Portland NORML News - Tuesday, August 4, 1998

Marvin Chavez Offered Plea With No Jail Time (A Local Correspondent
Who Attended Today's Court Hearing Says The Medical Marijuana Patient
And Former Director Of The Orange County Cannabis Co-Op Will Tell The Court
Tomorrow Whether He Will Go To Trial And Risk 12 Years In Prison
Or Take A Plea Bargain Entailing Five Years' Probation)

From: FilmMakerZ@AOL.COM
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 00:26:11 EDT
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Marvin Chavez offered plea with no jail time
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

A dozen supporters showed up for Marvin Chavez's court hearing on Tuesday,
August 4. In front of the courthouse, supporters held signs and passed out
flyers containing newspaper articles and editorials detailing Chavez's case.
After distributing 300 flyers, supporters made their way up to the tenth floor
for Chavez's hearing.

DA prosecutor Carl Armbrust got ahold of one of the flyers and gave it to
Judge Fitzgerald. He sat there reading the articles that criticized his
handling of the case.

On Monday, Judge Fitzgerald announced he was going on vacation and was going
to transfer the case to another judge. Most of the other judges aren't happy
with Fitzgerald's decision to not allow Chavez to use a Prop. 215 defense and
no one else would take the case. So the case will continue this week and then
be finished after the judge's vacation.

After reading the articles on the flyer supporters handed out, Judge Kennedy
called for a meeting in his chambers with prosecutor Armbrust and Chavez's
attorneys, Robert Kennedy and Jon Alexander.

After about fifteen minutes of what supporters assumed was discussion about
the flyer, they returned to the courtroom with a plea bargain being offered by

Chavez would be required to plead guilty to one felony count of marijuana
sales, but would serve no time in jail and get five years probation. He would
also be able to grow and use his medicinal marijuana for his Ankylosing
Spondylitis, but would not be able to distribute it to other patients. The DA
would also return the medical records of 200 patients currently in their

If Chavez goes to jury trial, he is facing nine felony charges and possibly
twelve years in jail.

Chavez said he needed time to consider the plea deal, and will return to court
with his decision tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, at 1:30pm.

If you are able, please show up at noon in front of the Orange County Central
Courthouse, 700 Civic Center Drive West, in Santa Ana, to demonstrate. The
hearing will be in Division 39 on the 10th floor.

McCormick Denies Plans To Sell Pot ('Reuters' Briefly Notes Bel-Air,
California, Medical Marijuana Patient Todd McCormick Has Pleaded Not Guilty
To Federal Marijuana Charges)

Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 13:44:01 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: WIRE: McCormick Denies Plans To Sell Pot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Patrick Henry
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Aug 1998


(LOS ANGELES) Marijuana activist Todd McCormick denies a plot to grow
massive amounts of pot to sell to cannabis clubs. McCormick was arrested
last year after authorities found thousands of pot plants in his rented
Bel-Air mansion. He claims Proposition 215 gives him the right to grow
marijuana to treat chronic pain brought on by several bouts with cancer.
McCormick pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles federal court to charges he
was growing pot for sale.

Medical Marijuana Advocate Pleads Innocent To Charges ('The Sacramento Bee'

Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 13:22:11 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Marijuana Advocate Pleads Innocent To Charges
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: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 4 Aug 1998


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Medical marijuana advocate Todd McCormick pleaded
innocent Monday to federal charges of conspiring to grow the drug in a
Bel-Air mansion where authorities found more than 4,000 marijuana plants.

McCormick and six others were indicted on charges of conspiracy to grow
marijuana, possessing the drug with the intent to distribute, and
distributing it. McCormick's indictment superseded a previous charge of
conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

The group allegedly grew marijuana at four leased locations in Los Angeles
County, distributed it and tried to sell to the Los Angeles Cannibis
Buyer's Club, which has dispensed the drug since Californians voted in 1996
to legalize it for medical use.

McCormick, who is free on bail, has maintained he has done nothing illegal
under Proposition 215, which legalized the cultivation, use and possession
of marijuana for medicinal purposes on a doctor's recommendation. Federal
courts have not recognized the state law.

