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April 24, 1997

Federal Government Raids California Medical Marijuana Club
NORML Calls DEA Action "Federal Piracy"

Jolly Roger

April 24, 1997, San Francisco, CA:  Federal agents confiscated 331 marijuana plants and associated growing equipment in a raid on the Flower Therapy medical marijuana buyers club this past Monday.  The early morning raid was the federal government's first crackdown on such a supplier since California voters resoundingly approved legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Club operator John Hudson said that no records or other property were taken in the raid, which occurred when no one was at the club.  According to published reports, dried marijuana that was marked for medicinal purposes only was not seized by federal agents, and the club has already re-opened for business.  No charges have been filed against the owners of the club.
"Only ten days since having a federal judge's temporary restraining order block the government's 'war on doctors,' federal officials are now launching a war on patients who need medical marijuana," said Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights.  "Disrupting the supply of medical marijuana from one of the patient providers with tight, careful intake procedures shows that the DEA is not interested in preventing abuse of Proposition 215; the agency is interested in preventing any access to medical marijuana.
"We have a business license [and] a million dollar insurance policy," Hudson said.  He maintained that the club operates with the full knowledge of local law enforcement and cooperates with health officials.  "[We are] trying to run a medical marijuana operation that was beyond reproach.  This [is] a very bad case for [the DEA.]"
Since voters approved Proposition 215 last November, an estimated 15 clubs have emerged in California offering marijuana to patients who possess a doctor's recommendation.  In January, a Superior Court judge ruled that cannabis buyers' clubs were legal under state law as long as they operated as non-profit entities.  Flower Therapy co-owner Beth Moore said that the club has approximately 1,000 members.
San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan criticized the raid at a press conference on Tuesday.  "It shouldn't have happened," he said.  "Federal law usually only kicks in at very large levels.  [The government's action] is really befuddling."  Hallinan is a proponent of Proposition 215 and has verbally defended the rights of cannabis buyers' clubs in the past.  He told reporters that he had no advance notice about Monday's raid and urged prosecutors not to file charges in the case.  He called the DEA action "cavalier" and said that federal agents were "wading into a very murky thicket" if they planned to enforce local marijuana laws through federal courts.
California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer denounced the raid as "federal piracy."  Flower Therapy is an "honest, well-run medical marijuana club," Gieringer said.  "John Hudson made no secret of the fact that he was growing marijuana to help supply patients with good-quality medicine at affordable prices.  By shutting down Flower Therapy's cultivation operation, the federal government is forcing patients to be dependent on the black market's high prices and less scrupulous foreign smugglers.  The administration's policy is morally and constitutionally bankrupt, and is a direct affront to the people of California who voted for Prop. 215."
District of Columbia attorney Rufus King, Esq. of the law firm Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe said that the government's latest action emphasizes the importance of a federal lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C. on March 6 challenging the federal government's refusal to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana in states that permit them to do so.  Plaintiffs in that case - a group of physicians, health organizations, and patients - seek a declaratory judgment that the federal policy prohibiting physicians from prescribing or recommending marijuana in accordance with state law violates the First, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
For more information, please contact John Hudson of Flower Therapy @ (415) 255-6305.  For more information on California's medical marijuana laws, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952.

(Meanwhile) San Jose City Council Opts To Regulate Medical Marijuana Clubs

April 24, 1997, San Jose, CA:  San Jose became the first city in the United States to regulate cannabis buyers' clubs when the City Council unanimously approved a medical marijuana zoning ordinance earlier this month.
The ordinance allows "medical marijuana dispensaries" to open for business in the city's commercial districts as long as they are located 150 feet from residences.  The buffer zones between the clubs and schools, day care centers, and churches is 500 feet.  Marijuana cultivation is allowed under the ordinance as long as the operators obtain a special permit from the city.
The ordinance bans smoking inside the clubs and forbids people under 18 years of age from entering the premises.  Marijuana sales are legal only to registered patients and their designated caregivers.  The ordinance does not allow clubs to deliver medical marijuana to the residences of seriously ill patients.
Peter Baez, co-founder of the Santa Clara County Medical Club, told reporters that he supports the ordinance despite it's prohibition on marijuana smoking and delivery.  Co-founder Jessie Garcia said he hopes the city will revisit those issues at a later date.
Mayor Susan Hammer summarized the council's decision. "We certainly understand the mandate of the people of California," she said.  "We are going to regulate the land use for this activity just like we regulate the land use for other activities [like] bars, restaurants, and gas stations."
NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre praised the city's position.  "Whereas the federal government's official response to the passage of Proposition 215 has been to launch a war against doctors and seriously ill patients, the San Jose City Council is opting to work with patients and caregivers to implement the will of the California voters."
For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858.

American Incarceration Rates Still Highest In World... And Rising


April 24, 1997, Washington, D.C.:  The number of Americans behind bars has more than doubled since 1985 and now stands at over 1.6 million, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Justice.
"America is the world leader in incarceration - both by number and percentage of population - and these latest figures indicate that this trend is continuing unabated," said NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup.  "Much of this increase is a direct result of the 'War on Drugs.'"
Prisoners in the custody of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government account for two-thirds of the incarcerated population.  The other third are held in local jails.  California houses the highest number of inmates while Texas has the highest rate of prison incarceration among its state population.  The report concludes that, "One in every 163 U.S. residents [is] incarcerated."
"Stiffening penalties against non-violent drug users has led to an explosion in American prison growth," summarized Stroup.  "Drug offenders now make up nearly two-thirds of all federal prisoners and more than one-quarter of all state and local inmates."
For a copy of the DOJ report: Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 1996, please contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service @ (800) 851-3420.  For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.



© copyright 1997 NORML NORML Home Page comments: norml@natlnorml.org

Regional and Other News

Body Count

The Oregonian did not publish its usual court report Thursday, April 24. So far in 1997, the body count stands at 62 out of 131, or 47.32 percent of all felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts to jail or prison terms for controlled-substance violations.

Judge Disallows 'Choice of Evils' Defense For Portland Medical-Marijuana User

Jack Owenbey, a Vietnam combat veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, went on trial in a Multnomah County courtroom April 22 on charges related to his cultivation of 23 marijuana plants.

Owenbey planned to defend himself with Oregon's 'Choice of Evils' statute, O.R.S. s 161.200. (See the Feb. 27, 1997 weekly news release at http://www.pdxnorml.org/022797.html#oco)

However, Circuit Judge Ellen F. Rosenblum, ruling on a motion from the prosecutor just before the trial began, said that Oregon's 'Choice of Evils' statute did not apply to medical-marijuana cases. She also decided that Owenbey could offer neither a 'medical necessity' nor a Common Law defense.

With his right to self-preservation nullified, Owenbey and his public defender, Pat Sheridan (503-225-9100), reportedly decided their best remaining option was to stipulate to the facts, take an automatic guilty verdict from the judge, appeal her decision on the choice of evils defense, and demonstrate at a sentencing hearing why Owenbey should not be punished any more than he already has.

NIH Calls For Controlled Studies, But Will 'Peronistas' Upset The Process?

"It's No Time for Pot Clubs to Party"

The San Francisco Chronicle, op-ed, April 23, 1997
By Ira Eisnberg

Dennis Peron The National Institutes of Health have called for the controlled studies that could free marijuana from the limbo of banned substances, instead making it a controlled medicine that doctors may legally prescribe.

National drug czar Barry McCaffrey has given his blessings, and next month the National Institute for Drug Abuse is to begin reviewing research proposals.

"Medical marijuana may be in the final stages of approval," observes drug policy reformer Kevin Zeese. "We could be just six to nine months away."

That is if Dennis Peron and the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club don't blow it with their outlaw posturing and boneheaded antics linking medical marijuana with the unrelated issue of its recreational use.

Indeed, federal narcotics agents on Monday raided Flower Therapy, another S.F. medical marijuana outlet, seizing 331 plants but leaving its supply of dried medical marijuana behind. It was the first such action since state drug agents raided Peron's club last fall, before Proposition 215 passed.

Peron, who authored the initiative, celebrated its victory by defiantly smoking a joint for the TV cameras at the club's Market Street headquarters. A convicted dope dealer who spent several years in prison for peddling marijuana, he is fond of proclaiming that "all marijuana use is medical."

"My goal is to serve sick people, not make pot available for recreational purposes," said Peter Baez, operator of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Club in San Jose.

"We have much more to fear from Peron right now than we do the police," declared Bill Zimmerman of Americans or Medical Rights, a group that campaigned for Proposition 215.

Many people do share Peron's desire to end the prohibition against recreation al pot smoking by adults. But that's clearly not why 5.2 million Californians voted yes on Proposition 215 last November. Linking medical with recreational use only confuses the issue and undermines the argument that doctors rather than cops should decide whether and for whom marijuana is good medicine.

As state Attorney General Dan Lungren rightly points out, the initiative is too loosely written. It arguably gives legal cover to virtually any drug dealer whose customers include AIDS patients, and to any pot grower designated as a "caregiver" by someone whose doctor has recommended the therapeutic use of marijuana.

"People with criminal backgrounds are already trying to move in on us," said Baez, the South Bay club operator. "Dope growers have been offering us free pounds of marijuana if we designate them as caregivers."

Lungren has filed a lawsuit aimed at putting all medical pot club operators out of business, but that would only drive them underground. The city of San Jose has come up with a much better idea: Allow the clubs to conduct business openly but according to strict rules.

"Proposition 215 presented us with a challenge," said San Jose City Attorney Joan Gallo. "How do we make sure those who need marijuana for medicinal purposes get it without raising the issue of recreational use?" Her answer - a zoning ordinance, since enacted by the City Council, licensing and regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. The clubs are restricted to certain neighborhoods, prohibited near schools and off-limits to minors. Pot smoking at the premises is forbidden. The city doesn't intend to prosecute them, so long as they report earnings, account for inventory, verify customers and limit the amount of pot sold in a single transaction.

But the "Peronistas" who control the San Francisco club don't want to be regulated and believe Proposition 215 is all the protection they need against another shutdown by the attorney general. Peron also claims he's no longer in the marijuana business for profit, yet refuses to incorporate as a nonprofit organization.

The enemies of 215 are hoping the initiative's sloppy language will give the Peronistas sufficient rope with which to hang themselves, and to doom the movement to reschedule marijuana. This means that until patients who really need the drug as medicine can buy it at pharmacies, those dealing pot in the name of compassion must be squeaky clean and thoroughly transparent.

San Francisco would be wise to adopt an ordinance like San Jose's if for no other reason than to protect the city's foremost medical marijuana outlet, and all who depend on it, from the hubris of its founder and leader.

Ira Eisenberg is a Bay Area journalist who writes frequently on drug policy matters.

Proposition 215 Works For LA Sickle-Cell Patient

April 18, 1997.
Contact: Richard M. Davis, (310) 442-9073.

Charges were never filed against Sister Somayah Moore-Kambui, director of the Crescent Alliance Self-Help for Sickle-cell, who was arrested and charged with marijuana sales when police chased a young black man suspected of petty theft of an alcoholic beverage into her house and raided her headquarters of legal hemp products.

Sister Somayah who had to post $1,200 bail and spent the night in jail after her privacy was invaded was to be arraigned on April 18, 1997 in Los Angeles Municipal Court. Kenneth Kahn, criminal attorney for Somayah, told her after searching for her case, "Go home, Somayah, they don't want to even hear about you here in their courts." The charges had never been filed. Ms. Kambui, an air force veteran who is treated by the Veteran's Administration for sickle-cell, a very painful hereditary blood condition which affects one out of 500 blacks, has her physician's permission to use cannabis. "I use the herb instead of morphine. It's the only thing that really works." Ms. Kambui presses fresh cannabis oil for other patients with this condition.

Among the supporters present for Ms. Kambui were Richard M. Davis, her caregiver under Proposition 215, and also the founder of both the Cannabis Freedom Fund and the World Cannabis Foundation, the former dedicated to legalization of cannabis, and the latter to scientific research and education about the cannabis plant: Brenda Kershenbaum, a co-founder of these organizations, and Robert Deitch, national director of the CFF.

