------------------------------------------------------------------- We're Not Getting Job Done On Drugs (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Orange County Register' Responds To The News Of Yet Another Corrupt California Prohibition Agent By Supporting A Change From A Law-Enforcement Model To A Medical One, Noting The Principle Opposition To Change Comes From Police With Vested Interests) Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 16:59:10 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: We're Not Getting Job Done On Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 26 Jul 1998 WE'RE NOT GETTING JOB DONE ON DRUGS I support the elimination of the War on Drugs and changing it from a law enforcement to a medical problem ["The unwinnable war," Opinion, July 8]. When a public policy clearly does not work,as this has not, it is important to be able to admit it and try something else. Considering the billions of dollars that have been spent without stemming the flow of illegal drugs, let's try another approach to observe the results. If, after five or ten years, there is no improvement then change and try something else.Let us not lose sight of the debacle that Prohibition was. One major hurdle to overcome is the untold numbers of law enforcement jobs that have been created that are directly and indirectly related to the "war" at federal, state and local levels in enforcement and correctional jobs, as well as in the legal areas of government. There is also the problem of asset seizure, which results in untold benefits to only law enforcement agencies. No wonder law enforcement groups everywhere are against any change in the law; a lot of expensive equipment, as well as jobs, are dependent on these funds. Rex Reynolds-Huntington Beach
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tracking A Political Movement In Progress ('The Los Angeles Times,' Noting The Fastest-Growing Party In Orange County Became 'None Of The Above' In 1996, Says A Progressive Alliance And Mutual Aid Society Has Sprouted There Among Activists Opposing California's Three-Strikes Law, The Death Penalty, Political Repression In Nigeria, As Well As Members Of The California Green Party, Marijuana-Law Reformers And Nuclear Disarmament Activists, Libertarians, Veterans For Peace, Volunteers From The Catholic Worker And Others) Date: Sat, 1 Aug 1998 13:55:37 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Tracking A Political Movement in Progress Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Author: Lisa Richardson, Times Staff Writer TRACKING A POLITICAL MOVEMENT IN PROGRESS Alliance: Three-strikes law, disaffection with major parties, other social issues become rallying points for alternative groups who otherwise follow differing paths toward progressive government. Here is a strange event in Orange County politics: In the early evening shade at a Midway City gathering, a recently released Nigerian political prisoner stands before a cheering crowd of mostly white Orange County residents, thanking them for their help in freeing him from jail. The help included picketing and letter-writing and a boycott of Shell Oil. The reception earlier this month was a defining moment, a demonstration that Orange County's smattering of tiny alternative groups has coalesced into a new progressive alliance. Still small, to be sure, but with enough numbers to help in the nationwide effort to free Beko Ransome-Kuti from prison. This mutual aid society of disparate groups started last year when members of the local Green Party began attending meetings of another organization that seeks to amend the state's three-strikes law. The anti-three strikers reciprocated by joining the Green Party picket of a Laguna Hills Shell station on the Nigerian issue. Then other groups joined in. Also among their causes: opposing the death penalty and, for many, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Nuclear disarmament is of renewed importance since the tests in India and Pakistan, and the preservation of open space is always popular. Thus, when Ransome-Kuti finished his speech, he was buoyed off the stage by an unlikely concord of applause: Green Party members, Libertarians and Veterans for Peace clapped. Volunteers from the Catholic Worker, which feeds the homeless, clapped as did members of the Orange County Hemp Council. The families of prisoners serving three-strikes sentences cheered Ransome-Kuti alongside folks from Food Not Bombs--advocates for vegetarianism and social harmony. "A lot of people were skeptical that we could bring together a broad-based coalition," said Tim Carpenter of the Catholic Worker and long-time liberal activist. "We demonstrated to the skeptics that there is a progressive movement working both inside and outside the political mainstream." In weekly and monthly meetings, third-party political and alternative groups sidestep prickly differences to focus on the shared goal of reigniting a progressive political movement in the state's most conservative county. The event during which Ransome-Kuti spoke was called "An Evening of Music and Progressive Politics Behind the Orange Curtain." It drew about 500 people to the spacious back lawns of the Brotherhood of St. Patrick's, a Midway City novitiate, for a sort of progressive debutante party or alternative Orange County Fair, complete with booths. The Nigerian military government had jailed Ransome-Kuti for faxing to the media information damaging to its reputation. Through picketing and petitions, letter-writing campaigns and the boycott of Shell Oil, which critics say profits an estimated $220 million a year from Nigeria's oil while communities there remain impoverished, an Orange County coalition had been a forceful voice for freedom, he told his audience. Many of those attending were unabashedly liberal. A major backer of the event was Beat Bob, a group "dedicated to the eternal political retirement" of former conservative congressman Robert K. Dornan. Even the Libertarians, who resist both liberal and conservative categorization, defined themselves as progressives. "Traditionally, we get looked at as ultra-conservatives," said Vice Chairman Mark