The activist claims marijuana helps ease the pain from a rare form of
cancer he has suffered since childhood. He also suffers pain from hip and
back problems.

McCormick entered his plea Monday with one of his co-defendants, Andrew
Scott Hass. Two others also indicted in July pleaded innocent last week and
two others were expected to enter pleas next week. A bench warrant was
issued for a seventh defendant, Kirill Dyjine, who failed to show up to
court Monday.

Witnesses Say Probe Hindered By Guards ('The San Francisco Chronicle'
Says Four California Prison Investigators Testified Yesterday Before A State
Senate Hearing That They Were Blocked In Their Probe Of Guard Brutality
Against Inmates And A Subsequent Coverup Alleged At San Joaquin Valley
Prison, And Were Hampered By Inept Management And Unclear Ground Rules
While Examining Allegations Of Wrongdoing At Corcoran State Prison)

Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 10:30:41 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Witnesses Say Probe Hindered by Guards
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: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Aug 1998
Author: Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer


Corcoran officers wouldn't cooperate

Prison investigators testified yesterday that they were blocked in their
probe of guard brutality against inmates and a subsequent coverup alleged
at a turmoil-rocked San Joaquin Valley prison.

Four investigators told state senators that they were hampered by inept
management and unclear ground rules for examining allegations of
administrative and criminal wrongdoing at Corcoran State Prison.

Investigators also said an agreement between the powerful prison guard
union and top brass at the Corrections Department thwarted their attempts
to compel guards to cooperate. Seventy to 80 percent of the Corcoran guards
either refused to comment or expressed ignorance of the alleged misconduct,
according to the investigators.

``We took it as far as we could on the paper trail,'' said investigator Ben
Eason, his voice cracking with frustration. ``But you reach a point where
you need people to be candid with you.''

The testimony came on the fourth day of a special legislative hearing as
state senators questioned witnesses about allegations of brutality,
excessive force and gladiator-style fights arranged by guards at the
Corcoran prison. The remote maximum-security prison lies amid cotton fields
and it houses some of California's most notorious convicts, including
Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. The hearing, originally planned to last
two days, is expected to continue next week.

In February, the FBI indicted eight corrections officers, but limited
probes done by the Wilson administration and state attorney general's
office resulted in no criminal charges.

Just last week, however, the California Department of Corrections agreed to
review the 36 shootings inside the Corcoran prison's security housing unit,
a prison within a prison for the worst offenders.

CDC Assistant Director Richard Ehle disclosed yesterday that the shooting
review would involve Charles Latting, a former FBI investigator and
security adviser for the National Football League, along with retired
Oakland Police Chief George Hart and Jack McDonald, a former police chief
from Brookings, Ore.

In the hearing yesterday, prison investigators testified that broad probes
-- such as an inquiry into an exercise policy that pitted rivals against
each other -- were handled by Del Pierce, a troubleshooter known as ``Mr.
Fix It'' by Capitol insiders.

But Pierce, the lead investigator, blamed former corrections director James
Gomez for deciding not to force guards to cooperate in the probe. Gomez
left the department in December 1996.

``There was a lot of resistance from me, but his decision is final,''
Pierce said.

Investigators Eason, Brian Neely and Brian Parry testified that higher-ups
in Sacramento insisted that they could not compel the guards to testify and
took away any tools they had to charge the guards with insubordination.
Guards appeared at interviews with union representatives, but investigators
said they pleaded ignorance or refused to speak on Fifth Amendment grounds.

Don Novey, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers
Association, which represents about 27,500 prison employees, said union
officials accompanied guards because rumors from Sacramento indicated that
all Corcoran staff would be fired and prosecuted.

Novey said he wished all the guards had been granted immunity ``so we could
get to the bottom of the issues.''

But investigator John Harrison said he did not have a chance to get to the
bottom of the matter. Harrison testified that his superiors ordered him to
return to his desk job at High Desert State Prison in Susanville just a few
months into his task, even though he said there were still many documents
and people to investigate.

Investigators said they did the best job possible, given their limitations,
and flatly disputed claims that they whitewashed the matter for the Wilson

``This certainly was not a whitewash. You've seen our administration
paraded through here, and we are incapable of conspiracy,'' Eason said.