Mr. Davis said, "Each of these arrests is an opportunity to clarify our new rights. The question now is how many patients must be arrested?" Proposition 215 is working and is respected.

Ms. Kambui is talking to civil rights attorneys to press charges against the state for violating her right to privacy. The CFF who recently announced their intention to sue the state for its citizen's right to privacy as exists in Alaska fully supports this opportune case. "We have to put an end to these arrests and invasions of privacy, and a lawsuit is the way to put the message out," stated Mr. Davis.

Richard M. Davis, President
Cannabis Freedom Fund
FAX: (310) 442-9072

Sister Somayah Kambui, Director
Crescent Alliance Self Help for Sickle Cell
(213) 234-8701

"LSU Law School Head Quits Over Marijuana Bust"

BATON ROUGE, La. (Reuter, April 24, 1997) - The chancellor of Louisiana State University's law school has resigned after details were made public of his arrest for marijuana possession.

In a letter posted Wednesday on the law school bulletin board, Winston Day announced his resignation and detailed his Jan. 5, 1996, airport arrest by U.S. Customs agents in Atlanta after a drug dog found 1.3 ounces of marijuana.

Day, 51, was named chancellor in 1989. He had avoided prosecution by agreeing to enter a federal program that assigned him to community service and medical supervision.

Day said he bought the marijuana in a bar in Amsterdam and intended to try it later to relieve chronic insomnia. In his letter, he said he learned his secret would be made public when the got a call from the Fulton County Daily Report, a law journal, asking for a photograph.

Public Wants Open And Honest Drug-Policy Discussion

"Seeking A Cure To Drug Culture - Our Misguided Approach To Drugs"

Rocky Mountain News [Denver], April 6, 1997, "F" edition, p. 5b
by John Miara

When Arizona and California voters passed referenda permitting marijuana for medical use, the response from federal and state officials was startlingly harsh. Voters were duped by a national legalization conspiracy, these officials charged, ignoring the fact that government heavy-hitters also had spent much time and money presenting their case. Indeed, the government's sledgehammer response to the votes in California and Arizona was so out of balance that it jolted the public to attention. And when people began to look more closely, they discovered that the marijuana dispute was just the camel's nose peeking under the tent. The public now wants to drag the rest of the beast inside to take a good look at it.

Fortunately, the present controversy differs from the usual confrontations between drug-issue traditionalists and their opponents mainly because it has drawn in ordinary citizens who until now have been content to sit on the sidelines.

Now that John and Jane Q. Public are watching, both sides in the debate have been forced to defend their positions, and neither has done a particularly good job.

For example, the debate over whether or not to prescribe marijuana to relieve the pain of terminally ill patients is no debate at all. No one in their heart of hearts opposes this. There is no rational reason to deny anything to people who are dying, whether it's a morphine cocktail or a toke of marijuana.

A similarly misguided debate involves marijuana's medicinal benefits. If, after rigorous scientific tests are performed, marijuana is found to have a medicinal benefit, then it should be included in doctors' pharmacological arsenal. If tests show it is harmful, then certainly doctors will not prescribe it. Virtually everyone now agrees on this, including America's "drug czar," Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

So if the debate is not about dispensing marijuana to the terminally ill or studying its medicinal potential, what is it about? Why did government officials threaten to prosecute doctors who prescribe marijuana for their patients. The public perceived this not only as a challenge to the will of California and Arizona voters, but as an insult to the integrity of medical professionals who devote their lives to curing illness and alleviating pain.

In an editorial entitled "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," which appeared in the January issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the journal's editor, Dr. Jerome Kassirer, took government hard-liners to task. He wrote, "I believe that a federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane."

The real significance of the column is that a prestigious, mainstream scientific journal questioned federal officials' inflexible response to a complex issue. In other words, the government's unyielding defense of a shaky drug war orthodoxy, not the policy itself, has emerged as the real issue in the current controversy.

Reaction to this "pharmacological McCarthyism," as one analyst described it, is manifesting itself in two ways: a general concern over whether drug war officials may be too close to the trees to see the forest, and a call for a closer examination of anti-drug policies that are not producing the desired results.

Although this reaction might make federal officials squirm, the process has its positive side. New voices with unimpeachable anti-drug credentials - such as Mayor John Logie of conservative Grand Rapids, Mich. - are now insisting on a discussion of once-taboo subjects. Logie is establishing a panel to take a fresh look at such issues as needle exchange and sentencing policy.

What Logie and many increasingly assertive citizens are saying is that it's time to have a no-holds-barred debate about the nation's anti-drug strategy. The only rules should be an assumption that everyone knows drug addiction is a miserable fate, and the fewer addicts around the better off we'll all be. That settled, the task is to figure out how to reduce the number of addicts to the lowest possible level, even if getting there requires tipping the current system upside down.

"Arizona Voters Said Yes To Pot For Medical Use - Lawmakers Said No"

"Annulling a marijuana vote"

The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 18, 1997
By Gwen Florio, Inquirer Staff Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. - Last fall, Arizona's voters, along with those in California, approved a ballot measure allowing the use of marijuana as a medical treatment.

Today, Arizona's government will finish the business of dismantling that measure.

Gov. Fife Symington is expected to sign a bill, passed by both houses of the state legislature, forbidding doctors from prescribing any drug that lacks approval of the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Marijuana does not have FDA approval and thus would be banned for medicinal use - no matter that nearly two-thirds of the voters approved the opposite position.

Advocates of the ballot measure are expected to file a lawsuit.

"The legislature has said the people were too stupid to know what they were voting for," said Dr. Kevin Carmichael, who treats AIDS and HIV-positive patients - who are among the most vocal proponents of medical marijuana use - at the El Rio Health Center in Tucson.

"I must say I find it extremely annoying and disconcerting," he said, "that the people of Arizona would vote on something and the legislature would say no."

The legislature's action is extremely unusual, said Craig Holman, who tracks ballot initiatives nationwide for the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.

Typically, legislatures will fine-tune ballot initiatives, he said. But to gut one so thoroughly is nearly unheard of.

"I'm sure this sets all records for having repealed an initiative, and having repealed it in its entirety, so quickly," he said. "It is really quite devastating to the political process. If nothing else, they've really alienated voters."

For years, people suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other debilitating illnesses have sought the right to have doctors prescribe marijuana to relieve problems associated with their illnesses.

But immediately after the California and Arizona measures were approved, the Clinton administration threatened to yank the prescription-writing license of any doctor who prescribed marijuana in those states.

This week, the White House National Drug Policy Office praised the Arizona Legislature for the bill, saying it had "taken a very responsible course of action."

The measure approved by Californians allowed possession and use of marijuana by patients or caregivers, if recommended by two doctors. Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a temporary order banning the Justice Department from prosecuting California doctors who prescribe marijuana.

Arizona's Prop 200 went further than California's, permitting the prescription of all "Schedule 1" drugs - marijuana, methamphetamines, LSD and heroin - for medical use.

And that made it vulnerable for a counterattack.

Some legislators, such as Senate Majority Leader Marc Spitzer, portrayed Prop 200 as an attempt to legalize all those drugs in Arizona.

"They're trying to go through the back door in a very duplicitous way," said Spitzer, a Phoenix Republican. "If there is some medical benefit, these drugs will get approval from the FDA."

The governor's spokesman, Douglas Cole, said Symington would sign the bill because he "does not like crack, LSD and heroin and does not believe they have medicinal purposes."

Senate Minority Leader Ruth Solomon, a Tucson Democrat, said the Republicans should have paid more attention to the will of the people.

"The voters very clearly said, 'This is what we want,' "she said. "And then we [ the legislature ] said, 'This is what you did, and we don't like it.'" The decision, she said, smacks of paternalism, arrogance and unresponsiveness.

Jean Cicci, 46, agrees with Solomon. Although Cicci said she doesn't smoke marijuana herself - "it makes me too stupid" - 10 of the 25 people in her building are regular users. Like Cicci, all 10 have AIDS.

She said they depend upon pot to increase their indifferent appetites and to fight off the nausea associated with chemotherapy or the new "AIDS cocktail" drugs. "There are people here who are dying," said Cicci. "I know they need this to get through."

Cicci volunteers as a peer counselor at PACT for Life, the People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson. Her clients are upset, afraid and angry, she said. And so is she.

"This just doesn't seem right to me that the legislature can just do this," Cicci said. "What was the sense in voting on [Prop 200] in the first place?"

"Arizona Looks Into Building Private Prison In Mexico"

The New York Times, April 20, 1997
By James Brooke

PHOENIX - Arizona prison officials have watched the population of Mexican inmates skyrocket, from 58 in 1980 to 2,373 today.

At the same time, they have watched American factory owners move south of the border to take advantage of Mexico's low wages.

So it seemed natural to Gov. Fife Symington, a Republican, to propose a twist to the North American Free Trade Agreement: a plan to build a private 1,600-inmate prison in Mexico to house the bulk of Arizona's Mexican prisoners.

"It would mean big dollars to the operator and to the Mexican economy," said Terry L. Stewart, state corrections director. On April 10, Stewart received two responses to a request for feasibility studies, one from a prison company from Florida and the other from a group from Mexico.

The governor's chief of staff, Jay Heiler, has joined the sales pitch. "We have a lot of rural communities around Arizona that compete for prison projects," Heiler said. "So it is not as if we are trying to send some kind of ugly industry south of the border."

This year, the cost of incarcerating the Mexicans is expected to hit $40 million, a bill that is largely paid by the 3.5 million residents of the state.

A private prison in Mexico could halve that cost, estimated Michael Garretson, chief operating officer of the Correctional Services Corporation of Sarasota, Fla., the company that submitted a proposal. Labor accounts for 70 percent of the cost of running a prison in the United States, he said.

"It's a great idea, a great concept," said Garretson, whose company runs a 400-bed prison here and is building another, with 600 beds, in Florence.

To push the idea, Correctional Services, the Mexican group and Arizona officials have held talks with officials from the state of Sonora, which borders Arizona.

Although some state officials in Mexico are open to the idea, it faces a formidable obstacle: it would require a bilateral treaty between the United States and Mexico.

From Washington, a spokesman for the State Department cautioned that states could not conduct their own foreign policies.

"Any kind of international agreement of that kind would have to be between two national governments," the spokesman, a Latin America specialist, said on condition of anonymity. "I don't know how two states could effect that legally."

The Mexican counsel here, Luis Cabrera, said that without a treaty, there would be jurisdictional problems. "Prisons in Mexico cannot be managed by foreign authorities," Cabrera said.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Mexico City limited herself in a telephone interview to saying: "There have not been any serious discussions. Nothing has been decided."

Garretson said state officials were blunter when talking with him in Sonora. "We got a lot of discussion of sovereignty, local control, even the word imperialism," he said.

In contrast, Axel C.F. Holm, an American member of the Mexican group that is studying the proposal, said of his contacts with Sonoran officials: "They seem to be very open to the idea. We haven't met any real resistance."

"The Mexicans are interested in repatriation of their citizens," said Holm, whose group, based in Sonora, is called la Comision Para Estudio de Prision Particular, or the Committee for the Study of a Private Prison. "Our group formed in Mexico because the prison is going to be located in Mexico."

Although the idea might have sounded outlandish 15 years ago, its currency today stems from the growing population of foreigners in U.S. jails. Foreigners account for 27 percent of the 109,000 prisoners in federal jails, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Of the total, Mexicans account for 10 percent, or 11,000.

On the state level, Mexicans account for 9.5 percent of the 145,000 inmates in California and 10.5 percent of the 22,697 inmates in Arizona. Over the last five years, the number of Mexicans jailed in Arizona has jumped 72 percent, double the 36 percent rate of increase for the state's prison population as a whole.

New York and Florida, two other states with large populations of foreign prisoners, have responded by speeding deportations. Early release is conditioned on a prisoner's promising never to return to the United States.

"Our interest is getting foreign nationals, especially nonviolent offenders, out of our system," said James B. Flateau, a spokesman for the New York state Department of Correctional Services. "We would not be interested in operating a state prison outside the borders of New York."

But California and Arizona, states that border Mexico, have been reluctant to deport prisoners before their sentences are up. Instead, prison authorities in both states have asked for federal help.

