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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pervy, predatory probation officer goes to prison, a half-dozen Maryland prison guards go down in a racketeering case, and more. Let's get to it:

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, a Kenosha County Sheriff's Department jail guard was arrested last Friday for allegedly delivering drugs to an inmate on repeated occasions. Guard Devine Jackson, 24, went down after a tip that he was smuggling cocaine into the jail inside tubes of tooth paste. When confronted, Jackson confessed. He now faces four felony charges: possession with intent to deliver cocaine (less than 1 gram) on or near a jail, manufacture/deliver cocaine (less than 1 gram) on or near a jail, deliver illegal articles to an inmate and misconduct in public office.

In Jessup, Maryland, six prison guards and staff members were arrested Tuesday along with seven inmates and seven outside "facilitators" in a racketeering case at the Maryland Correctional Facility. The guards and prison staff allegedly took bribes to smuggle in contraband including drugs, tobacco, cell phones, and unauthorized flash drives. Among the drugs involved were heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and K2.

In Rome, Georgia, a former Rome probation officer was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for taking advantage of his position to coerce sexual favors from drug users under court supervision. Anyoel Cordovi had pleaded guilty to felony charges that he had sex with one probationer and exchanged nude photos with another. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release.

Chronicle AM: No Cannabis Lounges for Oregon This Year; Drug Eradication Clashes in Peru, Mexico, More... (4/15/19)

A set of Michigan bills would do some post-legalization cleanup, a decriminalization bill advances in Missouri, an Oklahoma bill protecting patient rights is signed by the governor, drug crop growers clash with authorities in Mexico and Peru, and more.

Peruvian coca farmers clashed with police and eradicators last Friday, leaving two dead. (deamuseum.org)
Marijuana Policy

Michigan Bills Would Cut Sentences for People Jailed for Possession. State Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) has filed a package of bills that would reduce prison, parole, and probation sentences for people jailed for marijuana possession. SB 262 through SB 265 are now before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. "After the passage of Proposal 1, it's time we rethink drug sentencing laws in Michigan, so let's start with marijuana offenses, since those are no longer considered crimes under current law," Santana said.

Missouri Decriminalization Bill Advances. The House Special Committee on Criminal Justice last Thursday unanimously approved HB 1095, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. The measure would also make possession of less than 35 grams from a felony to a Class D misdemeanor. The measure now heads for a House floor vote.

Oregon Social Consumption Bill Dies. A bill that would have allowed marijuana consumption lounges, SB 639, was among hundreds of bills that died in the legislature after failing to move out of committee by April 9. The bill's failure is a blow to the state's legal marijuana industry, which is faced with chronic oversupply.

Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Governor Signs Patient Protection Bill. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has signed into law HB 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. The measure protects patients' rights to possess firearms under state law and allows the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to hire its own investigators to probe alleged violations. The law will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, which will be at the end of May.

Washington Senate Approves Allowing Medical Marijuana in School. The state Senate on Saturday overwhelmingly approved SB 5442, which would allow parents to administer medical marijuana to their children at school, on the school bus, and at after-school activities. The bill limits the kind of marijuana used to infused products and extracts.

International

Mexico Poppy Farmers Detain Soldiers in Eradication Protest. Residents of a rural town in Guerrero state said they detained 40 soldiers last week to demand they halt opium poppy eradication efforts. The farmers said they set up roadblocks to prevent soldiers from leaving the region and called on the state and federal governments to provide assistance to local farmers so they aren't forced to grow opium. The farmers said the state government had promised in November that their poppy crops would not be destroyed and alternative means of support would be provided, but neither happened.

Peru Clashes Over Coca Eradication Leave Two Farmers Dead. Two coca growers were killed in clashes with a large eradication team last Friday. The team, which consisted of 72 police officers and158 civilian eradicators, had arrived in the area near the Bolivian border to destroy illegal coca fields, but reported that they were attacked by people wielding machetes and sticks as they set up camp. But the mayor of the town of San Gaban said witnesses told him police fired indiscriminately. "They were shooting right and left. That's why we have this bloodshed," the mayor said.