Hilgenberg. "But that's not accurate. What we have in common with everyone here today is that we are compassionate people." Shared by almost all the groups is a disaffection with the two major parties. "It sounds strange--progressives in Orange County--but actually the best conditions for breeding progressive politics is having conservative politicians in power," said Bruce Cain, a politics professor at UC Berkeley. "Nothing unites people more than opposition to something else." Singly, the alternative groups and parties have membership numbers so small that they are barely a blip on the political scene. Yet in 1996, the fastest-growing party in Orange County became "none of the above," according to data from the registrar of voters office. The Republican Party, though still dominant in Orange County, drew fewer than half of the new voters and Democrats fewer than one third. Progressives do not really see themselves as taking aim at the Republican Party--the distance between their ideologies is too cavernous to bridge. But Democrats, they say, should consider themselves warned: True liberals are driven further left by a creeping centrism in the party. In response, the Democratic leadership politely dismissed any threat, saying the progressive movement is not large enough to be of concern. "Not that we don't respect their point of view, but they're just not in the mainstream," said party Chairwoman Jean Costales. "We're more liberal, certainly, than the Republicans, but just not as liberal as Tim Carpenter." It is not the progressive way, however, to seek strength purely in party numbers. "It's not just a question of Green Party or Democrats or Republicans or Reform Party," Carpenter said. "It's about a conversion of the heart." One of the top items on their agenda now is the three-strikes law, which calls for sentences of 25 years to life in prison for people convicted of their third felony. Currently, 71% of third strikers in Orange County received their third conviction on a nonviolent drug offense. The alliance seeks to amend the law so that the third strike would have to involve a violent crime to count. It was Carpenter, well known in political circles for decades of activism against military-industrial interests, who fashioned the three-strikes cause into a rallying point for the coalition. "'We used to get together and talk about how awful everything was," said Christy Johnson of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes. "Then Tim came along and now we're like OK, what are we going to do about this." Johnson, whose husband, Daniel, is a three-striker incarcerated on drug charges, now is a veteran of leaflet distribution, petitions, rallies and marches. Looking at a photo of herself picketing a gas station as a member of the Orange County Nigerian Action Coalition, she smiles. "Truthfully, I never really knew anything about Nigeria before," Johnson said. "But now you know what? It really matters because an injustice is an injustice." Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Jail Is Not A Prison (A Staff Editorial In 'The Arizona Daily Star' Says State Law Enforcement Officials And Judges Are Still Thwarting The Will Of Voters Who Approved Proposition 200, Noting First-Time Drug Offender David P. Calik May Be Locked Up In The Yuma County Jail, Although Proposition 200 Prohibits Him From Serving Prison Time - Officials Say A Jail Is Not A Prison) Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 11:46:15 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US AZ: Editorial: A Jail is Not a Prison Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Arizona Daily Star Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 26 July 1998 A JAIL IS NOT A PRISON Iron bars do not a prison make. Apparently it's all in the name. That's why first-time drug offender David P. Calik may be locked up in the Yuma County Jail, despite the fact that a law passed by voters in 1996 prohibits him from serving prison time. It's a county jail, you see, not a state prison. And it's another case of the legal hair-splitting that is employed to thwart the will of the voters. Proposition 200, a successful 1996 initiative measure, mandated treatment and education rather than prison for those convicted of personal use of drugs for the first or second time. The Legislature, which didn't agree with the voters, quickly overrode that requirement, making it permissible but not mandatory to provide treatment rather than imprisonment. Backers of the initiative gathered enough signatures to put that legislative override on hold, thereby restoring the initiative's original intent, until voters get to decide the issue once again in November. But in Calik's case, prosecutors and a judge found a loophole. The initiative precluded prison time, but said nothing about jails, which are run by the county, not the state. Also, they have a different name. Calik appealed the decision of the Yuma County courts, but the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld his jail sentence. The initiative's supporters plan an appeal to the Supreme Court. If that fails, they plan to clean up the language of the law by placing it back on the ballot in the year 2000. It would be easier, of course, to ask the Legislature to clean up the language, but our legislators have already proven unwilling to allow this law to take effect. They not only overrode the ban on prison time, they also repealed a section of the initiative that made it possible for doctors to prescribe otherwise illegal drugs, like marijuana, if scientific research shows the drugs can treat a chronic or terminal disease, or alleviate its pain. They claimed voters were confused and misled by the campaign to pass Proposition 200. That law was also put on hold by referendum and will be on the ballot in November. Those two votes will answer the question about whom is confused, the voters or the Legislature. Also in November, voters will be asked to make it tougher for the Legislature to thwart their will in the future. A separate initiative would preclude legislators from making major changes to any law passed by the voters. Minor amendments which further the aims of the initiative would require a three-fourths vote. Of course, there is a competing measure, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, which would allow any changes with a two-thirds vote. This confusion is courtesy of your legislators. And they think voters don't know what they're doing.