"We have been hammering away at the federal government to give us the money to house them," a spokesman for the California Corrections Department, Tip Kindel, said of the 14,000 Mexicans in state prisons there. "Or better yet, take them off our hands and house them in federal prisons."

For two decades, the United States and Mexico have had an agreement for the voluntary repatriation of prisoners.

"Unfortunately, the Mexicans haven't been raising their hands to go," said Heiler, the governor's aide. With an Arizona prison in Mexico, he said, "it wouldn't be a matter of their desire anymore."

In trying to sell the idea to the Mexican authorities, Arizona officials paint the plan as a humanitarian gesture. There would be no international border to block family visits. The prison language would be Spanish. The cuisine would be Mexican.

Arizona's "request for information," mailed in February to 100 companies, talks of providing a "more culturally compatible environment."

To skeptics, that conjures up images of Mexican prisons as places where extortion, bribery, drug dealing and prostitution are rampant. Amnesty International says guards in Mexico sometimes control prisoners with beatings and electric shocks.

"People immediately jump to that view," Stewart said. "What they forget is that it would operate according to American standards, just the way major American corporations operate in Mexico."

The Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper, has cautiously editorialized about the proposal, calling it "an interesting idea."

Many defense lawyers are hostile.

"It just smacks of opportunism," said Donna Leone Hamm, director of Middle Prison Reform, a group in Tempe. "It's pretty frightening to think of the United States government wanting to send people to prison in another country just to save money. Where does that stop?"

Michael L. Piccarreta, a lawyer in Tucson and president of the state bar of Arizona, dismissed the proposal as "a lousy idea."

"They should be revisiting the failed drug policies that end up incarcerating large numbers of Mexicans for drug violations because we are a border state," Piccarreta said from his office 40 miles north of the border. "There is a country full of people, who, for $100, are willing to take a backpack full of marijuana into our country."

Lawyers questioned how Mexicans transferred to an Arizona jail in Mexico would have access to American lawyers, American law books and American courts for appeals or lawsuits.

"What if inmates want to challenge conditions?" asked Andy Silverman, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Law who specializes in immigration law. "What if an inmate falls and breaks a leg? How does he sue?"

To handle this problem, Holm proposes that Mexico agree to transfer back to Arizona Mexican prisoners who wish to pursue appeals or suits through the American legal system.

State officials are optimistic that legal hurdles can be surmounted.

"We would still be liable for the lawsuits," said Stewart, who is preparing to start a formal request for proposals from contractors. "It's so simple and commonsensical that I don't know why anyone hasn't thought of this before."

National Conference On Raza Prisoners And Colonialism

Oppression "Liberate La Raza Locked-Down Low-Rider Car Show And Political Prisoner Campaigns Exhibit"

Saturday, April 26, 1997

Ocala Middle School, 2800 Ocala Rd., East San Jose, CalifAztlan

Car Show: 10 a.m. - 12 noon; Conference: 12 noon - 6 p.m.

One out of every 13 Chicano Mexicano is tied to the U.S. prison industry. That means that over 2 million Raza are locked-down either in city, county, state, or federal prisons; on house arrest, parole or probation; or serving time in some kind of juvenile detention facility or program.

Hosted by: The Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now!

Endorsements include: National Chicano Moratorium Committee with regions throughout Aztlan-occupied Mexico; Chicano Mexicano Prison Project of Union del Barrio; Mexicanos Unidos en Defensa del Pueblo; Crusade for Justice; For the Defense (won the case for Manuel Salazar); Radio Xicana; International Campaign to Free Fred Hampton Jr.; National Campaign to Free Jose Luis, Now!; National Campaign to Free Alvaro Hernandez Now!; Campaign to Free Chris Cruz; Advocates of Justice - Free Ramsey Muniz; RazaTeca Magazine; Louie Rocha - President of Local Union 9423; Impacto 2000; Dr. Ruben Barrera - Founder of American Homeless Society and the World Homeless Union; Cesar A. Cruz and others...

National Conference On Raza Prisoners And Colonialism

On Saturday, April 26, 1997, the Campaign to Free Jose Luis, Now! will host the National Conference on Raza Prisoners and Colonialism in San Jose, CalifAztlan, at Ocala Middle School. This conference was called for at the National Raza Unity Conference held in San Diego, CalifAztlan on August 10, 1996 as a resolution of the general membership representing Raza organizations from all over Aztlan (occupied territory - some call it the U.S.), organized by the National Chicano Moratorium Committee.

Over the past three years, the Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! has raised up the slogans, "Raza locked-down are Political Prisoners of War in Aztlan!," and, "Defend the barrios! Defend Aztlan! Free Jose Luis! The 'war on drugs' is genocide! Convict the police!," to expose the conditions that Raza have been living in for over 500 years.

These are conditions of terror and exploitation that mean that the indigenous people of this land are illegal aliens. These conditions mean that a Mexicano drug user will spend his or her life in prison while gavacho drug lords controlling the planes and borders of this country live in the white house. These conditions mean that la Raza youth can't walk down the street in groups of three or more because they are a gang; but dozens of militarily trained, armed to the teeth, police and migra can roam our streets, break down doors and brutalize and kill our gente in the name of peace. That's why we say that the police agencies in our communities are occupying armies that only protect and serve the interests of gringo settlers that enjoy living on our indigenous land, devouring the food picked by our hands, and not working for any of it.

The Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! exposes why it is impossible to talk about any aspect of our lives without talking about the prison system. From prison guards to AT&T operators, every sector of the U.S. economy is benefiting from the massive incarceration of la Raza. That's why it is also impossible to talk about any aspect of our lives without talking about colonialism. The U.S. prison system as an industry forms the same crucial cornerstone that slavery and the pioneer "indian wars" of "manifest destiny" were to the foundation of the U.S. and the American (gavacho settler) dream."

The U.S. prison industry is the rawest example of the repression and parasitic, blood-sucking relationship that gavacho society needs to survive. La Raza work at minimum wage for about $5.00 an hour (if we're lucky!) so that others can sit around and make over $20.00 an hour or more at la Raza's expense. Instead of using its resources to provide food, housing, relevant education and medical care for our gente, gringo society has chosen prison building! California already has the highest prison population in the world and in three years it will have built 25 new prisons, more prisons than it had built over the past 90 years.

The Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! is hosting this conference because the majority of our community is attached to the prison industry. Whether you're locked-down or out now; your son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother or other family member is locked-down; or its one of your friends, carnales, homeboys or homegirls; there's probably someone you know and care for who's "rehabilitation process" is paying off the mortgage or sending some gringo's kid to college.

The Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! is a campaign to tear down the wall of lies that say once someone has been sentenced, they are abandoned by the community. AT&T wouldn't be making $25 million a year on collect calls from prisoners to their families if la Raza were abandoning la Raza locked-down. McDonald's, Motel 6 & 7 Eleven - none of them would set-up shop in Susanville, CA if la Raza were abandoning la Raza locked-down. The corporations are very clear that millions of our gente are going to visit and they're fighting for a piece of the blood-money profits.

The Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! is also very clear and we're fighting to get la Raza organized to defend our gente locked-down and in the barrios. There is no difference between what Jose Luis and his family are going through and what millions of Raza and their families are going through. Its a struggle for survival. Its a struggle against settler colonialism that la Raza have been combating for the last 500 years. The question for la Raza is, will we survive the genocide this time?

Genocide is the war made against an entire community to completely destroy the people. After decimating 90% of the original indigenous population, now the U.S. government is terrorizing la Raza with the prison industry. Each man, woman, and child snatched out of our community and sent to prison is an act of war, an act of genocide against la Raza. Our gente are being incarcerated for so-called crimes, like drug use or selling, but for the same crimes gavachos are being sent to drug rehabilitation programs. For la Raza drug rehabilitation means only seeing sunlight 10 hours a week! That's genocide! That's what the prison industry is all about. That's why Jose Luis and la Raza locked-down are political prisoners of war in Aztlan, because our gente are in a struggle for their lives.

The conference will be part of La Raza Liberation Day. From 10 am - 12 noon, organizations will exhibit information and materials including T-shirts, stickers, bumper stickers, and audio cassettes about the various national campaigns to free political prisoners and defend the rights of Raza locked-down and their families. The exhibit will take place during a Liberate La Raza Locked-Down Low-Rider Car Show. The car show and exhibit are free to the community.

The conference itself will take place from 12 noon - 6 pm. Union del Barrio will be delivering the keynote presentation and several campaigns to free Raza political prisoners will be giving updates on their work, including representatives from the Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now!, Advocates for Justice - Free Ramsey Muniz Campaign, and the Campaign to Free Alvaro Hernandez. The International Campaign to Free Fred Hampton Jr. will be making a solidarity statement and update as well.

This conference has specific goals designed to strengthen the movement and arm la Raza to defend ourselves:

1) Create a How to Defend Raza Prisoners Manual;
2) Create a Raza Prisoners Defense Network;
3) Build support for the Campaign to Free Jose Luis Now! and other Raza political prisoner campaigns.

If you would like to endorse the conference or to make a donation please write (sorry snail mail only) to:

Barrio Defense Committee
P.O. Box 1523
San Jose, CA
95109 (USA)
Phone: (408) 223-0938

CADCA Muddies The Water In Drug Policy Debate

"Prop. 200 Has Lead Role In Anti-Drug Drama"

The Arizona Republic, April 7, 1997, p. A1
By Jeff Barker, Republic Washington Bureau

To Edina Fields, it just wasn't making sense.

An anti-drug group was telling her American University civil liberties class that Arizonans didn't understand the marijuana -for- medicine initiative they approved in last November's election. But Fields, a sophomore, wasn't buying it.

"I think you can't underestimate people," she said afterward. "I mean, voters just aren't that stupid."

Arizonans may wonder why 21 college students more than 2,000 miles from Phoenix were debating the circumstances that led to the passage of state ballot Proposition 200.

The answer: Prop. 200 has been accorded a starring role in a drug-fighting drama being played out in classrooms and town halls across America.

The privately funded Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA, which sent two representatives to address Fields' class, is featuring the Arizona initiative in a new campaign to steer youths away from marijuana.

The purpose of CADCA's campaign, which also spotlights a similar California initiative, is to help communities with lobbying, media targeting, youth mobilization and other strategies to head off similar measures in their states. CADCA, based in Alexandria, Va., gets its funding primarily from foundations and membership dues. Proposition 200 gives seriously ill patients access to marijuana if two licensed physicians agree and can show evidence of its appropriate medical use.

CADCA's campaign is called "Say it Straight: Our Health, Our Youth and Marijuana." Its goals are laid out in a a 36-page booklet being sent to many of its 4,300 members nationwide. The members include community-based, school-based and church-based organizations engaged in the war on drugs.

The booklet calls the Arizona and California initiatives "dangerous and misconceived responses, not solutions, to the medical needs they purport to serve."

"We hope (the booklet) will provide you with the type of valuable information that you need to develop an anti-marijuana campaign in your state," it says. It recommends writing letters to newspapers, engaging in Internet debates and encouraging lawmakers and medical associations to speak out against medical marijuana propositions.

Some of the material in the booklet has been contested by Proposition 200's backers. Among the document's controversial statements: "The language in these ballot initiatives for California and Arizona are so loosely worded that they basically legalize marijuana for everyone, sick or well, adult or child. Physicians will be able to legally dispense marijuana for migraines, depression or any other ailment."

Proposition 200 proponents said the statement wrongly implies that physicians would bypass their Hippocratic oath by prescribing marijuana to patients without serious ailments.

In an interview, CADCA spokesman Tito Coleman said the language was merely meant to suggest that the Arizona and California propositions placed too much responsibility in physicians' hands.

"I'm not saying all doctors will do this, but there have been lots of cases of prescribing things not for medical reasons," Coleman said. "Prescription drugs are abused all the time. People have friends who are doctors and talk them into doing them a favor."

Besides the booklet, CADCA is employing satellite-transmitted feeds to gets the campaign's message to broadcasters. Coleman said he did not know how much the campaign will cost; he said the satellite feeds are being provided free by a National Guard production studio in St. Petersburg, Fla.

