Florida Prosecutor Stands Up For Rachel Hoffman, Refuses to Work With DEA

Submitted by smorgan on
The fallout following Rachel Hoffman's murder is becoming intense. DEA has refused to allow three agents to testify before a grand jury regarding their involvement in the case, resulting in a surprising backlash from the State Attorney's office:

State Attorney Willie Meggs has told the Tallahassee Democrat that his decision to no longer prosecute cases involving the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is, "probably more symbolic than it is substantive, but I am very serious about it."

He went on to say, "I'm just not going to play that little game with those folks. I don’t need them and if these agencies want to work with them and do their cases with them, that's fine." [Tallahassee Democrat]

Strong words indeed. This sort of vitriol is rarely exchanged between drug warriors and it seems to indicate a drawing of battlelines as we wait to see who'll be held to account for this now-legendary drug war f#%k-up.

Mark R. Trouville, DEA's Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Division, predictably blamed his officers' non-compliance on a technicality:

We feel it is important for the public to know that DEA did not refuse to testify before the grand jury in this case. Although notified both verbally and in writing by DEA, the State Attorney’s Office refused to comply with Department of Justice regulations (which have been respected by the Florida Supreme Court) and therefore DEA Agents did not receive authorization to testify before the grand jury. In order to comply, the State Attorney’s Office simply needed to issue a subpoena and provide the local United States Attorney’s Office a summary of the information sought and its relevance to the proceeding.

This is the same guy who once claimed that today's marijuana "will kill you," so he has all the credibility of a drunk frat-boy on April Fool's Day. Thus I lean towards the assumption that DEA is covering its ass, which would explain why State Attorney Meggs is raging pissed.

To be honest though, I'm really not quite sure what the hell is going on here. I don't understand DEA's role in the murder because they won't testify, but in hindsight the fact that Rachel was told to purchase 1,500 pills of ecstasy, 2 ounces of crack cocaine and a gun sure gives the impression that DEA may have been calling the shots. The conspicuously large order Rachel placed had a great deal to do with her cover being blown, so to whatever extent DEA may have been responsible for that, they would be equally responsible for the fatal outcome.

Ultimately, many people made many errors contributing to this horrible event, but we all know that it takes more than a few greedy cops to manufacture a tragedy as compelling and gut-wrenching as this. After the finger-pointing subsides, after a few sacrificial reassignments, re-trainings and procedural revisions, the war that killed Rachel Hoffman will rage on without missing a beat. The culture of threats and manipulation that characterizes modern drug enforcement will remain intact and the mentality that led to Rachel's death will continue to guide police as they take on the drug problem with handcuffs in one hand and a gun in the other.

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Source URL: https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/aug/07/florida_prosecutor_stands_rachel