The War on Cocaine Only Strengthens Drug Cartels, Study Finds [FEATURE]

If you've spent nearly a half-century and $250 billion trying to stop the flow of cocaine into the US and the white powder is now cheaper and more plentiful than ever, maybe it's time to rethink. That's the implicit lesson lurking behind a new study on the impact of drug interdiction efforts on drug trafficking organizations.

cocaine interdicted by US Customs (dhs.gov)
Interdiction is the supply side approach to reducing drug use. Rather than reducing demand through education, prevention, and treatment, interdiction seeks to reduce the supply of drugs available domestically by blocking them en route to the US or at the border.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by scientists from a half-dozen American universities, the study relied on a computer model called NarcoLogic that shows how drug traffickers respond to interdiction strategies and tactics. More sophisticated than previous attempts to simulate the drug trade, NarcoLogic models local- and network-level trafficking dynamics at the same time.

"Our team consists of researchers who worked in different parts of Central America during the 2000s and witnessed a massive surge of drugs into the region that coincided with a reinvigoration of the war on drugs," David Wrathall of Oregon State University's College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences said in a press release announcing the research results. "We asked ourselves: did drug interdiction push drug traffickers into these places?"

The short answer is yes, and that has implications that go far beyond drug policy. The Central American migrants who are at the center of the current "border crisis" are fleeing not only poverty but also high levels of violence generated by the movement of Mexican drug trafficking groups into the region a decade ago as they faced increasing interdiction efforts at home and from US authorities.

In fact, although it is not addressed in this new research, it was earlier interdiction efforts aimed at Colombian cocaine trafficking groups in the 1980s that led directly to the transformation of formerly small-scale Mexican cross-border smuggling organizations into the Frankenstein's monster of drug prohibition that the cartels are today. With the Colombians under intense pressure, Mexican traffickers rose to the occasion and have been making billions of dollars a year ever since.

This despite five decades of US interdiction efforts with an average annual expenditure of $5 billion. Instead of curbing the flow of cocaine into the United States, all that has been accomplished is making the drug trafficking operations more widespread and harder to eradicate. Putting pressure on one route or location simply leads traffickers to scatter and regroup. This is the "balloon effect," where suppressing traffic or production in one area prompts it to pop up elsewhere, and the "cockroach effect," where traffickers simply decentralize their operations.

"Between 1996 and 2017, the Western Hemisphere transit zone grew from 2 million to 7 million square miles, making it more difficult and costly for law enforcement to track and disrupt trafficking networks," Wrathall said. "But as trafficking spread, it triggered a host of smuggling-related collateral damages: violence, corruption, proliferation of weapons, and extensive and rapid environmental destruction."

And for all that effort, the impact on cocaine price and availability has been negligible -- or even perverse.

"Wholesale cocaine prices in the United States have actually dropped significantly since 1980, deaths from cocaine overdose are rising, and counterdrug forces intercept cocaine shipments at a low rate. More cocaine entered the United States in 2015 than in any other year," Wrathall said. "And one thing people who support interdiction and those who don't can agree on is that change is needed. This model can help determine what that change should look like."

The main takeaway from the study is not that drug trafficking became more widespread and resilient because of ineffective interdiction efforts, but because of interdiction itself. The policy aimed at suppressing the drug trade has only made it stronger and wealthier.

"The study is a victory for observation and theory. This model successfully recreates the dynamic our team had observed," Wrathall said. "It tells us that increased interdiction will continue to push traffickers into new areas, spreading networks, and allowing them to continue to move drugs north."

Maybe it is time to try something different.