Harrison said that during his interviews, he heard of only one cover-up by
Corcoran staff, which pertained to the alleged rapes of Eddie Dillard, a
120-pound, first-time convict, allegedly committed by 230-pound prisoner
Wayne Robertson. Robertson, who is accused of 15 prison rapes, supposedly
meted out punishment for the guards by raping or beating problem convicts.

Even prison critics said the investigator's candid remarks pointed to the
difficulty of getting guards to break their code of silence without any
disciplinary tools.

``Fellow officers would not be mad if officers faced a choice between
talking or losing their jobs,'' said Fresno lawyer Catherine Campbell who
is handling a civil lawsuit on the 1994 shooting death of Preston Tate, a
convicted rapist and Crips gang member killed by guards during a yard

State Senator Tom Hayden, D- Los Angeles, said the hearings could result in
legislation forcing corrections investigations to be carried out by the
Office of Inspector General, as well as further protections for
whistle-blowers and changing the inmate exercise policy.

``This is a turning point in what has became an invisible policy of
excessive force on inmates,'' Hayden said.

1998 San Francisco Chronicle Page A13

Marijuana Use Measure Not Gone To Pot ('The Las Vegas Review-Journal'
Notes Yesterday's News That The Medical Marijana Initiative
Sponsored By Americans For Medical Rights Has Qualified
For The November Ballot)

Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 18:21:55 GMT
To: "AMR/updates.list"
From: Dave Fratello (amr@lainet.com)
Subject: NV: Review-Journal on init qualification

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Tuesday, August 4, 1998


Voters will decide whether an illegal drug should be available to ease
patients' suffering.

By Sean Whaley Donrey Capital Bureau

CARSON CITY -- Voters in November will take a step toward determining
whether marijuana can be prescribed for medical purposes in Nevada.

"Let the debate begin," said Secretary of State Dean Heller on Monday after
determining that the initiative petition qualified after all in two
contested counties.

A spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, which circulated petitions in
13 of 17 Nevada counties to qualify the measure for the ballot, said the
group was elated by Heller's findings.

"I was more nervous during the signature collection phase than during the
challenge phase," said spokesman Dave Fratello. "The logistics were so
difficult, with petitions circulating all over the state and the clock

"I wish we had never gotten to the point of failing and seeing it revived,
but it's a great vindication," he continued.

Getting on the ballot is just one step in a lengthy process. Voters then
must approve the proposal in the November general election.

An amendment to the state constitution, voters will have to approve the
measure a second time in November 2000 before it becomes law. The ballot
question appeared to be in doubt when the necessary signatures from
registered voters were found to be short in two counties.

A count in Lyon County found the petition seven signatures short. A review
by Nye County officials likewise found the measure 36 signatures short. The
group needed to qualify the measure in all 13 counties where petitions were
circulated to get it on the ballot.

The group appealed the findings of signature shortfalls to Heller. It cited
several instances where signatures should have been counted. A math error
also was identified.

In Lyon County, 25 signatures previously rejected were validated by Heller,
raising the total to 1,000, or 18 more than needed. In Nye County, 21
previously rejected signatures were validated. The review also disclosed a
math error, adding another 30 signatures to the total.

The 51 additional valid signatures brought the Nye County total to 941, or
15 more than needed.

Most of the signatures determined to be valid upon review initially were
rejected because the clerks could not read the names or because of questions
about whether those who signed were registered to vote at the time they

The 46 signatures in the two counties were identified upon review to be
properly registered voters in the two counties. "In this entire process,
from its inception to its conclusion, two principles stand without
question," Heller said.

"The first is the right to petition. The second is that the end result be
valid." Colby Williams, an attorney who helped Americans for Medical Rights
challenge the Nye and Lyon county results, said that while the process of
qualifying the petition for the ballot has been long, the final result is
worth the effort.

"We're extremely happy with the results," he said. "We look forward to the
upcoming campaign and the ballot vote."

Williams said the professional investigation by Heller and his staff was
particularly important because of actions in Nye County that could have kept
the question off the ballot for all Nevada voters.