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trooper Reassigned After Perjury Indictment (The Amarillo, Texas 'Globe-News' Says Department Of Public Safety Trooper Chad Estes Will Continue To Collect A Paycheck After Being Indicted By A Grand Jury Who Believed He Lied When He Said He Found Marijuana In A Fanny Pack, When No Such Marijuana Was Logged Into Evidence) Date: Fri, 31 Jul 1998 02:18:35 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Trooper Reassigned After Perjury Indictment Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://amarillonet.com TROOPER REASSIGNED AFTER PERJURY INDICTMENT WHEELER - Department of Public Safety Trooper Chad Estes, who was indicted earlier this month on perjury charges, has been reassigned to desk duties, DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said. "He's doing administrative work and not out on patrol until things are settled," Mange said. Estes was indicted on July 13 in connection with his testimony in the March trial of Robert Curtis Tillman in Wheeler. District Attorney John Mann said the grand jury believed Estes lied in his trial testimony when he said he found marijuana in a fanny pack on Tillman. No such marijuana was logged into evidence, Mann said. "He was trying to establish an affirmative link between the driver and the marijuana in the van. . . . He made it up in an effort to strengthen the case," Mann said. Tillman was convicted, though the conviction was later thrown out because of Estes' testimony, Mann said. DPS spokeswoman Mange said an internal investigation is underway.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Congressional Candidate Says Former Drug Use Was A Mistake (According To The St. Louis, Missouri, 'Post Dispatch,' Michael Scott, An Omaha, Nebraska, Democratic Candidate For The US House Of Representatives, Says He Used Marijuana And Cocaine In His Youth, But Regrets The Mistake And Is Now Committed To Helping Young People Avoid Drugs) Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 12:04:59 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NE: Congressional Candidate Says Former Drug Use Was a Mistake Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.stlnet.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE SAYS FORMER DRUG USE WAS A MISTAKE OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Congressional candidate Michael Scott said he used marijuana and cocaine in his youth but regrets the mistake and is now committed to helping young people avoid drugs. Scott said during the taping of a television show last week that he had used the drugs in his youth and in his 20s. ``I was asked a tough question and I gave an honest answer,'' said Scott, 43, in a statement Saturday. ``This is something from my youth that I deeply regret.'' The Omaha Democrat and former television news anchorman is running for the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House against Lee Terry, a Republican and Omaha City Council member. During the program, a Sunday morning talk show, Scott labeled the substances he had used as ``soft drugs.'' In his Saturday statement, he said he does not believe cocaine is a ``soft drug.'' Scott said he was fortunate to have survived his experience with drugs, unlike a number of the inner-city youths with whom he grew up. Scott was born in Harlem in New York City and grew up in Queens. ``After seeing a number of my friends die or have their lives torn apart by drug use, I made a commitment to do something to keep kids off drugs,'' he said. He said he has since been active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and the local DARE drug-education program. Scott also said the rest of the campaign should be focused on issues such as better health care, the economy, better schools, crime prevention and a small increase in the minimum wage. Nebraskans want the campaign to focus on topics that affect their lives, rather than on candidates' personal lives, he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Laredo Inquiry Hot Topic - DA Says Being Target Is A Strain ('The Dallas Morning News' Says The FBI Searched The Offices Of Webb County, Texas, District Attorney Joe Rubio And Eight Of His Assistant Prosecutors As Part Of A Federal Investigation Into Allegations Of Bribery And Fixing Cases For Criminals, The Latest In A String Of Federal Anti-Corruption Efforts In Border Counties) Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 01:05:31 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Laredo Inquiry Hot Topic DA Says Being Target Is A Strain Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Author: David Mclemorem (firstname.lastname@example.org) Newshawk's Note: I think DA Rubio's problems started when he told the feds he would no longer prosecute federal cases involving less than 50 kilos of mj. LAREDO INQUIRY HOT TOPIC DA SAYS BEING TARGET IS A STRAIN LAREDO - The irony is not lost on Webb County District Attorney Joe Rubio. As chief prosecutor in this border county for nine years, he's directed hundreds of investigations of murderers, drug dealers and thieves. Now the investigator is being investigated. Mr. Rubio and eight of his assistant prosecutors are on the receiving end of a federal investigation that apparently focuses on allegations of bribery and fixing cases for criminals. The border town 150 miles south of San Antonio is abuzz. "As DA, I'm fair game. We'll have to see how the investigation unfolds to see how to fight it. But the strain of the uncertainty has been tremendous on me and my family," said Mr. Rubio, who has denied all wrongdoing. "It's also been painfully hard on the people who work here, especially the clerks and secretaries not named in the search warrants. They've been smeared with the same broad accusations. That's not right." Neither the FBI in Laredo nor the Houston-based federal prosecutor handling the grand jury inquiry would discuss the