed robberies of prostitutes, among other corrupt activities made possible by Wielsch's command position with the task force. They are charged with narcotics conspiracy, two counts of methamphetamine distribution, five counts of marijuana distribution, four counts of theft from programs receiving federal funds, three counts of civil rights conspiracy, and two counts of extortion. They were being held pending a bail hearing at last report.

In Greenville, Missouri, the former Carter County sheriff was ordered last Friday to stand trial on three drug-related felonies, including distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine. Tommy Adams, 31, appeared at a preliminary hearing after which Associate Circuit Judge Randy Schuller found probable cause to believe he had committed those crimes. During the hearing, criminal investigators testified that Adams had consented to searches in April that led to the discovery of a small amount of cocaine in an evidence bag in his department-issued vehicle and that an evidence bag containing cocaine was missing from the evidence room. Investigators also found five bags of methamphetamine hidden under the vehicle's gas pedal. The searches came after an informant wearing a wire bought meth from Adams. After being arrested in May, Adams tested positive for methamphetamine. Adams resigned after his May arrest. He now awaits trial.

back to top

11. This Week in History

August 23, 1839: The United Kingdom captured Hong Kong as a base as it prepared for war with Qing China. The ensuing three-year conflict was later known as the First Opium War.

August 18, 1989: Luis Carlos Galan, a Colombian presidential candidate who spoke in favor of extradition, is assassinated at a campaign rally near Bogota. That evening, President Virgilio Barco Vargas issues an emergency decree reestablishing the policy of extradition. In response, the "Extraditables" declare all-out war against the Colombian government and begin a bombing/murder campaign that lasts until January 1991.

August 20, 1990: The US House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations releases a report on the results of Operation Snowcap, the Reagan-Bush administration program aimed at stopping the flow of drugs into the United States at their source. Snowcap's goal had been to eliminate coca crops, cocaine processing laboratories, clandestine landing strips, and other trafficking operations in the coca producing countries of South America. The report found that less than one percent of the region's cocaine had been destroyed by this campaign and that authorities in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia were deeply involved in narcotics trafficking.

August 20, 1994: The Guardian reports that Raymond Kendall, secretary general of Interpol, said, "The prosecution of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year is both hypocritical and an affront to individual, civil, and human rights... Drug use should no longer be a criminal offense."

August 18, 1996: In San Francisco, a city church distributes marijuana to patients who possess a doctor's recommendation in wake of the temporary injunction closing the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club. "I believe the moral stance [in this instance] is to break the law to make this marijuana available," said Rev. Jim Mitulski of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. "Our church's spiritual vitality has always come from a willingness to act where people have been reluctant to act. This is not a bystander church."

August 19, 1999: Confronting questions about possible past drug use, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush told reporters he had not used illegal drugs in 25 years, and added that if voters insisted on knowing more, "they can go find somebody else to vote for."

August 22, 2003: David Borden, Executive Director of StoptheDrugWar.org, writes an open letter to the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Rufus G. King III, stating his refusal to serve jury duty. "... I have determined that unjust drug laws, and the corrosion wrought by the drug war on the criminal justice system as a whole, compel me to conscientiously refuse jury service," says Borden. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/openletter to read the full letter.

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

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School