Portland NORML News - Saturday, March 7, 1998

Brief Protest Report (Account Of Demonstration Friday In Downtown Portland
Held To Protest Marijuana Task Force,
Sponsored By American Antiprohibition League)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 05:30:11 -0800 From: Paul Freedom (nepal@teleport.com) Organization: Oregon State Patriots To: Cannabis Patriots (cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com), "libnw@circuit.com" (libnw@circuit.com), "oregon-commonlaw-l@teleport.com" (oregon-commonlaw-l@teleport.com) Subject: CanPat - Brief Protest Report Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com Hi Folks, It's late, I'm tired, I'm back home. I will briefly say that our protest was a success. By some estimates we had at least 60 people perhaps more, I think the count was taken after some had left. We proudly flew the American Flag and had many signs and some speakers. We were in the heart of downtown Portland between the courthouse and the Justice Center Jail. For those not familiar with the setting we were in what is called a park block in between right in downtown Portland. We asked for full accountability for this warrantees search by these Thugs. I think the organizers are planning to continue to put the heat on each Friday. So again we encourage folks for all walks of like to join us. We had a various mix of folks. We need more! PF

Orange County's First Medical Marijuana Trial Stayed
('Orange County Register' Says 4th District Court Of Appeal In Santa Ana,
California, Ordered A Stay Thursday In The Case Against David Herrick,
Charged With Selling Cannabis To Members Of The Orange County Cannabis Co-Op,
So It Can Consider Whether The Prosecution Misused Evidence
Provided By The Defense To File More Serious Charges)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 21:41:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CA: Orange County's First Medical Marijuana Trial Stayed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Pubdate: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Section: metro - page 5
Author: Stuart Pfeifer-The Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com


Courts: An appeals panel will consider whether the prosecution misused
evidence provided by the defense.

A state appellate court has postponed Orange County's first medical
marijuana trial so it can consider arguments that prosecutors improperly
used evidence disclosed by the defense to file more serious charges.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ordered the stay Thursday in
the case against David Herrick, charged with selling marijuana to members
of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op.

Originally, Herrick was charged with possession of marijuana for sale. But
that case was dismissed after defense attorneys provided evidence,
including a list of the co-0-'s clientele, to the prosecution.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office then filed charges of selling
marijuana against Herrick. The sales were allegedly made to customers whose
names were in the evidence provided the prosecution.

Because Proposition 215 does not permit the sale of marijuana, Herrick will
not be allowed to use the medical marijuana initiative as a defense.

The defense motion also alleged that the prosecution filed criminal charges
against the co-op's leader, Marvin Chavez, preventing him from being used
as a defense witness as planned.

Deputy Public Defender Sharon Petrosino said she was required by evidence
"discovery" laws to provide the information to the prosecution.

"I don't think we should be forced to provide discovery that ultimately
hurts our client," Petrosino said.

Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust, who is prosecuting both Herrick and
Chavez, said he expects to prevail on appeal.

The appellate court gave the prosecution until March 16 to respond to the
defense brief. The trial will be stayed until the appellate court rules.

California Conference Of Medical Cannabis Providers (Bulletin From Scott Imler
Of The Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club Invites Medical Marijuana Patients,
Affirmed Providers And Proposition 215 Supporters To A Gathering
In San Francisco On Tuesday, March 24, To Protest The Federal Lawsuit
That Seeks To Close Six Northern California Dispensaries)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 19:45:23 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Scott Imler (simler97@ix.netcom.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: MARCH 24th HEARING

Please distribute as appropriate.

California Conference of Medical Cannabis Providers

March 7, 1998

Dear Patients, Affirmed Providers, and 215 Supporters,

As you are aware, on March 24, 1998, the US Government will request
a Summary Judgment in federal court against six "cannabis clubs" in Marin,
San Francisco, Oakland, Ukiah, and Santa Cruz in a rapacious attempt to
undermine the will of the voters and effectively nullify Proposition 215.
While much remains unclear about how marijuana will be legally supplied in
the future, one thing is abundantly clear; thousands of seriously ill and
disabled Californians will be put in grave peril if the six clubs in
question are closed.

In October of last year, dozens of patients, caregivers,
cooperatives, and collectives met in Santa Cruz and established statewide
guidelines for the responsible implementation of Proposition 215. The
Conference of Medical Cannabis Providers also adopted a resolution, which
declared in pertinent part, that "an attack on one Affirmed Provider is an
attack on all Affirmed Providers." We believe that the current federal
effort to close the six Northern California clubs named in the lawsuit is
precisely the kind of situation envisioned by the conference resolution and
has significant ramifications for all patients and providers in the state.

We, therefore, call on all other patients who are able, Affirmed
Providers (opened or closed, served or unserved, named or un-named), and
Proposition 215 supporters to gather in San Francisco on Tuesday, March
24th, to stand together on this historic occasion; united against federal
intervention and determined to preserve the democratic achievement of
Proposition 215 and our collective medical rights.

PLEASE plan to attend this event with as many other patients and
215 supporters as you can muster from your local area.

