Portland NORML News - Wednesday, July 1, 1998

Rally At Oregon Capitol In Salem 3:30 PM Thursday To Turn In OCTA Signatures
(Paul Stanford Of The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Gives An Update
On The Initiative Campaign As The Signature-Gathering Phase Is About To End
Tomorrow, July 2)

Sender: stanford@crrh.org
Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 16:36:16 -0700
From: "D. Paul Stanford" (stanford@crrh.org)
Subject: Rally @ Capitol in Salem Thurs. 3:30 PM, turn in OCTA
To: "OCTA list" (octa99@crrh.org)

Dear OCTA '99 list members,

Thanks to Steve for cobbling a quick list together for us, and for being
our donated domain and server. Our web site server has moved. Our web site
is undergoing a fantastic redesign. To see a preview, you need a "Flash"
plug-in on your web browser to see everything (available from a link at our
new site.) Look at http://www.crrh.org/index_new.html . More on this
later. Let me know what you think about it. This list's name will soon
change to restore@crrh.org .

To the really important stuff.

It is very hectic here at OCTA central and thousands of signatures are
coming in every day this week. We are counting petitions, writing checks to
circulators and dealing with TOO MANY of the details to detail now. At this
point it appears we will have enough signatures and petitions to turn in to
the Secretary of State in Salem tomorrow. The magic number is 73,261. We
need a good 10,000-20,000 more at this point to have a decent number to
cover invalid signatures and ensure OCTA's qualification for a vote. Then
the Secretary of State has until July 17th to count and verify petitions
for qualification for a vote this November 3rd. We may make it yet!

We will have a rally for LAST SECOND turn-ins and we will tape an episode
of our TV show, "Cannabis Common Sense," there at the Oregon State Capitol
tomorrow, Thursday, July 2nd at 3:30 PM. We will be on the north side of
the Capitol in Salem, Oregon, on the steps near the fountain. You are all
invited to come and participate. You can be in our TV show (or not,) which
we will tape at the Capitol. The show will air in Portland next week, on
cable channel 11, Monday at 9 PM, channel 33 on Wednesday at 6:30 PM and
channel 27 on Friday. It will also be streaming on our web page by next
week at www.crrh.org/ccs-57.html .

Whether we make it to the ballot or not, we will be circulating OCTA in
Oregon for a vote in the year 2000. We are working now with activists in
other state to file Cannabis Tax Act proposals in other states too. We have
built an effective political organization with several streams of revenue,
and we have good reason to believe that our revenue will be increasing
significantly. Our goal is to make CRRH a national political organization,
helping local activists everywhere research and create laws applicable to
their circumstances and state constitutions, through both lobbying and
petitions. We expect to be able to help fund at least three or more states,
including Oregon of course, for CTA initiatives by the presidential
election in 2000.

Thanks to the over 200 of you out their on this list for all of your help.
Together we can and will stop the drug war!

Yours truly,
D. Paul Stanford


We need your help to put this important issue on the ballot in Oregon:
November 3, 1998 ballot question on the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, amended by
the Oregon Supreme Court: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed cultivation,
sale of marijuana for medical purposes and to adults."

Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp
P.O. Box 86741
Portland, OR 97286
Phone:(503) 235-4606
Fax:(503) 235-0120
Web: http://www.crrh.org/

Up In Smoke ('Willamette Week' Says A Portland Woman Who Was
Served With A Search Warrant By The Marijuana Task Force, Who Suspected Her
Of Cultivation, Filed A Lawsuit Against PGE For Providing False Information
About Her Electricity Use To Police, Only To Have It Thrown Out
Because PGE Underestimated Her Use)

Willamette Week
822 SW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
Tel. (503) 243-2122
Fax (503) 243-1115
Letters to the Editor:
Mark Zusman - mzusman@wweek.com
Web: http://www.wweek.com/
Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or
fax. Letters must be signed by the author and include the author's street
address and phone number for verification. Preference will be given to
letters of 250 words or less.

By Josh Feit

In a scene that played like a bad Cheech and Chong outtake, Donna Ziegler
hauled PGE into court last week on grounds that the local utility couldn't
substantiate evidence it provided to the Portland Police about her
electricity use.

Two years ago the cops suspected Ziegler of growing pot in her garage and,
as they often do, checked out her power usage with PGE. The marijuana charge
against Ziegler was dropped due to a police screw-up, but Ziegler now
believes there was an equally serious gaffe on the part of PGE. She sued the
utility in small claims court, asking for $3,500 in damages when she caught
PGE guesstimating her electricity usage.

Ziegler proved in court that PGE misjudged her usage by 200 kilowatt hours.
She thinks it's dangerous that PGE can give faulty customer information that
can lead to search warrants. Roxanne Bailey, a customer affairs spokeswoman
at PGE, says she isn't sure why PGE's numbers were off.

The pro-tem judge, C. Lane Borg, had to decide whether Ziegler had been
harmed by PGE's guesswork. It probably wasn't a tough decision. Borg tossed
the case out after learning that Ziegler used *more* electricity than PGE had
reported to police.

Signature Gathers Race Deadline ('Associated Press' Update
In 'The Seattle Times' About Several Washington State Initiative Campaigns
Says The Sponsors Of The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Plan To Deliver
The 179,236 Necessary Signatures Tomorrow, The Deadline)

Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 17:59:41 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US WA: Signature Gathers Race Deadline
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 01 July 1998
Author: Hunter T. George, The Associated Press


OLYMPIA - An 11th-hour push for voter signatures may propel several hot
issues to Washington's statewide ballot in November.

Supporters of raising the minimum wage and banning a controversial abortion
procedure planned today to deliver petitions to Secretary of State Ralph
Munro. Sponsors of an initiative allowing the medical use of marijuana
planned to unload their petitions tomorrow.

All three are just ahead of tomorrow's deadline to collect the signatures
of 179,236 voters. Munro recommends collecting in excess of 210,000
signatures to protect against fraudulent or duplicate signatures.

It will take Munro's office several weeks to check a sampling of the
petitions and determine if any qualify for placement on the ballot.

Backers of Initiative 688, a labor-sponsored proposal to raise Washington
state's minimum wage, feared just two weeks ago that they might not make
it. But a surge of some 60,000 signatures put them over the top and
provided a healthy cushion.

"We know we broke 225,000, and we're still counting the rest," campaign
coordinator Judy Krebs said.

Last Call For Signatures (Timothy W. Killian, The Campaign Manager
For Washington State's Initiative 692 Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure,
Suggests You Can Still Turn In Signatures Tomorrow In Olympia)

Subject: HT: Last Call for Signatures
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 98 14:59:53 -0700
From: YES on 692 (cdpr@eventure.com)
To: "Hemp Talk" (hemp-talk@hemp.net)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Hi HT:

This is the final call for all signatures that you may have gathered for
Initiative 692. You need to get them in tonight if at all possible. You
can call the Seattle office of Progressive Campaigns at 206.633.2161 to
coordinate a turn-in. But, if you wait too long, we will be packing
everything up and going to Olympia. Any turn-ins tomorrow would most
likely need to be done there.

But, call Progressive and they should be able to let you know when and

Again, thank you so much for all of your help. It looks like we have
safely made our goal, but absolutely need any signatures you may have.

Timothy W. Killian

Campaign Manager
Initiative 692

Washington Citizens for Medical Rights


em: cdpr@eventure.com
url: http://www.eventure.com/I692


Postal Box 2346
Seattle, WA 98111
ph: 206.781-7716
fx: 206.324.3101

Re - Prosecutors Want Marijuana Co-Op Patient Records (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Sacramento Bee' Asks, 'Is There No Limit To The Lengths
The Drug Warriors Are Prepared To Go?')

Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 08:30:53 -0700
To: maptalk@mapinc.org, mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Pat Dolan (pdolan@intergate.bc.ca)
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/


I hope the alarm bells started sounding for your readers as they did for me
when I read your report (Prosecutors want marijuana co-op patient records,
7/2/98). That first sentence: "A medical marijuana co-op will resist Orange
County prosecutors' efforts to obtain health records of hundreds of people
who use the drug for pain," was a real shocker.

Is there no limit to the lengths the drug warriors are prepared to go? Even
in a part of the nation which has used the democratic process to make its
will known, those prosecutors wont let up.

As one who can still remember the November 1938 headlines "Night of broken
glass," you wont be too surprised if I tell you that the word
'Storm-troopers' flashed again into my mind. And I reflected momentarily on
Niemoeller's regret in later life for having failed to act: "First they
came for the Jews - and I did not speak out, for I was not a Jew. Then they
came for the communists... (etc.) Then they came for me....and there was no
one left to speak out for me."

I hope your readers will have the courage to speak out and show their
support for the medical marihuana co-op and the democratic process. It is
the only weapon we have, but if we are still a democratic nation, it should
be all we need.