case, citing federal prohibitions against discussing active investigations. It's the latest in a string of federal anti-corruption efforts in border counties. Previous probes have targeted scores of public officials and led to jail terms for three county sheriffs, among others. The overall effort has fueled perceptions of endemic corruption in the area, authorities say. In Laredo, the government is working as quickly as possible to finish the investigation, said James DeAtley, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. "We are keenly aware of the need to balance the needs of an investigation with its effects on the reputation of uninvolved individuals or the community at large," Mr. DeAtley said. "It is certainly not our intent to harm the conduct of business at the district attorney's office." On Friday, May 29, more than 50 FBI and IRS agents swept through the Webb County Courthouse, scooping up about 5,000 active and inactive criminal files as well as personal papers, books and the contents of computer hard drives. That weekend, federal agents also executed search warrants on the homes of Mr. Rubio and the eight assistant prosecutors as well as the homes and offices of a justice of the peace, former state District Judge Ruben Garcia and a bail bondsman. The home of Mr. Rubio's father, Joe Rubio Sr., a longtime Laredo political insider, was also searched. A month later, Mr. Garcia, now a Laredo lawyer, pleaded guilty to conspiring with an unnamed assistant district attorney to solicit thousands of dollars in bribes to fix cases for clients facing criminal charges. In return, he agreed to testify before the Victoria-based grand jury investigating the district attorney's office. Last week, a Webb County warrant officer pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining someone's criminal record from an FBI database and selling the information for $500. All records in the case, including the 73-page affidavit used to obtain the search warrants, remain sealed. The probe has become the hottest topic of conversation in Laredo, according to Odie Arambula, managing editor of the Laredo Morning Times. "People on both sides of the border are no strangers to allegations of corruption. But people want to know what's going on and how this could happen to Joe Rubio," Mr. Arambula said. "He's always been perceived as a clean-cut guy, a family man who brought some much-needed changes to the DA's office." Mr. Rubio is a personable and well-liked political figure. He is credited with modernizing the DA's office, helping to launch a child advocacy center and creating the first domestic violence unit in the department's history. He is no stranger to controversy, though. Last October, Mr. Rubio got into a fuss with federal agencies when he stopped the long-standing practice of prosecuting federal drug suspects in cases involving less than 50 kilos of marijuana. His office had been handling about 750 such cases a year at a cost of $1 million. He said the federal government would not pay incarceration costs of suspects awaiting trial. In 1997, Mr. Rubio rebutted allegations by a Laredo woman that he and a state district judge had schemed to shield the judge's son from prosecution in connection with a 1991 triple ax murder. Webb County Judge Mecurio Martinez said the federal investigation has not disrupted day-to-day operation of the district attorney's office but has smudged the county's image. "The guilty plea by a former state judge leaves a bad taste for those of us who are trying to do the best for the community," Mr. Martinez said. "Our parents schooled us in being honest and living up to our responsibilities. Now there is a black mark against all elected officials in the county regardless of any merits in the FBI's investigation." During a recent conference on county government at South Padre Island, Mr. Martinez said that the investigation "was something that kept coming up." Following the raids, a team from the FBI's corruption task force struggled to copy the mountain of seized documents. After several weeks, a federal judge ordered the FBI to return the documents in a more timely manner. Webb County received stacks of jammed cardboard boxes containing mismatched records, mislabeled and incomplete case files and illegible copies, said First Assistant District Attorney Monica Notzen. "For the first two weeks after they were returned, I spent about 75 percent of my time determining what was missing and how we could re-create the information," said Ms. Notzen, who has not been named in the investigation. Seven clerical workers and most of the department's 13 prosecutors and nine investigators worked every day trying to organize the files, she said. "About 2,000 of the files were active cases that we needed for court appearances or our own grand jury investigations," she said. More disruptive, Mr. Rubio said, was the corrosive effect of the raid on morale. "We have people here who have worked for the county for many years. They love the job, and they feel like they're giving public service," he said. "When the raid hit them, they were shocked, then angry and sad. "There are 34 people in this office, from me down to the file clerk. And here the FBI comes in with 50 agents, taking everything they can find," Mr. Rubio said. "Two weeks before the raid, the FBI called my chief investigator for assistance in a case they were working. Now we're corrupt. It's all pretty confusing." The search of a district attorney's office is, in itself, an indication of how seriously federal prosecutors are taking the case, said Gerald Lefcourt, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "This is not a typical kind of investigation. To obtain a search warrant for a district attorney's office, the local U.S. attorney must first consult and obtain approval from the Department of Justice at the highest levels," Mr. Lefcourt said. "The fact the government made that search suggests they have specific information about criminality." As news of the investigation spread, Mr. Rubio said, the public rallied in support of his office. "We've had calls of support, and people have put us on their prayer lists," he said. "People were disgusted