------------------------------------------------------------------- Deschutes Voters Set Inmates Loose ('The Oregonian' Makes It Seem Like Nobody Is Locked Up For Consensual Crimes In Rural Deschutes County, Oregon, Where Voters Rejected An Operating Levy - More Than Two Dozen Of About 44 People Who Work At The Jail Are Expected To Be Laid Off And More Than 100 Of 160-Plus Inmates Will Be Let Go July 31) The Oregonian letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ 5-31-98 Deschutes voters set inmates loose * The defeat of an operating levy means cuts in the sheriff's department that will force the release of about 100 prisoners By Gordon Gregory Correspondent, The Oregonian BEND -- A year ago this week, petty thief Bryan Owen risked his life by scaling a 20-foot-tall wall and squirming through a seam in the wire roof of a recreation court at the Deschutes County Jail. But Owen, 38 at the time, was captured the same day and slapped with an additional four-month jail sentence and a felony escape conviction for his trouble. Such antics will not be necessary this year for most of the jail's 160-plus prisoners. When Deschutes County voters last month rejected an operations levy for the sheriff's department, they effectively signed a slew of get-out-of-jail-free cards. Layoffs forced by the levy's defeat mean the jail must operate with a skeleton crew, which can safely oversee only a fraction of the inmate population. Come July 31 when the sheriff's department's money runs out, the electronic doors will snap open and most of the incarcerated will go free. "We'll be kicking out over 100 inmates," Capt. Gary Giersdorf, jail director, said. The loss of the five-year levy, which would have raised about $41 million, also is forcing the sheriff's department to cut about 100 employees, eliminate most patrol service and close its substations in communities such as La Pine and Redmond. Just as the criminal ranks in Central Oregon will swell because of the massive inmate release, sheriff's services will become nearly invisible. Deschutes County Sheriff Greg Brown said he intends to go back to voters in September with another levy request. If it passes, he said the cuts will be restored almost immediately. But nothing will prevent most jail inmates from having their own independence day celebrations at the end of July. Giersdorf said the more violent criminals, particularly those charged with Measure 11 crimes such as murder, rape and assault, will not be released. It's the burglars, drug dealers, car thieves, parole violators and fraud artists who will. "This is a terribly hard thing to do, to pick and choose who should stay and who should go," he said. Although authorities know they must release the nonviolent inmates in order to keep the most dangerous ones off the streets, property criminals generally commit the most offenses. "It's the burglars, the repeat offenders who are going to affect the most people,"' Sgt. Nina Ladd, a 16-year jail employee, said. "We know these guys. We know that the prisoners we release will go out and commit new crimes. "There's a lot of pending victims out there." In 1989, Ladd was on duty at the old county jail when a lawsuit forced the county to release 25 inmates to reduce overcrowding. She was a supervisor at the time and had to decide who stayed behind bars and who would be released. She knew that a bad decision could have disastrous consequences. That was a low spot in her career, one Ladd hoped and expected she never would experience again. "All of our training is geared toward keeping these people in jail," she said. Opening the jail doors could have a cascade of effects, including the disintegration of a well-trained jail staff, the absence of a credible deterrent to people on probation and parole, and a severe limitation on sentencing options for judges. Circuit Judge Stephen Tiktin said the lack of jail space will ripple throughout the local law enforcement community. "The criminal justice system doesn't run properly without adequate jail space," Tiktin said. "We have to have a place to put pre-trial detainees who are dangerous or who are a flight risk. . . . We have to have jail to encourage probationers and parolees to comply with conditions of supervision." And judges must be able to sentence some criminals to confinement, he said. "It's a sense of great frustration to the judiciary as well as to the police," he said. For jail managers, letting good employees go also is painful. More than two dozen of about 44 people who work at the jail are expected to be laid off. Cody Standiford, 22, is one of those. As a husband and a father of a 14-month-old son, he cannot afford to do without the $2,000 monthly gross pay he receives as a jailer. "I'm looking at serious financial difficulty," he said. "I've got to find a job." Giersdorf understands that Standiford and other jail staff won't be able to wait until September and gamble that voters will approve a levy then. One of his concerns is that he permanently will lose many members of what he considers to be the best overall jail staff he's worked with in his 28-year career. Ladd also is dreading the breakup of her team, which has learned to work well together. She knows that the inmates who remain will be the most dangerous of the lot and that they will understand how understaffed the jail will be. "It's certainly going to be more hazardous," she said. So July 31 will be a joyous day for inmates who had expected to spend this summer behind bars, but it will seem like a day of reckoning for many others. "I think on that day it's going to be hard not to cry," Ladd said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Davis, Harman Back Medical Marijuana (California NORML Says Yesterday's 'San Francisco Examiner' Quoted Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Gray Davis And Jane Harman Saying They Would Support City Officials Seeking To Provide Medical Marijuana In San Francisco) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 22:15:53 -0800 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Davis, Harman Back Med MJ Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org In a last-minute pitch for swing votes, California gubernatorial candidates Gray Davis and Jane Harman said they would support city officials seeking to provide medical marijuana in San Francisco, according to a report in the S.F Examiner, May 30. "I'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana," explained the ever-cautious Davis, "On the other hand, I don't believe politics should interfere with medical judgments." Rep. Harman said she would back San Francisco officials "taking whatever steps they think they need to take," although she wasn't sure that it was the right answer for the entire state. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- People V. McWilliams Press Release (Update From Southern California Attorney James Silva On The Cases Of Steven McWilliams And Dion Markgraff, Associated With A Defunct San Diego Medical Marijuana Cooperative - Preliminary Hearing Begins June 2 In San Diego On Separating Their Cases) From: "ralph sherrow" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Subject: Fwd: People v. McWilliams Press Release Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 02:02:22 PDT >From: (JSILVAESQ@aol.com) >Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 23:21:58 EDT >To: RALPHKAT@HOTMAIL.COM >Subject: People v. McWilliams Press Release > >PRESS RELEASE > >FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: >The Law Offices of James M. Silva >33 Clubhouse Avenue, No. 14 >Venice, California 90291 >(310) 450-2690 >JSILVAESQ@AOL.COM > >FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE > > >SAN DIEGO MEDICAL MARIJUANA TRIAL >PEOPLE V. STEVEN JOE McWILLIAMS & DION MARKGRAFF >SAN DIEGO MUNICIPAL COURT CASE NO. CDF135161 / DA NO. PA 008714 > >May 26, 1998- On June 1, 1998 @ 8:15 a.m. in Department M-19 (Room 2013) of >the San Diego Municipal Court located at 200 West Broadway, a motion will be >made on behalf of defendant, Steven Joe McWilliams to sever his proceedings >from those of co-defendant, Dion Markgraff. >A preliminary hearing is currently set for June 2, 1998 in the same >court. For more information call the above.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gates Hide Lives Of Drug Abuse ('Los Angeles Daily News' Item In 'The San Jose Mercury News' Says Police In Encino, California, Have Learned That Phil Hartman's Wife Was Suffering From Long-Term Cocaine Abuse) Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 02:01:15 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Gates Hide Lives Of Drug Abuse Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family and David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz Pubdate: Sun, 31 Jun 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ GATES HIDE LIVES OF DRUG ABUSE Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES -- John Belushi's death by drug overdose 16 years ago at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood was a wake-up call to Hollywood's flagrant use of cocaine and other hard drugs. But Hollywood's insatiable appetite has continued to play havoc with the careers, reputations and lives of many prominent stars -- River Phoenix, Chris Farley, Robert Downey Jr., Kelsey Grammer and, just last week, Charlie Sheen, to name just a few. And now in the deaths of comic actor Phil Hartman and his wife, Brynn, the link between celebrity and drugs has once again surfaced. Police say Brynn Hartman, reportedly suffering from a long-term cocaine abuse problem, killed her husband and then herself last Thursday morning in their Encino home. Some industry observers said the incident indicates Hollywood hasn't shaken its old habits. Rather, like the rest of American society, it has simply transferred them from the hedonistic party scene of 15 and 20 years ago to a more private, socially acceptable -- or at least invisible -- environment. ``Where drug use persists, the problem is really the same problem, whether the drugs are being consumed and enjoyed in a nightclub, or whether they're being consumed in Encino,'' said Charles Fleming, author of ``High Concept,'' a just-published account of the fast times and rapid downfall of the late Hollywood mogul Don Simpson. Substance abuse remains common, according to therapists who treat celebrities with addictions. And while such highly publicized deaths as those of Belushi and Phoenix have brought more attention to drug abuse, it also has driven addicts into hiding, making treatment more difficult. ``They didn't clean up their act -- drug use went underground,'' said Carolyn Perry, owner of the Tri City Institute, a methadone clinic frequented by many entertainers. Hollywood isn't serious about stamping out drug abuse, said Dr. Drew Pinsky, director of chemical dependency at Las Encinas Medical Center in nearby Pasadena. ``It's a lot of posturing,'' he said. Law enforcement officials say drug abuse among celebrities is indicative of the larger society's widespread addictions. The only difference, they say, is that the rich and famous have more cash to satisfy their illegal appetites. ``It's a peculiarity of the industry that a certain kind of person at a certain level of power can design a life that is free of most of the negative consequences of drug abuse,'' Fleming said. ``They can afford a staff, they can afford assistants. They're sometimes allowed to go farther in their abusive lifestyles. ``Unfortunately, these performers are surrounded by people who, as long as they're doing their work, support them in everything else.