(224 words)

Pat Dolan
Vancouver BC

Prosecutors Want Marijuana Co-Op Patient Records ('The Sacramento Bee'
Says Long Beach, California Attorney Robert L. Kennedy, Who Represents
The Orange County Cannabis Co-Op, Including Former Co-Op Volunteers
Marvin Chavez And David Herrick, Will Resist County Prosecutors'
'Fishing Expedition' Seeking Confidential Medical Records For Hundreds
Of Former Co-Op Members)

From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" (mapnews@mapinc.org)
Subject: MN: US: CA: Prosecutors Want Marijuana Co-Op Patient Records
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 07:16:06 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/


LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A medical marijuana co-op will resist Orange
County prosecutors' efforts to obtain health records of hundreds of people
who use the drug for pain, a defense attorney said.

"It's a fishing expedition," said Long Beach attorney Robert L. Kennedy, one
of two lawyers representing the Orange County Cannabis Co-op. Its founder,
Marvin Chavez, and a volunteer worker, David Herrick, have been charged with
felony marijuana sales.

Kennedy said he would ask a judge to quash subpoena requests for members'
medical records at a July 10 hearing in Santa Ana. The co-op has about 200

Proposition 215, a 1996 initiative, changed state law to allow patients with
cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other illnesses to possess and grow marijuana for
medical use with a doctor's recommendation. Federal authorities have
resisted its implementation.

The Orange County case is one of several legal battles that have resulted.

Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust, head of Orange County's Narcotics
Enforcement team, said he doubted whether a physician was involved with the
cannabis co-op. He called Chavez a "street peddler.

But said also said he believes that Proposition 215 is flawed.

"The law is poorly written," Armbrust said Tuesday. "But it's still the

Co-op members, many of them elderly, come from all walks of life, Kennedy
said. Many turned away from regular painkillers because of the side effects,
he said.

Chavez says he smokes marijuana to ease the pain of a degenerative spinal
condition known as ankylosing spondylitis, which flared after a 1991
automobile accident.

'Hollywood Set' Masked Pot-Growing Operation (An 'Associated Press' Article
In 'The Seattle Times' Says Three People Face 20 Years To Life In Prison
On Federal Charges After Police, Acting On Unspecified Information,
Discovered 12,448 Marijuana Plants Growing Under 215 One-Thousand-Watt Lights
In Four Buildings In A Rural Area Of Eastern Humboldt County, California)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 23:18:10 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: 'Hollywood set' masked pot-growing operation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Pubdate: 1 July 1998
Author: The Associated Press


EUREKA, Calif. - A marijuana factory so well-disguised it looked like a
family's country dream house, complete with flowers in the yard, was
actually home to thousands of pot plants.

The flowers turned out to be fake - and so did a lot of other things,
according to Humboldt County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Knight.

"By the time we got through, we felt like we had wandered around a
Hollywood set," he said.

The ground level even had special windows that made it appear "you were
looking inside to a bathroom," Knight said.

He said last week's raid by local and federal drug agents uncovered an
indoor growing operation capable of producing an estimated $500,000 worth
of processed marijuana every month.

"It was like a sea of green inside," said Knight.

He said officers discovered 12,448 marijuana plants growing in a cluster of
four buildings on a heavily wooded site in a rural area of eastern Humboldt

About 9,600 of the plants, ranging in size from a few inches to 3 feet
tall, were found behind the walls of a 4,000-square-foot building with a
facade that looked like a new house.

Agents found a marijuana nursery, drying room and numerous rooms containing
plants in varying stages of growth. The pot was being grown under 215
1,000-watt lights powered by a 125-kilowatt generator hidden in a nearby
creek bed.

Nearby was a double-wide mobile home. But Knight said that, too, was an
illusion. Inside, the interior had been gutted and replaced by a specially
designed marijuana growing room.

"It was a very sophisticated operation, set up to grow marijuana on a
continuous cycle year-round," Knight said.

Three people were booked for investigation of federal drug charges. If
convicted, Shaun Turner, 29; Lori Handy, 44, of Arcata; and Jeromy Shull,
23, of Eureka, could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison and fined
up to $4 million each, Knight said.

'Dream Home' Hid Huge Drug Operation ('The Chicago Tribune' Version)

Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 10:13:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: `Dream Home' Hid Huge Drug Operation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@worldnet.att.net)
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 1 Jul 1998
Author: from Tribune News Wires
Section: 1, page 8


HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA -- Police have arrested three people and seized
12,448 marijuana plants from an operation hidden behind a two-story facade
made to look like a dream home in the country.

Authorities described last week's raid as the state's biggest bust of an
indoor marijuana-growing operation. Local and federal drug agents uncovered
an indoor dope-growing "factory" that they estimated was capable of
producing $500,000 worth of processed marijuana a month.

The marijuana was found growing in four buildings on a heavily wooded site
in rural Humboldt County, about 225 miles north of San Francisco.

City Wants Pot For Sick ('Reuters' Version Of Last Week's News
About Oakland, California's Plans To Comply With Proposition 215)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 23:28:42 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: WIRE: City Wants Pot For Sick
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@hotmail.com)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Wed, 1 Jul 1998


(OAKLAND CA) -- The City of Oakland wants to allow sick people who have
doctors' notes to have additional medicinal marijuana. California's
Attorney General thinks two plants a person is sufficient, whereas Oakland
believes 96 plants, a three months' supply, is more realistic. The city's
proposal will be voted on in two weeks.

Doonesbury (Garry Trudeau's Syndicated Cartoon Shows The Real Reason
Sick People Get Sent To Jail For Medical Marijuana)


Watchdog Urges Cop Be Charged In Death Case
(According To 'The San Francisco Examiner,' A San Francisco Citizens
Police Watchdog Group Said Wednesday That Police Captain Gregory Suhr
Should Be Charged With Neglect And Improper Conduct For Dousing
With Pepper Spray And Causing The Death Two Years Ago Of A 317-Pound
Drug Counselor Who Was Naked From The Waist Down, Shouting Incoherently
At Passing Cars, And Who Attacked Police With A Crack Pipe)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 22:11:24 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Watchdog Urges Cop Be Charged In Death Case
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Section: A2
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Author: Larry D. Hatfield, Examiner Staff


SFPD will now conduct own probe of captain's conduct

A citizens police watchdog group said Wednesday that the captain who heads
the Mission District precinct should be charged with neglect and improper
conduct in the case of a Millbrae man who died two years ago after being
doused with pepper spray.

The recommended charges by the Office of Citizen Complaints named Capt.
Gregory Suhr, who was a lieutenant at the time of the April 6, 1996,
incident and was in charge of the officers involved.

One other officer may also have been recommended for charges but neither the
Police Department or OCC would confirm that.

Chief Fred Lau confirmed the OCC had notified the department's management
control division of the recommendation against Suhr.

The division will conduct its own investigation, which could take 30 to 60
days, then decide whether to deal with the case on the chief's level, send
it on to the Police Commission or to return it to the OCC, which, in effect,
would mean it rejected the recommendation.

Either the chief or the commission can impose discipline, which could
include dismissal.

Mary Dunlap, executive director of the OCC, would not comment, saying only,
"The matter is now within the department and that's where it belongs."

"We are happy with the OCC findings in this case," said Bruce Kapsack, the
attorney representing the family of Mark Garcia, who died 23 hours after
being subdued and doused with pepper spray. "It is time for the Police
Commission to move forward and act in accordance with their own rules."

Van Jones, executive director of Bay Area PoliceWatch, called for the
immediate suspension of Suhr, saying similar accusations against a civilian
would result in the accused person being held in jail until completion of
court hearings.

Garcia, a drug counselor, was arrested when he was found standing in the
middle of Cesar Chavez Street near Folsom Street, naked from the waist down
and shouting incoherently at passing cars.

Police under Suhr's command said they sprayed him with pepper spray after he
attacked an officer with a crack pipe. The 41-year-old, 317-pound Garcia
later had a heart attack while tied face down in the back of a police van
and died at San Francisco General Hospital.

Department rules ban face-down transportation of prisoners. Guidelines also
require transportation to a hospital in an ambulance rather than police van.
An ambulance summoned for Garcia was diverted to a nearby accident.

The coroner said Garcia died of acute cocaine poisoning, not pepper spray.
The district attorney cleared police of criminal wrongdoing.

Garcia's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against The City and the
Police Department last year. The family also has been highly critical of the
length of time it has taken the OCC to decide.

OCC officials said the case was complicated and was handled appropriately.

Suhr said he could not comment because the investigation was continuing.

1998 San Francisco Examiner

They Didn't Want To Know ('The San Francisco Bay Guardian'
Prints An Excerpt From Gary Webb's New Book, 'Dark Alliance,'
Outlining How Webb Started Investigating The Contra-Cocaine-CIA Scandal
For 'The San Jose Mercury News')

Newshawk: Gerald Sutliff (gsutliff@dnai.com)
Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Contact: letters@sfbay.com
Website: http://www.sfbg.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Author: Gary Webb [Excerpted from "Dark Alliance"]


When I came to work in the sprawling newsroom of the Cleveland Plain
Dealer in the early 1980s, I was assigned to share a computer terminal with a
tall middle aged reporter with a long, virtually unpronounceable Polish name.
To save time, people called him Tom A.