Nye County officials initially did not count a number of signatures that
later were added to the total upon direction from Heller. They did not count
400 signatures because of a variety of errors, including the lack of
addresses or dates by some who signed the petition.

Heller, citing a 1994 interpretation of the signature verification process
by his office, said these signatures should be checked and counted if they
were signed in ink by registered voters.

The medical marijuana initiative proposes to allow a patient to use
marijuana upon the advice of a physician for "treatment or alleviation" of
cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, persistent nausea, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and
other medical problems.

The proposal is one of five the group is putting on the ballot in states
this year. In addition to Nevada, proposals already have been qualified in
Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

The group is waiting to hear this week from Colorado, but Fratello said he
is optimistic that it will qualify.

The proposals have drawn opposition from individuals and groups concerned
that the ballot questions are a step toward legalization of marijuana.

Lt. Stan Olsen of the Metropolitan Police Department said such a measure
would open the door to abuse unless the use of marijuana is tightly

"Law enforcement will probably want to ensure there are significant controls
to avoid even the hint of abuse," he said.

Olsen questioned why a group would push for the medical use of marijuana
when there are so many other drugs on the market to help people with
problems such as pain or nausea.

"With all the modern medications, why not find something already available
rather than a substance that is abused by the public," he said.

Fratello said there is no hidden agenda by the group to legalize marijuana.

The drug has proved to be beneficial in some medical situations, but
national drug policy has made marijuana unavailable because of political
considerations, he said.

Americans for Medical Rights is simply using the same political process to
put pressure on policy-makers to allow legitimate use of the drug, Fratello

Nevada Medical Marijuana Proposal Qualified
('The Orange County Register' Version)

From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" (mapnews@mapinc.org)
Subject: MN: US: NV: Nevada Medical Marijuana Proposal Qualified
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 19:55:01 -0500
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/

Nevada Medical Marijuana Proposal Qualified

Nevada's secretary of state on Monday qualified a medical marijuana
proposal-seemingly up in smoke for the lack of just 43 signatures-for the
November ballot.

Secretary of State Dean Heller said his office found a mathematical error by
Nye County in counting names,and improper rejection of some signatures there
and in Lyon County.