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs Behind Youth Crimes, Senator Says ('Associated Press' Item In 'The Los Angeles Times' Says Senator Christopher S. Bond Of Missouri Gave The Weekly GOP Radio Address Saturday, And Blamed Illegal Drugs On What He Alleged Were Increasing Incidents Of Juveniles Arrested For Murder, Rape And Armed Robbery) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 23:24:53 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Drugs Behind Youth Crimes, Senator Says Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Author: Associated Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: May 31, 1998 DRUGS BEHIND YOUTH CRIMES, SENATOR SAYS WASHINGTON--Drugs are at the root of many of the problems facing young people, said a Republican senator who is pushing legislation to strengthen penalties for law-breaking juveniles. "Without question, illegal drugs are a terrible influence on our young people today," Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) said in the weekly GOP radio address Saturday. He cited increasing incidents of juveniles arrested for murder, rape and armed robbery. "We need to ask ourselves why young people now are committing crimes that were once the province only of disturbed adults," Bond said. "Something has crept into the psyches of our children. Too often they have become desensitized to violence and have learned to devalue human life." He called on Congress to pass laws ensuring more than a slap on the wrist for violent juveniles. One such measure, the Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Act, would allow teenagers, ages 14 and up, to be tried as adults for the most serious federal crimes, such as murder, rape and armed robbery, Bond said. Under the proposal, juveniles tried as adults receive adult records, which would be available to law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and school officials. Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Quick News - May 1998 (Update From Fred Quick Of Quicktrading Books On New Marijuana-Related Publications, Promotions) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 19:56:00 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fred Quick) Subject: Quick News - May 1998 Quick is Back With All New: * Primo Plant * Ed Asks Back * Ask Ed Online * Grow Tips x 2 ANNOUNCING: GROW TIPS. Learn how to triple your yield with CO2 and grow killer hydro buds, even on a shoestring budget. NEW RELEASE. Primo Plant, Mountain Girl's guide to natural and organic outdoor growing, is now available online. ED ASKS BACK. Think you're a comedian? Ed is looking for your funniest stories, limericks, jokes, etc. The entry that makes him laugh the longest wins prizes. COMPETITION. Keep submitting your best Buds, Plants, and Gardens to our monthly competition. We've had some excellent entries so far - check them out! (The one from Rio is my favorite so far - it's as big as your arm!) Fred Quick *** Quick Trading Company * Quick Trading Archives * Quick Trading Online www.quicktrading.com - Online home of Ask Ed and your complete source for information on marijuana cultivation and much more... Send your comments, questions, and suggestions to Webmaster@quicktrading.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study - Internet 'Addicts' Often Show Other Psychiatric Disorders, Treatment May Help ('The Associated Press' Says Psychiatrist Nathan Shapira Of The University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine Will Present A Study Monday At The Annual Meeting Of The American Psychiatric Association In Toronto In Which 14 People Who Spent Too Much Time Online Were Found To Have A High Incidence Of Manic-Depression And Other Disorders) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Net addicts show signs of disorders Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 16:50:32 -0700 Lines: 83 Sunday, May 31, 1998 Study: Internet 'addicts' often show other psychiatric disorders, treatment may help (AP) -- People who seem addicted to the Internet often show a bumper crop of psychiatric disorders like manic-depression, and treating those other conditions might help them rein in their urge to be online, a study suggests. On average, Internet "addicts" in the study reported having five psychiatric disorders at some point in their lives, a finding that "just blew me away," said psychiatrist Nathan Shapira of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. It's unclear whether the Internet problem should be considered a disorder or just a symptom of something else, or whether certain disorders promote the excessive online use, he said. Shapira is scheduled to present the study Monday at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto. He and colleagues studied 14 people who'd spent so much time online that they were facing problems like broken relationships, job loss and dropping out of school. One 31-year-old man was online more than 100 hours a week, ignoring family and friends and stopping only to sleep. A 21-year-old man flunked out of college after he stopped going to class. When he disappeared for a week, campus police found him in the university computer lab, where he'd spent seven days straight online. The study participants, whose average age was 35, were interviewed for three to five hours with standard questions to look for psychiatric disorders. Being hooked on the Internet is not a recognized disorder. But Shapira said the excessive online use by the study participants would qualify as a disorder of impulse control, in the same category as kleptomania or compulsive shopping. In fact, he suggested the Internet problem be called "Internetomania" or "Netomania," rather than an addiction. But the striking thing, Shapira said, was the other psychiatric problems that turned up: -- Nine of the 14 had manic-depression at the time of the interview, and 11 had it at some point in their lives. -- Half had an anxiety disorder such as "social phobia," which is a persisting and unreasonable fear of being embarrassed in public, at the time of the interview. -- Three suffered from bulimia or binge eating, and six had an eating disorder at some time in their lives. -- Four had conditions involving uncontrollable bursts of anger or buying sprees, and half reported such impulse-control conditions during their lives. -- Eight had abused alcohol or some other substance at some time in their lives. The participants said medications for some of these conditions helped them gain control over Internet use. That happened nine of the 14 times they tried mood-stabilizing medications and four of 11 times they tried antidepressants. They still used the Internet too much, Shapira said, but "the difference between three days straight online and spending two to four hours a day ... is an important move in the right direction." Kimberly Young, a University of Pittsburgh psychologist, said she has found a similar pattern of prior psychiatric problems in most people hooked on the Internet. Some people who'd abused alcohol or other substances told her they were using the Internet as a safer substitute addiction. But she said many people with no prior sign of psychiatric trouble have gotten hooked on the Internet too. They may be dealing with other life circumstances like stale marriages or job burnout, she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Patrol Beefs Up Staff In War On Drugs, Illegals ('The Orange County Register' Says The US Border Patrol, Authorized To Hire 1,000 New Agents Annually For Five Years Through The End Of 2001, Has A New Priority In Addition To Ending Human Rights Abuses And Widespread Corruption Along The Mexican Border - Ensuring That The Agency Hasn't 'Lowered Standards') From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: Mexico: Border Patrol Beefs Up Staff In War On Drugs, Illegals Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 23:16:13 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Pubdate: 5-31-98 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Nancy San Martin BORDER PATROL BEEFS UP STAFF IN WAR ON DRUGS,ILLEGALS Standards agency is looking for quality and integrity in new hires for the checkpoints along the Mexico border. Las Cruces,N.M.