To me, arriving from a small daily in Kentucky, Tom A. was the epitome of
the hard-boiled big-city newspaperman. The city officials he wrote about and
the editors who mangled his copy were "fuckin-jerks." And when his phone
rang he would say, "It's the Big One," before picking up the receiver.

The Big One was the reporter's holy grail the tip that led you from the daily
morass of press conferences and cop calls onto the trail of The Biggest Story
You'd Ever Write, the one that would turn the rest of your career into an
anticlimax. I never knew if it was cynicism or optimism that made him say it,
but deep inside, I thought he was jinxing himself.

The Big One, I believed, would be like a bullet with your name on it. You'd
never hear it coming. And almost a decade later, long after Tom A., the Plain
Dealer and I had parted company, that's precisely how it happened. I didn't
even take the call.

It manifested itself as a pink While You Were Out message slip left on my
desk in July, 1995, bearing an unusual and unfamiliar name: Coral Marie
Talavera Baca.

There was no message, just a number, somewhere in the East Bay.

I called, but there was no answer, so I put the message aside. Several days
later an identical message slip appeared. This time Coral Marie Talavera Baca
was home.

"I saw the story you did a couple weeks ago," she began. "The one about the
drug seizure laws. I thought you did a good job."

"Thanks a lot," I said, and I meant it. I asked what I could do for her.

"My boyfriend is in a situation like that," she said, "and I thought it might
make a good follow-up story for you. What the government has done to him
is unbelievable."

"Your boyfriend?"

"He's in prison right now on cocaine trafficking charges. He's been in jail for
three years, and he's never been convicted of anything."

"He must have waived his speedy trial rights," I said.

"No, none of them have," she said. "There are about five or six guys who
were indicted with him, and most of them are still waiting to be tried, too.
They want to go to trial because they think it's a bullshit case. Rafael keeps
writing letters to the judge and the prosecutor, saying, you know, try me or let
me go."

"Rafael's your boyfriend?"

"Yes. Rafael Cornejo."

"He's Colombian?"

"No, Nicaraguan. But he's lived in the Bay Area since he was like two or

It's interesting, I thought, but not the kind of story likely to excite my editors.
Some drug dealers don't like being in jail? Oh.

She was not dissuaded.

"There's something about Rafael's case that I don't think you would have ever
done before," she persisted. "One of the government's witnesses is a guy who
used to work with the CIA selling drugs. Tons of it."

"What now?" I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly.

"The CIA. He used to work for them or something. He's a Nicaraguan too.
Rafael knows him, he can tell you. He told me the guy had admitted bringing
four tons of cocaine into the country. Four tons!

And if that's what he's admitted to, you can imagine how much it really was.
And now he's back working for the government again."

"You say you can document this?"

"Absolutely. I have all the files here at home. You're welcome to look at all
of it if you want."

I asked her where she lived.

"Oakland. But Rafael's got a court date in San Francisco coming up in a
couple weeks. Why don't I meet you at the courthouse? That way you
can sit in on the hearing, and if you're interested we could get lunch or
something and talk."

"OK, fine," I said. "But bring some of those records with you, OK? I can
look through them while I'm sitting there in court."

She laughed. "You don't trust me, do you? You probably get a lot of calls like
this." "Not many like this," I said.

Flipping on my computer, l logged into the Dialog data-base, which contains
full-text electronic versions of millions of newspaper and magazine stories,
property records, legal filings, you name it.

I called a newspaper story that had appeared a year before in the San
Francisco Chronicle.

My eyes widened.

"4 Indicted in Prison Breakout Plot-Pleasanton Inmates Planned to Leave in
Copter, Prosecutors Say."

I quickly scanned the story. Son of a bitch.

Four inmates were indicted yesterday in connection with a bold plan to escape
from the federal lock-up in Pleasanton using plastic explosives and a helicopter
that would have taken them to a cargo ship at sea. The group also considered
killing a guard if their keepers tried to thwart the escape, prosecutors contend.

Rafael Cornejo, 39, of Lafayette, an alleged cocaine kingpin with reputed ties
to Nicaraguan drug traffickers and Panamanian monev launderers, was among
those indicted for conspiracy to escape.

That's some boyfriend she's got there, I mused. The newspaper stories make
him sound like Al Capone.

When I pushed open the doors to the vast courtroom in the San Francisco
federal courthouse a few weeks later, I found a scene from Miami Vice.

To my left, a dark-suited army of federal agents and prosecutors - huddled
around a long, polished wooden table, looking grim and talking in low voices.
On the right, an array of long-haired, expensively attired defense attorneys
were whispering to a group of long-haired, angry-looking Hispanics - their
clients. The judge had not yet arrived.

I had no idea what Coral Baca looked like, so I scanned the faces in the
courtroom, trying to pick out a woman who could be a drug king-pin's
girlfriend. She found me first.

"You must be Gary," said a voice behind me.

I turned, and for an instant all I saw was cleavage and jewelry. She looked to
be in her mid-twenties. Dark hair. Bright red lipstick. Long legs. Short skirt.
Dressed to accentuate her positive attributes. I could barely speak.

"You're Coral?"

She tossed her hair and smiled. "Pleased to meet you.

She pointed out Rafael, a short, handsome Latino with a strong jaw and long
wavy hair parted in the middle.

"Uh, why was he trying to break out of jail?" I asked.

"He wasn't. He was getting ready to make bail, and they didn't want to let
him out, so they trumped up these phony escape charges. Now, because he's
under indictment for escape, he isn't eligible for bail anymore."

The escape charges were in fact the product of an unsubstantiated accusation
by a fellow inmate, a convicted swindler. They were later thrown out of court
on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, and Cornejo's prosecutor, Assistant
U.S. Attorney David Hall, was referred to the Justice Department for
investigation by federal judge Saundra Brown Armstrong.

"Can we go out in the hall and talk for a minute?" I asked her.

We sat on a bench just outside the door. I told her I needed to get case
numbers so I could ask for the court files. And, by the way, did she bring
those documents she'd mentioned?

She reached into her briefcase and brought out a stack an inch thick. I flipped
through the documents. Most of them were federal law enforcement reports.
At the bottom of the stack was a transcript of some sort. I pulled it out.

"Grand Jury for the Northern District of California, Grand Jury Number 93-5
Grand Jury lnv. No. 9301035. Reporter's Transcript of Proceedings.
Testimony of Oscar Danilo Bland6n February 3,1994." whistled. 'Federal
grand jury transcripts? I'm impressed. Where'd you get these?"

"The government turned them over under discovery. Dave Hall did. I heard
he really got reamed out by the DEA when they found out about all the stuff
he gave us."

I skimmed the thirty-nine-page transcript. Whatever else this Blandon fellow
may have been, he was pretty much the way Coral had described him. A
big-time trafficker who'd dealt dope for many years; A started out dealing for
the Contras, a right-wing Nicaraguan guerrilla army, in Los Angeles. He'd
used drug money to buy trucks and supplies. At some point after Ronald
Reagan got into power, the CIA had decided his services as a fund-raiser were
no longer required, and he stayed in the drug business for himself.

What made the story so compelling was that he was appearing before the
grand jury as a U.S. government witness. He wasn't utter investigation. He
wasn't trying to heat a rap. He was there as a witness for the prosecution,
which meant that the U.S. Justice Department was vouching for him.

But who was the grand jury investigating? Every time the testimony led in that
direction. words-mostly names-were blacked out.

"Who is this family they keep asking him about?"

"Rafael says it's Meneses. Norwin Meneses and his nephews. Have you
heard of them?"


"Norwin is one of the biggest traffickers on the West Coast. When Rafael got
arrested, that's who the FBI and the IRS wanted to talk to him about. Rafael
has known [Norwin and his nephews] for years. Since the Seventies, I think.
The government is apparently using Blandon to get to Meneses."

I kept trying to recall where I had heard about this Contra-cocaine business
before. Had I read it in a book? Seen it on television'? It bothered me.

Like most Americans, I knew the Contras had been a creation of the CIA, the
darlings of the Reagan Right, made up largely of the vanquished followers of
deposed Nicaraguan die-tator Anastasio Somoza and his brutal army, the
National Guard. But drug trafficking? Surely, I thought, if there had been
some concrete evidence, it would have stuck in my mind. Maybe I was
confusing it with something else.

A few days later I was in balmy San Diego, squinting at microfiche in the
clerk's office of the U.S. District Court. I found Blandon's case file within a
few minutes.

He and six others, including his wife, had been secretly indicted May 5, 1992,
for conspiring to distribute cocaine. According to the indictment, he'd been a
trafficker for ten years, had clients nationwide, and had bragged on tape of
selling other L.A. dealers between two and four tons of cocaine.

He was such a big-timer that the judge had ordered him and his wife held in
jail without bail because they posed "a threat to the health and moral fiber of
the community."

The file contained a transcript of a detention hearing, held to determine if the
couple should be released on bail. Blandn's prosecutor, Assistant U.S.
Attorney L.J. O'Neale, brought out his best ammo to persuade the judge to
keep the couple locked up until trial.