at the actions of the FBI." But that reaction hasn't been universal. "Some of the staff said their kids were teased at the Pizza Hut," Mr. Rubio said. "There have been cases of taunts and snide remarks and some anonymous phone calls. It's created emotional turmoil for the workers and their families." Federal officials note that because the grand jury is still hearing testimony and examining evidence, no one has been charged. Mr. DeAtley, the U.S. attorney, points to Mr. Garcia's guilty plea. "I believe the Garcia plea sends an important message to the community that this is a serious case, and we're taking our responsibilities in pursuing it seriously," he said. "That guilty plea shows there were some serious abuses of the system. It's important to all of us to root that out." Though the administration of the DA's office is still rocky, its work is under control, said Ms. Notzen, the first assistant. "We're pulling together as a team. We're trying cases, and the grand jury indictments are being handed down," she said. "That which doesn't kill us makes us hard. When this is all over, we're going to be like rock."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Neighbors Had Noticed Home In Drug Case ('The Dallas Morning News' Follows Up On News Of A Big Heroin Bust In Plano, Texas) Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 13:52:08 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Neighbors Had Noticed Home In Drug Case Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Author: Linda Stewart Ball / The Dallas Morning News NEIGHBORS HAD NOTICED HOME IN DRUG CASE Youths Crowded Plano Site, They Say PLANO - No matter the time of day or night, scores of clean-cut-looking youths beat a path to the little blue house on the east side of Plano. Sometimes they blocked the street with their Mustangs and sport-utility vehicles as they dashed in, neighbors say. "I just couldn't believe that it went on as long as it did," said Vickie, 43, who lived across the street. "You knew what was going on there," said the woman, who asked that her last name not be used. According to a 50-page federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, the little blue house was the main distribution point for tens of thousands of dollars worth of heroin and cocaine sales before it was closed down last spring. It was an illicit warehouse, officials say, for a business that targeted an upper-middle-class market, gave away free samples and then watched indifferently as its addicted customers died. In response to a string of heroin-related deaths and residents' complaints, Plano police raided the blue house twice last year, although the investigation into the drug ring continued until last week. In the raids of April and May 1997, police arrested the suspected drug peddlers and turned the house over to its rightful owner, who has since remodeled and painted it yellow with pale-blue trim. But the drugs that had been sold there had already made their way down city streets, into parties and up the noses of several Plano teens who overdosed, according to last week's indictment, which was handed down by a grand jury in Sherman. The indictment names 29 defendants - 16 of them students in Plano high schools. It reveals how federal and state authorities tracked the lethal narcotics from south central Mexico to a Collin County ring of suppliers and then to users who allegedly provided fatal doses to four youths. Federal officials and police say 24 of the defendants are directly connected to the 1997 deaths of Milan Malina, 20; George Wesley Scott, 19; Rob Hill, 18; and Erin Baker, 16. They are among the 18 young people, all with Plano connections, to die of heroin overdoses since September 1994. "The people that we charged, we believe the evidence will show, were actively involved in distributing this drug," said U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford of the Eastern District of Texas, which includes Plano. "And they have the same responsibility, in our opinion, of anyone else causing the injury, deaths and the pain that happened in this community. They should be held responsible." Federal authorities say the black tar heroin that killed the four youths came from the poppy fields of Guerrero, Mexico. The drug ring's alleged leader, Ecliserio Martinez Garcia, 38, also is from Guerrero. Mr. Martinez Garcia and three partners - Aurelio Mendez, 36; Salvador "Chino" Pineda Contreras, 26; and his brother, Jose Antonio Pineda, 22 - based their Collin County operations in McKinney. They worked out of a house a few blocks from the city's downtown square. It was a close-knit operation, authorities said - and profitable. According to last week's indictment, officials found $54,610 beneath the seat of a car carrying Mr. Martinez Garcia and Mr. Mendez on Aug. 1, 1997. The ring had targeted Plano as an untapped and lucrative new market, according to the indictment. In the indictment, Mr. Pineda Contreras was quoted as saying that he was aware of the Plano overdoses and deaths, but "once the heroin was distributed, it was not his problem." The ring, officials say, sold a potent drug that had been grown in the opium fields, harvested and mixed with chemicals, then cooked for hours in pots that were heated atop crude barbecue grills. The resulting black tar heroin was brought into the United States every weekend by plane, boat, trucks and even walked across the border hidden in the soles of shoes. The cocaine and raw heroin was diluted - often with the antihistamine Dormin - and ground into a fine powder in ordinary coffee grinders, authorities said. The heroin was put in little capsules that users could snap open and snort. Dubbed chiva, it was given away at first. Once the quickly addictive narcotic took hold among Plano's young adults, it was sold for $10 or $20 a dose through a small group of young men who operated the blue house. "Fifty to 60 cars a day were making purchases," said James Queen, 53, who lives next door. "And on the weekends it was twice as many - any time of the day or night. "We never did have any confrontations with them," said Mr. Queen, who has lived in the neighborhood of modest, tidy homes for 24 years. "If