When the signatures were added back in, Heller said, the proposal had enough

Oral Arguments Scheduled In Juror Contempt Appeal (A Bulletin
From The Jury Rights Project Invites You To Protest August 10 In Denver,
Just Before Oral Arguments Begin In The Appeal Of Laura Kriho,
The First Juror Convicted In Over 300 Years Based On Evidence
Of How She Voted And Deliberated In The Jury Room)
Link to earlier story
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 22:58:47 -0600 (MDT) From: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) To: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) Subject: Aug. 10: Oral Arguments in Juror Contempt Appeal Oral Arguments Scheduled in Juror Contempt Appeal Monday, August 10, 1998 1:30 pm State Judicial Building - Court of Appeals Court Room - Fifth Floor 2 E. 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado (The State Judicial Building is located on the corner of 14th Avenue and Broadway in Downtown Denver. From I-25 South, exit Speer South, take Speer to 14th Avenue, make a left. Parking is available across the street at the Denver Public Library.) PROTEST DEMONSTRATION: 12:30 pm in front of court building. BRING FRIENDS and SIGNS! [Call 303-448-5640 on Aug. 10 to make sure the hearing has not been rescheduled.] [Denver] -- Oral arguments will be heard in the appeal of the conviction of Laura Kriho, a 34-year-old Gilpin County resident whose case attracted national attention. Legal experts say it is the first time in over 300 years that a juror has been prosecuted based on evidence of how they voted and deliberated in the jury room. Kriho was convicted in February 1997 for contempt of court for failing to volunteer information during jury selection about her political beliefs and background, even though she wasn't asked any questions about those matters. Kriho was investigated after she was the lone holdout on the jury against conviction in the case of a nineteen year old girl charged with possession of methamphetamine in Gilpin County. Kriho had made arguments in the jury room about jury nullification, the power of a jury to acquit a defendant if they think the law is unjust. Kriho was convicted of contempt of court for obstructing the administration of justice by failing to volunteer during jury selection that she knew about the doctrine of jury nullification, that she was an activist for the reform of cannabis and hemp laws, and that she had been arrested (but not convicted) 12 years previous on the charge of possession of LSD. Because she was not asked any specific questions about these issues, she was cleared of the perjury aspect of the contempt charge. However, the judge ruled that Kriho should have known that her knowledge of jury nullification and her background were important to the selection of a fair and impartial jury and that she should have spontaneously volunteered this information to the court. She was fined $1200. Kriho says, "I answered all the questions they asked me truthfully. I didn't lie or try to hide anything. I feel I was prosecuted because I voted not guilty." Paul Grant, Kriho's attorney, says prosecuting jurors sets a dangerous precedent. "Laura's conviction creates a new legal duty in which a juror is obliged to volunteer confessions of any beliefs or experiences they have any thought the court might want to know. The jury system was created as a means for citizens to check the power of their government," he says. "Punishing jurors for their beliefs and speech will destroy the jury system, as will purging juries of all independent-minded jurors. Laura Kriho's conviction must be overturned to protect the jury system." Oral arguments are scheduled for 40 minutes. The Court of Appeals is a three-judge panel and may take several months after the oral arguments to issue their ruling. We will keep you informed. For more information, contact the: Jury Rights Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Vmail: (303) 448-5640 Email: jrights@levellers.org "Protecting the jury as the last line of non-violent defense against a repressive government." Background information and copies of some of the briefs filed in the appeal can be found on the Web: http://www.lrt.org/jrp.krihotoc.htm Case citation: The People of the State of Colorado v. Laura Kriho, Court of Appeals Case No. 97 CA 700 Appeal from the District Court of Gilpin County, Case # 96 CR 91, Honorable Henry R. Nieto, Judge *** Note to Media on Expanded Media Coverage: Requests for expanded media coverage (cameras or audio recordings) should be made to the chief judge of the appellate court, Judge Klaus Hume, at least 24 hours in advance. Copies of the request should be given to counsel for each party participating in the proceeding. Specific requirements for expanded media coverage can be found in Canon 3 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. Search the Colorado Court Rules on the Web [http://web.intellinetusa.com/stat97/search.htm] for the words "expanded media." Judge Klaus Hume Chief Judge - Colorado Court of Appeals 2 E. 14th Avenue - Suite 300 Denver, Colorado 80203 Phone: (303) 837-3785 Paul Grant Counsel for Laura Kriho (Defendant - Appellant) 19039 E. Plaza Drive, #260E Parker, Colorado 80134 Phone: (303) 841-9649 Fax: (303) 841-9671 Assistant Attorney General Roger G. Billote Counsel for the State (Plaintiff - Apellee) Criminal Enforcement Division 1525 Sherman Street, 5th Floor Denver, Colorado 80203 Phone: (303) 866-5785 Fax: (303) 866-3955 *** Distributed by the: Jury Rights Project (jrights@levellers.org) Web page: (http://www.lrt.org/jrp.homepage.htm) To be added to or removed from the JRP mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.

Voter Pamphlet `Bias' Ruling Pending ('The Arizona Daily Star'
Says The State Supreme Court Will Decide Today Whether The Description
Of Proposition 300, Written By The Same Officials Who Nullified
Proposition 200, Is Biased Because It Singles Out Certain Schedule 1 Drugs
Such As Heroin And LSD, Out Of 116 Listed In The Measure)

From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" (mapnews@mapinc.org)
Subject: MN: US: AZ: Voter Pamphlet `Bias' Ruling Pending
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 18:48:10 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Tuesday, 4 August 1998
Source: Arizona Daily Star
Contact: letters@azstarnet.com
Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/
Author: Howard Fischer


PHOENIX - The state Supreme Court will decide today what voters will be told
about the proposed repeal of a law legalizing illegal drugs for medical use.

At issue is whether the wording written by legislators is biased because it
singles out certain illegal drugs, such as heroin and LSD, from 116 listed
in the measure.

A Maricopa Superior Court judge last week ordered the Legislative Council -
a committee of legislators backing the measure - to remove those references
from a brochure for voters.