"Mr. Blandon's family was closely associated with the Somoza government
that was overthrown in 1979," O'Neale said. Bland6n had been partners with
a Jairo Meneses in 764 kilos of cocaine that had been seized in Nicaragua in
1991, O'Neale claimed, and he also owned hotels and casinos in Nicaragua
with Mene-ses. He had a house in Costa Rica. He had a business in Mexico,
relatives in Spain, phony addresses all over the -United States, and "unlimited
access to money."

Bland6n's lawyer, Brad Brunon, confirmed the couple's close ties to Somoza
and produced a photo of them at a wedding reception with El Presidente and
his spouse. That just showed what fine families they were from, he said. The
accusations in Nicaragua against Bland6n, Brunon argued, were "politically
motivated because of Mr. Blandon's activities with the Contras in the early

Damn, here it is again. His own lawyer says he was working for the Contras.

From the docket sheet, I could see that the case had never gone to trial.
Everyone had pleaded out, starting with Bland6n. Five months after his
arrest, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and the charges against his wife were
dropped. After that, his fugitive code-fendants were quickly arrested and
pleaded guilty. But they all received extremely short sentences. One was
even put on unsupervised probation.

As I read on, I realized that Bland-6n was already back on the streets - -totally
unsupervised. No parole. Free as a bird.

The last page of the file told me why. It was a motion filed by U.S. Attorney
O'Neale, asking the court to unseal Blandon's plea agreement and a couple of
internal Justice Department memorandums. "During the course of this case,
defendant Oscar Danilo Btandon cooperated with and rendered substantial
assistance to the United States," O'Neale wrote. At the govern-ment's request
his jail sentence had been secretly cut twice. O'Neale then persuaded the
judge to let Blandon out of jail completely, telling the court he was needed as
a full-time paid informant for the U.S. Department of Justice. Since he'd been
undercover, O'Neale wrote, he couldn't very well have probation agents
checking up on him. He was released on unsupervised probation.

Back in Sacramento, I did some checking on the targets of the 1994 grand
jury investigation - the Meneses family - and again Coral's description proved
accurate, perhaps even understated. I found a 1991 story from the San
Francisco Chronicle and a 1986 Suo Francisco Examiner piece that strongly
suggested that Meneses, too, had been dealing cocaine for the Contras during
the I 980s. One of the stories described him as the "king of cocaine in
Nicaragua" and the Cali cartel's representative there. The Chronicle story
mentioned that a U.S. Senate investigation had run across him in connection
with the Contras and allegations of cocaine smuggling.

That must have been where I heard about this Contra drug stuff before, I
decided. A congressional hearing.

At the California State Library's Government Publications Section, 1 scoured
the CSl indices, which catalog congressional hearings by topic and witness
name. Meneses wasn't listed, but there had been a series of hearings back in
1987 and 1988, 1 saw, dealing with the issue of the Contras and cocaine: a
subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator
John Kerry of Massachusetts.

For the next six days I sat with rolls of dimes at a microfiche printer in the
quiet wood-paneled recesses of the Library, reading and copying many of the
1,100 pages of transcripts and exhibits of the Kerry Committee hearings,
growing more astounded each day. The committee's investigators had
uncovered direct links between drug dealers and the Contras. Many of the
Kerry Committee witnesses, I noted, later became U.S. Justice Department
witnesses against Noriega.

Kerry and his staff had taken video-taped depositions from Contra leaders
who acknowledged receiving drug profits, with the apparent knowledge of the
CIA. The drug dealers had admitted under oath - giving money to the
Contras, and had passed polygraph tests. The pilots had admitted flying
weapons down and cocaine and marijuana back, landing in at least one
instance at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The exhibits included U.S.
Customs reports, FBI reports, internal Justice Department memos. It almost
knocked me off my chair.

I called Jack Blum, the Washington, D.C., attorney who'd headed
the Kerry investigation, and he confirmed that Norwin Meneses had been an
early target. But the Justice Department, he said, had stonewalled the committee's
requests for information and he had finally given up trying to obtain the
records, moving on to other, more productive areas. "There was a lot of
weird stuff going on out on the West Coast, but after our experiences with
Justice... we mainly concentrated on the cocaine coming into the East."

"Why is it that I can barely remember this?" I asked. "I mean, I read the
papers every day."

"It wasn't in the papers, for the most part," he said. 'The big papers stayed as
far away from this issue as they could. It was like they didn't want to know."

Gary Webb Interview ('The San Francisco Bay Guardian' Quotes The Author
Of 'Dark Alliance' Saying 90 Percent Of His Book Is New Material - 'I Think
The Thing That Frightened Them The Most About My Story Was That Suddenly
There Was This Whole Reactivation Of Activist Black Groups Getting Together
And Demanding Some Political Changes In Washington')

Newshawk: Gerald Sutliff (gsutliff@dnai.com)
Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Contact: letters@sfbay.com
Website: http://www.sfbg.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998

In August 1996, San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb's "Dark
Alliance" series documented how the CIA helped Nicaragua's contras
sell crack cocaine in South Central Los Angeles. The contras used the
drug money to finance their war against Nicaragua's leftist government.

To most readers, the credibility of Webb's investigation was beyond
dispute. The articles spurred congressional hearings and reports from
departments such as the federal customs Office corroborating Webb's
allegations, even though many government agencies tried to withhold
information from investigators. The northern California chapter of the
Society of Professional Journalists named Webb journalist of the year
for the "Dark Alliance" series.

But the mainstream news media - most prominently the Washington
Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times - scrambled to
discredit his findings. Either they were embarrassed they got scooped
or they refused to believe their high-placed government friends were
responsible for the nation's devastating crack boom.

Then the Mercury publicly disowned the story - without ever giving
Webb or readers a convincing reason why. The paper's editors had
encouraged Webb in his research, but in the firestorm that followed
Dark Alliance's publication they retracted their support for the
series. After the controversy, the Merc, which is owned by media giant
Knight-Ridder, exiled Webb from its Sacramento bureau to the police beat
in Cupertino.

Webb left the paper and expanded "Dark Alliance" into a book of the
same name. Just published by Seven Stories, it reinforces Webb's
investigations with newly uncovered evidence.

But the mainstream media are ignoring this new evidence too: the
Post, the New York Times, and the L.A. Times have all ignored Webb's
book - no reviews, no news stories, no coverage at all.

But as Rep. Maxine Waters (who wrote a strong introduction for
the book) told me, "Gary Webb has uncovered one of the dirtiest little
secrets of the Reagan administration - that we, as a government,
introduced a drug to America's inner cities that is literally killing
thousands of kids, and that we did it purely for short-term political
gain in support of a cause that didn't deserve our support in any way.
For reporting that, Webb lost his job. But the book provides

We interviewed Webb by telephone while he was in Seattle promoting
his book.

Bay Guardian: Did you do much new reporting and research for the
book after the series ran?

Gary Webb: A lot of stuff came out after the series ran. We got
3,000 pages of new documents from the L.A. Sheriff's Department's
investigation that was just amazing. Probably 90 percent of the book is

BG: What were your most interesting or unexpected new findings?

GW: Some of the most interesting is the stuff the Mercury News
chickened out on and wouldn't run. What was going on in the DEA's
office in Costa Rica, where the U.S. drug agents were supposed to be
investigating drug crimes but were either looking the other way or, as a
customs investigation found, were trafficking drugs themselves. This
conspiracy went farther than the CIA. It was so liberating to have the
chance to lay out everything you have in context and explain to people
why it matters.

BG: How did you get the new information?

GW: FOIA requests, tips, and the CIA Inspector General's January
report. And anytime you do a big story people come out of the woodwork,
and we had a number of those - specifically this fellow Enrique Miranda,
who was an aide to drug lord Norwin Meneses.

BG: One of the main criticisms of the series was that you didn't
have a smoking gun. Do you think you have one now?

GW: When you're dealing with the CIA, you're lucky to find any
fucking paper at all, much less a smoking gun. You're never going to
find a CIA memo that says, "Go sell crack in L.A." So you have to gather
as much evidence as you can, take a good hard look at what you've got,
and a legitimate conclusion can become very obvious.

BG: Why do you think the mainstream press - from your own paper to
the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, and the New York Times - went so
far out of their way to discredit your series?

GW: Because it's a very dangerous story. It makes people think bad
things about their country and their government. Newspapers will let
you think bad things about a certain politician, but when you start
questioning the foundations of our democracy they say, "He's a
troublemaker, a zealot, a maniac."

BG: Were there any valid criticisms that you went back and
reconfirmed, or any holes that you subsequently filled?

GW: Sure, absolutely. I've said all along that some parts of that
series should have been explained more fully. It was accurate but
incomplete. What I tried to do with the book is show all the other
evidence that we couldn't get into the newspaper, or were actually
prohibited from writing for the newspaper. Initially it was a problem of
space, but in the end it was self-censorship on behalf of Mercury News

BG: Do you think the decision was made in Knight-Ridder's
super-headquarters, or was it strict1y Merc management?