their music was too loud, we'd ask them to turn it down, and they did." A few blocks away, at an intersection just down the street from the Plano police station, youths bought drugs in what authorities called an open-air market. Those drugs also came from the blue house, according to court records. After Plano authorities closed down the blue house in May 1997, some of the dealers moved to hotels in and around Plano, authorities said. The deaths outlined in last week's indictment began in June 1997 with Milan Malina, who had dropped out of Plano Senior High School and later earned an equivalency diploma. He was out with friends one night when they bought champagne, wine, marijuana and chiva. One of the indicted defendants, Christopher Erik Cooper, 19, gave Mr. Malina the heroin, the indictment states. Mr. Malina, who was asthmatic, had been off drugs for about two months, his parents said, and these new drugs made him ill. He vomited, choked and stopped breathing. Four or five hours later, his panicked friends drove his stiff body to a Plano emergency room. Six weeks later, authorities said, Stanley Edward Belch, 20, and Lloyd Steven Tilghman, 20, purchased heroin from Arturo Meza, 26, and his brother, Alfonzo Meza, 22, who were part of the group operating the blue house. All four men were named as defendants in Wednesday's indictment. Mr. Belch and Mr. Tilghman allegedly distributed the drugs at a party in Stan Belch's apartment. Rob Hill inhaled them. Mr. Hill, a recent Plano East Senior High School graduate with plans to attend community college, was at the party to celebrate with friends who were going away to school. After he came home early the next morning, he fell asleep and never woke up. Mr. Belch's father, Christopher Belch, said his son isn't a "horrible drug dealer." "Stanley was an honor roll student; he didn't have any problems with drugs until his last year at PESH [Plano East Senior High School]. Most of these kids involved in this aren't bad kids, but they got drawn into this in a very unusual way," Christopher Belch said. "Some of the people involved are horrible drug dealers," he added, but his son and many of the others aren't. "There's both ends of the scale here," he stressed. Mr. Hill's mother, Andrea Hill, said the recent arrests seem to be the only thing getting through to the young people. Going to funerals where they see their friends in caskets is not affecting them, Mrs. Hill said, but "arrest is scaring them more than death." Sgt. A.D. Paul of the Plano Police Department narcotics unit agreed. Before the crackdown, the dealers "never had to worry about their accountability, that their poison might kill somebody," he said. "But now they have to think about it." A trial for the 29 people indicted last week is tentatively set for Sept. 21. Mr. Bradford, the U.S. attorney, said the defendants face 20 years to life in prison if they're convicted. They won't be eligible for parole and would probably have to serve at least 80 percent of their sentences, he said. At first, the arrests of the young people saddened Larry and Donna Scott, whose son, Wesley, was one of the Plano heroin victims. Initially, the Scotts said they thought the young people deserved a second chance. But after reading the indictment Thursday night, Mr. Scott said, "I've come to find out that these kids were peddling to umpteen other people and involved in other deaths since Wesley's. . . . Whatever they get, I think they deserve."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doonesbury On The Drug Warriors And Pain Treatment (Garry Trudeau's Syndicated Cartoon) From: "Cliff Schaffer" (email@example.com) To: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Doonesbury on the drug warriors and pain treatment Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 12:54:13 -0700 Sunday Doonesbury contains an absolutely brilliant rip of the drug warriors and chronic pain. See http://www.sacbee.com/smile/comix/index.html and click on Doonesbury. Clifford A. Schaffer Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy http://www.druglibrary.org P.O. Box 1430 Canyon Country, CA 91386-1430 (805) 251-4140
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Carnival Held (An 'Associated Press' Account Of The Festival This Weekend In Kitchener, Ontario)Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:09:08 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Wire: Cannabis Carnival Held Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Source: Associated Press CANNABIS CARNIVAL HELD KITCHENER, Ontario (AP)--A ``cannabis carnival'' this weekend brought together those seriously committed to changing Canada's marijuana laws and those who came because it was something fun to do. The carnival, billed as the first for this southern Ontario city, gathered about 125 people who passed around joints--some openly, some discreetly. There was one arrest. A 20-year-old man was charged with possession of a narcotic when police initially thought he might have been selling marijuana to some teen-agers but concluded they couldn't prove it. About half a dozen Waterloo regional police watched the action Saturday, intervening only to make the arrest and to warn two members of the Church of the Universe, Walter Tucker and Michael Baldasaro, when they lit up and passed around a joint.