The cause is clear, the time is short, and the stakes could not be

Grace and Peace,
Scott Imler

Scott Imler

Jury Activist Turney Faces 15 Years ('The Fairbanks Daily NewsMiner'
Says Fully Informed Jury Activist Frank Turney Was Convicted
Of Three Counts Of Jury Tampering For Distributing The Hotline Number
Of The Fully-Informed Jury Association Outside A Fairbanks, Alaska,
Courthouse In 1994)
Link to follow-up
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 13:09:47 -0600 (MDT) From: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) To: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) Subject: Jury Activist Turney Faces 15 Years March 7, 1998 Fairbanks Daily NewsMiner Turney convicted of jury tampering Juror rights advocate Frank Turney was brought down Friday by the very same system he cared so much for. A jury deliberated less than five hours before convicting Turney, 51, on three counts of jury tampering. Moments after hearing the decision, Turney thanked the jurors for their service and stood as they left the courtroom. "The only thing that I'm guilty of is telling the truth," Turney said. Turney distributed a juror rights hotline, 1-800-TEL-JURY, to three jurors involved in a 1994 criminal case back. The group encourages jurors to judge the law as well as the facts and vote with their conscience. The jury in that 1994 case deadlocked and Turney was indicted on three counts of jury tampering. The prosecution felt this message was intended to influence jurors, which affected the outcome. "We're not talking about education here," Assistant District Attorney Jay Hodges said. "Mr. Turney did not have to intend to influence the outcome of the decision in the case." "His intent was to influence a juror to think they can judge the law," Hodges said. Turney is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2 before Kodiak Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood. Turney said his conviction will be appealed. *** Letters to the editor about Frank's case can be sent to: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner P.O. Box 70710 Fairbanks, AK 99707-0710 Email: letters@newsminer.com Fax: (907) 452-7917 Limit: 350 words Anchorage Daily News P.O. Box 149001 Anchorage, Alaska 99514-9001 Email: letters@pop.adn.com Fax:(907)258-2157 Juneau Empire 3100 Channel Dr Juneau AK 99801 Email: editor1@alaska.net Fax: (907)586-3028 Limit: 250 words *** Re-distributed by the: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) Web page: (http://www.lrt.org/jrp.homepage.htm) To be added to or removed from the JRP mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seizure Of Hotel Sets Precedent - 'Tacit Consent' For Drug Deals Alleged
('The Houston Chronicle' Notes The US Government Is Attempting To Forfeit
The Red Carpet Inn In Southwest Houston Despite A Lack Of Any Allegation
That The Hotel Owners Took Part In Any Crimes)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 11:22:30 EST
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: ArtSmart@NEOSOFT.COM
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Art Smart (ArtSmart@NEOSOFT.COM) by way of Bob Ramsey
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Hou Chron: Seizure of hotel sets precedent -- 'Tacit consent' for

[sender comments:]
Link to F.E.A.R. Web site
This article states more than once that criminal charges are "usually tied to forfeitures." It's my understanding that NO criminal charges are filed in 80% of forfeiture cases. The reason for this is that, if charges are filed, the owner's constitutional rights kick in. But since property can have no constitutional rights, police can take all your property as long as you are not charged with any crime. *** Newshawk: Art Smart Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle, page 1 Contact: viewpoints@chron.com http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/page1/98/03/07/seize.2-0.html Seizure of hotel sets precedent 'Tacit consent' for drug deals alleged By STEVE BREWER Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle Keith English sells home theater systems, but most days he can catch a real action show right next door. "It's like watching the TV show Cops," he said, "but it's live." English works next to the Red Carpet Inn, a hotel at 6868 Hornwood in southwest Houston seized by federal agents Feb. 17. Houston police bust dealers there regularly and there's no dispute the hotel has been used as a drug market. But there is sharp disagreement about the unique tactic the government is using to try to shut it down. Meanwhile, it is being operated by the owners as usual, pending resolution of the case. Defense attorneys and legal experts say the seizure -- only the second of its kind in the country -- sets a bad precedent, since there are no allegations the hotel owners took part in any crimes. Using a broad interpretation of drug forfeiture laws, the U.S. attorney's office seized the hotel and is attempting to obtain a forfeiture on the grounds that its owners gave "tacit consent" to illegal activity by not stopping it when notified by police and the city. No criminal charges, usually tied to forfeitures, have been filed against the owners, GWJ Enterprises, or against hotel management, Hop Enterprises. In essence, agents seized the hotel so drug dealers would have one less place to deal and because the owners didn't listen to police who suggested more security. Police say they suggested the owners install mirrors on each side of the hotel, aim a video camera at the parking lot, put on more guards at night, screen their guests more and increase room rates. But by not implementing those suggestions, the government says, the owners gave their tacit approval to the drug trafficking. "It violates fundamental fairness and due process," said Jay Jacobson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. "You're requiring people to act as police officers or agents of the police. They're saying you do what police say or we take your property." Federal agents say that between Jan. 1, 1996, and Dec. 8, 1997, police were called 32 times to the hotel, where they made arrests and seized drugs and cash. Even after that period, other drug arrests were made and other crimes were reported at the business. "They were on notice. ... They had a responsibility to take appropriate steps to prevent illegal activities from going on at their establishment," said acting U.S. Attorney James DeAtley. The case, he said, could open the door for similar actions against businesses where drugs are sold under management's noses. DeAtley acknowledges that the seizure is unusual but insists he is on solid legal ground. Others disagree. Especially Matt Hennessy, the attorney for the hotel's owners and managers. "These are all good people trying to run an honest business that just happens to be in a tough neighborhood," Hennessy said. The federal complaint, he said, is "scant with facts but heavy on tabloid language." Though the complaint states that police didn't get as many calls to the hotel when someone else owned it, he said, it does not note that the former owners used the same managers or that the current owners have improved the hotel. The complaint also says the managers complained about the police presence at the hotel and that the owners did not implement the security suggestions, including raising the room rates. But Hennessy said the owners signed a trespass affidavit that allows officers free rein to roam the grounds to question patrons and others. That affidavit was in effect from Dec. 12, 1995, until Jan. 26, Hennessy said. The owners withdrew it, he said, because they felt police were harassing innocent customers. "The period of time the affidavit was in effect corresponds with the time period where they say all the bad stuff happened," Hennessy said. "This was ... when the HPD had greater authority on the property. They're now using that against the owners and management." Hennessy said managers asked police to watch them screen customers, but officers declined. And they did use some of the security ideas, though rates were not raised. "The government was trying to dictate what a person should charge for services, and it appears now they're penalizing them for trying to be competitive," Hennessy said. He said the government also fails to say security cameras trained on the parking lot have been in place for some time, or that managers kept a list of those they would not allow to rent rooms. Ultimately, Hennessy said, the case could determine whether the government can say how much businesses should spend on security. "I think that's what it's all about," he said "I don't know why they picked this hotel, but I do think seizing someone's business under these circumstances is overreaching." Kent Schaffer, a Houston defense attorney, said forfeiture laws were initially used to seize the obvious fruits of illegal activity. Then, he said, they were expanded to take items used in conveying drugs, but almost always in connection with actual criminal charges. "Now, the government is trying to expand to say you don't even have to commit a wrongful act, just be in the position to prevent it," Schaffer said. Steven L. Kessler, a former New York prosecutor and expert on forfeiture laws, said the case could start a trend of penalizing "non-criminals" for not doing what police tell them to do in their legitimate businesses. Kessler, author of a three-volume treatise on forfeiture laws, said the government is tracking the crime, instead of the criminals. "This is the next step," he said, "and they're saying, 'OK, folks. We're not just going after the criminal, but a lot of you out there, whether you like it or not, are in drug-prone areas. You're trying to run a business there, so you are in effect part of the crime.'" In the Red Carpet case, attorneys say the government only had to show probable cause to seize the property. That's a low and nebulous legal standard, requiring the government only to show some proof, above mere suspicion, that the hotel facilitated drug dealing. In a trial, the government simply restates its probable cause and the burden of proof shifts to the owners. For the owners to get their property back, they must show it's more likely than not that they took reasonable steps to stop crime at the business and that they didn't know about the criminal activity before it occurred. They must present a "preponderance of evidence" -- a much higher standard than is required of the government, the same burden used in civil cases. That means the owners have to "prove a negative," which some attorneys say turns the presumption of innocence on its head. But DeAtley, the acting U.S. attorney, said the government is not punishing a business for something it can't control. The owners, he said, could have controlled the crime taking place on their property by implementing the police suggestions. DeAtley said the case is about responsibility, which is vital in the Gulfton area, where lawmen are pouring resources into an anti-drug effort. "With property, you're holding yourself out to the public and the community as responsible and these are responsibilities that are not surprises to anybody," DeAtley said. "(The owners) were put on notice and given the opportunity to take reasonable steps. They chose not to." DeAtley would not discuss the broader consequences of the seizure. Its critics, he said, are stretching facts and using extremes to make their points. DeAtley said all forfeiture cases are painstakingly reviewed and his office does not violate the rights of business owners. "We don't take these cases lightly," he said. "There are careful review processes throughout every stage of it."