-"America's front line fighting the war on drugs," proclaims a sign off Interstate 25 in Las Cruces. "Thank you for your assistance in the apprehension of Alien Removals: 2,908; Narcotics: 6,970 pounds; Value: 6,454,360." Produced by the U.S. Border Patrol, the accounting offers a glimpse into what the agency confronts. The numbers are not achieved without muscle amid an unprecedented rush to hire more agents. With 35 checkpoints along the U.S. southern border - many busier than the Las Cruces one - agency officials have set another priority: to ensure that they haven't lowered standards as they undertake their massive recruiting effort. "Ensuring the integrity of the Border Patrol is high on our list," said Eyleen Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington. "We're going through tremendous growth, and we want to ensure that every agent we hire is the best person for the job." Federal legislation approved in 1996 authorized the hiring of 1,000 new agents annually for five years through the end of 2001. So far this year, 667 new agents have filled posts along the U.S. Mexico border. There are 7,700 Border Patrol agents nationwide. An additional 500 will be hired by Sept. 30, Schmidt said. Since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1996, the agency's budget has nearly doubled to $877.1 million from $441.7 million at the end of 1995. The new hires will be assigned to one of 78 Border Patrol stations in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They will be charged with trying to seal the southern frontier, the preferred entry point of smugglers and undocumented immigrants. The same frontier also has served as a magnet for agents gone bad. From 1993-1997, the agency investigated 65 cases of Border Patrol agents accused of involvement in corruption, including bribery and extortion, immigrant smuggling, or selling or improperly issuing INS documents. The most recent corruption case involved an agent in San Diego, indicted Feb. 26 on drug smuggling charges. Thomas A. Bair, 28, is accused of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The indictment specifies he was caught with 600 pounds of marijuana stuffed in several duffel bags in his Border Patrol van on Aug. 5, 1997. Bair, who had been with the agency for less than two years, remains in federal custody. The Border Patrol also has come under fire from Amnesty International, which accuses agents of brutalizing immigrants. The agency denies the charge. At the Las Cruces checkpoint, as many as 6,000 vehicles pass daily. The sign went up eight months ago as a public relations tool. "We're trying everything we can to improve the image," said agent Ramiro Garcia, a 10-year veteran. Wearing a bulletproof vest, black leather gloves and dark sunglasses, agent Edy Lujan recently entered a private commercial bus filled with passengers at the Las Cruces checkpoint. Most were Mexicans on their way to Denver to visit relatives. Lujan inspected documents, sifted through overhead luggage compartments and scanned the faces of passengers looking for signs of deception. "I make almost double the amount of money with less stress", said Lujan, 25, formerly with the El Paso sheriff's office. "But this job is still very dangerous. That's why I like it. It gets my adrenaline going." Lujan is exactly the kind of person the agency targets in its recruitment efforts: young, aggressive, with law enforcement experience. The agency also is interested in people formerly with the military or with college degrees in criminal justice. As the federal agency races to hire agents or risk losing its allocation, officials said they have erected safeguards to ensure the force is a good one. Of the 30,000 people who took the Border Patrol exam in 1997, for example, one-third passed. Of those, only 1,800 made it through the academy, Schmidt said. "There is a benchmark," she said. "We know the number of people we need to target and the number of people taking our test, so we're comfortable with who we hire." In just two months in the field, Lujan has come across about 10 suspected organized immigrant smuggling cases and 20 involving narcotics. The Border Patrol Academy shows new recruits films about the drug busts and the loads of cash attached to it. But it doesn't really address the potential for corruption. "I think it comes down to the individual's morals, and they do a pretty good job of detecting that," Lujan said. New recruits must pass an extensive background criminal investigation, which is repeated every five years throughout their careers. They also must pass drug and medical exams. Even after graduation from the academy, agents remain on probation for 10 months. During that time, they endure weekly quizzes and an in-depth final exam at the end of the probation period. "That's where the extensive weeding out takes place," Garcia said. Lujan was among 48 of 56 applicants in his class who graduated from the academy. Eight didn't make it for various reasons, including language barriers, physical ineptness or attitude. The average age of the new hires is 27. Most are from California, Texas, and New York. About 25 percent have at least a bachelor's degree, up from prior years' 10 to 15 percent, Schmidt said. "The requirements haven't changed," said Garcia. In its recruitment pamphlet, the agency describes the job as for those who "love the outdoors, can work independently and who can think on their feet and act decisively in highly critical situations." That description is illustrated in the number of drug seizures agents make. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, they have more than doubled, from 55,242 pounds of marijuana in 1994, for example, to 129,828 last year. "The Border Academy prepared us for this. Now it's up to us to get the experience," said new agent Amanda Ramirez, 30. "Like with any other job, you learn as you go." Garcia said that while agents eventually work alone, there is always another one nearby to serve as a backup and to monitor conduct. The agency also routinely changes time schedules and shuffles duty sites, for both agents and supervisors, hoping to eliminate the ability of smugglers to establish relationships with agents. "We want to make sure the temptation is not there," Garcia said. "It also protects the agent ...I've been in situations where I've caught $25 million worth of seizures, and I wouldn't want to be alone with that much money either. "The way the system is set up, there is always something or someone around. The more agents, the more witnesses, right?" In the end, new and veteran agents agree, the decision to stay clean is personal. "I wouldn't be able to go on with my job if I took anything from anyone," Ramirez said. "They gave me a job, and they trusted me with a badge and a gun. They should be able to trust me with the encounters."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico's Unquenchable Fires (According To The 'Washington Post,' Out-Of-Control Forest Fires In Mexico Previously Blamed On Marijuana Cultivators Now Are Caused By More Complex Factors, And Are Burning Where The Sun Doesn't Shine Anyway) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 18:09:39 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexico's Unquenchable Fires Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: 31 May 1998 Author: Molly Moore, Washington Post Foreign Service Editor's Comment: See also http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n365.a04.html MEXICO'S UNQUENCHABLE FIRES Ecological Disaster Unfolds as Ancient Forest Burns On SAN ANTONIO, Mexico-Antonio Juarez is a foot soldier on the front lines of firefighter hell. His weapons against southern Mexico's worst fires in a century are a machete and five gallons of water in a rubber backpack. The peasant farmer, 51, charges into burning rubble clad in sandals, a straw cowboy hat and a tattered bandanna. His futile mission: to help hold back the raging wildfires that are gobbling Mexico's last remaining virgin cloud forest, torching the trees that are home to nesting toucans and quetzals, charring tens of thousands of acres of hunting territory of endangered jaguars and pumas, and creeping beneath the thick blankets of lichen and mosses on the forest floor to consume the roots of rare flora. "It's so tragic," said Miguel Angel Garcia of the People of the Southwest Woods, one of the most prominent environmental watchdog groups in southern Mexico. "You can replant a burned pine forest; you can't replace a tropical cloud forest that's taken two thousand years to form." The fires ravaging this mystical forest, called the Chimalapas, which has been the physical and spiritual reserve of Indians who have lived on its fringes for centuries, are so massive and so remote that until last week Mexican authorities couldn't even count all the blazes. Smoke from these fires in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, the largest and most uncontrolled in Mexico, has drifted as far north as Wisconsin and South Dakota and across the U.S. Gulf Coast to Georgia. The blazes of the Chimalapas -- a mountainous subtropical area where under normal conditions clouds continually linger -- have not only sent jungle cats, monkeys and birds fleeing for their lives but have reignited long-smoldering feuds between the Mexican government and environmentalists, between rich landowners and indigenous peasants, and between isolated mountain villages that have been waging agrarian wars for decades. The causes of the blazes, as well as the inability to curb them, involve tales of revenge, government indifference and a national pride that may have led to waiting too long to seek help. But for even the most advanced firefighters, these are no ordinary fires. They burn as no other forest fire. Much of the flame is subterranean, with smoke seeping from cracks and crevices, disguising the true location of the underground conflagration. When the fires do burst into the open, they often are obscured by the jungle's thick canopy. That same canopy has prevented water dumped by small helicopters from reaching the flames. "It's a lot worse than what I had envisioned," said Paul Weeden, who is coordinating the more than 30 U.S. firefighting experts dispatched last week to assist Mexican authorities. "I didn't realize there were so many large fires burning -- that the areas were so remote, so inaccessible." Many of the fires in the Chimalapas are now virtually unreachable. They are a 10-hour hike into a forest so obscured by smoke that Mexican reconnaissance aircraft have been unable to fly near them since the fires began three weeks ago. It was only last week, when the U.S. government provided a King Air plane equipped with sensitive infrared sensors that can detect heat beneath the thick veil of smoke, that firefighters discovered the extent of the fires. Because the cloud forest is such a unique environment -- with 22 ecosystems and 62 varieties of reptiles -- firefighters have been unable to employ many of the most effective methods of combating wildfires. There is no "back burning," setting controlled fires that consume potential fuel around the wildfire; no "herding" of smaller fires into one large blaze that burns itself out; and no bulldozers and tractors for building fire breaks. "We're in an environment that's unique to the world," said Mike Conrad, a supervisor from the U.S. Forest Service. "We don't want to lose any more of this than we have to." Already an estimated 16,800 acres have burned. The arrival of U.S. experts has not been without problems. Mexican military officials were suspicious of the infrared heat detection