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Marijuana Farmer To Meet House Of Lords (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Says Dr Geoffrey Guy, The British Entrepreneur Licensed By The Government To Farm Cannabis, Is To Speak To The House Of Lords Health Sub-Committee Looking Into The Legalisation Question During A Final Public Meeting On Tuesday) Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 19:49:05 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign - Marijuana Farmer To Meet House Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editor's note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Author: Vanessa Thorpe CANNABIS CAMPAIGN - MARIJUANA FARMER TO MEET HOUSE OF LORDS DR GEOFFREY Guy, the British entrepreneur licensed by the Government to farm cannabis, is to speak to the House of Lords health sub-committee looking into the legalisation question during a final public meeting on 28 July. This month Dr Guy, of G W Pharmaceuticals, is planting his first crop at a secret location. He is expected to tell the sub-committee that he believes legal research into the beneficial properties of the drug is now essential. Following the public meeting next Tuesday, the Lords will meet again in private at least twice before drafting a report that will eventually be published and presented to the Government in November. As the debate surrounding the legal status of the drug is brought closer than ever to Britain's policy-makers, the BBC has chosen to poll viewers of tomorrow night's Watchdog Healthcheck programme to find out whether they agree that cannabis should be legalised for medicinal purposes. The telephone vote will be preceded by a filmed investigation into the benefits of treating a series of chronic conditions with the currently illegal drug. Visiting a Cannabis Buyers' Club in Los Angeles, the BBC reporting team has examined the state laws in that area and the way they allow certain registered sufferers legal access to a small amount of the drug each week. In the film, reporter Wesley Kerr interviews club members about their illnesses and about the effect of cannabis on their condition. "The whole club, which was run on the floor above an indoor cannabis-growing facility, had a very organised, clinical atmosphere. I could see that those running the club took the medical verification of their members very seriously and made sure they were only helping people who were genuinely ill and who felt they needed the drug in order to continue," he told the IoS. In order to avoid prosecution for dealing, the "patients", whose conditions range from arthritis to cancer and Aids, are only dispensed with 27 grams a week. They must also present themselves at the club with an "advisory note" from a doctor, rather than a straightforward prescription. The British segment of the filmed report will focus on the need to find an efficient delivery method for the drug to ensure that there are no unpleasant side effects. Andrew Coldwell, an MS sufferer for 18 years and a member of the Alliance of Cannabis Therapeutics, will explain his struggle to cope with a succession of legal drugs prescribed for his condition. For the last five years, he will argue, his life has been immeasurably improved by the use of cannabis. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, of the British Medical Association, will also set out the collective view of her organisation, which has called for greater research into the potential therapeutic uses of the drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Say Prison Works (Britain's 'Independent' Says Senior Police Officers Have Embarked On A Collision Course With The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, By Asking Him To Abandon Plans For More Community Punishments And, Instead, To Send Even More Criminals To Prison) Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:39:13 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Police Say Prison Works Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent POLICE SAY PRISON WORKS Senior police officers have embarked on a collision course with the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, by asking him to abandon plans for more community punishments and, instead, to send even more criminals to prison. The challenge by the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales comes at a time when the prison service is struggling to cope with a record jail population of 65,000. In a report issued yesterday, the superintendents said: "In our opinion, prison works. We would encourage the greater use of imprisonment rather than reducing it." They warned of a rise in both "vigilante action" and crime if Mr Straw persisted with plans for more community sentences. The study, by PSA president Peter Gammon, was received with horror by prison reformers, who said it was "misconceived and alarming". But Supt Gammon said: "For the majority of convicted criminals serving prison sentences, there is no effective alternative. Indeed, we feel that there are many serving non-custodial sentences who should be in prison. To reduce the prison population would increase the number of criminals at liberty to continue their criminal activity." He added that criminals did not see community sentences as a punishment and warned of a public outcry if criminals were not behind bars. The superintendents claim that the recent fall in crime is directly linked to the rising jail population. They say they have "real concerns" about the effectiveness of measures such as home curfews and electronic tagging. Their report - which will be seen by the Home Office as confrontational - was in response to the Mr Straw's announcement last week of a new UKP250m Crime Reduction Strategy. This was based on Home Office research which questioned the efficiency of putting more police on the streets and challenged the efficacy of custodial sentencing. The report noted that a 25 per cent increase in the prison population of England and Wales was needed to achieve a one per cent fall in crime. Mr Straw is keen to remove some of the pressure on prisons by making greater use of tagging and by allowing courts the option of ordering testing for drugs use as an alternative to prison. Dr David Wilson, a senior lecturer in criminal justice at the University of Central England and a former prison governor, said: "Our prison population, which is at its highest ever level, is not made up of violent serious offenders. It is made up mainly of relatively minor property offenders, and every piece of evidence suggests that by locking them up we make matters worse, not better." The jail population in England and Wales continues to rise at the rate of 400 a month. Bev Lord of the Prison Officers' Association said: "We are increasingly unable to cope with the numbers that we have to deal with already."