Attorney Sentenced For Role In Drug Ring ('The Houston Chronicle'
Says Houston, Texas, Lawyer Jose Carl Aaslatten, 31, Has Forfeited $900,000
And Will Spend Eight Years In Prison For Helping Launder Millions Of Dollars
As Part Of A Group That Manufactured Ecstasy Tablets In Tijuana, Mexico,
And Distributed Them In Houston)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 12:17:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US TX: Attorney Sentenced For Role In Drug Ring
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle
Author: Deborah Tedford
Page: 33A
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/


A Houston attorney has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a
large-scale drug and money laundering ring.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. Thursday ordered Jose Carl
Aaslatten, 31, to spend 96 months in prison for conspiring to launder
money. He was also fined $6,000.

Aaslatten told the Waco judge that he laundered millions of drug dollars
through legitimate businesses from April 1993 to September 1995.

He and five co-defendants distributed millions of "Ectasy" [sic] tablets
manufactured at an 8,000 square foot laboratory in Tijuana, Mexico. The
plant produced 38,000 pills per hour, prosecutors said.

The pills were taken across the border to San Diego, where they were
repackaged and shipped to Houston for distribution.

The lab and several metric tons of precursor chemicals were seized by
Mexican federal police in February 1995, with help from U.S. authorities.

Prosecutors said the three-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Harris County
Sheriff's Department has resulted in the seizure of more than $900,000 from
Aaslatten alone.

Aaslatten and co-defendants Houstonians Brett Barnett and William Adams of
Houston, Randall Calvert of Port Aransas, Justin King of Dallas, and Chris
Roddy of Denton pleaded guilty to money laundering in November.

Smith also imposed the following prison terms on Aaslatten's codefendants:
Barnett, 33 months and a $1,200 fine; Adams, 36 months and a $1,200 fine;
Calvert, 87 months and a $3,000; King, 48 months and a $1,500 fine; and
Roddy, 27 months in prison and a $1,200 fine.

Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle

Children Aren't The Problem (Letter To Editor Of 'Houston Chronicle'
Explains Why Certification Doesn't Work - Blaming Other Countries
For Illegal Drug Use In The United States
Is An Attempt To Escape From Reality - To Claim
That $30 Billion Worth Of Cocaine Is Poisoning US Children Each Year
Is An Attempt To Produce An Emotional Gut Reaction
Rather Than An Intelligent Decision)

Subj: US TX: PUB LTE: Children Aren't The Problem
From: Richard Lake 
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 1998 23:02:18 -0500
Newshawk: "G. Alan Robison" 
Pubdate: Saturday, March 7th, 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Editor's note: The author of this letter is a member of the Drug Policy
Forum of Texas:


With his tough, drug-war rhetoric, Tony Cantu sounds as if he must be
planning to run for political office ("Going soft on narco-traffickers will
hurt our children," Outlook, Mar. 1).