system that would be mapping every square mile of the army's most sensitive area -- the southern state of Chiapas, adjacent to Oaxaca, where Mexico has deployed tens of thousands of troops since the 1994 rebel Zapatista uprising. After landing at a Chiapas airfield last week, U.S. authorities decided to move the airplane to a more secure airport in a neighboring state for fear that drug traffickers -- who favor King Airs -- might try to steal it. Environmentalists report more than 230 fires are now raging across Mexico, 49 in the Chimalapas. Since January, Mexico has reported 10,000 blazes nationwide that have devoured an estimated 700,000 acres, an area larger than Rhode Island. "This is the biggest ecological disaster of this century in Mexico," said Homero Aridjis, one of the nation's most prominent environmental activists. "The government can't control this number of fires." There are nearly as many accusations over the outbreaks as there are fires. Unquestionably, it has been an unusually hot, dry year across Latin America, from Brazil's Amazon to Mexico's northern deserts. While virtually every state in Mexico is suffering its worst fires in seven decades, environmentalists say the blazes are far worse in the normally humid jungles of Oaxaca and Chiapas, where fires like these haven't been seen in at least a century. Government officials have laid the blame for most of the fires on peasants who use slash-and-burn techniques to clear their land for the planting season. But the farmers and many environmentalists say the fires are the byproduct of years of government neglect of its poor and indigenous populations. "They have been abandoned by the government," said environmentalist Miguel Angel Garcia. "That's why they're obligated to use these agricultural techniques in the year 2000." The region flanking the west side of the Chimalapas has been the site of decades, if not centuries, of conflict. The Zoque Indians have claimed the virgin forest region as their reserve since before the Spanish conquistadors arrived five centuries ago. But in the past 30 years, the Mexican government has promoted a policy of colonizing less populous areas to relieve overcrowded areas. As a result, entire villages of Mayan Indians -- many of them converted to evangelical Christianity -- and mixed-blood Mexicans have settled on the fringes of the forest. And each year, ranchers, farmers, loggers and, more recently, drug traffickers have inched deeper into the cloud forest, setting off vicious land disputes. To aggravate matters, Oaxaca and Chiapas can't even agree on where their border slices through the Chimalapas. Some villages are now accusing rival communities of setting fires to expropriate more of the jungle, or as revenge against neighbors. In one of the more sinister scenarios, many environmentalists believe developers may have set fires intentionally to help bolster their efforts to complete a trans-regional highway through the forest, a project long fought by environmentalists. Meanwhile, villagers like Leonardo Hernandez, 64, continue to trek daily into the burning fires, spraying water on flames and embers with backpack pumps that must be refilled every 10 minutes. From distant hillsides, the village volunteers and the army troops on firefighting duty appear as little more than ants scurrying at the edges of a vast, blackened wasteland. "It's not that we don't know what to do," Hernandez said. "We just don't have the equipment." As for when the fires will subside, "many people are praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe for miracles," said environmentalist Aridjis. "But the saints haven't answered." (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Warriors Are Child Killers (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Calgary Sun' Notes Fewer People Used Or Were Harmed By 'Drugs' Before Prohibition) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Drug warriors are child killers Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 08:10:10 -0700 Lines: 22 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Calgary Sun Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: May 31, 1998 Comment: Parenthetical remarks by the Sun editor : headline by hawk DRUG WARRIORS ARE CHILD KILLERS THE Editor's comment on a recent letter was: "The more accessible and accepted a narcotic, the more addicts there will be." Prove it! For the first 130 years of the existence of the U.S., there were no laws regarding drugs or drug use and the per capita usage was lower than it is today by order of magnitude. Drug policy reformers have the moral high ground as it pertains to protecting children and lowering drug use. Status quo drug warriors are unwitting, illogical, head-in-the-sand child killers. Mark Greer Director, DrugSense (Oh, give us a break.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Fears Behind Man's Burning ('Halifax Daily News' Says A Woman Whose 15-Year-Old Son Had Allegedly Overdosed On Crack Cocaine, And Her Sister Have Both Been Charged With Attempted Murder, Breaking And Entering, And Arson After A Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Man Was Set On Fire For Allegedly Selling Drugs To Children) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 23:55:56 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Drug Fears Behind Man's Burning Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Halifax Daily News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 1998 Authors: Chris Lambie & Brendan Elliott -- The Daily News DRUG FEARS BEHIND MAN'S BURNING Accused's Son Had Overdosed; She Believed Local Dealer Was Supplying The Drugs A Glace Bay man was set on fire because people in the neighborhood believed he was selling drugs to young children, police sources say. Terrence Fiore is in serious condition at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. A police source said the 46-year-old was being investigated for selling crack cocaine when he was doused with gasoline and set ablaze May 23. Caroline Beth McNeil, 34, and her sister Cheryl Arlene McNeil, 35, have both been charged with attempted murder, break and enter, and arson in the attack. Caroline McNeil's 15-year-old son Robert has overdosed on drugs three times, most recently in March, his paternal grandmother, Colleen Frison, said in an interview yesterday. "He was in the hospital for three days in a coma," said Frison, her words interrupted by tears. "He's lucky he's a big boy." Police arrested Caroline McNeil Tuesday as she was getting ready to take her only son to a detoxification clinic in Halifax, said Colleen Frison. The sister was arrested separately. Friends are taking care of the boy. His father, Robert Frison, is in Halifax visiting Caroline McNeil, his common-law wife. She and her sister are undergoing psychiatric assessment at the Nova Scotia Hospital. Caroline McNeil suffers from colitis and Cheryl has epilepsy, the grandmother said. Drugs are a common problem in the Glace Bay area. "Robert wasn't the only kid," Colleen Frison said. "I guess other kids around the school were getting them, too." Cheryl McNeil has a nine-year-old son. Caroline McNeil had been to Cape Breton regional police with complaints about a drug dealer she believed was supplying her son's habit, Frison said. "The mother reported him I don't know how many times to the police, and they didn't do anything about it," she said. "If it was your kid, what would you do?" The attack on Fiore occurred at about 3 p.m. last Saturday at 3 Arthur St., in the Sterling district of Glace Bay. It was the second violent crime on the block in three weeks. A man was beaten to death April 24.
------------------------------------------------------------------- We Must All Make This An Issue (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Calgary Sun' By Multiple Sclerosis Patient And Medical Marijuana Activist Lynn Harichy Urges Everyone With Compassion To Write To Their MPs) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: We must all make this an issue Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 08:17:16 -0700 Lines: 26 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Calgary Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: May 31, 1998 Comment: Parenthetical remarks by the Sun editor headline by hawk We must all make this an issue LIKE LETTER writer Grant Krieger, I also have MS and use marijuana to help me deal with my illness. I know exactly what Krieger is going through. The disease we have is devastating. We should have the right to decide the course of treatment we have. For years, I used the legal drugs and today I am suffering because of it. Now though, with the help of this remarkable plant from God, I am a real person again. I love to be with people and I love to go out walking. I am no longer afraid that I may urinate, or shake and fall. I spend time with my children at the park. My life has become valuable again. My depression has reduced. I am asking everyone to please show compassion and telephone your MP about this issue. The sooner we get our politicians to work on the issue the faster our suffering can put their lives back together. We must all make this an issue in government. Lynn Harichy (Pot is already virtually decriminalized for personal use.