GW: I don't know, but I do know Knight-Ridder has backed the
decision all the way. I think the thing that frightened them the most
about my story was that suddenly there was this whole reactivation of
activist black groups getting together and demanding some political
changes in Washington. And I think, honest to god, that they were more
scared by the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings than anything, when
hundreds of citizens actually showed up to watch their government in
action and started hooting at the antics they were witnessing. It
scared the living hell out of them.

BG: So what happens next? Do you hope Congress finally moves to do
a full investigations?

GW: I think we may actually create enough pressure to force the
government to release the rest of the reports we've done on this. The
public has to get riled up, though, or the government won't do anything.
I've been told that the key 600-page report on this, the one that
contains the secret agreement between the Justice Department and the CIA
allowing the CIA not to report drug trafficking, will never be released,
will never be declassified. I don't imagine the CIA will ever be very
eager to let that one loose.

Whiteout - How The Mainstream Press Tried To Squelch The 'Dark Alliance'
Stories ('The San Francisco Bay Guardian' Outlines The Hatchet Job
Performed By 'The Washington Post,' 'New York Times' And 'Los Angeles Times'
Against Gary Webb's Series For 'The San Jose Mercury News'
Documenting The CIA-Contra-Cocaine Connection)

Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 15:56:19 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Whiteout: How the Mainstream Press
Tried to Squelch the "Dark Alliance" Stories
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Contact: letters@sfbay.com
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Author: Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair


The Attack on Gary Webb and his series in the San Jose Mercury News remains
one of the most venomous and factually inane assaults on a professional
journalist's competence in living memory.

The word "pacification" is not inappropriate to describe the responses to
Webb's story. Back in the l980s, allegations about contra drug running,
though backed by documentary evidence, could be ignored with impunity.
Given the Internet and black radio reaction, in the mid-1990s this was no
longer possible, and the established organs of public opinion had to launch
the fiercest of attacks on Webb and on his employer.

This was a campaign of extermination: the aim was to destroy Webb and to
force the Mercuy News into backing away from the story's central premise.

What Webb had done in the series was to show in great detail how a contra
funding crisis had engendered enormous sales of crack in South Central [Los
Angeles, how the whole-salers of that cocaine were protected from
prosecution until the funding crisis ended, and how these same wholesalers
were never locked away in prison, but were hired as informants by federal

It could be argued that Webb's case is often circumstantial, but
prosecutions on this same amount of circumstantial evidence have seen
people put away on life sentences. Webb was telling the truth on another
point as well: the CIA did not return his phone calls.

In fact, Webb did have a CIA source. "He told me," Webb remembers, "he knew
who these guys were and he knew they were cocaine dealers. But he wouldn't
go on the record so I didn't use his stuff in the story. I mean, one of the
criticisms is we didn't include CIA comments in [the] story. And the reason
we didn't is because they wouldn't return my phone calls and they denied my
Freedom of Information Act requests."

On Friday, October 4, the Washington Post went to town on Webb and on the
Mercury News. The onslaught carried no less than 5,000 words in five
articles. The front page featured a lead article by Roberto Suro and Walter
Pincus, headlined "CIA and Crack: Evidence is Lacking in Contra-Tied Plot."

Also on the front page was a piece by Michael Fletcher on black paranoia.

The next assault was a double-barreled one from either side of the country.
On Sunday, October 17, at the New York Times, staff reporter Tim Golden was
given an entire page on which to flail away at Webb. In the Los Angeles
Times, an army of fourteen reporters and three editors put out a three-part
series intended to finish off Webb forever.

Of all the attacks on Webb, the Los Angeles Times series was the most
elaborate and the most disingenuous. For two months the dominant newspaper
in southern California had been derided for missing the big story on its
own doorstep. The only way it could salvage its reputation was to claim
that there'd been no big story to miss. This is the path it took.

Even after his pummeling by the two big West and East Coast papers, Webb
felt he still retained the support of his editors. "They urged me to
continue digging on the story so that we could stick it to the Washington

Soon after he returned to Sacramento from [a research trip to] Nicaragua,
Webb got a call from (Mereury News executive editor) Jerry Ceppos, who had
spent much of the winter months being treated for prostate cancer. Ceppos
told Webb that he was going to publish a letter in the Mercury News
admitting that "mistakes had been made" in the "Dark Alliance" series.

Ceppos originally wanted to run the apologia in the Easter Sunday edition.
When Webb saw a draft of the column he was outraged. "This is idiotic,"
Webb recalls telling Ceppos. "Half this stuff isn't even true. It's
unconscionable to run this." Ceppos told Webb not to take it personally,
that it was just a column and it didn't mean the paper was trying to hang
him out to dry.

Ceppos's column ran on May 11. It was a retreat on every front, and a
shameful day for American journalism.

Predictably, Ceppos's appalling betrayal of his own reporter was greeted
with exuberance by the New York Times, where [reporter] Todd Purdum used it
to legitimize their original attack and to lash out at Webb as a paranoid.

Then on December 18, 1997, came stories in the Los Angeles Times and the
San Jose Mercury News under head-lines such as "CIA Clears Itself in Crack
Investigation." CNN picked up the Mercury News's story immediately, telling
viewers that the very paper that had made the initial charges against the
CIA was now reporting that "an investigation" had absolved the Agency.

Looking back at the series in mid-1997, Webb said he had nothing to
apologize for. "If anything, we pussy-footed around some stuff we shouldn't
have, like CIA involvement and their level of knowledge. I'm glad I did the
series because this is a story that gutless papers on the East Coast have
been ducking for ten years. And now they're forced to confront it.

However they chose to confront it, they still have to say what the story's

True Believer - Interview With Maxine Walters
('The San Francisco Bay Guardian' Notes The US Representative
From Los Angeles Has Written The Foreword To Gary Webb's New Book
That Elaborates On His 'Dark Alliance' Series For 'The San Jose Mercury News,'
And, Based On Her Own Interviews In Nicaragua, 'Completely And Absolutely
Confirms Gary Webb's Devastating Series' About The CIA-Contra-Cocaine

Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 16:24:28 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: True Believer: Interview with Maxine Walters (D-Los Angeles)
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Contact: letters@sfbay.com
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-Los Angeles) knows the truth when she sees it.

After she read Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury
News, she met with key players in South Central Los Angeles and members of
the L.A. Sheriff's Department, and she flew to Nicaragua to talk with
others implicated in the book and interview Sandinista leaders.

Waters came away from her investigation with "the undeniable conclusion
that the CIA, DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency], DIA [Defense Intelligence
Agency], and FBI knew about drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles.
They were either part of the trafficking or turned a blind eye to it in an
effort to fund the contra war."

Now she's written the foreword to Webb's book, which she says "completely
and absolutely confirms Gary Webb's devastating series." We interviewed
Waters by phone last week in her Capitol Hill office.

Bay Guardian: You certainly seem convinced of the credibility of Gary
Webb's story.

Maxine Waters: Without question, and history will bear him out. It may take
1 or 5 or 10 or 20 years, but we'll learn for sure he was right. I think
both sides were using drug money to fund their efforts. With so many
documents classified it makes it hard to know exactly what went on, but I
personally interviewed enough people to convince me that Webb nailed the

BG: What's most disturbing about the story?

MW: That so many people have suffered so much from addiction, crime,
prison, and generally ruined lives because the U.S. government, while
purportedly engaged in a "war on drugs," al-lowed the contras to introduce
such a poison in our community for political profit. I'm not easily
astounded, but this just astounds me.

BG: Your interviews corroborated his findings?

MW: Without question. The book really proves how weak the Mercury News
was in essentially firing him under pressure for no reason. They abandoned
him in mid-story, which was just horrible. He got the story right and was
working to get more information. The Mercury News people got it wrong by
vilifying him.

BG: What will you do next to get this information out?

MW: I would love to hold [congressional] hearings using the new
information from the book. I also will work to declassify the documents
that the CIA wants to keep secret. This story is too important not to keep
working on for as long as it takes to prove what really happened.

Fate Of Medicinal Marijuana Drive Uncertain In Nye County
('Las Vegas Review-Journal' Version Of Yesterday's News
About The Nevadans For Medical Rights Initiative)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 21:59:20 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NV: Fate Of Medicinal Marijuana Drive Uncertain
In Nye County
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
Contact: letters@lvrj.com
Fax: 702-383-4676
Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/
Author: Ed Vogel Donrey Capital Bureau


CARSON CITY -- A petition to allow Nevadans to vote to allow the use of
marijuana for medical purposes apparently has fallen short of the minimum
number of signatures in one of the counties it needed to qualify for the
November ballot.

But Deputy Secretary of State Don Reis refused Tuesday to call the medical
marijuana petition dead just because Nye County petitions technically may be

Nye County Clerk Arte Robb said just 607 of the 1,228 signatures on
petitions submitted in her county June 16 by Americans for Medical Rights
were valid.

The group needed to gather 926 valid signatures in Nye County, one of the 13
Nevada counties where it circulated petitions. Under the state constitution,
petition circulators must collect signatures of at least 10 percent of the
number of voters in the last general election in at least 13 counties to
place their proposal on the ballot.