Certification of other countries as allies in the war on drugs is a bad
idea. Third World countries are unable to cope with the power and
corrupting influence of drug money.

Decertification is counterproductive. It is supposed to lead these
countries to just say "no" to the influence of bribes and threats against
their leaders and to do more to stop the multibillion-dollar trade in
illegal drugs -- something they have been unable to accomplish ever before.
Decertification actually harms the relations with other countries and
decreases opportunities for legitimate business, pushing new people to work
in the drug trade.

Blaming other countries for illegal drug use in the United States is an
attempt to escape from reality. No other country would send any drugs to
the United States if the market in this country didn't send tons of dollars
to corrupt their citizens.

No one wants their children to use legal or illegal drugs. But to claim
that $30 billion worth of cocaine is poisoning U.S. children each year is
an attempt to produce an emotional gut reaction rather than an intelligent

Few children buy cocaine. Children are not a factor in what drives the
illegal drug business. Millions of adult users and the billions of dollars
spent on plentiful, but prohibited substances, are.

Gregg Davis, Houston

Kentucky Firm, Two Others Bid To Privately Run Iowa Prisons ('Associated Press'
Article In Lexington, Kentucky, 'Herald-Leader' About Private Prison
Industry Pitches To State Of Iowa Notes US Corrections Corporation
Of Louisville, Kentucky, Proposed A Budget With A Per Diem Cost Per Prisoner
Of $42.19, Compared To $42.75 Per Day For Corrections Corporation Of America
Of Nashville, $46.90 Per Day Per Prisoner For Florida-Based Wackenhut
And $47 Per Day For Iowa Corrections Department)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 21:41:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US KY: Kentucky Firm, 2 Others Bid To Privately Run Iowa Prisons
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin and Melodi 
Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 1998
Author: Greg Smith Associated Press
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Contact: hledit@lex.infi.net
Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/


DES MOINES, Iowa -- Companies from Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee have
submitted proposals to Iowa Department of Corrections officials to
privately run the state's future prison sites.

Corrections officials are trying to decide whether it is cheaper and more
efficient to privatize future prisons or keep them under state control.

Department Director W.L. "Kip" Kautzky told board members yesterday he was
staying neutral but added, "We ought to look at it."

Kautzky was ready to present a final assessment of the bids submitted by
Florida-based Wackenhut, Corrections Corp. of America of Nashville, and
U.S. Corrections Corp. of Louisville, Ky.

However, two of the seven board members were absent, delaying his report
until next month's meeting in Fort Dodge, where a new 750-bed facility is
set to open April 15.

According to reports submitted to the state, nine communities are proposed
as potential sites.

"The private provider would make the decision on the site, whatever makes
business sense to them," Kautzky said.

U.S. Corrections has proposed the cities of Charles City, Marshalltown and
Ottumwa. Corrections Corp. listed Forest City, while Wackenhut cited
Spencer, Osceola, Sioux City, Fort Madison and Eldora as its possible

Should the board eventually decide to privatize, legislative approval would
be needed.

Rep. Teresa Garman, R-Ames, and co-chairwoman of a budget subcommittee that
controls spending for the prison system, said she would oppose
privatization and predicted her colleagues on the committee would, too.

Kautzky, meanwhile, declined to rank the bids.

"There are clear and distinguishing variables in each," he said.

For instance, U.S. Corrections, which operates eight prisons around the
country, proposed a staff of 188 people to run its prison.

"Can you legitimately manage a 750-bed facility with that?" Kautzky said.

Corrections Corp. proposed a staff of 226 people, while Wackenhut proposed
hiring 203 people.

Per diem costs, or the average cost to house one inmate per day, also were
broken down, as were other factors, such as support costs, number of
counselors, lease terms, inmate programs and start-up costs.

The proposed per diem cost was $42.19 for U.S. Corrections, $42.75 for
Corrections Corp. and $46.90 for Wackenhut. That compares to Iowa's average
per diem cost of $47.

Corrections Corp. of America is the largest of the three companies. It runs
49 prisons, oversees a total prison population of 38,000 and is a $281
million company.

Wackenhut, which operates 27 prisons in the United States, is worth $88
million, while U.S. Corrections Corp. had a net worth of only $6.3 million
at the end of 1996.

Kautzky said 15 states have hired private companies to run prisons. He said
it appears privatization "has the potential to be more cost effective" than
Iowa's state-run system, although a consultant's report to Iowa corrections
officials straddled the issue.

"The best of the available evidence certainly indicates that privatization
initiatives elsewhere in the United States have proven to be a
cost-effective part of the solution for many of the troublesome problems,"
it said. "However, privatization is not a panacea and it does not come with

"Whether Iowa would have a satisfactory experience with privatization
cannot be determined," it said.

A Lesser Crime? (Letter To Editor Of 'New York Times'
Responds To Its Staff Editorial, 'NBA Violence,' Suggesting League
Is Saying To Kids That 'Threatening To Kill Your Coach Is Bad -
But Not That Bad, So Long As You're Not On Drugs
Or Gambling While You Do It')

Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 19:17:29 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: NYT LTE: A Lesser Crime?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Dick Evans" 
Pubdate: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/


To the Editor:

Re "N.B.A. Violence" (editorial, March 6):

If we compare Latrell Sprewell's punishment with those of other wayward
professional athletes, we learn that choking, hitting and threatening to
kill your coach is bad -- but not that bad, so long as you're not on drugs
or gambling while you do it. O.K. now, kids, you got that?