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - We Must All Make This An Issue (Letter Sent To Editor Of 'The Calgary Sun' Disputes The Editor's Parenthetical Comment That 'Pot Is Already Virtually Decriminalized For Personal Use') From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Sent: We must all make this an issue Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 09:55:15 -0700 Lines: 22 To the editor, After reading your comment on the letter from MS sufferer Lynn Harichy of May 31, "Pot is already virtually decriminalized for personal use.", I reviewed the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of 1997 and I was unable to locate the schedule for virtually decriminalized substances. Speaking on the matter of cannabis decriminalization before the House of Commons in 1981, then Minister of Justice Jean Chretien said, "we are in the process of discussing this matter with the attorneys general for the provinces, and we hope to be in a position to present legislation to this House soon." We are not spending 400 million virtual tax dollars per year to enforce virtual laws. MS sufferers Grant Krieger and Lynn Harichy do not have a virtually incurable disease. They do not need virtual medicine "soon" and they are not facing virtual criminal records for using cannabis. Matthew M. Elrod 4493 [No Thru] Rd. Victoria, B.C. V9C-3Y1 Phone: 250-[867-5309] Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Narc Cop Had Teens All Fooled ('The Toronto Sun' Gives A One-Sided Account Of The Undercover Drug Sting By Halton Regional Police At General Wolfe High School, Which Led To The Arrests Of 14 Teens, Including Some Non-Students) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Narc cop had teens all fooled Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 08:23:50 -0700 Lines: 114 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Toronto Sun Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: May 31, 1998 Author: MICHELE MANDEL -- Toronto Sun Narc cop had teens all fooled OAKVILLE -- He looks like your typical teenager. His brown hair is bleached a brassy yellow blond, a gold hoop hangs from each ear, and a multi-colored tattoo decorates one upper arm. His Airwalk runners are fashionably untied. He's never without his smokes or his portable CD player blasting gangsta rapper Busta Rhymes. He looks like a teen. Except that he's a cop. For two months, Halton Regional Police Const. Rui Freitas, 27, had them all fooled at General Wolfe High School. Principal Tom Adam was in the know, but to his fellow classmates and his teachers, Freitas was just another 19-year-old former dropout, back to finish up the last two credits he needed in small engines and food preparation to complete his high school diploma. They were unaware that all the while he was befriending them and partying with them, he was working as a high school narc, an undercover cop taking notes and preparing charges against those willing to sell him marijuana, hashish and magic mushrooms. In all, 14 teens, including some non-students, were charged. Freitas runs his fingers through his dyed hair. It's a few days after his first undercover operation has ended and he's suffering from adrenalin withdrawal and hair worries. The affable copper would like to keep it blond but he has a feeling that once he's back in uniform today, his superiors are going to want it toned down. The earrings will definitely have to go while he's on duty, but then there's always his navel ring, which he's keeping from view under a loose T-shirt. The high school sting, says Sgt. Bruce Mitchell, was conceived to address community concerns about drugs and Freitas was chosen for his youthful looks and rapport with teens. He was so believable that they don't want him photographed in case he's used again. It was, Freitas says, exciting, but gruelling. "It meant acting all day. It takes its toll. I was ready to come out after the two months." High school hasn't changed much since he was there last. When he first arrived, everyone's first question was whether he smoked marijuana. "Pretty well everybody did, except the jocks," he says. He saw them smoke before classes, between classes, skipping classes, hanging out in the baseball bleachers outside or taking a walk into the nearby ravine. The terminology, though, had changed since he went to high school. Pot was called "smoke" when he was a real teen, now he had to make sure to call it "hydro" or "blunt." Usually, he says, one would buy the joint for $10 and his friends would pay him $1 each for a couple of puffs of the drug. Besides pot, there were magic mushrooms and LSD at $5 a hit. On the weekends, many teens came back from raves in Toronto with ecstacy. Crack and heroin, though, were virtually unknown. "These kids don't have the money," he says. For two months, he gained their friendship and relived his teen years. He got into trouble with his teachers for smoking on school property and cutting classes -- although he did finish with an 87% in small engines. He hung out with his friends at the mall, skipped school and looked for summer jobs with them, even went out and bought Super Soaker water guns during the spring heat wave and started a massive water fight at school. "Yeah, that was cool," Freitas recalls with a smile. But even then, he was working. "I was never relaxed. I'd go over things three or four times in my head so I could write it down later in my notebook and advise my handlers of what was going on." In the end, he had enough to charge one of the school's major pot dealers and many more small-time sellers. It was certainly a success if the object was to scare these teens into going weedless for a while. Less certain is whether it is right or fair. One local paper has already taken the police to task for spending $6,000 on an operation that seized only $1,000 worth of illicit soft drugs while violating students' rights and privacy. 'NECESSARY' "Are they saying that schools should be sanctuaries for drug users?" Mitchell asks. "It's a necessary part of policing. We have information now on robberies, drugs heading to Maplehurst Correctional, what's happening in the community ... " To concerns about violating student privacy, Halton police spokesman Sgt. Frank Phillips has little patience. Halton's drug stings, like their use of drug-sniffing dogs, are a necessary deterrent, he insists. "Students who don't use drugs have the right to go to school in a drug-free environment." But Toronto, with an arguably greater drug problem, generally doesn't believe in undercover stings or drug dogs in high schools, says Det. Court Booth of the Central Drug Information Unit. "We're trying to build bridges with kids. We don't want them to think we're going into schools and investigating them covertly." It's a tough call, one even the nice undercover cop admits he had some qualms about. "It was a real bad feeling at the end, when they'd been arrested and I went to see them. I felt bad for them and almost ashamed. They were really nice kids. It almost felt like I was stabbing them in the back. I mean, one guy wanted me to be his best man. It was hard ... " His boss gives him a troubled look and his voice trails off. "Oh, but I do think it was a good idea."
------------------------------------------------------------------- When You Grow Up (Letter Sent To The Editor Of 'The Hamilton Spectator' In Ontario Says Its Prohibitionist Staff Editorial Yesterday Shows The Author Is 'Still In The Stage Of Accepting Without Question Your Parents' Orders') Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 06:43:46 -0700 (PDT) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Alan Randell) Subject: When you grow up Editor Hamilton Spectator firstname.lastname@example.org May 31, 1998 Dear Editor, When you get a bit older, you will realize that telling teenagers (or adults for that matter) to stop doing something "Because I say so" or "Because it is the law" just will not do. It is evident from your May 30 editorial, "Drugs in our schools," that you are still in the stage of accepting without question, your parents' orders. Believe me, once you become a teenager, you will begin to question those rules. It's part of growing up. I don't wish to discourage you too much because you are a remarkably good writer for one so young, but until you begin questioning the basis for some of our more unjust laws, such as drug prohibition, you will remain what you are now, an establishment stooge, instinctively supporting the status quo. Alan Randell
------------------------------------------------------------------- US-Panama Drug Center Falls Through (According To 'The Associated Press,' Panama President Ernesto Perez Balladares Said Thursday The Anti-Drug Center Would Amount To A Continued US Military Presence In Panama, Despite His Previous Insistence It Would Not)Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 00:55:38 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Panama: Wire: US-Panama Drug Center Falls Through Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: ED Denson Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 1998 Source: Associated Press Author: Juan Zamorano, Associated Press Writer US-PANAMA DRUG CENTER FALLS THROUGH PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- Five months after the United States and Panama announced they would build a multinational anti-drug center on the rolling grounds of a U.S military base, the deal appears to have fallen through. President Ernesto Perez Balladares said Thursday the anti-drug center would amount to a continued U.S. military presence in Panama, despite his previous insistence it would not. The two countries began discussions in 1995 about a center to monitor anti-drug operations throughout the Americas, and negotiations formally began last year. The center would be built on the grounds of Howard Air Force Base, which the United States must abandon in 1999 under 1977 treaties signed by then-President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian strongman Gen. Omar Torrijos. Since 1992, the United States has monitored anti-drug operations from a small building on Howard. The announcement in December that the two sides had reached an agreement sparked strong opposition from many Panamanians who want U.S. soldiers out in 1999, and considered the center to be an extension of the nine-decade U.S. military presence in Panama. Perez Balladares assured his critics that the center wouldn't amount to a U.S. military presence. But he told a group of students on Thursday that Washington was trying to get a military base without paying for it after 1999. Some analysts believe Perez Balladares is trying to quiet critics in advance of an Aug. 30 referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow his re-election next year. Despite the shift, Foreign Minister Ricardo Arias said: ``We continue to explore the possibility of a center.'' U.S. Ambassador William Hughes said the United States isn't seeking to maintain troops in Panama. ``We can, and we do, project our power in the entire world without these bases,'' Hughes said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Security Forces To Co-operate In Drugs War ('Reuters' Says A Meeting This Week In Kingston, Jamaica, Among Police And Military Chiefs From 11 Caribbean Countries Featured The US Military's Southern Command Taking A 'Leading Role,' And The Head Of Jamaica's Military Security Forces In The Caribbean Announcing Plans To Set Up A 'Joint Co-ordination Unit' As Part Of Greater Co-operation In The Fight Against Illegal 'Narcotics') Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 22:35:37 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Jamaica: Security Forces To Co-Operate In Drugs War Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Source: Reuters Pubdate: 31 May 1998 SECURITY FORCES TO CO-OPERATE IN DRUGS WAR KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 31 (Reuters) - Security forces in the Caribbean plan to set up a joint co-ordination unit as part of greater co-operation in the fight against illegal narcotics, according to the head of Jamaica's military. They will share assets, personnel, information and intelligence, said Rear Admiral Peter Bailey, quoted by the Caribbean News Agency on Sunday. The idea was put forward at a security conference this week involving police and military chiefs from 11 Caribbean countries as well as the U.S. military's Southern Command, which oversees U.S. operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Miami-based Southern Command is carving out a leading role for the U.S. military in combating the flow of drugs from Latin America to the United States. U.S. anti-drugs officials say traffickers have stepped up use of smuggling routes through the Caribbean over the past year but the small nations of the region say their resources are stretched in fighting the scourge. Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Traffickers Return To Old Route ('New York Times' Article Reprinted In 'The Seattle Times' Says Colombians In The Illegal Drug Industry Are Returning To The Familiar Routes Between The Bahamas And Florida After Concentrating On Other Routes In The 1980s And 1990s - Drug Enforcement Administration Officials Say They Seized More Cocaine In The First Three Months Of 1998 In The Bahamas Than In The Previous Three Years Combined) Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 00:03:22 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US FL: Drug Traffickers Return to Old Route Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 1998 Source: Seattle-Times (WA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://seattletimes.com/ Author: Mireya Navarro, The New York Times DRUG TRAFFICKERS RETURN TO OLD ROUTE MIAMI - Last week, federal officials in South Florida scored what they believed was their biggest cocaine seizure from a pleasure boat: 4,000 pounds, with a street value of $34 million, aboard a 62-foot-long luxury yacht. The significance, however, was not so much the amount but rather its discovery on a boat making a run from the Bahamian island of Bimini to a private dock in Fort Lauderdale. To federal officials here, the seizure was another indication that after concentrating on other routes in the 1980s and 1990s, Colombian traffickers are returning to the familiar routes between the Bahamas and Florida. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say they seized more cocaine in the first three months of 1998 in the Bahamas than in the previous three years combined. "They're coming back to the roots that they know," said Raphael Lopez, the U.S. Customs Service's special agent in charge in Miami. "The infrastructure is here. They've got the people, the smuggling and transportation routes, the businesses to hide their smuggling and money laundering. And the commanding control is here." Although smuggling through the Bahamas and Florida has never stopped, officials say, aggressive law enforcement in that corridor moved much of the drug trafficking to Puerto Rico and the border with Mexico. Drug-enforcement officials believe most cocaine coming into the United States passes through the Southwest border, but a resurgence of heavy smuggling in the Atlantic Ocean indicates the trade is being chased back by interdiction efforts and tensions between the Colombian traffickers and their Mexican distributors. The same dynamics have made Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic and Haiti major transfer points for cocaine destined for the U.S. market. This ebb and flow of drug trafficking patterns underscores what officials call the balloon effect: squeezing on one place only to have the drug activity bulge in another. But the deterioration of the Medellin and Cali cartels has fragmented the drug trade, giving way to dozens of smaller trafficking groups that, while not as big or efficient as the cartels, require more manpower and better intelligence gathering to combat, some experts on international drug trafficking said. The traffickers have also grown more sophisticated and use new technology to complement their home advantage in the 700-island archipelago strewn over an area the size of California. They use cellular telephones and 800 numbers. Airplanes and speedboats rendezvous on schedule for airdrops of cocaine, thanks to state-of-the-art navigation systems that pinpoint a meeting place. The boats themselves are faster than ever, outfitted with three and four outboard engines for extra horsepower and customized to carry up to 2,200 pounds of cocaine for delivery to Bahamian Islands like Bimini and ultimately ports and marinas along Florida's east coast, from Palm Beach County down to the Florida Keys. The traffickers have also altered their lifestyle. In Florida, where drug planes once landed on expressways and shootouts were so common traffickers earned the moniker "cocaine cowboys," flamboyance is out. Increasingly, officials said, drug-trade operators aim to blend in. When Yolene and Savil Dessaint, a couple in their 40s, were arrested in December on cocaine trafficking charges, they lived in an affluent Fort Lauderdale suburb and their two children attended local schools. But some things have never changed. When large loads of cocaine are received in Los Angeles, federal officials said, directions on distribution come from Colombian traffickers in Miami. It is an indication of how little the flow of drugs has been disrupted over time that cocaine prices have remained stable and even dropped in the last 15 years. In the Miami area, a kilo of cocaine, or 2.2 pounds, that sold for up to $38,000 in 1984 sold for as little as $12,000 to $15,000 in 1988 and for $12,500 to $18,000 this year, DEA figures show. One DEA special agent puts it this way: "They figure out a way to do it, we figure out a way to stop them," he said. "They figure out a way to do it again. It's like a big chess game."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Traffickers Returning To Bahamas-Florida Route Original 'New York Times' Version, Slightly Different) Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 00:00:40 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US FL: Drug Traffickers Returning to Bahamas-Florida Route Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Evans) Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Author: Mireya Navarro DRUG TRAFFICKERS RETURNING TO BAHAMAS-FLORIDA ROUTE MIAMI -- Last week, federal officials in South Florida scored what they believed was their biggest cocaine seizure from a pleasure boat: 4,000 pounds, with a street value of $34 million, found in hidden compartments aboard a 62-foot-long luxury yacht. The significance of the news, however, was not so much the amount of the stash -- more cocaine gets into Florida in cargo containers and freighters, for example -- but that it was found on a boat making a run from the Bahamian island of Bimini to a private dock in Fort Lauderdale. To U.S. Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Administration officials here, the seizure was another indication that after concentrating on other routes in the 1980s and 1990s, Colombian traffickers are returning with renewed intensity to the familiar routes between the Bahamas and Florida. DEA officials say they seized more cocaine in the first three months of 1998 in the Bahamas than in the previous three years combined. "They're coming back to the roots that they know," said Raphael Lopez, the U.S. Customs Service's special agent in charge in Miami. "The infrastructure is here. They've got the people, the smuggling and transportation routes, the businesses to hide their smuggling and money laundering. And the commanding control is here." Although smuggling through the Bahamas and Florida has never stopped, officials say, aggressive law enforcement on that corridor moved much of the drug trafficking to Puerto Rico and the border with Mexico. Drug enforcement officials believe most cocaine coming into the United States passes through the southwest border, but a resurgence of heavy smuggling in the Atlantic Ocean indicates the trade is being chased back by interdiction efforts and tensions between the Colombian traffickers and their Mexican distributors, who have turned into competitors by setting up their own cocaine business. The same dynamics have made Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic and Haiti major transfer points for cocaine destined for the American market. This ebb and flow of drug trafficking patterns underscores what officials call the balloon effect: squeezing on one place only to have the drug activity bulge in another. But the resurgence of the drug trade in the Bahamas is in a different setting than in the route's heyday in the late 1970s and 1980s. The big cartels have been virtually dismantled, and law-enforcement agencies say they are more experienced and better coordinated for this second round. In Florida, for instance, federal and local officials routinely work together to target violent drug organizations, the officials say. The Bahamas, where there was widespread evidence of drug-related corruption in the prime minister's Cabinet and among the police in the 1980s, now stands firmly behind the war against drugs, with new weapons like a 100-member police drug-enforcement unit and laws against money laundering. "We've come a long way," said Marvin Dames, drug-enforcement commander for the Royal Bahamas Police and liaison to an American anti-drug mission in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos consisting of 120 DEA, Coast Guard and Army personnel. But the decimation of the Medellin and Cali cartels has fragmented the drug trade, giving way to dozens of smaller trafficking groups that, while not as big or efficient as the cartels, require more manpower and better intelligence gathering to combat, some experts on international drug trafficking said. The traffickers have also grown more sophisticated and use new technology to complement their home advantage in the 700-island archipelago strewn over an area the size of California. They use cellular telephones and 800 numbers. Airplanes and speedboats rendezvous on schedule