Since Americans for Medical Rights failed to collect signatures in four of
Nevada's 17 counties, it must meet the minimum number requirement in the
remaining 13 counties -- or the petition will fail. More than 73,000 people
statewide signed the petition.

Reis said said Secretary of State Dean Heller will decide what to do with
Nye County after receiving results of signature verification efforts by
election workers in all 13 counties where petitions were collected. Election
workers in seven counties, including Clark County, so far have checked their

Others have until July 7 to submit their results. Robb anticipates Heller
will request she recheck Nye County signatures on the marijuana petitions.
Of the 1,228 signatures collected in Nye County, more than 400 were rejected
by Robb because they did not include the address of signers, the date on
which they signed or errors by circulators.

"The laws say they have to have the date, signature and an address," Robb
said. "But I expect the secretary of state will tell us to accept them
anyway. We know we would get a lot of flak for what we did, but we followed
the law.

"But Reis questioned whether an election worker can invalidate a signature
of a registered voter just because of a mistake by a circulator or the lack
of a date. "The person who signs has no control over what the circulator
does," he said. "We want to see the whole picture before we decide what to
do with Nye County."

Robb acknowledged she recognizes some of the signatures without addresses
are of people who are registered voters in Tonopah. "I am trying to do what
the law says," she added. "If they don't like it, they should change the law."

State Seeks Answers On Disqualified Pot Petition ('The Las Vegas Sun'
Says The Last Hope For The Medical Marijuana Initiative
Sponsored By Nevadans For Medical Rights May Hinge On Secretary Of State
Dean Heller Finding That Clerks In Nye County Illegally Disqualified
Some Signatures - Heller Said Only A District Judge Has The Authority
To Dismiss A Petition Because The Person Who Circulates It Is Not
Registered To Vote)

Date: Fri, 3 Jul 1998 10:05:18 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NV: State Seeks Answers on Disqualified Pot Petition
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Contact: letters@lasvegassun.com
Website: http://www.lasvegassun.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Author: Cy Ryan


CARSON CITY -- County clerks in Nye and Lyon counties will be asked to
clarify why some voters were disqualified on the initiative petition to
permit the medical use of marijuana.

Secretary of State Dean Heller and his staff will be talking to county
officials, but will take no action until Tuesday when all counties must
report verified numbers on the petition.

The petition's success may hinge on the outcome in Nye County. Clerk Arte
Robb checked 1,228 signatures but found only 607 passed were registered
voters. A minimum of 926 signatures are required there.

Heller said Robb may have disqualified more than 200 signatures because the
person who circulated the petition was not a registered voter. Also, more
than 100 voters may have registered after signing the petition.

Heller said only a district judge has the authority to dismiss a petition
because the person who circulates it is not registered to vote.

In Lyon County, there were questions in the way the report was submitted,
but it appears there are enough qualified signatures, Heller said.

Petition backers gathered 74,466 signatures in 13 of the 17 counties. The
law required 46,764 signatures of registered voters or 10 percent of the
registered voters in 13 of the 17 counties.

If the petition loses in Nye County, it will not be eligible for the
November ballot.

The petition qualified in five counties including Clark, where the
verification process is complete. Pamela Crowell, deputy secretary of
state, said the deadline for counties is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Backers have five days to appeal a disqualified petition.

The initiative would allow people, upon the advice of physicians, to use
marijuana for curing or relieving pain in a number of illnesses such as
cancer and AIDS. Minors would have to receive permission from their parents
and the doctor.

July 6th March To End Prohibition (Press Release About The Pro-Hemp March
To Westlake Center In Seattle, Gathering 6 PM Monday At Hammering Man
On First And Union)

Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 15:49:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robert Lunday (robert@hemp.net)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
cc: march@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Press Release: July 6th March to End Prohibition
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Here is the near final press release for the July 6th march to be sent
to the Seattle news media tomorrow. Please send any comments &
critiques to me before 1pm tomorrow so we can get them in the final
release. Happy 4th of July and hope to see you on Monday for some
protesting fun.

What: March to End Prohibition

Theme: Independence from Prohibition

When: 6:00 pm Monday, July 6th

Where: Meet at Hammering Man at 1st & Union
March to Westlake Center

This Monday, protesters will march in the second of a series of
marches to call for an end to the failed policy of drug prohibition
and arcane laws against the growing of industrial hemp.

The theme of the march is Independence From Prohibition. Two days after
our nation's birthday, the march will focus on the loss of our basic
freedoms as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the
Bill of Rights. Tactics used in drug cases like the warrantless
search, property forfeiture and hearsay evidence challenge revered
constitutional freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Protesters will also highlight how hemp is a vital part of our
American heritage, often covered up as zero-tolerance policies
rewrite hemp out of our history.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, Betsy Ross crafted the
first American flag out of hemp and Ben Franklin opened a hemp paper
mill so that America would not be dependent upon British sources of
paper. The original draft of the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution were written on Hemp paper. In England and the new
American colonies, there were laws at various times requiring the
cultivation of Hemp.

George Washington and Betsy Ross are expected to be in attendance,
discussing their experiences with hemp in early America.

Contact: Tim Crowley

More info: http://seattlemusicweb.com/protest

"Hemp is of the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the
-- Thomas Jefferson

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
-- President George Washington, 1794

Police Dog Sniffs Out Big Stash Of Marijuana
(According To 'The Deseret News,' The Federally Funded Utah County
Major Crimes Task Force Tuesday Night Seized 63 Pounds Of Marijuana
They Valued At $352,000 From A Storage Unit In Orem, Utah,
Plus Methamphetamine And Cocaine - The Bust Is Believed To Be
The County's Largest Single Seizure Of The Nontoxic Herb -
Two Mexican Nationals Apprehended In The Bust Will Likely Be Deported
By The Immigration and Naturalization Service)

Date: Sun, 05 Jul 1998 10:26:05 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service (mapnews@mapinc.org)
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US UT: Police Dog Sniffs Out Big Stash Of Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: gguardia@mindspring.com
Pubdate: July 1, 1998
Source: Deseret News
Contact: letters@desnews.com
Website: http://www.desnews.com/
Author: Jeffrey P. Haney, Deseret News staff writer


Drug Bust May Be County's Largest Single Seizure

OREM - An estimated $352,000 in marijuana snatched during a late-night drug
bust Tuesday is believed to be Utah County's largest single seizure of the
leafy narcotic. Armed with a search warrant, members of the Utah County
Major Crimes Task Force, made up of specialists from most Mountainland law
enforcement agencies, raided the Orem home of a reputed drug dealer at
about midnight Tuesday. Searches at the home yielded only a small quantity
of drugs and paraphernalia. But information received from informants and
undercover officers during the search of the home allowed police to justify
another search warrant for a nearby storage unit, 1060 S. State, where the
bulk of the drugs were hoarded, said Orem Police Lt. Steve Clark. A dog
trained to sniff out illicit drugs immediately pinpointed the storage unit
where 63 pounds of marijuana were found bundled in plastic wrap and axle
grease. Police also found 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine and one ounce of
cocaine. "The dog hit right on it and very aggressively," Clark said.
Police seized three vehicles and a motorcycle as well as the narcotics.

The seized drugs, packaged in 6-inch bales, covered two large banquet
tables as Orem police displayed them Wednesday morning at a news
conference. "I think we'll see the price of marijuana around here climb,"
Clark said. "We've taken a large supply away." Two male Mexican nationals
who had been deported in 1996 for prior drug offenses were taken into
custody Wednesday. Both were booked into the Utah County Jail. The men
likely will be deported by officials from Immigration and Naturalization
Service. Both men were arrested on suspicion of aggravated re-entry into
the United States and possession with intent to distribute marijuana,
methamphetamine and cocaine in a drug-free zone. Undercover officers have
been working on this bust for nearly three weeks, Clark said. "This is by
far the largest quantity of drugs we've ever seized," he said. In the past
year, the task force has recovered an estimated 10 pounds of
methamphetamines. "Ten pounds may not sound like a lot, but it's a lot to a
doper or to a cop," Clark said. The task force was created in July 1997
when the former Narcotic Enforcement Team and the Utah County Gang Project

A federal grant helps support the anti-drug and gang organization.

Until 'Gateway' Case Is Closed, Pot Should Be Off-Limits ('Arizona Republic'
Columnist Steve Wilson Responds To The Imminent Sentencing Of Marijuana Law
Reform Activist Peter B. Wilson With Bad Science And Worse Logic, Saying
Peter Wilson Shouldn't Go To Prison, But Cannabis Shouldn't Be Sold
At Starbucks, Either)

Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 21:50:18 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US AZ: OPED: Until 'Gateway' Case
Is Closed, Pot Should Be Off-Limits
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Contact: comments@www.azcentral.com
Website: http://www.azcentral.com


Peter B. Wilson has been crusading for years to legalize marijuana in
Arizona and thinks changes in the law couldn't come too soon.

That's partly self-interest. The Phoenix man will be sentenced next week on
nine drug counts and could be sent to prison.

But it's also because he's convinced that the nation's drug laws have done
more harm than good, especially as they apply to pot.