San Francisco, March 6, 1998

Ex-Police Detectives Plead Guilty ('Boston Globe'
Says Two Veteran Boston Police Detectives Were Sentenced
To Three-Year Jail Terms Friday In Federal Court, Pleading Guilty
To Using Their Badges To Steal More Than $200,000 From Drug Dealers,
Small-Time Gamblers, And Innocent Bystanders That They'd Set Up
By Lying To Secure Phony Search Warrants)

Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 19:49:28 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US MA: Ex-Police Detectives Plead Guilty
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Dick Evans" 
Source: Boston Globe
Author: Patricia Nealon, Globe Staff
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Pubdate: Sat, 7 Mar 1998


Pair Agree To 3-Year Jail Terms In Conspiracy, Fraud Probe

Two veteran Boston police detectives pleaded guilty yesterday in federal
court to using their badges to steal more than $200,000 from drug dealers,
small-time gamblers, and innocent bystanders that they'd set up by lying to
secure phony search warrants.

In a deal reached just before the opening of their trial on Monday, former
detectives Walter F. Robinson Jr. and Kenneth Acerra, both 51, will spend
three years in federal prison and must repay as much as $100,000 each if a
judge accepts the plea agreement reached by federal prosecutors and defense
lawyers. If so, they will be sentenced May 21.

The surprise deal came just hours after a federal magistrate judge warned
Robinson not to intimidate potential witnesses in the case and lawyers
gathered to discuss what they could say in opening statements to jurors on

The guilty pleas - in which Robinson and Acerra admit to three counts each
of conspiracy, civil rights violations, and tax fraud - close a sordid
chapter in Boston police history, one that exposed a mix of lax procedures
and lazy supervision that allowed the veteran detectives to indulge in a
five-year personal crime spree.

The sweeping 69-page indictment brought against the pair a year ago was
prompted by a Globe Spotlight Team report in February 1996 detailing their

Using phony search warrants, the detectives entered the homes of suspected
drug dealers and others in Area E, the Boston police district that covers
West Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park. Once inside, the
two allegedly stole drugs, money, jewelry, and guns.

Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans, who was chief of detectives during part
of the time Robinson and Acerra committed their crimes, was in court when
the two offered their guilty pleas to US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock.

''Certainly it's not a happy day, but in some ways it's a bittersweet
day,'' Evans said afterward. ''These officers obviously violated their
oath. They betrayed the citizens and they betrayed their fellow officers.
Today they got up and acknowledged that. I think that was very, very

Evans said the guilty pleas validated the investigation by the US
attorney's office and the corruption unit of the Boston Police Department.
''It shows the commitment of the organization to make sure that incidents
of this nature, behavior of this nature, will not be tolerated,'' he said.

Acerra, of West Newton, a police officer for 29 years, was put on paid
leave in February 1996. His pay was suspended following his indictment.
Robinson, of Belgrade, Maine, who had 26 years on the job, resigned from
the department the day before the Globe's initial story appeared.

In court yesterday, Robinson said he disputed some of the details of his
crimes, outlined by Assistant US Attorney S. Theodore Merritt. But the
former detective said he generally agreed with the outline, which included:
not turning in money seized during drug raids and underreporting the
amount, or claiming that no money was found when large amounts were.

''In many ways, it was easy,'' said Merritt, pointing to loose
record-keeping that placed the officers on the honor system when reporting
what they confiscated during searches.

In one case highlighted by Merritt, the pair pocketed an $8,000 ransom
payment given them by a man whose son had been kidnapped. ''He got his son
back,'' Merritt said, ''but he never got the ransom back.''

Another time, Robinson and Acerra took a woman's $960 rent payment, stole
$800 in restaurant receipts from a business they raided, and lifted $300
from the dresser drawer of the girlfriend of a marijuana dealer - money
from the paycheck she had just cashed.

In a May 1992 search of an apartment on Edgemere Road in West Roxbury,
$16,000 was found in a strongbox hidden under a bed. But the money was
never turned in, Merritt said.

''The money really was the incentive over the years,'' said Merritt, who
prosecuted the case along with Assistant US Attorney Ben T. Clements.

Evans acknowledged past shortcomings in the department's record-keeping,
but said they've been corrected.

''I think right now the checks and balances are in place,'' he said. ''You
learn by your mistakes ... Can somebody beat the system? If they're
hellbent on doing it I think they will, but I think we've done our very,
very best to address the issues that this case brought up.''

Robinson, who told the judge he's been seeing a psychologist and a
psychiatrist since April 1995, was dressed in the same black sweater and
black slacks he'd worn at an earlier court appearance yesterday. He pleaded
guilty to the three charges in a halting voice that dropped to a soft
murmur by the time he'd said ''guilty'' for the third time.

Earlier in the day, the federal magistrate judge's warning of Robinson not
to intimidate potential witnesses came after prosecutors asked that
Robinson's bail be revoked because he had contacted the sister-in-law of a
government witness - a direct violation of the conditions of his release.

It was the second time Robinson had allegedly contacted a witness in the
case within the last three months.

Last December, prosecutors said, Robinson contacted another government
witness and tried to get him to testify that Robinson had returned stolen
money to another witness.

Acerra was originally charged with 21 counts and Robinson with 20,
including extortion, theft, conspiracy, conspiracy to violate civil rights,
civil rights violations, and filing false income tax returns.

The counts they pleaded guilty to included conspiracy to steal more than
$200,000 and violating the civil rights of people whose homes and
businesses they searched, using bogus warrants they got by lying about
surveillance and informants. The third guilty plea was to a charge
involving not declaring the stolen money on their income tax returns for

But the plea agreement did not include the extortion charges, which
allegedly involved conspiring with a criminal defense lawyer to drop drug
charges in exchange for money. The lawyer, Joseph P. Murphy of Milton, will
be tried separately.

If Woodlock accepts the plea agreement - which he warned Robinson and
Acerra he might not - the amount Acerra owes in restitution would be
reduced by $42,790, the amount he returned once the investigation began.