for airdrops of cocaine, thanks to state-of-the-art navigation systems that pinpoint a meeting place. The boats themselves are faster than ever, outfitted with three and four outboard engines for extra horsepower and customized to carry up to 2,200 pounds of cocaine for delivery to Bahamian Islands like Bimini and ultimately ports and marinas along Florida's east coast, from Palm Beach County down to the Florida Keys. Their operators wear night vision goggles. "Before it was much more half-haphazard," said Louis Weiss Jr., a DEA special agent who has worked in South Florida and the Bahamas for 13 years. "They're much more organized." The traffickers have also altered their lifestyle. In Florida, where drug planes once landed on expressways and shoot-outs were so common traffickers earned the moniker "cocaine cowboys," flamboyance is out. Increasingly, federal officials said, the drug trade operators aim to blend in. When Yolene and Savil Dessaint, a couple in their 40s, were arrested in December on cocaine trafficking charges, they lived in an affluent Fort Lauderdale suburb and their two children attended local schools. No flashy cars, no appearance of great wealth. They say they ran an import-export business, but prosecutors contend that their business really consisted of smuggling cocaine from Colombia through Haiti and into the Miami River and distributing about 440 pounds a month in three South Florida counties. "They're not buying Rolex watches, but they invest in land and stocks and bonds," William Mitchell, the DEA's special agent in charge in Miami, said of the new breed of trafficker. But some things about the Bahamas-Florida route have never changed. Federal officials say the operations headquarters for Colombian traffickers remains well-entrenched in South Florida; when large loads of cocaine are received in Los Angeles, they said, directions on distribution come from Miami. And the balloon effect notwithstanding, drug smuggling through the Bahamas and Florida has been a constant, with an increase in trafficking in Colombian heroin in the last five years adding to cocaine smuggling. It is an indication of how little the flow of drugs has been disrupted over time that cocaine prices have remained stable and even dropped in the last 15 years. In the Miami area, a kilo of cocaine, or 2.2 pounds, that sold for up to $38,000 in 1984 sold for as little as $12,000 to $15,000 in 1988 and for $12,500 to $18,000 this year, DEA figures show. DEA officials say the recent increase in cocaine seizures -- about 15,000 pounds of the drug were seized in the Bahamas in the first three months of 1998, compared with about 11,500 pounds in the previous three years combined -- is not attributable to better law enforcement. They also point to the higher frequency of trafficking standbys like airplane-to-boat drops of cocaine and the use of "stash houses," storing 440 pounds, as evidence that the Bahamas-Florida route is hot again. A year ago, Mitchell said, the drug agency estimated that 70 percent of the cocaine entering the United States came through the southwestern border and 30 percent through other routes; six months later, the trafficking along the Mexican border was estimated to have dropped to 53 percent. Such figures are only rough estimates involving guesswork on factors like the amount of cocaine being produced and processed. And as traffickers shift routes to elude law enforcement, "what may be true this week might not be true next week," Mitchell said. Weiss, the DEA special agent, puts it another way. "They figure out a way to do it, we figure out a way to stop them," he said. "They figure out a way to do it again. It's like a big chess game." As traffickers look for the path of least resistance, the resources to fight them follow. In Congress, the House has passed a bill earmarking more than $1 billion next year for 1,700 additional Customs Service inspectors and new drug interdiction technology for the nation's borders. The DEA's Miami field division is already adding 40 more agents, for a total of 400. The Senate is considering a similar bill. But some note that as long as drug demand drives the supply, the best that can be hoped for is to prevent the re-emergence of huge trafficking organizations and to reduce shipments over a long enough period to make cocaine more expensive and price out some users, particularly the young. There is uncertainty only about where drug smuggling will go next. "The displacement can't be avoided," said Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami expert on drug trafficking. "The balloon effect is inevitable as long as there are incentives for people to produce and ship cocaine."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Amid Problems, Colombia Facing Crucial Vote ('Dallas Morning News' Article In 'The San Jose Mercury News' Says That, As Colombia Confronts A Deepening Civil War, Corruption, And International Disrepute As A Drug-Trafficking Haven, Many Colombian Voters Are Openly Doubtful About The Ability Of Any Candidate In Today's Election To Lead Their Nation Out Of Its Current Morass) Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 21:14:08 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Columbia: Amid Problems, Colombia Facing Crucial Vote Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: San Jose Mercury News Author: Tod Robberson, Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: 31 May 1998 AMID PROBLEMS, COLOMBIA FACING CRUCIAL VOTE Weak Candidates Don't Inspire Nation BOGOTA, Colombia -- As Colombia confronts deepening civil war, corruption and international disrepute as a drug-trafficking haven, the ballot in today's presidential elections may offer the best snapshot of this nation's limited options for the future. Voters can choose among the three main candidates, each offering similar proposals of moderate change, promises of peace and assurances that Colombia's plight will ease under their leadership. Or voters can select a final option at the bottom of the ballot: an empty, white square that effectively sends the message ``none of the above.'' After four years of scandal-tainted leadership under President Ernesto Samper, many Colombian voters are openly doubtful about any candidate's ability to lead their nation out of its current morass. ``What we are facing is a problem of leadership,'' said independent Congress member Ingrid Betancourt. ``This is an absolutely vital election for Colombia, given all of our problems . . . but it's obvious that nobody is offering any revolutionary proposals to save the country.'' Competing against the none-of-the-above vote are conservative front-runner Andr=E9s Pastrana, independent Noemi Sanin, and ruling Liberal Party candidate Horacio Serpa, a close political ally of Samper's who served as interior minister until January. The stakes have never been higher in a Colombian election, internationally as well as domestically, observers said. Since Samper took office in 1994, the nation's 34-year-old leftist insurgency has swollen to unprecedented strength, both militarily and financially, thanks largely to an alliance with Colombia's cocaine- and heroin-trafficking organizations. Washington is warning that unless something is done to curb the rebels' expansion, Colombian democracy might not survive. While the United States is maintaining neutrality in the elections, officials have made clear they hope Colombia's next president will be a full partner in the war on drugs, curb human rights abuses by the military, and take an aggressive approach toward ending the insurgency. Billions of dollars in foreign investment, loans, development assistance and U.S. anti-narcotics aid hang in the balance. In addition, Washington hopes that the next administration will be able to restore legitimacy to a presidency tainted under Samper by persistent allegations that his 1994 campaign received more than $6 million in contributions from drug lords. The domestic challenge is equally tough. Unemployment hovers near 15 percent, foreign investment is plummeting and the Colombian currency has lost nearly 30 percent of its value over the past 18 months. Two weeks ago, leaders of the nation's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, offered to initiate peace talks with the winner of Sunday's election, even while FARC mobilized forces to block voters from going to the polls. In the highly conflictive southern state of Putumayo, Gov. Jorge Devia Murcia warned Samper last week that he would request formal abolishment of his state unless something was done to curb growing lawlessness, drug production and attacks by guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups. With so many crucial factors at play, however, candidates have fallen short of convincing Colombia's 21 million voters that a solution to the nation's ills is at hand, said Elizabeth Ungar, a political scientist at the University of the Andes. ``Voters do not perceive the candidates as offering dramatically different proposals, so they don't feel they have much to base their vote on. Instead of voting on the candidates' ideas and proposals, they're being forced to vote on images and personalities,'' she said. The national political magazine Semana concurred, noting in an issue-by-issue analysis last week that ``the differences among the electoral proposals of the . . . principal candidates are so subtle that voters need a magnifying glass'' to make a distinction. All three major candidates have received endorsements from prominent Colombians. Pastrana, who already enjoys broad support from the nation's business community, recently won the backing of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garc(acu)a Erquez. Former President Alfonso Michelsen broke ranks with his own Liberal Party to endorse Sanin. Serpa recently won the endorsement of the nation's largest and most influential newspaper, El Tiempo. But another prominent figure, independent politician Gloria Isabel Cuartas, formally endorsed ``none of the above'' in a newspaper column published Wednesday. She argued that marking the empty white square is a way Colombians can exercise their democratic rights while registering their ``rejection of the way in which politics are run, the incapacity of programs'' being offered by the candidates. Polls show Pastrana holding a comfortable lead while Serpa is struggling against Sanin for a highly valued second-place showing that will almost certainly force a runoff election in mid-June. Under Colombian law, a runoff is required between the top two contenders if no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote. Given Colombia's long history of alternating rule between the Liberal and Conservative parties, political analysts said they are astonished at the prospect that Sanin could wind up in the runoff. It would mark a first, not only for a woman in Colombia, but also for any independent candidate this century. ``Serpa is suffering from his close association with Samper,'' said political scientist Ungar. U.S. officials have quietly expressed glee over Serpa's campaign misfortunes, with one Clinton administration source warning that relations between the two countries were to win. U.S. diplomats have alleged that as a director of Samper's 1994 campaign, Serpa was directly involved in handling the $6 million in contributions from drug lords, even though both Samper and Serpa have been cleared of wrongdoing.