The legislative committee, represented by private attorney John Lundin,
appealed that ruling.

Lundin told the justices yesterday that they have no right to second-guess
whether an explanation of Proposition 300 meets the legal requirement of
being impartial.

Lundin said the constitution gives legislators power over their own acts,
which are not subject to court review.

Even if he is wrong, Lundin argued that the explanation is ``substantially''

But John Buttrick, representing backers of the ``medical marijuana''
measure, said the Supreme Court must ensure that voters receive a truly
impartial explanation of the measure.

If the Supreme Court agrees, the only option may be to publish the brochure
without the Legislative Council's explanation. The council cannot meet and
reword the explanation by today's 10 a.m. deadline for the pamphlets to be

The referendum language, along with arguments for and against it, would
still be in the voter pamphlet.

Drugs Everywhere (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Dallas Morning News'
About The Massive Crackdown On Heroin Sellers In Plano, Texas,
Points Out The Same Law Enforcement Resources Are Not Being Expended
In Other Communities)

Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 11:28:06 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US TX: LTE: Drugs Everywhere
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rolf Ernst (rolf_ernst@buyer-link.com)
Pubdate: Tue, 4 Aug 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com


Re: Plano drug indictments.

Plano isn't the only community fighting the drug problem. Communities and
neighborhoods too numerous to count are experiencing the same situation.
Where's the publicity, good police legwork and aggressive prosecution in
the less affluent communities? Is it unfair or selfish that other
communities expect the same efforts in the pursuit and prosecution of drug
peddlers in our area as in Plano? The deaths in Plano are belittled in no
way. But problems left unchecked in one area will eventually spread to
other areas. Drugs know no color.

Denard Crawford, Dallas

Drug Courts ('The Dallas Morning News' Says County Commissioners Agree
That Drug Trafficking Is Reaching The Crisis Level, But They Cannot Agree
That Funding Two Courts Strictly For Drug-Related Trials Is Fair,
When There Are So Many Other Major Criminal Cases Waiting To Be Heard -
But District Attorney John Vance's Office Has Said It Is Willing
To Commit Cash From Drug Forfeitures To The Budget
For The Two Specialized Dallas County Courts)

Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 22:09:40 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US TX: OPED: Drug Courts
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rolf Ernst (rolf_ernst@buyer-link.com)
Source: Dallas Morning News
Pubdate: Tue, 4 Aug 1998
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com


The right way to address the continuing epidemic

Dallas County officials face a dilemma concerning the continued
operation of drug courts here.

County commissioners agree that drug trafficking is reaching the
crisis level. But they cannot all agree that funding two courts are
strictly for drug-related trials is fair, when there are so many other
major criminal cases are waiting to be heard.

What's the solution? Use more of the drug dealers' own money to pay
the cost of prosecuting the cases. District Attorney John Vance's
office has said it is willing to commit cash from drug forfeitures to
the budget for the two specialized Dallas County courts. That makes
good sense.

The courts, which were established through state grant to the late
1980's, have handled most of the county's drug cases in the subsequent
years. In 1997 the to courts disposed of all but 50 of the 2183 drug
cases filed by the district attorney.

But the grant funding has run out, and the county must decide whether
to pick up the whole tab for court operations.

With heroin From seizures up by more than 300% and methadone users
doubling in a year, county officials would be wise to support the
special drug courts.

Failure to do so could create a logjam in the other courts and cause
more serious crimes to be delayed even longer on the dockets.

The costs for operating the to drug courts is expected to be $762,000
annually. That is a lot of money. But it is considerably less than
the price for regular courts that have a full staff of clerks and bathers.

Discussion of the drug courts will be part of the commissioner's
unscheduled criminal-justice budget talks on Wednesday.

If the district attorney's office is willing to replace the $155,000
in lost state grant money, commissioners should see the benefit of
funding and the remaining costs.

State Prison Population Grows ('The New Haven Register' Version
Of Yesterday's New Numbers On Prison Populations Reported By
The US Department Of Justice's Bureau Of Justice Statistics Notes
The Local Angle - Connecticut's Adult Prison Population Grew 3.8 Percent
In 1997)

Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1998 15:27:30 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CT: State Prison Population Grows
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Aug 1998
Source: New Haven Register
Contact: editor@ctcentral.com
Website: http://www.ctcentral.com/
Author: Allan Drury


Connecticut's adult prison population grew 3.8 percent in 1997, an increase
that experts said reflects harsher sentences for violent offenders.