Wilson sent me a hot e-mail after I wrote that despite failures in the
nation's war on drugs, legalization wasn't the answer and could lead to
bigger problems.

He replied that it would be hard to imagine any policies creating more
problems than current ones.

"The war on drugs is a system that engineers refer to as a positive
feedback loop," said Wilson, who holds a degree in chemical engineering.

"It's what causes that unbearable squealing you sometimes hear in public
address systems. The politicians call for hiring more people to fight drugs
next year, which results in more people involved in distributing drugs next
year, which results in hiring more people the next year, which . . .

"The federal drug war has failed. It has increased the harmfulness of
drugs. The only result from war is violence, and that's what we're getting."

He asked: What is the government trying to accomplish by putting tens of
thousands of marijuana smokers in jail?

I agreed that many drug penalties are too severe, but added that some drug
experts consider marijuana a "gateway" drug, leading users to more
addictive and damaging ones.

"There have been all kinds of studies on marijuana, and none has showed it
to be a gateway drug," he said.

If things were only that clear.

Government studies have found that people who have smoked pot are 17 times
more likely to use cocaine than those who have not. And more than 90
percent of hard-drug users report that marijuana was their introduction to

A pair of studies published in the journal Science last year cast further
doubt on the argument that pot is harmless and unrelated to other drug use.

One study, conducted by an American-Spanish team, reported that withdrawing
from long-term marijuana use produces the same biochemical changes
associated with withdrawal from harder drugs. Those changes can "prime" the
pot smoker's brain in a way that makes it more susceptible to other drug
abuse, according to the report.

In the second study, Italian researchers found that marijuana hits the same
pleasure centers in the brain as heroin and cocaine. Rats given intravenous
doses of heroin and THC (the principal active ingredient in marijuana)
showed a similar buildup of the brain chemical dopamine, which is crucial
to the "high" drug users seek.

The new findings strengthen the claim that pot can hook people. Those who
insist it has no addictive power might have a hard time persuading the
100,000 or so Americans who seek treatment annually for marijuana

The research, however, isn't unequivocal. A study in the American Journal
of Public Health evaluated the health of 65,000 patients for more than a
decade and reported that "few adverse clinical health effects from the
chronic use of marijuana have been documented in humans."

While research suggests that pot often leads to harder stuff, the proof is
weak. An estimated 80 million Americans have tried marijuana, and most
haven't gone on to other drugs. Since teenage use of marijuana has shot up
this decade, the gateway argument says teen use of cocaine would as well.
But it has dropped by 50 percent.

Though I don't think people like Peter Wilson, who has two children, ought
to be thrown into prison, I also don't think the country would be in better
shape if Starbucks started serving cannabis along with cappuccino.

Smoking pot is a long way from shooting up heroin, but the research gives
reason to suspect a link. Until science says otherwise, both should stay


Steve Wilson can be reached at 444-8775 or at steve.wilson@pni.com via

McVeigh Letters To Family Are Portrait Of Anger And Alienation
('The New York Times' Says Previously Undisclosed Letters
By Timothy McVeigh, The Man Convicted Of Bombing The Federal Building
In Oklahoma City, Suggest His Alienation May Have Originated When He
And Nine Other Soldiers Were Taken To A Private Intelligence Briefing
At Fort Bragg, Where They Were Told They Could Be Required To Participate
In Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking And Assassinations)

Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 16:24:18 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NYT: McVeigh Letters to Family are Portrait of Anger and Alienation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source(1): New York Times (NY)
Contact(1): letters@nytimes.com
Website(1): http://www.nytimes.com/
Source(2): San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact(2): letters@sjmercury.com
Webiste(2): http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 1 Jul 1998
Author: Jo Thomas of the New York Times
Editor note: Our Newshawk writes: "Stick with this one -- there is a
connection to drug policy!"


Previously undisclosed letters by Timothy McVeigh to his younger sister
before the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City portray him as
deeply frustrated and at one point suicidal over his inability to confide
the extent of his anti-government activities to his family.

McVeigh's letters, along with conversations at home, revealed so much anger
and alienation that when the bomb exploded on April 19, 1995, eventually
killing 168 people and wounding 850, his family suspected him almost
immediately, they later told the FBI.

His sister, Jennifer McVeigh, told investigators she had an "eerie feeling"
he was involved. His father, William McVeigh, said he had worried that his
son would do something to get himself in serious trouble and added that his
ex-wife, McVeigh's mother, thought her son "did the bombing."

In a letter to Jennifer, written on Oct. 20, 1993, McVeigh said he was
tormented by not being able to "tell it all" about his "lawless behavior
and attitude." He did not elaborate.

At one point, he wrote, he had gone to the house of their grandfather, who
has since died, and considered killing himself there.

"I have an urgent need for someone in the family to understand me," McVeigh
told his sister. "I will tell you, and only you."

The letters and summaries of interviews by investigators were obtained by
The New York Times. They provide new insights into McVeigh, who committed
the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. The material was never
presented at his trial.

Interviews conducted by the FBI after the bombing show that members of the
McVeigh family differed in their beliefs about what sparked that hatred.
But they agreed it began before the raid that ended with the deaths of the
Branch Davidians at their complex near Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993 -- an
event that clearly exacerbated his feelings.

It was McVeigh's desire to avenge those deaths and start a popular uprising
against the government that led to the bombing conspiracy, according to
testimony at the trial last year in which McVeigh was convicted and
sentenced to death.

McVeigh's real troubles may have begun over money, his father said. In
February 1993, the Department of Defense informed Timothy McVeigh that he
had been overpaid $1,058 while in the Army and asked for repayment. The
episode enraged him.

But Jennifer McVeigh, who was her brother's confidante, thought the
breaking point came earlier, in 1991, at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he was an
unsuccessful candidate for the Special Forces. Army records show that
McVeigh dropped out of the program after saying he could not meet the
physical demands.

In his Oct. 20 letter, McVeigh wrote that he and nine other soldiers had
been taken to a private intelligence briefing at Fort Bragg, where they
were told they could be required to participate in government-sanctioned
assassinations and government-sponsored drug trafficking. The government
has always denied it carries out such assassinations and drug trafficking.

"Why would Tim (characteristically nondrinker), super-successful in the
Army (private to sergeant in 2 years) (Top Gun) (Bronze Star) (accepted
into Special Forces), all of a sudden come home, party HARD, and, just like
that, announce he was not only 'disillusioned' by SF, but was, in fact,
leaving the service?" McVeigh asked his sister.

The answer, he wrote, lay in what he learned at Fort Bragg, where he and
the nine others were told they might be ordered to help the CIA "fly drugs
into the U.S. to fund many covert operations" and to "work hand-in-hand
with civilian police agencies" as "government-paid assassins."

He wrote, "Do not spread this info, Jennifer, as you could (very honestly,
seriously) endanger my life."

In a letter written on Christmas Eve of 1993, McVeigh hinted that he might
be breaking the law, telling his sister she might need to "re-evaluate your
definition(s) of good and bad."

"In the past," McVeigh wrote, "you would see the news and see a bank
robbery, and judge him a 'criminal.' But, without getting too lengthy, the
Federal Reserve and the banks are the real criminals, so where is the crime
in getting even? I guess if I reflect, it's sort of a Robin Hood thing, and
our government is the evil king."

Miss McVeigh later told the FBI that her brother once told her he planned a
bank robbery with others who carried it out and showed her the large stack
of $100 bills he said was his share. She said he had given her three of the
bills and asked her to give him $300 in smaller denominations.

Four months before the bombing, in a letter mailed from Caro, Mich.,
McVeigh, who was moving from place to place around the country, while
keeping a mail drop in Kingman, Ariz., wrote his sister: "Of course you
must realize, then, that I'm not living in Arizona. You know how hard it is
to get into that deep of a lie with Dad? It's painful, especially how you
have to look so confident when telling stories (lies)."

"Why am I running?" he wrote. "I am trying to keep my path 'cool,' so in
case someone is looking to 'shut up someone who knows too much' I will not
be easy to find. I have also been working, and establishing a 'network' of
friends so that if someone does start looking for me, I will know ahead of
time and be warned."

"If that 'tip' ever comes, (I have 'ears' all over the country) that's when
I disappear, or go completely underground," he wrote. "Believe me, if that
necessity ever comes to pass, it will be very difficult for anyone to find

Despite all his claims of making such elaborate arrangements, McVeigh was
arrested shortly after the bombing by an Oklahoma highway patrolman who saw
that his car had no license plate.

McVeigh's father said he was not surprised when the FBI told him of his
son's arrest two days after the bombing. He said he and his son were at
"opposite ends politically," and that his son was obsessed with the deaths
of the Branch Davidians.

William McVeigh portrayed his son as a bright person who, as a boy, could
never quite succeed either in school or at sports. As an adult, his father
said, Timothy McVeigh bounced from job to job because he could not stand
pressure, could not take orders and could not handle the responsibilities
of day-to-day work. His father said his troubles really began when the
government asked him to pay back the extra salary he had been paid by

Documents gathered during the bombing investigation show that a form letter
from the Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Service was sent to
McVeigh at his home in Lockport, N.Y., on Feb. 15, 1993, two years after he
had left the Army after serving in the Persian Gulf War. The letter asked
for the full $1,058 or a $50 installment within 30 days.