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Long Arm Of The Drugs Law (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Notes The US Immigration Office Has Told A 42-Year-Old Woman She Will Be Deported Back To England From Her Los Angeles Home In September And Must Leave Her Three Children, Her Husband And Her Job When Her Current 'Humanitarian' Visa Runs Out, Because 22 Years Ago She Was Convicted In A British Court Of Possessing 54.4 Grams Of Hash) Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 23:56:05 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Long Arm Of The Drugs Law Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Martin Cooke Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ LONG ARM OF THE DRUGS LAW Twenty-two years ago Deborah Aaron was arrested and charged with possession of 54.4g of cannabis resin. The offending lump was found inside a leather pouch lying on the stairs in her house and, Mrs Aaron still claims, it belonged to her boyfriend and not to her, writes Vanessa Thorpe. As a result of her subsequent conviction in a British court, she now faces deportation from her Los Angeles home in September. The US immigration office has told her that she must leave her three children, her husband and her job and return to England when her current humanitarian visa runs out. "I just find it absurd that this is happening to me," she told the Independent on Sunday this weekend. The arrest and my treatment at the time were bad enough, but the fact that this incident is still threatening to ruin my life is just so terrible." Now 42, Mrs Aaron works for a non-profit-making organisation which offers aid to the poorest members of the Jewish community across America, and her husband, David, works in a furniture store. Her lifestyle since the drugs conviction, she argues, has been almost exemplary. She can see no reason why she should not be allowed to continue working in Los Angeles and living with her family, who are all American citizens. "Since 1976, I think I have had a couple of speeding tickets and a parking ticket," she added wryly. "So, I suppose I am quite obnoxious really." Mrs Aaron's lawyer, Jessica Croxton, who runs a small practice in Santa Monica, is battling to keep the family together. "I plan to make a federal court challenge to prevent her deportation by making constitutional argument, and then I hope to persuade the British authorities that the case was mishandled in the first place," she said. When 20-year-old Deborah Gabbay, as she then was, was first arrested, Ms Croxton believes she was denied important rights. She claims she was not permitted to make a phone call to a friend or a solicitor and she was kept in a cell for nine hours. "She appears to have had an initial confession coerced from her and when she did have legal advice this was not dealt with properly," said Ms Croxton. "I wanted to plead not guilty," Mrs Aaron explained, "but my lawyer told me it would be better to go along with my initial confession that I had once smoked cannabis, and come away with a 10 pound fine. That is what I did and that is what is now causing me such a problem." If Mrs Aaron succeeds in persuading governments on either side of the Atlantic to alter their view, it will be the first time that the case law on cannabis convictions and US citizenship has changed since John Lennon secured his Green Card because of his exceptional status and because of the small amount of drugs involved in his British conviction. Mrs Aaron's plight has come to a head now because of a new law introduced by the US government in April last year. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, known as IRAIRA, means that her humanitarian waiver is now only available in cases where it can be shown to be in the national interest for an immigrant with a criminal record to stay in America. e-mail your comments to email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mothers-To-Be Who Drink Face Detention (Britain's 'Daily Telegraph' Notes The Latest Prohibitionist Fad In The United States) Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 11:27:23 -0300 (ADT) Sender: Chris Donald (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Subject: US: Mothers-To-Be Who Drink Face Detention (fwd) Here's a glimpse of the future. Notably, this was carried in a Brit paper. I think the small wire story that made the US papers did not draw the same conclusions, or even come right out and state the implications: Subj: US: Mothers-To-Be Who Drink Face Detention Source: Daily Telegraph (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sunday 31 May 1998 Author: James Langton in New York MOTHERS-TO-BE WHO DRINK FACE DETENTION WOMEN who drink alcohol while pregnant can be legally detained until the baby is born, under the first of America's tough new foetal protection laws.Courts in the Mid-Western state of South Dakota can order expectant mothers to be held in a treatment centre if a judge rules that they are drinking too much. A similar law has also recently been passed in Wisconsin, with a dozen other states, from California to Massachusetts, also preparing to lock up "addicted" women for the good of their unborn babies. In South Dakota, which will enforce the new legislation from July 1, the amount of alcohol considered excessive will be left to the discretion of the courts. Most medical authorities in America strongly oppose any drinking during pregnancy, with bottles of wine and cans of beer carrying health warnings for expectant mothers similar to those on cigarette packets. The locking up of pregnant women signals a big victory for the pro-life movement, which argues that life begins at the moment of conception. Both Wisconsin and South Dakota will exercise their new powers by making unborn children wards of a juvenile court, effectively abolishing the distinction between a foetus and a baby. Attempts to detain pregnant women using existing legislation have all failed under challenges from civil rights and pro-abortion groups. Four years ago, the Florida Supreme Court refused to "pit woman against foetus" in the case of a pregnant cocaine user who eventually was released. Courts in America have by convention accepted that the rights of a woman override those of an unborn child. Giving a foetus legal rights represents a direct challenge to the landmark Roe Vs Wade ruling by the Supreme Court a quarter of a century ago which allowed abortion virtually on demand. Many ordinary Americans, however, increasingly sympathise with Scott Eccarius, the senator who pushed for the South Dakota laws and says of drinking and drug-taking, that "no woman has the right to do that to a child." Government health officials last year estimated that 140,000 American women were having at least one alcoholic drink a day, classifying them as frequent drinkers and at a substantially higher risk of "foetal alcohol syndrome" which can cause retarded growth, facial abnormalities and learning problems.The rate in South Dakota is 20 times the national average, largely because of heavy drinking among Sioux Indians on the state's large tribal reservations. Because state and federal law does not extend to Indian lands, tribal elders have passed similar "liquor legislation", which also bans the sale of alcohol to pregnant women. An Indian woman who drinks can also be charged with child abuse and sent to prison for one year. The state's Republican Governor, William Janklow, says that foetal alcohol syndrome is "something that God doesn't do to children. It's something mothers do to children. None of us as adults has the right to abuse a child before they are born." South Dakota law now gives relatives or friends of a pregnant woman caught drinking the power to commit her to an emergency detoxification clinic for up to two days. If necessary, judges can confine them for the full nine months of a pregnancy. Wisconsin also gives courts the power to detain pregnant women for drug or alcohol abuse. The legislation followed the case of a 24-year-old cocaine addict who was held in hospital for three weeks until her baby boy was born. The State Supreme Court later ruled that the sheriff's department had exceeded its powers. The woman was not charged with possessing or using drugs. Civil rights groups have vigorously opposed what they see as punishing pregnant women for the problems of addiction. They also point out that, unlike drugs, drinking alcohol is not against the law. Priscilla Smith, a lawyer for the Centre for Reproductive Law and Policy, calls legal detention for drinking. She said: "One of the biggest issues in reproductive law." With the American Civil Liberties Union, the centre is preparing to challenge through the United States Supreme Court an eight-year sentence on Cornelia Whitner who was convicted of child neglect in South Carolina for smoking crack cocaine while pregnant. South Carolina law accepts that a foetus becomes a viable life during the third trimester of pregnancy and should be given the same protection as a child. Doctors and drug agencies have been ordered to report any woman who tests positive for drugs. Opponents argue that the law will drive addicted women away from seeking proper treatment for their babies. However the assistant deputy attorney-general responsible for prosecutions says South Carolina's position is: "We're here to say there is a consequence for your behavior. There comes a point when the state must intervene." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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