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tour Riders Strike Over Drug-Scandal Criticism ('The International Herald-Tribune' Says The Tour De France Nearly Unraveled Friday When The 150 Remaing Bicyclists Went On Strike For Two Hours To Protest What They Called Media Hounding And Criticism Arising From A Performance-Enhancing Drug Scandal Involving More Than One Team) Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 13:53:23 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: France: Tour Riders Strike Over Drug-Scandal Criticism Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Peter Webster Source: International Herald-Tribune Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.iht.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 Author: Samuel Abt TOUR RIDERS STRIKE OVER DRUG-SCANDAL CRITICISM LE CAP D'AGDE, France---The Tour de France nearly unraveled Friday when the 150 remaing riders went on strike for two hours to protest what they called media hounding and criticism in the drug scandal surrounding the world's greatest bicycle race. "If the stage had been canceled, it might have been the end of the 1998 Tour," said Jean-Marie Leblanc, the race director. "The riders showed they're fed up," he added in a news conference after the daily stage was held. Leblanc especially cited a French television segment Thursday night that examined the garbage of the Asics team from Italy and displayed medical paraphernalia. Hours before the riders refused to start, three members of the expelled Festina team from France---Laurent Brochard, the world road race champion, Christophe Moreau and Annin Meier---admitted to the police in the central French city of Lyon that they had used drugs. Two other members, Alex Zulle and Laurent Dufaux, of the nineman team confessed late Friday. In a parallel case, the police continued to hold two officials of the TVM team from the Netherlands. A magistrate said a search of the team's hotel had revealed "a large quantity" of "doping products" and masking agents. Leblanc warned in a statement before his news conference that-he and the International Cycling Union, which Qoverns the sport, were "extremely attentive to developrnents in the TVM investigation." "If it is revealed that this team has not respected the rules and the ethics of the Tour de France and International Cycling Union, the team will be immediately expelled." In a climate of innuendo, rumor and anger, widespread doping practices long suspected in the sport were surfaclng in its showpiece. The Tour which began in 1903 and has been held every year since except during the two world wars, is not only the richest and most prestigious race but also an integral part of French culture, watched by hundreds of thousands of fans at the side of the road every day and by millions on television. Leblanc told how he talked the riders into starting: "We negotiated with the riders, we explained our position. We cited the multitude of fans who were awaiting them. In the end, they understood." Whether the riders will hold a demonstration again Saturday morning was not certain. Leblanc said he would attend a meeting beforehand with an official of the French Cycling Federation and a rider from each of the 21 teams. The three Spanish teams---Banesto, ONCE and Vitalicio---and the Mercatone Uno team from Italy were reported to have led the strike. "There's been some pretty harsh stuff in the Spanish media, and a lot of the riders were hurt by it," said Stuart O'Grady, an Australian with Gan who wore the overall leader's yellow jersey for three days. ''It cut deep. A lot of teams didn't want to take part in the race today." In Lyon, all nine members of the Festina team plus three of its officials who had been in custody were released. Apart from the five riders who were-said to have confessed, Richard Virenque, the leader and the second-place finisher in the last Tour, his French compatriots Pascal Herve and Didier Rous and Neil Stephens, an Australian, were believed to be continuing to deny that they had been involved in a systemadc program of doping. Citing media attention to the case and the Festina riders' objections that they had been treated harshly by the police the riders who gathered Friday morning in the town of Tarascon-sur-Ariege in the Pyrenees decided they had had enough. They slowly rolled 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) from the ceremonial start to the real one and then stopped, dismounting from their bicycles. Laurent Jalabert, the Frenchman who is ranked No. 1 in the world, approached Leblanc in his lead car and spoke with him. "Since the start of this Tour we have talked only about scandal and not sport," he said. "The riders are disgusted. We have been treated like cattle and we will act like cattle. "Nobody is interested in the sport side of the race. We won't, ride. It's finished." Standing and sprawled on the road, the riders conferred among themselves and with their coaches. "I'm so sick and tired of everybody being blamed for what Festina did" said Frankie Andreu, an American with the U.S. Postal Service. He favored not racing. Eric Zabel, a Getman with Telekom and the wearer of the points leader's green jersey, said: "When Ben Johnson was caught in the '88 Olympics only Johnson was thrown out. People didn't think all the other ruriners were guilty the way they think all the cyclists are." After an hour, the riders were persuaded to start but they rolled so slowly that they covered only 16 kilometers in the nexthour. Then the racing started in earnest with bursts of accelerations. Jalabert went on a long attack with two other riders, and was later said to have done so because he was so angry that the pack had agreed to start that he wanted it to suffer at high speed in the sultry heat. This was not the first strike by riders. In 1978, they refused to cross a finish line to protest long transfers between daily stages, and in 1991 they refused to start a stage to protest the mandatory wearing of helmets. In both instances the Tour softened its rules. In another legal development, Judge Patrtck Kiel, who has been leading the Festma investigation in the northern city of Lille, released "under strict conditions" Willy Vogt, the team masseur whose arrest unleashed the drug scandal. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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