(c) Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.

Getting Under The Skins Of Junkies ('New Scientist' Suggests Heroin Addicts
May One Day Be Treated With A Polymer Implant Instead Of Taking A Daily Dose
Of The Heroin Substitute Methadone - Researchers At Johns Hopkins
School Of Medicine In Baltimore Have Developed A Button-Sized Implant
That Releases A Steady Stream Of Hydromorphone For Up To Three Months)

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 11:15:30 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Peter Webster 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: ART: Getting under the skins of junkies

New Scientist
7 March 1998
contact: letters@newscientist.com
website: http://www.newscientist.com/

Getting under the skins of junkies

HEROIN addicts may one day be treated with a polymer implant instead of
taking a daily dose of the heroin substitute methadone. Researchers at
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore have developed a button-sized
implant that releases a steady stream of hydromorphone for up to three
months (Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, vol 14, p 535).
Hydromorphone, like methadone, blocks opiate receptors in the brain that
bind to heroin, eliminating cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin addicts have to take a dose every of methadone day---and
increasingly they are being forced to travel to clinics to prevent the
growth of an underground trade in the drug. The implanted polymer releases
a steady stream of hydromorphone, which is as effective at blocking opiate
receptors as methadone, over one to three months.

The implant should increase the number of people successfully completing
heroin therapy. "The primary reason for patients wanting to get out of
methadone treatment is the inconvenience," says George Bigelow, director of
the behavioural pharmacology research division at Johns Hopkins.

The implant will also cut the cost of treating addicts. This is between
$3500 and $4500 a year, though methadone makes up only 7 per cent of the

However, the researchers do not recommend the implant for people who need
counselling, such as those beginning treatment. Counselling is often
coupled with the daily dose of the substitute drug, and such addicts might
relapse without it.

Heroin addicts may have to wait several years for the implant. The
researchers are first considering using the implant to relieve the pain of
cancer before they study it in heroin addicts. Kate 0'Rourke, Baltimore

Brief Report On New FDA Approach (Rick Doblin
Of The Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies
Says Scientists Who Would Like Research Controlled Substances
Now Must Leap Even More, Higher Hurdles - 'A Clear Shift
To A More Cautious, Conservative Attitude At The FDA')

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 09:14:13 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Peter Webster 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: MAPS: Brief Report on new FDA approach
--forwarded message--
From: Rick Doblin (RickMAPS@aol.com)
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 09:41:29 -0500 (EST)
To: maps-forum@maps.org
Subject: MAPS: Brief Report on new FDA approach

To All:

I'd like to take this opportunity to give readers of the Forum a short
progress report on the MDMA cancer patient protocol. The FDA has finally
reviewed the protocol design one more time and made a series of suggestions.
The main thrust of the FDA's comments is to make the study take longer,
involve more subjects, move slower from dose level to dose level (meaning
more people to receive each dose before we are permitted to start with the
next higher dose) and to have elaborate rules about when it is too dangerous
to go to higher doses ("stopping rules"). The study will be even more
focused on safety than on therapeutic efficacy that it was originally
designed. However, at the end of the day, it still looks to me like the FDA
will approve the study if we take all these suggestions, which we plan to do
since the FDA makes the rules.

There is a clear shift to a more cautious, conservative attitude at the FDA
since Dr. David Kesler left as Commissioner last year. FDA is going much
more slowly in reviewing psychedelic research protocols. In addition, the FDA
has hardened its heart concerning medical marijuana research and will no
longer review protocols unless NIDA has first agreed to provide marijuana to
them- meaning that all protocols have to be reviewed, approved and funded by
NIH, an incredibly difficult obstacle course that only MAPS and Dr. Abrams
have been able to surmount, and then after 5 1/2 years of effort with the
support of some of the top scientists in the world in AIDS research.
Furthermore, an important element of getting Donald Abrams' study approved
was that the FDA reviewed and approved it PRIOR to NIDA agreeing to supply
marijuana. This meant that we were able to say that NIDA was blocking
FDA-approved research. Now FDA is acting in accord with NIDA's wishes and
will no longer review protocols unless NIDA's convoluted requirement for NIH
funding has been obtained. In other words, NIDA Director Dr. Leshner was
embarrased once and has taken steps to avoid further challenge by the FDA.

There is something to be said for FDA's cautious approach. In particular,
I've been thinking about the incredible backlash against the medical use of
marijuana lately. For example, House Republicans in Congress just passed out
of the Judiciary committee a bill rejecting the medical use of marijuana even
if proven effective and rejecting calling for research into the medical use
of marijuana, all supposedly which send the wrong signal. Perhaps by
following the requirements of the FDA to go very slowly regarding MDMA
research, some degree of backlash can be avoided at later stages. Anyway,
that's just a thought to try to make me more comfortable with the frustrating
changes in approach at FDA.

Study Casts A New Light On Drug Traffic (New York Times News Service
Says The Federal Government's First Study To Compare Illicit Heroin
And Cocaine Markets In Six US Cities From The Consumer's Perspective,
Based On Interviews With 2,056 Arrested Adults Who Tested Positive For Drugs,
Was Released Friday By The National Institute Of Justice, A Research Arm
Of The Department Of Justice - The Interviews, In Chicago, Portland,
San Antonio, San Diego, Washington, And Manhattan,
Also Underscore Regional Differences In Patterns Of Drug Use)

Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 09:57:40 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US: Wire: Study Casts a New Light on Drug Traffic
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: N.Y. Times News Service
Pubdate: Saturday, March 7, 1998
Author: Christopher S. Wren


When it comes to getting busted by the police, crack cocaine is the riskiest
drug, because crack smokers tend to buy it outdoors, in their own
neighborhoods and from a variety of dealers, making them more conspicuous.
But powder cocaine can be bought more discreetly, often indoors from a
single dealer who caters to his regular customers.