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A North Carolina deputy tries to set up his ex-grlfriend's new boyfriend, a former Texas cop heads to federal prison for helping a "rip crew" steal loads of dope, and more. Let's get to it:

In Wadesboro, North Carolina, an Anson County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Wednesday for planting drugs in the car of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. Deputy David Scott Burroughs went down after coworkers grew suspicious when he told them he was getting anonymous tips about the man dealing drugs out of his car. That was last Sunday. Last Wednesday, when police stopped the vehicle, the drugs were still there, adding to suspicions it was a set up. The department then contacted the State Bureau of Investigation, which found that Burroughs had purchased heroin and meth and planted them in the vehicle.

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a former Chesapeake County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty last Tuesday to smuggling drugs and other contraband into the city jail. Jenis Leroy Plummer, 34, admitted smuggling heroin, cocaine, e-cigarettes, cellphone batteries, and even superglue into the lockup. The superglue was used to help an inmate hide contraband inside his mattress. He's looking at up to 20 years in federal prison.

In Columbus, Ohio, a former state prison guard pleaded guilty last Wednesday to smuggling drugs and tobacco into the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville. Alfred Horvath, 38, was paid hundreds of dollars by people outside the prison to sneak drugs and tobacco inside for use by prisoners. He copped to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute.

In Brownsville, Texas, a former Donna ISD police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 130 months in federal prison for assisting a "rip crew" that conducted fake traffic stops on vehicles loaded with drugs so the crew could steal the goodies. Juan Fernando Mata, 40, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 pounds of marijuana in January.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pair of New Jersey cops go rogue, prison guards go wild, and more. Let's get to it:

In Ocean Township, New Jersey, an Ocean Township police officer was arrested March 20 on multiple drug charges. Officer Ryan Vaccaro, who is also head of the local Police Benevolent Association, got caught with multiple unprescribed doses of Clenbuterol, a steroid. He is charged with possession of prescription drugs and possession of prescription drugs with intent to distribute, according to municipal court records. 

In Ridgeville, South Carolina, a state prison guard was arrested last Thursday for bringing marijuana and other contraband into the prison. Lieber Correctional Institution guard Anthony Murgolo admitted bringing the goodies into the prison with the intent of selling them. He is charged with misconduct in office, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and introduction of contraband to inmates.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an Angola state prison guard was arrested last Thursday after a shakedown uncovered various drugs inside her vehicle. Corrections Officer Crystal Jenkins, 40, got caught with 14 grams of heroin, an ounce of heroin powder, 12 ounces of marijuana, 3 ½ ounces of synthetic cannabinoids, four ounces of methamphetamine, and a digital scale in her car. She is charged with distributing marijuana, synthetic marijuana, and heroin, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of introduction of contraband into a penal institution. She admitted to trafficking inside the prison and resigned from her position.

In Joliet, Illinois, a former Joliet police lieutenant was arrested last Friday was arrested for what appears to be stealing dope from the evidence room. Dennis McWherter, 51, faces charges of official misconduct, theft, and possession of a controlled substance. The official misconduct charge indicates he committed the offenses while working in an official law enforcement capacity.

In Princeton, Indiana, a Princeton police officer was arrested Monday for helping a subject detained in a drug investigation discard his dope before arriving for booking at the police station. Officer George was called to assist in a DEA-directed traffic stop bust and was transporting one of the detainees to the station when he became aware the suspect had 77 grams of heroin in his pants. Gibson allowed him to discard the drugs, but other officers found the dope and notified the Indiana State Police Organized Crime and Corruption Unit, which investigated and arrested Gibson. He is charged with official misconduct.

In Salem, Oregon, a former Salem police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to 18 months' probation and 20 days in jail after being caught in February with methamphetamine and stolen computer equipment. Seth Thayres, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft. He still faces an additional 17 counts of computer crime, theft, and meth possession in another county. He is accused of stealing from several businesses including a legal firm, a tech business and a production company. He had been on administrative leave since October and was awaiting a fitness-for-duty evaluation when arrested. He resigned from the department after his arrest.