McVeigh, whose frugality was legendary among his friends, replied at the
time: "I have received your notice informing me of my debt owed to you, as
well as your threat of referring me to the Justice Department (Big

He also said, "In all honesty, I cannot even dream of repaying you the
$1,000 which you say I owe. In fact, I can barely afford my monthly rent.

"Assets? The only thing which I own of any value is my car, a 1987
Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum," he continued. "If you really want the car, go
ahead and seize it," he wrote, adding, "My car is my only way to get to
work; to support myself."

"But I guess that's all irrelevant to you," he continued. "Go ahead, take
everything I own; take my dignity. Feel good as you grow fat and rich at my
expense; sucking my tax dollars and property, tax dollars which justify
your existence and pay your federal salary. Do you get it yet? By doing
your evil job, you put me out of work."

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

Schmoke Rides On City's Violent Side ('The Baltimore Sun'
Portrays A Day In The Life Of Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke,
Who Sped To Three Shootings Yesterday During On A Ride-Along
With Police - Crime Is Down But The Ravages Of Prohibition Continue)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 22:06:10 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: Schmoke Rides On City's Violent Side
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Pubdate: Wed 01 Jul 1998
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.sunspot.net/
Author:Peter Hermann


Shootings: Amid Baltimore's triumphs, the mayor gets a first-hand look at
crime on the city's west side.

Yesterday, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke hailed a new retirement community for the
deaf as a monument to all that is good about Baltimore. Monday night, he
stood at a crowded West Baltimore corner and saw all that is bad.

On a ride-along with police, the city's chief executive sped to three
shootings and at one point stood over a wounded young man lying face down on
a street with four bullets in his back.

"A friend of his comes along and looks down," Schmoke recalled yesterday.
"And he doesn't say to the police or to me, `How's he doing?' He says, `What
are you all going to do with that boy's cigarettes?' That is showing no
regard for human life."

Schmoke, at a groundbreaking for the new deaf community off Frederick
Avenue, noted a recent crime drop and new initiatives from Inner Harbor
hotels to a revamped Howard Street business corridor. He praised the recent
Whitbread Round the World Race that pit-stopped in Baltimore and put the
city in the global spotlight.

"The image of a city that greeted the Whitbread was an image that greeted
the world," the mayor said. "That was a positive image. But then you see
what happened [Monday] night. That's another image. It really is a tale of
two cities."

Schmoke said Monday was the fourth time in his 11-year tenure as mayor that
he has gone on patrol with his policeforce. He has been criticized during
campaigns by some who say he does not support officers and rarely speaks
forcefully about the violence that consumes some city neighborhoods.

Crime was a central issue in the 1995 election, and the police union
endorsed Schmoke's challenger, Mary Pat Clarke. The union criticized the
Schmoke administration for being unable to halt gunfire in a city where more
than 300 people have been killed each year for the past decade.

But in recent weeks, Schmoke has strongly supported his force of 3,200
officers. He defended their actions in ending a melee outside the city-owned
Brokerage building two weeks ago, and yesterday he promised to make more
money available to pay overtime to increase patrols in high-crime areas.

"The fact that the mayor is out there on the front lines supporting us is
tremendous," said Officer Gary McLhinney, the president of the Fraternal
Order of Police Lodge 3, and a frequent critic of Schmoke and Police
Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier.

The city's west side has been violent this year, with neighborhoods in
Southwest Baltimore particularly hard hit.

Police say drug dealers pushed out by police initiatives to lower the
homicide rate are moving into Carrollton Ridge and Shipley Hill, sparking
gunfights that have claimed six lives and left many more wounded.

Yesterday afternoon, Robert Crosby, 31, was felled by gunfire at South
Monroe and West Lombard streets. Police said Crosby, of the 1700 block of
North Fulton Ave., died yesterday afternoon at Bon Secours Hospital. Police
said he was struck by several bullets at the corner in front of a vacant

Homicide detectives collected five shell casings and a bloody T-shirt that
read "Lightnin Bail Bonds. Ride a bolt to freedom."

A woman stood outside her front door and slowly shook her head.

"Drugs," she said. "The last 10 years, that's all there's been around here.
Somebody takes over their corner and gets blown away because of it."

Schmoke said he decided to ride with police "to get a better sense of what
was going on in the community." He called Frazier's office at 10 a.m. and by
8 p.m., he was wearing a bulletproof vest and sitting in the front seat of a
marked patrol car.

He accompanied Western District Officers Sean Miller and Roy Patrick Gibbs.
Another officer, a member of Schmoke's full-time security detail, sat in the
back. Sgt. Jesse Oden followed in another patrol car.

"He really wanted to do it," Oden said of Schmoke. "He got it first-hand. It
was an eye-opener for him when he got to Edmondson and Pulaski."

Schmoke's night started out slowly, with officers called by a man fighting
with a neighbor about giving a cigarette to his wife. But then he went to
Fremont Avenue, off Pennsylvania Avenue, where drug dealers were giving away
"testers" -- free drugs to hype their product.

"There was a line of about 70 people," Schmoke said. "We went to assist an
officer who was making an arrest and trying to figure out who the supplier
was. Then we heard a call for a shooting at the Gilmor project. We pulled up
just as the officer was making an arrest."

Then came the shooting at Edmondson Avenue and North Pulaski Street.

"There were 300 people in the street," Schmoke said. "There was a young man,
he was lying face down on the ground, he had four shots in the back. About a
half block away was another guy who was even more severely shot."

Police reported that someone opened fire with a shotgun and hit Brandon
Pride, 17, and Gurney Toulson, 21, both of West Baltimore. Both were in fair
condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

"No motive, no suspects," reads the official police report of the incident.
Five empty 12-gauge shotgun shells were recovered nearby.

A few hours later, two more young men were shot on Pulaski Street, this time
16 blocks to the south. And two more people were shot in Southeast Baltimore
last night, bringing the night's toll to seven.

The number of shootings is not uncommon for a summer night. But Schmoke said
the drama of what is considered routine gave him a new sense of appreciation
for his police and what they and law-abiding citizens face every day. He
said new overtime patrols could start Monday.

"We've got a beautiful city, but we are also home to half the state's poor,"
he said. "Although most poor people are struggling to do well, we've got a
minority, particularly young men, who place no value on human life."

Schmoke said he was "very disappointed with the crowd" that gathered at
Edmondson and Pulaski after the double shooting.

"There were not a lot of people showing outrage and disgust about the whole
thing," he said. "That crowd does not represent all of our citizens, but
among the young men around there, it was almost a sporting sense. These
victims were in the game and they lost."

$140,000 Drug Brick Found In $15 Software ('The Baltimore Sun'
Says A 33-Year-Old Free-Lance Photographer Whose Work Appears In 'The Sun'
And Elsewhere Impulsively Bought An Unspecified Clip-Art Package
In Worcester County, Maryland, And Found More Than Two Pounds
Of Cocaine Inside)

Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 22:02:37 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: $140,000 Drug Brick Found In $15 Software
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 1998
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.sunspot.net/
Author:Del Quentin Wilber


In an extraordinary mix-up, a customer who bought a $15 computer software
package from a Worcester County store got more than he bargained for -- more
than 2 pounds of cocaine.

Authorities are wondering whether someone expecting cocaine got some highly
overpriced computer software instead.

The purchase was made by Art Baltrotsky, a 33-year-old free-lance
photographer whose work appears in The Sun and elsewhere.

When Baltrotsky opened the software box, he noted the typical components --
from the book of directions to small packages of computer disks. But
Baltrotsky said he also saw a large, square object wrapped in clear and
white cellophane.

"I unraveled the first part, then the second part," said Baltrotsky, a
Berlin resident. "I thought to myself, `I've never seen CDs wrapped like
this.' "

Soon, Baltrotsky was staring at white powder. He immediately called
authorities and delivered the tightly wrapped brick of cocaine to the
Worcester County Sheriff's Office.

Police estimated the 1,138 grams of recovered cocaine to be worth about

"Well, this is not an everyday occurrence, that's for sure," said Worcester
Sheriff Chuck Martin. "Somebody out there is very unhappy that he's lost his
package, no doubt. I can imagine going home with what I imagined was a kilo
of cocaine and finding a computer program instead. Isn't it unreal?"

On Saturday afternoon, Baltrotsky said, he made his usual trip to OEM Resale
store, an unclaimed freight wholesaler north of Berlin, where he shops for
MacIntosh computer items. He was intending to pick up fans for his computer.

On this visit, the manager offered Baltrotsky a clip-art program that had
been sitting on his shelf for three weeks.

"The funny thing," Baltrotsky said, "is that I didn't really want this. But
I bought it anyway.

"This was pretty darn weird," Baltrotsky said. "I filled out the reports and
gave them [the authorities] all the goods."

Police said the cocaine probably was added to the box during shipping, not
at the factory or the computer store.



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