Such insights into the drug trade highlight the federal government's first
study to compare illicit heroin and cocaine markets in six U.S. cities from
the consumer's perspective. The study, based on interviews with 2,056
arrested adults who tested positive for drugs, was released Friday by the
National Institute of Justice, a research arm of the Department of Justice.

The interviews, in Chicago, Portland, Ore., San Antonio, San Diego,
Washington and New York City's Manhattan, also underscore regional
differences in patterns of drug use.

In Manhattan, where the Police Department has cracked down on
quality-of-life misdemeanors as well as drug peddling, nearly two-thirds of
crack cocaine users and more than half of heroin users reported that police
activity stopped them from buying drugs at least once in the year before
their arrest.

But in Chicago, 16.7 percent of crack users and 18.8 percent of heroin users
said the police had frustrated such a transaction. Only 2.9 percent of crack
users and 16.7 percent of heroin users in Washington reported the same

Jeremy Travis, director of the Institute of Justice, described the latest
study as very important because, he said, ``it helps us understand
empirically rather than anecdotally the drug markets in our cities.''

In the United States, Travis said, ``There is no single drug problem; there
are many local drug problems.'' He observed, for example, that San Diego had
been hit hard by methamphetamine, a stimulant that hardly exists in New York
or Washington, where heroin and crack remain most popular.

Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House's Office of National Drug
Control Policy, which financed the study, said, ``This report hands a new
tool to drug treatment providers and police officers, two of the professions
which have to deal with drug abuse on a daily front-line basis.''

The six metropolitan areas were selected to study local drug markets because
they show the highest rate of heroin use, and substantial levels of cocaine
use, among 27 metropolitan areas in the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring
program run by the Institute of Justice. The program tracks drug use trends
by testing arrested criminal offenders. Travis said the program would be
expanded in the next few years to include 75 urban areas and some suburbs
and rural areas.

K. Jack Riley, the director of the monitoring program and the author of the
new study, said, ``One of the most interesting findings is that the arrested
drug population will sit down and talk to you about these things.'' He was
surprised, he said, that few respondents were worried about being tested for

The arrested offenders answered questions about their drug-buying habits
after being promised confidentiality and assured that their admissions would
not be used against them. During the 45-minute interview, Riley said, they
were rewarded with soft drinks or candy.

In Manhattan, 22.5 percent of crack users interviewed said they lived in
public housing before their arrests, as against 7.4 percent in Washington
and 5.6 percent in Chicago. Only 8.5 percent of Manhattan crack users
reported living in a shelter, compared with 11.5 percent in Washington.

In balmier San Diego, 16 percent of crack users said they lived on the
street, as against 13 percent in Manhattan and 6.7 percent in Chicago.

And 35.5 percent of crack users interviewed in Manhattan identified their
main source of income as welfare and Social Security checks, as against 17.1
percent in Chicago and 18 percent in Washington.

More than half of the crack users arrested in Chicago and Washington said
they had full-or part-time jobs, compared with 26.7 percent in Manhattan.

Twenty percent of the women who consumed both heroin and powder cocaine said
they earned the bulk of their income from prostitution, twice the proportion
of all the other female drug users.

The survey suggested that one reason that more blacks than whites get
arrested for drugs is because they buy it outdoors in their own
neighborhoods. ``Whites and Hispanics, on the other hand, are more likely to
travel away from their neighborhoods to make their purchases and are more
likely to make them indoors,'' it said. ``As a result, drug transactions
conducted by blacks may be more visible to law enforcement.''

Firm Eyes Building Hemp-Processing Plant ('Winnipeg Free Press'
Says Consolidated Growers And Processors In Winnipeg Is Planning To Spend
At Least $500,000 To Build A Processing Plant For Hemp - Nothing Can Be Done
Until March 16 When Health Minister Allan Rock
Is Expected To Announce Regulations Decriminalizing Hemp)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 01:13:48 -0800
Lines: 26
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Contact: letters@freepress.mb.ca


A soon-to-be-legal crop may spawn creation of processing plants in
this province.

Martin Moravcik, spokesman for the Winnipeg office of Consolidated
Growers and Processors, said his firm is looking at spending at least
$500,000 to build a processing plant for hemp.

Moravcik said no site has been selected, although he noted that areas
such as Portage la Prairie, Carman and Morden would be most likely
because that's where it's believed the bulk of interested producers

He said nothing can be done until March 16 when Health Minister Allan
Rock is expected to announce regulations decriminalizing hemp.

Commercial hemp contains only 0.3 per cent of the narcotic
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), compared with 15 per cent in marijuana.

Moravcik said his firm has been trying to interest farmers in growing

Rebels, Soldiers Battle In Colombian Jungle ('Orange County Register' Says
President Ernesto Samper, In The War Zone Friday, Made An Impassioned Plea
To Industrialized Countries To Stop 'Selling Weapons And Buying The Drugs
That Finance These Belligerent Acts Of War And Death')

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 21:41:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Colombia: Rebels,Soldiers Battle In Colombian Jungle
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Pubdate: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Section: news - page 30
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com


New fighting erupted Friday in a southern Colombian jungle where dozens of
soldiers and rebels have died in one of the most violent weeks in 35 years
of guerrilla warfare.

President Ernesto Samper, in the war zone Friday, made an impassioned plea
to industrialized countries to stop "selling weapons and buying the drugs
that finance these belligerent acts of war and death."