CADCA was formed in 1992 by the President's Drug Advisory Council. Its contributors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Knight Foundation, Hearst Foundation and Pew Charitable Trust.

One of CADCA's objectives in the "Say it Straight" campaign is to ensure that the "misinformation" used in Arizona and California is not disseminated in other states, according to Coleman. CADCA says the propositions' sponsors falsely suggested that marijuana "is a folk medicine miracle which is being kept from the public."

In fact, CADCA says marijuana is a likely cause of negative health effects, such as suppression of the immune system. CADCA acknowledges that the drug may have medical applications, but says they haven't been documented.

In February, CADCA financed a survey by Arizona State University pollster Bruce Merrill that said 85 percent of voters want Proposition 200 altered in some way and 87 percent want the drugs to first undergo rigorous testing.

However, a rival survey by Washington pollster Paul Maslin said that 56 percent of Arizona voters would again vote for Proposition 200, and that 53 percent would somewhat oppose or strongly oppose repealing it. The initiative passed in November with 65 percent of the vote.

CADCA addressed the American University class on March 26 as part of a campus program to give students access to players in current events. An official from the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws was invited in on another day.

CADCA provided each of the students a copy of its "Say it Straight" brochure. It also gave $25 to students who agreed to help CADCA make telephone calls to update its membership list.

The students reached no consensus on either Proposition 200, or marijuana legalization in general.

"There seemed to be a general acceptance that drugs are bad, but marijuana was an open question," said Professor David M. Johnson. "They left confused. But my hope is that they are confused because they see both sides of the arguments."

Prohibition Can't Keep Crack From Spreading In Small Indiana Towns

"Drug Market Takes Hold In Small Towns - Dealers Aren't Escaping The Notice Of Authorities, Who Are Spending More Time, Money To Stop Them"

The Indianapolis Star, April 7, 1997, p. B4
By Stacey Creasy, correspondent

PERU, Ind. - Dave Van Baalen knows he isn't winning the war against drugs - even in the small towns of central Indiana.

A Peru Police captain, Van Baalen is the head of the Miami County Drug Task Force. "For every one we arrest, two more pop up," he said. "Anyone who thinks they are going to run crack out of town is foolish, but it is a war we will never stop fighting. "

A year ago, it was difficult to find crack cocaine on the streets of Peru. That's changed.

"All drugs are up," Van Baalen said recently. "Drugs in general. We are buying everything - acid, mushrooms, marijuana. We have served 15 drug search warrants in the past two weeks. "

Van Baalen said area police are spending more time, money and equipment to combat the drug increase - and the resulting rise in drug-related burglaries and thefts.

Peru isn't the only north-central Indiana town fighting a sudden increase in cocaine dealing.

In November, police from several agencies, including the Miami County task force, raided two crack houses in nearby Logansport. Van Baalen believes big-city drug dealers have been seeking out towns like Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, Plymouth and Wabash.

"They do have a Mayberry belief with towns like Peru," Van Baalen said. "They don't think we have the resources to catch them.

"They are finding out that isn't true. We have arrested 25-30 people on Class A felonies from November to now. "

One drug suspect's relative said her cousin and friends came to the Logansport area thinking it would be an easy market to tap.

"They tagged the sticks as a gold mine, but they didn't have no idea they were being watched," she said.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Bob Land said the Miami County Force is as aggressive as any force he has worked with.

"I can say they aren't just tooting their own horn. They go to Howard County, Logansport, wherever they are needed to get the people dealing in Miami County," Land said. Although Van Baalen is not optimistic about wiping out the drug trade in the region, he is hoping to keep the growth to a minimum.

"Our goal is to keep it down and keep it away from the kids," Van Baalen said. "We say we have two kinds of drug dealers here: Drug dealers that have been arrested and drug dealers that will be arrested. They need to know this is not Mayberry. "

American Fantasies Result In Peruvian Nightmare

"Alert: Human Rights Abuses in Bolivian Drug War"

Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
Rapid Response Team

Please copy and distribute.

The fraudulence of the annual certification process may be best demonstrated by the events taking place in a nation whose certification this year was not a matter of controversy: Bolivia. While Bolivia passed certification handily, the roughly 7,000 hectares of coca they eradicated were almost entirely replaced by 7,000 new hectares of coca, cultivated to meet the demand, mostly from people in the United States. But Bolivia's eradication program, while useless in terms of its stated goal of reducing drug availability, has resulted in a long-term civil conflict and in serious abuses of human rights. This update from the Andean Information Network is only the latest dark episode in the Andean drug war created by US policy. We ask you to contact the Bolivian and US officials listed at the end of the report. Following them are a few pointers to sources of further information.

Andean Information Network
Casilla 4817
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Phone: +591 (42) 24384
Fax: +591 (42) 52401

April 19, 1997
Alert: Update on the recent events in the tropics of Chapare

On the 17th of April (Thursday), approximately 30 vehicles of UMOPAR (the drug police), Ecological Police, DIRECO y DINACO entered the area of Eterzama (Mariscal B which is located 190-200 kilometers from the city of Cochabamba) in the tropical zone of Chapare. The stated nature of the operation was to eradicate new coca plants and seedlings which are prohibited by Law 1008. According to a commission of journalists who traveled to the area, all the coca in the area is old (15-20 of age) and they observed no new coca or seedlings.

Additionally, the police agents were forcibly eradicating coca plants, i.e. they were eradicating the coca without permission of the land owners. In this zone the coca is considered "excess coca" under the antinarcotic Law 1008 and should be eradicated voluntarily and with compensation of $2,500 for each hectare that is eradicated. A woman named Alberta Orellana Garcia, 53 years of age, tried to prevent the eradication of her coca by begging on her knees to the police agent, when she was shot with a bullet in front of her oldest son, Fernando. She died leaving 7 children including one of 2 years and another of 4 years.

The killing of the woman angered the people, who went to the town of Etrezama and destroyed the offices of DIRECO, the Bolivian organization that oversees coca eradication efforts and pays the compensation. The government took retaliation by sending in helicopters and ground troops who indiscriminately shot at the people and gassed the population.

Juan Del Granado, who entered the area on the 18th to record the events, stated that the antinarcotic operation was an act of war, with helicopters flying over, dropping gas on the population and shooting randomly at people's feet. The children were terrorized and crying because of their fear and their concern for their parents, many of whom were detained. Ironically, the minister of Government, Victor Hugo Caneles, who was in the area during the operations left the area as the Congressional Human Rights Commission arrived.

The situation remains tense, and the information below was pieced together from eyewitness reports, information from reporter Alex Contreras, and the information provided by the head of the Congressional Committee on Human Rights, Juan Del Granado, by radio as he travelled throughout out the zone.


To date there are six confirmed deaths, not counting an UMOPAR agent who was killed during the operation. The dead include Alberta Orellana Garcia, as described above, two men in the morgue in Cochabamba whose names have not been released; Ernesto Quispe Villas, who died this AM (the 19th) in the hospital in Chipirir from a bullet wound in the head; a baby of 3 months, Fredy Rojas, who died of gasification (the body of the baby is still in Chapare); and a child of six years who was also killed by a bullet wound. There are rumors of more deaths but we have not been able to confirm them.


There is a young man of 17 years in a coma in the hospital. There is a child of 6 years who was shot in the head with a bullet, and another campesino who was shot in the neck. In total, 20-30 persons were wounded by bullets, the majority in their feet, and they are being treated in the hospitals of the area. There are other wounded who have been taken to hospitals in Santa Cruz, and we have no information on their condition. There are many people still missing who may be detained or kidnapped.


According to Juan Del Granado, there were 163 detentions. 20 were released, but 143 remain in the Unidad of UMOPAR in Chimore. The majority of these detentions were arbitrary, without warrant or the presence of a fiscal. The majority were hit during their detention and you can observe the bruises on their bodies. The police forces in their attempt to detain people entered a clinic, broke windows, screens and hit one of the doctors in the clinic. Additionally they entered private homes robbing personal belongings. An election notary was entering the local telephone office when he was grabbed by police, kicked, carried out to the street, beaten and then left there. This act was witnessed by many people.

Union leader Avelino Espinosa was detained in the office in Villa 14 with German Felizes, who is a government official in Villa Tunari. They were transferred to the UMOPAR cuartel where Espinosa's hands were tied and he was brutally beaten by UMOPAR agents. Eventually they were both released due to intervention on the part of journalists. When these journalists asked police agent Capitan Guerrero, whom Espinosa was accusing of beating him, to respond to the accusations, Capitan Guerrero answered that he was under orders to keep silent.

Among the people detained are ministers, union leaders and many other residents of the area. The detentions were random, without warrants, and not one was done in the presence of a prosecutor.


As the Andean Information Network we traveled to the Chapare region the 10-14 of April, a few days before the events outlined above took place. The people of the area are in a desperate situation due to the policy of the forced eradication which is being pushed by the US government. Due to the almost complete failure of alternative development in the region, the people have been left with no other option than to continue to grow coca. The zone is completely militarized at the moment, with more than 1,800 police agents in the area -- 500 UMOPAR, 200 ecological police, 110 police from CBBA, 105 from Santa Cruz, 100 soldiers from the Colomi base and 800 soldiers from the Santa Rosa army base.

The coca growers have in the last months organized themselves into self defense committees who defend the fields against forced eradication with sticks, rocks and sometimes machetes. It is these coca growers who the government say are causing the violence. We met with one of these committee and can attest that they are only farmers defending their right to survive. It is the government who is the aggressor in these events.

At this moment Juan Del Granado is investigating the situation of those detained in UMOPAR. When we traveled there last week and visited the cells, we were alarmed by the number of people in a cell -- 16-24 people in a cell 2x3 meters during the day, and at night 8 people sleep in this same space. The health of the prisoners was bad, they are not let out to exercise and, they are almost yellow in color due to lack of sun. The cell is very hot as the only ventilation is a small window. We can't imagine what the conditions are like now with the addition of 143 more people.

The situation remains very tense, with the Bolivian government defending their acts by stating that the coca growers are narcotraffickers. To date the US government has been silent. We are asking you to write letters of concern to the addresses below, asking for the removal of the 1,800 troops in the Chapare and the end to illegal forced eradication (the eradication in these zones should be voluntary and compensated as stated in Law 1008). Also demand that the US government make very clear to the Bolivian government that the demands of the US government (the eradication of 8000 hectares this year and the complete eradication of the coca in two years) need to be achieved within the mark of national and international human rights. We thank you for your help in this matter and will be keeping you updated.

Please send faxes and letters to:

President Lic. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada
Palacio de Gobierno
La Paz
Fax: +591 2 359779

Ministro de Justicia Rene Blattman
Palacio de Gobierno
La Paz
Fax: +591 2 356781

Ambassador Curtis Kamman
US Embassy
La Paz
Fax: +591 2 433035



{your name and address}
{name and address of official}

Dear ___:

It has come to my attention that the UMOPAR and other police and military forces have engaged in illegal forced coca eradication activities and have committed acts of violence and human rights abuses against the people of the Chapare.

The people of the United States do not want the war on drugs to be used a justification for repression and violence in Bolivia or anywhere else. I ask that you take all measures needed to ensure that police and military forces respect human rights and the rule of law, that violence and human rights violations by such forces are investigated and punished, and that the victims are compensated.


{your name and signature}


Please send a copy of your letter to DRCNet, and we will forward them to the Andean Information Network. Send them to: DRCNet, 4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008, or fax to (202) 362-0032, or e-mail to drcnet@drcnet.org. Or fax or e-mail them directly to AIN, +591 (42) 53401 paz@llajta.nrc.bolnet.bo

Send a copy of this alert to your US Representative and your two US Senators. You can call them (or find out who they are) through the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-3121. You can write them at: The Honorable {your Rep/Senator}, US House of Representatives/US Senate, Washington, DC 20515/20510.


Bolivia Under Pressure: Human Rights Violations and Coca Eradication, published by Human Rights Watch. Summary and ordering information available at http://www.hrw.org/research/bolivia.html, or call Human Rights Watch at (212) 972-8400.