In Paterson, New Jersey, a former Paterson police officer was sentenced last Wednesday for dealing drugs, including some he stole from a crime scene, as well as assaulting a hospital patient in an unrelated case. Ruben McAusland, 27, had pleaded guilty in June to possessing drugs with the intent to distribute and depriving the patient of his civil rights. He got 66 months in federal prison.

Chronicle AM: NJ Legal Pot Vote on Monday, Houston Police Tighten No-Knock Warrants, More... (3/22/19)

New Jersey legislators will vote on pot legalization on Monday, but the votes aren't quite there yet; Illinois legislators want to slow down on pot legalization, Houston cops restrict no-knock search warrants, and more.

In the wake of a deadly drug raid, Houston police are restricting the use of no-knock search warrants. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Illinois House Majority Wants to Slow Down on Legalization. A majority of House members have signed on as cosponsors of a resolution to slow down the process of legalizing marijuana in the state. Sixty of 118 House members signed on to the resolution, which calls for more time to study the social impact of legalization and results from other states. A legalization bill will likely be introduced next month and could be voted on as early as May.

Montana Poll Has Narrow Majority for Legalization.  A University of Montana big Sky poll has support for marijuana legalization at 51%. About 80% of Democrats supported it, but only 33% of Republicans did.

New Jersey Legalization Vote Count Goes Down to Wire. The legislature is set to vote on a legalization bill, A 4497/S 2703, on Monday, and it's not clear yet whether it will pass. As of today, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders say they are still a handful of votes short, but expect heavy lobbying to be going on between now and Monday morning.

Law Enforcement

Houston Police Announce Restrictions on No-Knock Search Warrants. In the wake of a February drug raid that left two civilians dead, the Houston Police have announced that any no-knock drug warrants must be signed off on by a district court judge. That would be after the request for the warrant is approved by the police chief or his designated representative, and only SWAT team members will execute those warrants.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Today's lesson: Don't piss off you wife if you're a narc taking home dope in evidence bags and doing it. Plus, a Border Patrol agent goes to prison, a North Carolina narc gets probation for pilfering cash, and more. Let's get to it:

In Alice, Texas, a Jim Wells County narcotics investigator was suspended last Thursday after his wife accused him of wrongdoing. Narcotics Investigator Lt. Ernie Rivera and his wife got in a domestic dispute, and when Alice police arrived, she told them Rivera used drugs and led them to a closet where they found an evidence bag containing drugs. She told police Rivera would confiscate drugs and bring them home for personal use. Rivera was not arrested.

In Freehold Borough, New Jersey, a Monmouth County probation was arrested last month for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting a drug court probationer under his supervision over a two-year period. Probation Officer Henry Cirignano is accused of extorting sex from the victim more than a hundred times by threatening to tell the court she had violated her probation if she refused. He went down because he communicated some of his threats via text messages, which the victim saved.

In Hollywood, Florida, a Miami-Dade corrections officer was arrested last Friday after she was caught selling large amounts of heroin laced with fentanyl near a grade school. Officer Adina Spry was caught with more than 65 grams of heroin and fentanyl, as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, a credit card skimming device, and a gun. She is charged with selling heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, trafficking fentanyl, possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a credit card skimming device. At least report, she was still in jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

In Chicago, a former Chicago police officer was convicted Monday of ripping off drug dealers. Eddie Hicks, 70, had fled trial 15 years, but was arrested in 2017 in Detroit. Prosecutors described him as the ringleader of a five-man crew who posed as federal agents to shake down drug dealers for cash and drugs. He was convicted of racketing, drug, and gun charges, as well as jumping bail before trial in 2003.

In Progreso, Texas, a former Progreso police sergeant was convicted last Wednesday of providing information to drug trafficking organizations. Giovanni Hernandez, 45, went down in an undercover operation where an informant solicited his assistance in moving dope thrown the town. Hernandez ended up scouting for the drug traffickers to help allow a vehicle he thought was loaded with cocaine make its way through the city. He was found guilty of two counts of aiding and abetting the attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. He’s looking at a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

In Morganton, North Carolina, a former Burke County sheriff’s narcotics officer was sentenced last Wednesday to four years’ probation for stealing more than $13,000 from the agency’s Narcotics Task Force. Jody Wayne Price, 46, had earlier pleaded guilty to embezzlement for repeatedly keeping for himself portions of checks written for “special funds” for drug enforcement operations.