The rebels are stepping up their activities ahead of Sunday's congressional

Colombia Hopeless Against Rebels ('San Francisco Chronicle'
Says The Stunning Defeat Inflicted On The Colombian Army
By Guerrilla Forces This Week Is Prompting Soul-Searching
Throughout The Country As Top Government Officials Acknowledge
That The Military Appears To Be Incapable Of Ending
The Three-Decades-Old Conflict)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 12:17:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombia Hopeless Against Rebels
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Pubdate: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: A 6 (World)
Author: John Otis Chronicle Foreign Service
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/


Officials Call Army Incapable of Ending War Against Rebels

Bogota -- The stunning defeat inflicted on the Colombian army by guerrilla
forces this week is prompting soul-searching throughout the country, as top
government officials acknowledge that the military appears to be incapable
of ending a three-decades old insurrection.

President Ernesto Samper admitted yesterday that Marxist rebels of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC] dealt the army "a hard blow"
in battles that have raged continuously since Monday in the jungle-covered
southern region of Caqueta along the banks of the Caguan River.

Only eight of the 140 elite koops attacked by the rebels are known to be
alive, and the armed forces have lost radio contact with them. Still, army
officials held out hope that the majority have survived.

Local authorities said that the army strafed a wide area yesterday, killing
28 civilians in an attempt to drive the rebels out and allow a search for
the missing soldiers.

The Colombian army, which hasn't won a major battle against the rebels
since 1981, is renowned for its poor strategic decisions.

A typical debacle occurred last fall, when an army offensive code-named
"Destroyer II" was designed to hit the rebel command post in the eastern
plains like a mailed fist.

The military dropped 326 bombs, launched 35 rockets and fired 84,000
bullets. But the guerrillas escaped, and the only things destroyed were
farm houses, corn crops and cows. The sole trophy was one captured rebel.

Even off the battlefield, the army is taking hits. It is fiercely
criticized by human rights groups for tacitly supporting brutal
paramilitary squads, which also fight the rebels but have a primary agenda
of committing massacres intended to drive peasants off the land for the
benefit of large landowners and drug traffickers.

"There is a defeatist attitude in the army, a sense of impotence," said
Eduardo Pizarro, a political science professor at Bogota's National

"The ministers of defense are improvised," he added. "The government names
a businessman as minister who doesn't know anything about military affairs.

'There is a total divorce between civilian leadership and military
leadership, so there is an absolute inertia and absolute bureaucratization
in the management of the armed conflict."

That gulf is rooted in Colombia's tradition of keeping the military out of
politics as much as possible. In exchange, civilian governments have
granted officers vast privileges and virtual autonomy.

In the 1950s and '60s, as guerrilla groups sprang up around land issues,
the army's dirty-war tactics alienated much of the population. During that
time, U.S. advisers became a key influence, providing hardware, training
and anti-communist ideology.

And in the post Wold-War era, the lack of a strong sense of purpose makes
victory even harder to attain.

"You need a political vision, not just a military strategy," said Francisco
Leal, a former army officer and dean of sociology at the University of the

"But the army's only point of reference is the dirty war and anticommunism.
lt has become very backward and today it lacks the capacity to confront the

Part of the problem is Colombia's geography.

The 120,000 troops are spread over 744,000 square miles, and most are tied
up guarding roads, oil pipelines and power plants. That leaves just 30,000
soldiers and 40 helicopters to fight between 10,000 and 15,000 rebels.

By comparison, the United States fought with 600,000 troops and 2,000
helicopters in Vietnam, a country one-fifth the size of Colombia, according
to Armed Forces chief General Manuel Jose Bonnet.

"Our lack of (territorial) coverage is why the guerrillas, the drug
traffickers and the paramilitaries move in," Bonett said in an interview.

"We need to increase our fighting capacity, but there is no money (in the
national budget).... Everyone demands that we win the war, but they don't
back us up."

Samper's own shaky standing, stemming from accusations that he accepted
$6.6 million in drug money for his 1994 campaign, prevents him from being
much help. A poll released yesterday in Bogota's El Espectador newspaper
showed that 28 percent of those polled regard him as the leading cause of
Colombia's troubles, compared with just 16 percent who blame the guerrillas.

The FARC and the second major rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or
ELN, are now present in half of Colombia's 1,071 municipalities.

They finance their war by collaborating with drug traffickers, kidnapping
and extorting money from foreign companies. They rarely engage the army in
conventional battles, relying instead on hit-and-run attacks.

"It's called 'flea-jumping' because they move all over the place, biting
here, biting there, and that spreads the army across the country and
weakens it," said Gonzalo de Francisco, a commentator at the Bogota station

A largely peasant army, the guerrilla foot soldiers earn more than army
conscripts, are better trained and have more patience.

"The concept of time is different for peasants. The FARC and ELN have an
absolute Maoist conviction in the prolonged 'people's war.' They never
despair," said Teofilo Vasquez, a sociologist with the Center for
Investigation and Popular Education in Bogota.

I Against more sophisticated foes, the army has fared better.

I In the 1980s, it crippled the rebel group M-l9, in part because that
insurgency was made up of university intellectuals in urban cells that
while clandestine were easier to locate.

"The M-l9 fought directly against the army," Bonett said, whereas the FARC
and ELN "hit and then hide in the mountains.... They never show their

But Leal says the army's problem is one of quality, not quantity. He said
the officer corps is topheavy with "chairborne" generals who have little
contact with the troops-most of whom are raw recruits earning just $50 a

Leal suggests abolishing the draft and forming a professional army of about
60,000 counterinsurgency specialists.

For now, however, several thousand paramilitary fighters have moved into
the vacuum and have dealt major blows to the guerrillas. Their tactics
include terrorizing communities and killing civilians thought to be rebel

Investigators say that in some cases the military has provided the
paramilitaries with intelligence and logistical support-accusations that
have sullied the army's reputation at home and abroad.



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