The Weight of Law 1008, and Children of Law 1008, published by the Andean Information Network, on the tragic consequences of Bolivia's unconstitutional drug law. Contact information for AIN is listed above.

Waging the War on Drugs in Bolivia, published by the Washington Office on Latin America. Summary and ordering information at http://www.wola.org/boldrg.htm. WOLA has many other informative reports on the war on drugs in Latin America, and can be reached at (202) 544-8045 or wola@wola.org.

Join DRCNet! Visit our world-wide-web registration form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html (complete with credit card billing and encryption for your protection), or send e-mail to drcinfo@drcnet.org for more information. To subscribe to the rapid response team, send e-mail to listproc@drcnet.org with the line "subscribe drc-natl your name" in the message. We need your help to survive! (If you're not on our list already, please visit our quick-signup form at http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html on the World Wide Web.

Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008
(202) 362-0030 (voice) / (202) 362-0032 (fax)
drcinfo@drcnet.org / http://www.drcnet.org/

Prohibitionist Fantasies Feed Albanian Families

"Hard Times Encourage Albanian Farmers To Grow Drugs To Feed Family"

Agence France Presse, April 9, 1997
By Adrian Brown

With a modicum of trouble and a little discretion, Albanian farmer Bashkim Ahmeti can double his annual income and contribute to one of his country's few export industries - drugs.

On a small patch of land measuring no more than ten meters (yards) by three, Ahmeti can grow enough marijuana to net around 1,000 dollars, some 300 dollars more than the average annual Albanian wage.

Tucked away behind a screen of reeds on a scrap of land in the middle of carefully tended crops, this year's crop of hemp plants are just beginning to come through.

Just ten centimeters tall at this time of year, the 40-odd plants Ahmeti planted a fortnight ago will quickly grow to two or three meters high. "They don't need much care," he explains.

"When they are about half a meter high I spread chicken droppings over them and then add water when they need it. Some people use cow dung but I find chicken droppings the best, it's much stronger," he says.

According to Ahmeti, which is not his real name, there are hundreds like him. "Everyone grows it around here," he confides, adding: "It's to provide for my family over the winter."

When ready, Ahmeti dries and cleans the plant, then sells it to the local dealer at 30 dollars a kilogram. "I'll sell it to anyone who wants it. There's no shortage of people around here willing to buy," he said. Demand for marijuana has increased in recent years after the ultra-strict communist regime in power in Albania until the early 90s withered away. In addition, new smuggling routes have opened up through the mountainous Balkan republic as the favoured drug runs through the former Yugloslavia, just to the north, dried up while war raged there.

The first year Ahmeti grew hashish, his seven plants yielded 11 kilograms. Last year he got 42 kilograms from 30 plants and this year's crop of 40 plants will produce even more of the drug.

Vlore, currently in the hands of a rebel committee after local government was forced out at gun point in March, has long been a popular smugglers haunt. It is one of the few sources of revenue. Returns are good and there is little to worry about from the police.

Fast speed boats are used by gangs to transport the crop to Italy, a short hop across the Adriatic to the southern coast of Albania's Mediterranean neighbour. From there the drug continues its journey through Europe. Other destinations include Greece, lying to the south of Albania.

Ahmeti, a thin wiry man with a thick shock of grey hair, said it was a Greek who showed him how to grow the drug. "He wrote everything down on a piece of paper," he explained.

The problem has been raised by the European Union with the Albanian authorities, and the United States has sent drug enforcement officers to Tirana to help train the police.

Currently, with the unrest in Albania, drug enforcement is not at the top of the agenda. But even before, the police were hard pushed to enforce the law which makes it illegal to grow the drug.

Police did visit Ahmeti's small plantation once, he recalled, but they left after he told them his family depended on the crop for money. "After a while they left me alone," Ahmeti recalled.

The rest of the year, Ahmeti grows aubergines and tomatoes and other vegetables but insists this is not enough to provide for his family of six. "My family is dying for bread. What are they going to think? Sure they are going to agree to my growing this stuff," he says.

Albania, Europe's poorest country, has liberalised large parts of its economy but still huge sections of the population remain out of work or under-employed. More recently, general poverty has been exacerbated by the loss of an estimated one billion dollars in bogus investment schemes, which sparked unrest this year. Marijuana, along with chrome and copper, are among the handful of exports Albania produces.

High Cigarette Taxes Feed Drop-Outs' High Incomes

"Multistate task force cracks down on cigarette smuggling"

RICHMOND, Va. (AP, April 23, 1997) - Authorities from New York, Virginia and two other states Wednesday announced a crackdown on cigarette smuggling, a longtime and lucrative practice that causes millions of dollars in tax losses.

"We're never going to eradicate it," said Robert L. Shepherd of the New York tax department, noting cigarette smuggling's long ties to organized crime. "But cigarette smuggling, no matter where it starts and where it ends ... is something we're going to fight."

So far in the 18-month investigation, 26 people and five corporations have been indicted under Operation Butt-Out, officials said.

Seven people have been arrested, said Helen Fahey, U.S. attorney for eastern Virginia. Trafficking in contraband cigarettes carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count.

Other charges include money laundering and conspiracy.

The smuggling has resulted in tax losses of $18 million, Ms. Fahey said. "These are lost revenues which are not then available for police, schools, roads and other public projects," she said.

Authorities said "runners" with permits purchased from the Virginia tax department legally bought large lots of cigarettes from retail warehouse stores.

Because of Virginia's low tobacco tax, a carton of cigarettes may cost as little as $11.79 in Richmond, compared with an average $21.50 in New York. The Virginia-bought cigarettes also were sold in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

It is a felony to transport more than 300 cartons of cigarettes across state lines without payment of applicable sales taxes.

Many of the runners are from ethnic groups or close-knit neighborhood groups from New York City, officials said. The contraband cigarettes - with or without a fake tax stamp - are discreetly sold in gas stations, bodegas and convenience stores.

"I don't think there's a high school diploma among them, and they're making a lot of money," said Tom Stanton, New York City finance director.

Ms. Fahey said she expects more arrests as the investigation continues.

Connecticut Commission Re-Examines Drug Policy Realistically

"...And In Other Drug News"

[staff editorial]

The Providence Journal-Bulletin, [Rhode Island], April 10, 1997, p. 6B

The Connecticut General Assembly's bipartisan Program Review and Investigations Committee, the Connecticut Law Revision Commission and a special study panel appointed by Gov. John Rowland have more or less simultaneously rendered a collective verdict on state drug policy and a recommendation for a new and better policy. That policy might be as applicable to other states as to the Nutmeg State.

The verdict: Current state drug policy does not work. It is chaotic, disorganized, and expensive. What is that policy? Zero tolerance of drug use. That means maximum punishment of all forms for all manner of users. And that in turn means: Build more prisons. The state has four times as many prisoners as it did 15 years ago. Roughly a third of those who are in prison are there on drug charges, and many others are there for crimes stemming from, or directly related to, their drug habits.

The state spends more on prisons than it does on higher education. It costs $ 25,000 a year to house and provide health care for a prisoner. And what does the state get for this? In prison, an addict generally receives a graduate education in criminality.

Is all of this rational? All three panels say no. The recommendations of the three panels? Again, more or less unanimous: Put more emphasis on treatment, less on imprisonment. They are dead on. State drug policy should shift to sentencing the drug user to drug therapy and rehabilitation, and increasing the availability of Methadone where needed. Such a policy would be a whole lot cheaper, and more rational and humane. It would do what has to be done anyway, but treat up front the abuser as well as restrict his freedom. It would do so before the person becomes a chronic offender, hardened by years of abuse and criminal activity.

The drug taker now gets drug treatment in prison, which he generally cannot get on the outside without being wealthy or criminalizing himself. He must get that treatment because the state has a legal and moral obligation to provide medical care to its wards. Question: Shouldn't the same obligation apply before the junkie knocks off a convenience store somewhere?

State Rep. Michael Lawlor, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is leading a drive for a saner state drug policy, and is using the reports of the three panels as fodder. His message is not legalization, or even decriminalization, but treatment instead of criminalization.

Mr. Lawlor's premises are simple. The state can't afford to keep building prisons at this rate (especially since the state is looking for savings so the governor can deliver a promised tax cut). We are multiplying criminals instead of abolishing drug abuse. The drug war has not quenched demand or supply, and there are not enough cops and courts and prisons in the world to do so. Finally, if the state winds up providing treatment anyway, why wait? Why not cut out the prison part of the equation when and where possible?

All of this is just common sense. It also makes good fiscal sense. And it is certainly smart criminal justice. But what is the governor's response thus far? It is that John Bailey, the chief state's attorney, does not approve of such a change in direction for drug policy. The governor's press officer says: "In general, he agrees with Jack Bailey and does not support any weakening of the punitive measures currently in place. . . ."

The Rowland response suggests that the state is wasting its time when it studies policy problems. (Why did Mr. Rowland bother appointing a group to look into the drug issue?) The governor ought to at least consider the panels' findings and make up his own mind. Mr. Rowland may give drug policy a second look after he takes a second look at state budget numbers. He, not Mr. Bailey, is charged with directing public policy in the state. He, not Mr. Bailey, must build and fund any new prisons.

UC/Berkeley Teaches Myths And Realities Of Crack Cocaine

"U.C. Berkeley Extension Studies the Myths and Realities of Crack Cocaine in New Course"

Business Wire, April 22, 1997

BERKELEY, Calif. - Over the past six years, the claims being made about the evils of drugs have been almost exactly the same as those made during the temperance movement at the turn of the century.

At that time it was asserted that if alcohol use could be expunged then all the social ills associated with it - like crime, child and spousal abuse and poverty - would miraculously disappear. In the opinion of Craig Reinarman, author and professor of sociology and legal studies, in the nearly 100 years since, not much has really changed in our approach.

New this term, "Crack Cocaine: The Myths and Realities," a one-day UC Berkeley Extension course, will examine a range of long-term solutions and intervention strategies that may well prove more productive than any "war on drugs."

The course will cover the history of crack cocaine, its spread among the most impoverished and vulnerable parts of the population, the psychosocial and political problems associated with its use and official government responses to them. These developments will also be put in the context of the earlier "drug scares" of the 19th and 20th centuries.

"Crack Cocaine: The Myths and the Realities" will meet on Saturday, May 17, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., UC Berkeley Extension, 1995 University Ave., Berkeley. The fee is $120. For more course information, call 510/643-6901.

One of Reinarman's biggest concerns is that if we, as a society, continue to misunderstand the basic appeal of selling and using crack, then we'll certainly continue to come up with ineffective solutions. For example, he points out that not one anti-drug commercial currently airing on television makes a connection between drug abuse and poverty.

Course instructor Craig Reinarman, Ph.D., is professor of sociology and legal studies at UC Santa Cruz and coauthor of "Cocaine Changes: The Experience of Using and Quitting" (1991) and editor of "Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice" (1997). He has also done research on cocaine use for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the World Health Organization.

A core objective of his course is to equip students to critically analyze claims about drug problems and thereby be better able to sift the pharmacological and sociological facts from this political and media rhetoric. Put more simply, the course seeks to replace the simplistic myths regarding crack cocaine with more complex and accurate realities.

To register, call UC Berkeley Extension at 510/642-4111, or visit our website at http://www.unex.edu:4243

Contact: UC Berkeley Extension, Berkeley
Alice Boatwright, 510/643-8093

US Sentencing Commission Survey - Americans Gluttons For Punishment

"Punishment, Citizen-Style"

The National Law Journal, April 28, 1997, p. A12

Average citizens would not sentence drug criminals based on the substances they sold, but on the risk they posed to others in commission of their crimes, according to a national survey by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

More than 1,700 people were polled in the Sentencing Commission's first-ever attempt to assess public attitudes on federal sentences and to gauge how they compare to the guidelines established under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.

The law took much of a federal judge's sentencing discretion away in order to minimize sentencing disparities.

Those guidelines, designed to assure more uniform sentencing for federal offenses across the country, set prison terms for drug offenders based on the type of drug sold, the role a defendant played in a crime and the amount of drugs involved in the case.

But the general public appears to care little about such distinctions when it considers prison time for drug crime, according to the Sentencing Commission survey.