In San Diego, a former Border Patrol agent was sentenced last Friday to nine years in federal prison for taking bribes from drug traffickers. Robert Hall, 45, had admitted accepting $5,000 bribes to help traffickers bring loads of marijuana across the border and pleaded guilty to one count of bribery.

Chronicle AM: FBI to Investigate Fatal Houston Drug Raid, NH Legal Pot Bill Advances, More... (2/21/19)

The fallout from that fatal January Houston drug raid continues, a New Hampshire pot legalization bill advances, so does a Florida bill to allow smokable medical marijuana, and more.

This could be legal soon in New Hampshire if that marijuana legalization bill keeps moving. (IRIN)
Marijuana Policy

Illinois Governor Uses Budget Address to Call for Legalization. As he unveiled his first annual budget Wednesday, Gov. J,B. Pritzker called for marijuana legalization and taxation to help pay for $1.1 billion in new spending. He also called for the legalization and taxation of sports betting, as well as raising money with new taxes on plastic bags, e-cigs, and raising the cigarette tax.

New Hampshire Legalization Bill Narrowly Wins House Committee Vote. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 10-9 to recommend passage of HB 481, which would legalize up to an ounce for adults and create a system of taxed and regulated sales. Adults could also grow up to six plants. The narrow margin of victory in committee suggests a tough fight to pass it on the House floor.

North Dakota Decriminalization Bill Narrowly Defeated. A bill that would have decriminalized the possession of up to ounce was defeated on a 47-43 vote in the House Wednesday. HB 1155’s defeat means legalization proponents in the state will gear up for a legalization initiative next year.

Medical Marijuana

Arizona House Committee Approves Bill to Protect Edibles, Extracts. The House Committee on Public Safety voted 5-2 Wednesday to approve HB 2149. The measure would specify that the 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana law also includes any products made from its resins. In a case pending before state courts, the state has argued that edibles and hashish are not included in the law.

Florida Bill to Allow Smokable Medical Marijuana Heads for Senate Floor Vote. The Senate Rules Committee voted Wednesday to approve SB 182, which would end the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. That means the measure will head for a Senate floor vote weeks ahead of a March 15 deadline set by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has threatened litigation if the legislature doesn’t act.

Michigan Appeals Court Rules Against Worker Not Hired for Medical Marijuana Use. The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday against a woman who had a job offer rescinded because she tested positive for marijuana—even though she had a medical marijuana card. The ruling is a boon for employers who apply zero-tolerance substance abuse policies.

Asset Forfeiture

North Dakota House Approves Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill. The House on Wednesday approved a civil asset forfeiture reform bill on a 57-33 vote. HB 1286 would not end civil asset forfeiture, but would raise the standard of proof from "a preponderance" of the evidence to "clear and compelling evidence." It would also require a criminal conviction before civil asset forfeiture could proceed. The bill now goes to the Senate, which defeated similar legislation in 2017.

Law Enforcement

Two House Republicans Urge State Department to Label Cartels as Terrorist Organizations. A pair of conservative House Republicans, Reps. Mark Green (TN) and Chip Roy (TX), sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking the State Department to label drug cartels as terrorist organizations. The proposal would "further stigmatize these groups both at home and abroad," the pair wrote. "These cartels have utilized barbaric tactics including those adopted by [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS and al Qaeda – murdering and torturing innocents, destabilizing countries and assassinating members of law enforcement," Green added in a statement. Drug cartels differ from terrorist organizations, though, in that they have no political agenda (other than being left alone to go about their business), a key component of the definition of terrorism.

FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation into Deadly Houston Drug Raid. The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into a January drug raid in Houston that left two people dead and five police officers wounded. The raid was based on falsified search warrant affidavits claiming informants had bought heroin at the house, but the homeowners, who were killed, possessed no heroin at all—only small, personal use amounts of marijuana and possibly cocaine. The fallout from the case has already resulted in one officer being suspended, an end to no-knock raids in the city, and the review of more than 1,400 cases linked to the lying officer. 

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A West Virginia deputy sheriff gets caught up in an FBI drug dealing investigation, a Georgia prison guard gets nailed for taking bribes to smuggle pot into the joint, and more.

In Hamilton, Ohio, a state prison guard was arrested last Friday for allegedly smuggling drugs into the prison. Daniel Garvey, 28, is charged with illegal conveyance of drugs, trafficking in drugs, and possession of drugs. No details about what led up to the arrest are available.

In Atlanta, a former Georgia prison guard was convicted last Friday of accepting payments to smuggle drugs and other contraband into a state prison. Jokelra Copeland, 32, was found to have repeatedly smuggled packages of marijuana into the prison and to have accepted at least $13,000 in bribes. Copeland was one of 68 Georgia corrections officers arrested by the FBI in 2016 following an extensive federal investigation into officers smuggling contraband into prisons for money while others used their credentials to protect drug deals on the outside, according to the DOJ.

In Charleston, West Virginia, a former Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff was sentenced last Wednesday to three years' probation for lying to the FBI about buying drugs from a suspect for his own personal use. Robert Evans went down when he bought opioid pain medication from a target of an FBI drug trafficking investigation.  The FBI found texts between Evans and the drug dealer that revealed he had been buying pain pills from him for months. Evans returned the favor by running license plate and vehicle identification numbers at the request of drug dealers. 

Chronicle AM: Supreme Court Slaps Down Asset Forfeiture, No More No-Knocks in Houston, More... (2/20/19)

The Supreme Court reins in civil asset forfeiture, Denver joins cities participating in LEAD, Houston ends undercover no-knock raids in the wake of a fatal encounter, and more.

The US Supreme Court (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Maryland General Assembly Creates Legalization Working Group. In a sign that marijuana legalization isn’t going to happen this year, the General Assembly has created a working group to study the issue. The bipartisan group will make recommendations in December that could be used to help guide bills during the 2020 legislative session.

South Carolina Poll Has Half Supporting Medical Marijuana, Nearly a Quarter for Legalization. A new poll from political strategist Robert Cahaly has support for marijuana legalization at 22.8%, with another 49.7% saying they supported legalizing marijuana "for people suffering illness and with a doctor’s approval."

Hemp

Ohio Hemp Bill Filed. Lawmakers have filed a bill to legalize hemp production in the state, SB 77. The bill would align state law with the framework of the 2018 farm bill, which legalized hemp nationwide.

Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Senate Passes Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana in Schools. A bill that allows medical marijuana to be given to students at public schools passed the Senate on Monday. SB 204 now heads to the House Human Services Committee.

Asset Forfeiture

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Reins in Civil Asset Forfeiture. In a victory for proponents of civil asset forfeiture reform, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Timbs v. Indiana that the Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause applies to states, thereby prohibiting state and local governments from collecting excessive fines, fees and forfeitures. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion. "The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority," Ginsburg wrote. 

Law Enforcement

Denver Signs on to Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. City officials unveiled a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) pilot program on Tuesday. The program is designed to connect people accused of low-level drug crimes with support services rather than arresting them. LEAD programs operate in a number of other cities, including Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle. The pilot program is funded through 2020 by a $561,000 grant paid for out of the state's marijuana tax cash fund.

Houston Ends No-Knock Raids in Wake of Fatal Encounter. With few exceptions, Houston undercover officers will no longer conduct no-knock raids. The move comes after four police officers were wounded and a Houston couple killed in a raid that was based on a police officer's lies. "The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city," Chief Art Acevedo announced during a town hall meeting Monday. 

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