Portland NORML News - Sunday, July 26, 1998

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: We're Not Getting Job Done On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: 26 Jul 1998


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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Tracking A Political Movement in Progress
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Author: Lisa Richardson, Times Staff Writer


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

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

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

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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US AZ: Editorial: A Jail is Not a Prison
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: Arizona Daily Star
Contact: letters@azstarnet.com
Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 26 July 1998


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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US TX: Trooper Reassigned After Perjury Indictment
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@mapinc.org)
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Contact: letters@amarillonet.com
Website: http://amarillonet.com


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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NE: Congressional Candidate
Says Former Drug Use Was a Mistake
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: St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO)
Contact: letters@pd.stlnet.com
Website: http://www.stlnet.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998


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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US TX: Laredo Inquiry
Hot Topic DA Says Being Target Is A Strain
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Author: David Mclemorem (dmclemore@dallasnews.com)

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 - 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

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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US TX: Neighbors Had Noticed Home In Drug Case
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Author: Linda Stewart Ball / The Dallas Morning News


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

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

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

"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

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

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" (schaffer@smartlink.net)
To: (drctalk@drcnet.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
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)
Link to earlier story
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:09:08 -0400 To: mapnews@mapinc.org From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Wire: Cannabis Carnival Held 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@mapinc.org) 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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign - Marijuana Farmer To Meet House
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: Email: cannabis@independent.co.uk
Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square
Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL
Editor's note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Author: Vanessa Thorpe


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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: Police Say Prison Works
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Author: Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent


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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: France: Tour Riders Strike Over Drug-Scandal Criticism
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Source: International Herald-Tribune
Contact: iht@iht.com
Website: http://www.iht.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 1998
Author: Samuel Abt


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

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

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



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