For any illegal drug trafficking offense - crack, powder cocaine or heroin - the median sentence favored by those surveyed was 10 years.

The sentencing guidelines, however, treat trafficking in crack as a much more serious crime, dictating a median sentence of 22 years for crack compared to 9.1 for cocaine or heroin.

The survey showed that the general public would deal much more harshly with legal drug manufacturers who break the law than the sentencing guidelines dictate.

Drug company officials who concealed the bad side effects of a drug or marketed the drug after false testing should receive a median sentence of 5 years according to the public opinion survey, but such defendants would receive only a median 1.8-year prison term under the guidelines.

This difference in treatment of drug offenders was the greatest disparity between public opinion and the law that was tracked by the sociologists who conducted the survey for the Sentencing Commission, Peter H. Rossi, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Richard A. Berk, of the University of California at Los Angeles.

The professors preferred to make comparisons by medians rather than averages, which they said were skewed somewhat because of a few respondents who gave uniformly high or low sentences to everyone.

Professors Rossi and Berk remarked on how close many of the public opinion responses were to the actual sentencing guidelines; both the public and the guideline median sentences for kidnappers who kill their victims was 39.2 years.

And public opinion is roughly in line with the guidelines in treating possession of marijuana as the least serious offense.

- Marianne Lavelle

Counterculture Spawned By Prohibition Sends A KINDer Message

"San Marcos Pirates Hoist Sails, Illegal Broadcasters Don't Try To Hide"

The Austin American-Statesman, April 10, 1997, p. 20
By Rob Patterson

Those merry pranksters down in San Marcos are at it again, this time on the radio. Beaming across our sister city to the south at 30 watts on 105.9 FM is KIND radio, an unlicensed station launched by the activists behind the Hays County Guardian and the current medical marijuana initiative on the San Marcos city ballot in May.

Unlike the illegal micro-broadcasters here in Austin who have been recently sending signals out on 105.9 - this area's last unlicensed FM frequency - the San Marcos micro-broadcasting rebels aren't concerned about secrecy and anonymity (even though unlicensed broadcasting is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail). In fact, on March 22, they even sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telling the agency what they are doing.

We're not hiding anything," said Jeffrey Zeal" Stefanoff, one of the principals responsible for launching KIND. We even sent (the FCC) a check in case they need help getting down here. We just hide behind the Constitution."

KIND went on the air March 26, and within three days they had filled 24 hours, seven days a week with community and music programming by friends and volunteers. Last Thursday night, I took a drive down to San Marcos to listen to KIND and visit their studio."

Ensconced in a tiny room in the converted garage of a southeast San Marcos home, KIND's home-base is a funky, low- tech, almost jury-rigged affair. But the couple of hours of programming I heard, for all its glitches and roughness, had the sort of bristling, raw energy you only get in broadcasting when people are doing something they feel passionate about. The KIND folks contend that San Marcos is currently underserved by radio stations, and they are merely correcting the situation. In their sometimes humorous letter to the FCC, they accuse Austin of stealing their local FM station (the 103.5 signal licensed to San Marcos that broadcasts Oldies 103, headquartered in Austin).

Ironically, there are those in the San Marcos establishment who agree in principal with KIND. Phil Neighbors, president of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce, also feels that the city is underserved by radio and needs a station. His organization recently put together a task force to study the feasibility of getting a local AM signal currently airing network material to become a station based out of and serving the area.

KIND has already been ticketed by a San Marcos building inspector for running a business in a residence. Stefanoff and partners Joe Ptak and Joe Simpson contend that they are an all-volunteer operation, not a business.

But anyone who's willing to wave a red flag at the FCC isn't about to sweat a city ticket, especially when they've already been to the Supreme Court and won. In 1993, the high court ruled in favor of the Hays County Guardian in their case against Southwest Texas State University, which had tried to prohibit distribution of the Guardian on campus. We're expecting to fight the FCC," Stefanoff said. If they were to back off and not come after us, I would be very surprised."

With all the current talk of the Internet and regulation, let's not forget that the issue of who has access to the radio airwaves remains an equally potent and extremely contentious issue. The micro-broadcasters here and elsewhere appear to be in the vanguard of the battle to keep the radio waves in the service of the general public. And the way things appear to be shaping up, Central Texas just might turn out to be a significant skirmishing ground.

Houston Cop Deals From Patrol Car

"HPD drug probe expands; 2 officers relieved of duty"

[Source unknown - Associated Press?], April 23, 1997

Two Houston police officers have been relieved of duty with pay as part of the investigation of another officer charged with dealing drugs from his patrol car, authorities said Wednesday.

Southeast patrol Officers Mallory Williams, 33, and Michael Bogany, 31, have not been charged with any crime, said police spokesman Jack Cato.

If the investigation finds the officers did nothing wrong, they will be returned to active duty.

The officers' names came up during an internal affairs division investigation that resulted in Officer J.E. Hubbard's arrest.

Hubbard, 32, and three civilians were arrested Friday in the 4100 block of Larkspur after police were tipped that officers were ripping off drug dealers, Cato said.

While in uniform and driving a patrol car, Hubbard allegedly confiscated cocaine from drug dealers, then gave it to another dealer.

Hubbard, with the department since July 1993 and assigned to southeast patrol, is charged with manufacture or delivery of cocaine and engaging in organized criminal activity. He is in Harris County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Also arrested were Otis Patterson and Readell Johnson, charged with engaging in criminal activity, and Daryl Gallespie, charged with engaging in criminal activity and possession with intent to distribute.

Mass Media Create North Korean Drug Scare

On April 22, 1997, Peter Webster wrote:
Japanese speed costs $1,400 a gram? Read on.

The following appeared in the International Herald Tribune on April 19, origin The Washington Post. The fact that such absurd figures could slip by both editorial staffs (it was front page top left in the IHT) is a fitting embarrassment for journals which have become used to printing the ridiculous "street prices" of seizures provided by drug gestapo. The original quoted price was probably 100 million Yen, somewhere along the line it got to be dollars, and nobody noticed! Never mind, all in a day's demonization of those evil North Koreans...

"Japanese Seize Drugs On North Korean Ship
$100 Million Haul of Amphetamines Reinforces Regime's 'Criminal' Image"

By Mary Jordan
and Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Service

TOKYO - Japanese police seized almost $100 million worth of illegal drugs from a North Korean cargo ship Friday, the latest sign that the Stalinist nation is using illegal means to raise sorely needed cash.

The seizure of the amphetamines, which had been labeled as honey, comes as the Japanese government is weighing whether to give North Korea food aid and as the United States tries to draw the well-armed nation into peace talks.

Japanese police discovered 70 kilograms (155 pounds) of the illegal stimulants in the hold of the freighter Ji Song-2 in the Pacific Coast port of Hososhima. The freighter had left Nanpo, North Korea, on April 5. Two men, apparently ethnic Korean residents of Osaka, were arrested, and the crew was being questioned.

(Full text at MAP drug-news at http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/)

Peter Webster
To which Clifford A. Schaffer responded:
What is even more interesting about this demonization of North Korea is that amphetamines can be freely purchased in any South Korean pharmacy (often little more than a thatched hut with a glass display case in it) with no trouble at all. The most popular type is a brand name called Timing. How do I know? I spent a year there in the Army with a whole bunch of speed freaks.

New Chicago Historical Society Exhibit

"Altered States: A History of Danger, A Question of Feeling"
PRNewswire, April 22, 1997
Source: Chicago Historical Society

CHICAGO - No flora in the world - seeds, flowers, fruits, barks, leaves and roots - is without some properties that cater to what seems to be a worldwide and age-old quest by human beings to flee from reality. Where Americans have found these things and how they use them is a long, sometimes a little sordid, and occasionally a history of danger that will be presented in a new special exhibition opening at the Chicago Historical Society on Saturday, April 26.

"Altered States: Alcohol and Other Drugs in America" is a look at the timetable of our progress, successes and failures. Why Americans have sought some brief breaking of the tempo of life may be purely a question of feeling. Yet, the urge is imperative, the pattern seems cyclical and the price perhaps immeasurable.

The exhibition neither condones nor condemns use of these products. It does point out that any understanding of the problem must distinguish between habit-forming, potentially addictive products and others that are harmless, pleasant and even beneficial if used in moderation.

Our first medicines were the herbs and roots that were found to contain the magical properties that ease a fever or relieve pain or transport us from our everyday reality to an altered state. Exploring our behavior through time may reveal some solutions to the very real danger of nature's gifts, especially to the weak.

"Altered States" will be on exhibition through Sunday, September 21, in the museum's Benjamin Benedict Green-Field Gallery. The Chicago exhibition and special events are sponsored by Baxter International Inc.

The ground-breaking exhibition, "Altered States: Alcohol and Other Drugs in America," displays drug-related objects from more than 50 institutions and private collections from across the country. The exhibition tells a graphic story of the drugs in this country by featuring a chronological display of paraphernalia, statistics, photographs, and other artifacts.

McCaffrey And Mexico - Faith Triumphs Over Experience

"US Drug Czar Confident In Mexico"
By Bill Cormier

MEXICO CITY (AP, circa April 19, 1997) - U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey said Thursday that he is confident Mexico is building an anti-drug program that can be trusted, despite scandals that have exposed corruption among top officials.

At the end of a 24-hour visit to Mexico, McCaffrey told The Associated Press that he had asked U.S. anti-drug officials here about Mexico's drug-fighting program, and came away satisfied.

"I just sat down and listened to the DEA officers in the embassy, and I've listened to all the Mexican officials, and it is clear to me that there are (Mexican) police units that we are working with actively and trust," he said.

McCaffrey noted that a "painful public debate" had just concluded in Congress after President Clinton recertified Mexico as an ally in the drug war despite Mexico's arrest of its drug czar on corruption charges.

Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo was arrested in February on charges of being in the pay of a leading cocaine trafficker.

McCaffrey said Clinton would highlight cooperation, not confrontation, in the anti-drug effort when he opens a Latin American tour with a visit to Mexico starting May 6.

And McCaffrey said he was convinced that Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, his new drug czar and top prosecutors and military officials are committed to building a vigorous drug enforcement program.

"They are now building a cadre of people they believe they can trust. What we have told them is that we will support that process."

McCaffrey praised Mexico's new drug czar, Herran Salvatti, for asserting leadership and installing an elaborate system of vetting new drug agents with lie detectors, drug tests and background checks.

He said Mexico has achieved important victories, including virtually halting a practice by Colombian traffickers of transporting multi-ton loads of cocaine through Mexico on refitted 727 jetliners.

On Tuesday, more evidence of corruption in Mexico's drug-fighting agency emerged when the Attorney General's office announced that two agents had been arrested for failing to report a 1.6-ton shipment of marijuana they seized.

Mexican Drug Traffickers Show Family Values

"Drug Trafficking Is A Family Affair"

The Washington Times, April 8, 1997, p. A21
By Jamie Dettmer

Having successfully contained the uproar in Congress over the president's decision to recertify Mexico as a reliable ally in the war against drugs, the Clinton administration is now eager to demonstrate that President Ernesto Zedillo's government can indeed be trusted to do the right thing. As well as pressuring the Mexicans to crack down on narco-related corruption, Washington has requested formally the extradition of 60 accused narco-traffickers, including Oscar Malherbe de Leon, an ally of the country's top drug kingpin, Amado Carillo Fuentes. A full-court press has been launched by the Justice Department and administration aides to persuade the Mexican government that it is in its best interests to be forthcoming.

Whether Mr. Zedillo will respond remains to be seen - the depressing likelihood is at best only a handful of the wanted traffickers will appear in court this side of the Rio Grande. In the meantime, maybe the administration should roll up its sleeves and start at home, by arresting Mexican narco-traffickers who live or have love-nests in America or regularly visit the U.S. on shopping sprees and business trips - including the Juarez cartel leader, Amado Carillo Fuentes, himself.

While Mexico may have little to boast of in the war against drugs, America is hardly distinguishing itself either. Evidence mounts that the top narco-traffickers have little to fear from the United States. According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents I've talked to, Mr. Carillo still slips periodically across the Southwest border for the nightlife of Las Vegas and Los Angeles and for investment discussions with associates in Dallas and Houston. Despite the fact that he and his associates own NAFTA-related businesses and vast tracts of land in Texas, New Mexico and even Arkansas, no asset-forfeiture efforts have been unleashed against them by the DEA or other American law-enforcement agencies. Mr. Carillo isn't the only Mexican narco-trafficker who appears able to thumb a nose at America. A welter of criminal intelligence is held on both sides of the Southwest border on the Zaragoza Fuentes family of Juarez and El Paso - one of the five main families behind Mr. Carillo's cartel. Even so, U.S. law enforcement still allows 18-wheeler tankers owned by the family to cross the border with little inspection. At least one Zaragoza firm is a participant in the U.S. Customs Service's Cargo Carrier Initiative, a ten-year-old import-export facilitation scheme that speeds trucks owned by participating companies through border red-tape and inspections.

An old Juarez family, the Zaragoza Fuenteses are related by blood to Mr. Carillo and by marriage to the cartel's original 1980s leadership. Their story is a rags to riches one - the family's late patriarch, Miguel Sr., started out as a kitchen-cabinet salesman. He had four sons - Miguel, now 62, Eduardo, 59, Tomas, 52, Ricardo, 43 - and one daughter - Irma. The Zaragozas now own the world's largest propane-gas transport business and they're among Mexico's main milk suppliers. Their commercial empire stretches from the U.S. through Central America and extends east to the Bahamas and Germany.

A 35-page U.S. multi-agency intelligence analysis I've secured states: "The Zaragoza-Fuentes family heads one of the world's largest suppliers of LP (liquid propane) gas. Through a myriad of companies, the family operates and controls business interests ranging from LP distributing to maritime shipping, trucking, aviation, land holdings, management companies and banking interests." Family companies, some of which are registered in the U.S., are licensed by PEMEX, the state-owned Mexican oil industry, to supply propane to the whole of Mexico. But "behind the vertically integrated companies, the horizontally related companies, the real companies, the shell companies, the web of shared addresses and the recurring names is a second empire . . . built on narcotics smuggling, money laundering, income tax evasion, export violations and weapons smuggling," says the intelligence analysis.

Both Mexican and U.S. authorities initially launched separate probes into the family in October 1990 after California-based Customs officials discovered four tons of cocaine in a Hidrogas de Juarez tanker owned by the Zaragozas. But inquiries petered out. In 1994, a joint U.S.-Mexican money-laundering investigation into the family called Operation Cobra floundered when Mexican law-enforcement agencies refused to cooperate.

South of the Rio Grande, the Zaragozas are politically well-connected - a classified U.S. Customs report notes the family employs relatives of former Mexican attorney general Oscar Flores Sanchez, including his son, Oscar Flores Tapia. DEA agents allege good political connections explain the Zaragozas' immunity in Mexico. But what about north of the border? In spite of a major IRS tax violation case against members of the family in Texas and seven years of detailed narcotics allegations against them, again no asset-forfeiture efforts have been mounted by American authorities. This has led some former and current DEA and Customs agents to complain about lack of direction and political will in the U.S. war against drugs.

Jamie Dettmer is senior editor of Insight

US Non-Certification Of Colombia Has Stench Of Hypocrisy

"Stench of Hypocrisy - White House welcomed a cocaine wholesaler"

Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 7, 1997, p. 6B

Skunk Did cocaine money, funneled through the Democratic National Committee, help finance Bill Clinton's re-election campaign? Possibly so.

On Friday, The New York Times reported on the activities of convicted coke trafficker Jorge Cabrera, who met at a hotel in communist Cuba with a Democratic fund-raiser named Vivian Mannerud, a businesswoman from Miami who convinced him to contribute generously to the Democratic cause. In November of 1995, Mr. Cabrera wrote a $ 20,000 check to the Democratic National Committee. The cash _ largely derived from cocaine sales, according to the Times _ won Mr. Cabrera an invite to the White House, where he met with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Al Gore. He even had his picture taken with Mrs. Clinton at a Christmas reception.

Mr. Cabrera is now doing 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to smuggling three tons of cocaine into the United States, and the DNC says it has returned Mr. Cabrera's gift.

The revelations about drug money and the Clinton campaign ought to produce some bitter laughter south of the border.

Consider: The Clinton administration continues to bar the president of Colombia, Ernesto Samper, from entering the United States because he allegedly accepted campaign money from the cocaine cartel - even though the Colombian congress has cleared him of wrongdoing. Mr. Samper and the Colombians would probably find the Clinton-cocaine matter amusing - were it not for the fact that this same Clinton administration is denying economic aid to Colombia because it has 'failed to cooperate fully' in the war on drugs. Mexico also must look askance at this administration which threatened to decertify it for non-cooperation in the drug war. Only after a harsh, humiliating scolding by Congress was Mexico granted drug-war certification.

But our neighbors to the south must also have noted with a sense of incredulity Mr. Clinton's statement of a few weeks ago that he used marijuana 'a couple of times' in his youth. (This was a little-noted revision of his earlier declaration that he had 'tried' marijuana 'once' while in college and 'didn't inhale.')

And, one wonders what the leadership of Mexico and Colombia thought when it came to light last year that two dozen members of the White House staff were in a special drug-testing program because of recent drug abuse.

These things add up. Here we have a president who admits to past illegal drug use; who employs recent drug users as advisers and who hosts a big-time drug dealer at the White House.

President Samper can probably smell the hypocrisy all the way from Bogota.

"Phantom Numbers Haunt The War On Drugs"

The New York Times, April 19, 1997
By Christopher S. Wren

Lamppost Politicians are said to use statistics the way drunks use lampposts: for support rather than illumination. The aphorism seems more apt for the war on drugs, which abounds with statistical lampposts that shed little light on the nation's preoccupation with illegal substances.

America's drug problem seems impossible to grasp without some sense of its size and scope. But elected officials, and their constituents, want concrete evidence of what is essentially a shadowy illegal activity.

And when sensibly vague estimates based on the little that is known won't suffice, law enforcement officials oblige them with numbers that one police officer characterized as "PFA," or "pulled from the air."

Left unchallenged, even the wildest guesses take on the certitude of fact. In his 1971 study, "The Vitality of Mythical Numbers," published in the journal The Public Interest, Max Singer, a public policy analyst who is now president of the Potomac Organization in Chevy Chase, Md., once crunched the figures for thefts attributed to New York City's heroin addicts: they were responsible for 1,200 percent of the reported thefts.

In 1978, Congress created the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee as a repository for drug statistics. The committee led to what Mark A.R. Kleiman, a drug policy expert at the University of California at Los Angeles, calls "estimation by negotiation," as intelligence officials sat down to debate what the official numbers should be.

Such numbers are irrelevant anyway, says Peter Reuter, a drug policy specialist at the University of Maryland, because they play virtually no role in shaping the nation's drug policies.

Wild figures distract attention from the true nature of the problem. Last December alarms went off about rampant drug use among American youth after an annual survey by the University of Michigan reported that half of high school seniors said they had tried drugs, up 20 percent from 1992.

The survey indicated the experimenting mostly involved marijuana. Less than 2 percent of seniors said they had used cocaine in the previous month; 0.6 percent had used heroin. In other words, most teen-agers are not abusing hard drugs.

The latest estimate of 12.8 million drug users in this country is little more than half of the 25 million users reported in 1979. But what worries researchers like Lloyd D. Johnston, the author of the survey, is that more kids are trying marijuana at a younger age, which may put them at risk for harder drugs.

Statistics on drugs are understandably subject to manipulation by people who hold emotional views. But as Eric D. Wish, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, wrote recently, "What is not so obvious is that the federal agencies that produce these statistics are also agents of the administration in power, and are not immune from pressures to interpret national drug statistics consistent with the ruling administration's views."

Consider these widely accepted findings:

Statistic: Colombia's cultivation of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, jumped 32 percent from 1995 to 1996. Administration officials brandished these numbers to defend President Clinton's decision on Feb. 28 to decertify Colombia, while declaring Mexico an ally in fighting drugs despite its role as a conduit for the bulk of cocaine crossing the border.

Background:The State Department's annual report shows that Colombia's fields of potentially harvestable coca indeed increased from 125,774 acres in 1995 to 166,051 acres in 1996.

But it omitted mentioning how many acres of coca crops were destroyed by the Colombian police, a figure included in previous years. Colombia reported fumigating 55,715 acres last year, which, if successful, would mean that harvestable coca slightly decreased. Despite reporting an increase in fields, the State Department estimated Colombia's potentially harvestable coca leaf last year to be 40,800 metric tons, which is unchanged from 1995.

A State Department official said Colombia's crop eradication was omitted because the Department did not yet have available figures. The same report credits the Colombians with spraying 40,000 acres but contends that they used an inferior herbicide.

Statistic: Children who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who don't. This finding in 1994 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is often cited as proof that marijuana leads to harder drugs.

Background: The survey reported that 17 percent of the marijuana users interviewed said they had tried cocaine. Only 0.2 percent of those who had not used marijuana said they had tried cocaine. Put another way, though, 83 percent of the pot smokers, or nearly five out of six, said they hadn't tried cocaine, which may undercut marijuana's threat as a "gateway drug."

Statistic: Law enforcement authorities interdict only 10 to 20 percent of the drugs entering into this country.

Background: "There's no way of telling," said a government official, who asked for anonymity. "One year you might be seizing 50 percent. The next year you might seize 5 percent. It's a matter of your best guess." The 10 percent figure, by one account, came about a decade ago from a law enforcement official who was pressed for a precise number at a Congressional hearing.

Statistic: Marijuana has quietly become one of the largest cash crops in the United States.

Background: Nobody knows how much marijuana is grown in this country because much of it is cultivated indoors or concealed among other crops. Kleiman said he believed that the notion of marijuana as a vast crop came from an exasperated agriculture official filling out a government questionnaire about his neglected county in northern California.

The search for credible figures is apparent in the State Department's annual survey, called the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. It listed Mexico's marijuana production as 5,655 metric tons in 1988, 30,200 tons in 1989, 19,715 tons in 1990, and 7,775 tons in 1991.

Improved satellite and area surveillance has brought the estimate down to 3,650 tons in 1995 and a mere 3,400 tons last year.

Reuter attributed the swings to changes in Washington's methodology and not Mexico's crop, perhaps half of which winds up in the United States. To consume 1989's reported herbaceous output, "half the population between 15 and 40 in this country would have had to smoke a joint a day," he said.

As for the actual tonnage for Mexican pot? That's anybody's guess.

Vermont Eradication Figures Questioned

"Lawmakers call for a closer look at State Police marijuana eradication"

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP, April 18, 1997) - A House committee says the state police marijuana eradication program is based more on public relations than on pot.

Rep. Robert Starr, D-Troy, has asked the state auditor to analyze how much money state police spend to destroy marijuana plants, and how much they spend to get rid of "ditchweed," or wild hemp.

Of 25,000 marijuana plants seized last year, about 80 percent were ditchweed, which doesn't have the drug content sought by dealers and users, said Starr and Rep. Fred Maslack, R-Poultney.

"I think it's just a PR thing," Maslack said Friday. "Without the 80 percent ditchweed, their eradication figures look kind of sorry."

Both sides agree that police should eradicate marijuana, which is widely cultivated in Vermont and can be sold for $2,000 a pound or more. And both sides agree that of the 25,000 pounds of marijuana that police pulled up and destroyed last year, almost 20,000 plants were feral, or wild.

But they differ on the potency of the ditchweed, which grows without human assistance on just about any terrain in the summer.

Maslack and Starr say ditchweed has only 1 percent THC, the substance that gets smokers high. Pulling it up and destroying it is a waste of money, they say.

"To me, they are acting as the quality control people for drug dealers," Maslack said Friday.

But to state police, feral hemp, ditchweed, and carefully cultivated marijuana plants are exactly the same thing: cannabis sativa, the plant from which marijuana is made.

Even though feral hemp often does have a low THC - in contrast to carefully cultivated plants, which can yield THC levels as high as 14 percent - all of them have enough to get a smoker high, they say.

"We have people clipping and selling ditchweed every year," said Officer Donald Ravenna of the Vermont State Police. "It depends on the plot that you get into, but there are plenty of plots that the THC is high enough to get you high."

For Starr, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Maslack, the issue is closely related to the issue of industrial hemp, which they are trying to get legalized in Vermont. Advocates say hemp could provide the new cash crop that farmers badly need.

The state Legislature approved a plan to study and test hemp cultivation last year.

But Gov. Howard Dean has sworn to veto any such measure. And the Vermont State Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration have also come out against it, saying there is no way to separate hemp from the marijuana byproduct.

Vermont currently spends $36,000 a year in federal funds to get rid of marijuana, Ravenna said.

Now Starr and Maslack want state Auditor Edward Flanagan to analyze how much money the state spends to get rid of ditch weed, and how much it spends to get rid of bona fide marijuana.

"I want to put the hemp issue in context," said Maslack. "Maybe the public's getting hit with a bait and switch. They say they are eradicating drugs, and 80 percent of that has no drug content."

Ravenna, who is in charge of federal grants for the state police, isn't concerned at the thought of an audit from Flanagan's office.

"I can tell you that ditchweed....is regulated as a scheduled drug by the United States government and the state of Vermont," he said. "There have been studies done on THC content where for an inexperienced drug user as low as .2 percent can get you high."

Tennessee Farmers Investigate Industrial Hemp

"Industrial Hemp Investigated For Possible Cash Crop"
Chattanooga Free Press, April 9, 1997, p. B4
By Michael Finn, Free Press Staff Writer

NASHVILLE - The crackdown on tobacco products by federal regulators could leave Tennessee farmers searching for a new cash crop to replace revenues - and why not "industrial hemp, " says the vice chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee.

"We need to take a look to see exactly what we could do," said Rep. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis. "It appears to me that this (industrial hemp production) could have tremendous benefits for Tennessee farmers," said Rep. Bowers, who added that she might introduce a House resolution to create a study committee to examine the potential for hemp farming in the Volunteer State.

She said that 20,000 Tennessee families "make a living off tobacco. I think this would be a real good issue to study."

The Agriculture Committee held an hourlong hearing on industrial hemp production on Tuesday.

Boyd Vancil, vice president of Missouri-based Industrial Ag Innovations Inc., said there is an untapped market for industrial hemp in the United States.

But he said current federal law prevents any hemp production, except under stringent constraints.

There is a great difference between the potency of industrial hemp and the potency of the marijuana sold illegally in the United States, he said.

Industrial hemp has less than 1 percent THC, whereas some potent grades of marijuana contain up to 30 percent THC. THC is the psychogenic ingredient that produces the "high" when marijuanais smoked, he said.

When industrial hemp is smoked, "You just get a screaming headache and nothing more," he said.

"Industrial hemp can enhance the economic well being of Tennessee," said Steve Nelson of Galloway Fields Co. in Cordoba, Tenn. "To my knowledge, we're the only country in the world that can't grow hemp.

"Pretty much, every industrialized nation is looking at this (industrial hemp production) right now," Mr. Nelson said.

Mr. Vancil, who wore a tie of 60 percent hemp and 40 percent silk and handed out business cards printed on 100 percent hemp, said that many products - from paper to clothing to desktops - can be made of industrial hemp.

Hemp products are biodegradable, he said.

Specialized machinery is being used in Europe to harvest such hemp, he said. "The sails on Columbus' ships were made of hemp, " he said.

"Under GATT (Global Alliance on Tariffs and Trade), my competitors in Europe get grants for production of hemp, " Mr. Vancil said.

"This is a crop our competitors are already raising and using," he said.

Law enforcement agencies are the main obstacle to industrial hemp production in the United States, he said. The best way to alleviate the opposition is education about the economic benefits of such hemp, he said.

"We look at this as an agricultural issue," Mr. Vancil said. "I hope the Agriculture Committee would take a look at what we can do in Tennessee.

"The first step would be to allow the University of Tennessee to have meaningful tests for research purposes," he said.

Such tests could determine if Tennessee soil would be good for hemp production and what types of crops could be rotated with hemp to keep soil nutrients from being depleted, he said. There is currently a $50 million retail sales market for hemp products in the United States, said Mr. Vancil, adding that hemp used to be produced for industrial purposes in the United States.

"Many of the covers on the covered wagons were hemp," said Mr. Vancil, adding that a major blue jeans manufacturer in America made its first products out of hemp.

"Detention Of Pregnant Woman For Drug Use Struck Down"

The New York Times, April 23, 1997
By Tamar Lewin

In an unusual case revolving around whether a fetus is legally a person, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state had acted wrongfully in taking custody of a fetus by detaining a pregnant woman who was using drugs.

The 4-3 decision was the first by the highest court of any state on the civil detention of a pregnant woman for drug use.

The Wisconsin court, holding that a fetus is not a child under the state's child-welfare laws, declared that some parts of those laws, including provisions dealing with immediate removal of a child from parental custody, would otherwise be rendered absurd.

The case arose from the report of an obstetrician who knew for several months that a patient, referred to in court documents as Angela M.W., was using cocaine or other drugs.

In July 1995, after three months of blood tests showing drug use, the obstetrician advised Ms. M.W. to enter a drug treatment program. But in August another blood test confirmed that she was still taking drugs.

After Ms. M.W. had canceled her next obstetric appointment, rescheduled it and then failed to appear for the rescheduled appointment, the obstetrician reported his concerns to the authorities of Waukesha County, in the Milwaukee suburbs.

They went to juvenile court requesting an order that would remove the "unborn child from his or her present custody and placing the unborn child" in protective custody.

That Sept. 5, the juvenile court directed that the unborn child be detained by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department and taken to Waukesha Memorial Hospital for in-patient treatment. "Such detention," the court said, "will by necessity result in the detention of the unborn child's mother."

Later that same day, before the custody order was executed, Ms. M.W. voluntarily went to another in-patient drug-treatment center. So the court amended its order to provide for detention there, with the provision that she would be taken to the hospital if she tried to leave.

The next day, the county filed a follow-up petition with the court, maintaining that the fetus was a child in need of protection.

Ms. M.W. appealed the juvenile court's order, arguing that her fetus was not yet a person and that the court therefore had no jurisdiction over it. A divided appeals court, however, upheld the order.

A week after the appeals court's ruling, Ms. M.W. gave birth to her baby. From a personal standpoint the fetal custody issue was now moot. But she appealed the order further anyway, and the State Supreme Court agreed to hear her case.

In an interview after the justices' decision Tuesday, Ms. M.W.'s lawyer, Sara Mandelbaum of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, said: "The juvenile court tried to take custody of the fetus and basically said, 'Oh, by the way, we have to take custody of the woman as well.' It was absolutely trampling on the woman's rights."

The question of whether a fetus is legally a person has become intertwined with the politics of abortion over the years but has arisen in other contexts as well.

Courts have rejected claims by pregnant women that, for instance, fetal personhood should entitle them to drive in car-pool lanes, or to be released from prison so that the innocent fetus is not wrongfully incarcerated.

On the other hand, courts in Wisconsin and other states have ruled that when parents seek damages from someone who killed a viable fetus - in a crime, a car crash or medical malpractice - the fetus is considered a person.

Although the Wisconsin decision Tuesday was the first by a state high court on the civil detention of a pregnant woman for drug use, prosecutors in about 30 states have tried to use existing criminal statutes to bring charges against drug-abusing pregnant women.

Those efforts have entailed such approaches as charging the women with violating drug-distribution laws, for delivering cocaine through the umbilical cord.

The efforts have failed everywhere except South Carolina, where the state Supreme Court last summer upheld prosecution in cases where a pregnant woman's behavior poses the potential to endanger her fetus. A petition for rehearing is still pending, though, so the ruling has not yet been made final.

Appeal Filed In Colorado Juror Rights Case

From the Jury Rights Project
For immediate release: April 21, 1997

Interrogation DENVER - A notice of appeal was filed Monday with the Colorado Court of Appeals by Paul Grant, on behalf of his client, former juror Laura Kriho. The notice states that Kriho will seek a reversal of her conviction for contempt of court for failing to volunteer information that was not requested of her during jury selection.

Kriho was prosecuted after she was the lone holdout for acquittal on the jury in a drug trial in Gilpin County last May. During jury deliberations, Kriho allegedly criticized the drug laws, discussed sentencing consequences for the defendant, and argued the jury's right to judge the law as well as the facts in a case.

The notice of appeal outlines over fifteen different issues for the appellate court to review.

Grant contends that Kriho cannot be convicted of contempt of court for failing to volunteer information and opinions which were not specifically requested of her during voir dire. Grant argues that Kriho was found not guilty of perjury, a nearly identical charge. In addition, Grant points out that no previous Colorado defendant has ever been convicted of the crime of failing to volunteer information. Furthermore, Grant argues that Kriho was never apprised of the exact nature of the charge against her until after she was convicted.

Grant also argues that Kriho cannot be convicted of contempt because her actions took place in the presence of the trial court but were not disruptive to the court proceedings.

In addition, Grant states that the trial court erred by refusing to continue Kriho's trial date to allow adequate preparation time and by refusing to allow the defense to call Deputy D.A. James Stanley and Judge Kenneth Barnhill as witnesses.

Grant also will ask the appellate court to determine:

  • whether the privilege of jury communications had been breached.
  • whether Kriho's First Amendment rights had been violated.
  • whether evidence of "improper deliberations" can be used as evidence without violating the Sixth Amendment right to trial by a fair and impartial jury.
  • whether a trial court can use voir dire and its contempt power to ban from the jury any juror who is independent enough to resist government oppression.

    Grant believes prosecuting jurors sets a dangerous precedent. "The jury system was created as a means for citizens to check the power of their government," he says. "Punishing jurors for their beliefs and speech will destroy the jury system, as will purging juries of all independent-minded jurors. Laura Kriho's conviction must be overturned to protect the jury system."

    Grant says Kriho, who was fined $1,200, was lucky she didn't get sentenced to jail. "The District Attorney had offered her a plea where she would have received 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. No other juror should ever have to face such a threat."

    When asked if his client's prosecution might be having an impact on potential jurors in the Oklahoma City Bombing trial, Grant replied, "I'm sure some of the prospective jurors have heard of the Kriho case. That may well have affected their responses to jury questioning. I don't know if there would be any effect on their deliberations."

    For more information, contact the:
    Jury Rights Project (jrights@welcomehome.org)
    Background info.: http://www.execpc.com/~doreen
    To be added to or removed from the JRP mailing list,
    send e-mail with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
    Donations to support Laura's appeals can be made to:
    - Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund -
    c/o Paul Grant (defense attorney)
    Box 1272, Parker, Colo. 80134
    E-mail: pkgrant@ix.netcom.com
    Phone: (303) 841-9649

    "Cambodia Asks US Help In War On Drugs"

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuter, April 22, 1997) - Cambodian co-Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh asked President Clinton Tuesday for immediate assistance in launching "a serious war on drugs" in the Southeast Asian nation.

    In a letter, Ranariddh told Clinton that full-time U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officers should be sent to Cambodia immediately to control a narcotics trafficking situation that had spiraled out of control.

    "Given this new, growing and sophisticated drug phenomenon, the Cambodian anti-drug authorities are unprepared and almost paralyzed in some cases, needing well-trained officers and modern methods of investigation," Ranariddh wrote.

    He said Cambodia and other nations could face "heavy economic consequences" if the country continued to be a transit point for local and international drug dealers, including individuals he noted were known by the U.S. government.

    Cambodia passed a drug law in January that hands down jail terms for trafficking in marijuana, but Ranarridh said the law could not be implemented without U.S. assistance.

    A U.S. embassy spokesperson was not available for comment.

    Last year, the U.S. placed Cambodia on its list of leading drug trafficking nations.

    Anti-drug chief Skadavy M. Ly Roun has told Reuters that 59 tons of marijuana from Cambodia were seized overseas last year and that local farmers have planted some 3,700 acres of marijuana to meet overseas orders.

    Recent drug investigations have been paralyzed by the country's divisive domestic politics, analysts said.



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