The rise brought Connecticut's inmate total to 18,521, up from 17,851 in
1996, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a recently released

(You can join a discussion about the rising prison population in Town Talk.)

The nation's prison population grew to more than 1.24 million, an increase
of 5.2 percent over 1996, according to the department's Bureau of Justice
Statistics said.

Connecticut's percentage increase, however, was greater than the 1.8
percent increase for the Northeast region, according to the report.

Chief State's Attorney John Bailey said "truth-in-sentencing" laws the
General Assembly passed has meant longer terms for the most serious

As recently as 1988 to 1991, the average inmate in Connecticut served 10
percent of his or her sentence, Bailey said. Because of new laws, felons
now serve 85 percent of their sentences on average, he said.

But when it comes to non-violent offenders, the state has come up with a
number of methods of punishment and rehabilitation that do not include time
behind bars, experts said.

"We probably lead the country in keeping prison space for violent
offenders," Bailey said.

State Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, co-chairman of the General Assembly's
Judiciary Committee, agreed, saying the state has been innovative in
finding alternative ways to sentence drug offenders.

"We are probably more progressive than any other state in terms of giving
prosecutors and judges the discretion to do other things (besides jailing
them) with drug offenders," said Lawlor, D-East Haven.

Part of the reason for the trend has been an explosion in prison costs
since the mid-1980s, Lawlor said.

He said that in 1986 the state spent $100 million on its prison system and
$400 million on higher education. In 1996, the state spent $400 million on
prisons and $395 million on higher education, he said.

"I think state governments, especially ours, have found this is an
incredibly expensive thing to do, to lock up all these people," he said.

The state Department of Correction estimates it costs $70.49 per day, or
$25,728 per year, to house an inmate, a spokesman said.

Whereas the state emphasizes alternative sanctions for drug and other
non-violent offenders, the federal government takes a harder line, said
Vito Castignoli, a Milford defense lawyer.

That, he said, causes the number of people in the federal prison system to
rise more rapidly than the number of those in state prisons. Congress has
passed the laws "to look tough on crime," he said.

For instance, federal law treats a person caught with one gram of crack
cocaine like a person caught with 100 grams of powder cocaine.

The federal prison propulation jumped 7 percent from 105,544 to 112,973,
the Justice Department report said.

"At the state level, they still have more discretion to not put a guy in
jail if they feel he doesn't belong in jail," he said.

Neighboring New York saw its prison population increase only 0.5 percent to
70,026 in 1997, the report states.

Connecticut's other border states also saw smaller increases. Massachusetts
posted an increase of 1.3 percent to 11,947; Rhode Island's increase was
3.1 percent to 3,371, according to the report.

(c) 1998, New Haven Register

Drugs (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Ottawa Citizen'
Says It's Better To Declare Victory And Withdraw
Than To Admit Defeat And Fight On)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Editorial: Drugs
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 1998 08:51:55 -0700
Lines: 23
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Pubdate: Tuesday 4 August 1998


In the darkest days of the Vietnam war, cynical idealists proposed
that the United States simply declare victory and withdraw.

Their belief that no one would notice a defeat unless a press release
announced one ultimately proved unsound. But it was a lot better than
the position of U.S. drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, who says he
doesn't like to use the phrase "war on drugs" because "normally in a
war you achieve total victory," whereas in this case the best that can
be done is to reduce drug abusers to three per cent of the U.S.

Declaring victory and withdrawing may not have made much sense, but
isn't it worse to admit defeat and stay on?

Copyright 1998 The Ottawa Citizen

Department Of National Defence Botched Drug Probe At Spy Base, Memo Confirms
(According To 'The Ottawa Citizen,' CTV News Said Last Night
That Newly Obtained Government Documents Confirm That Military Police
Botched A Drug Investigation Last Fall Involving Staff At Canadian Forces
Station Leitrim, One Of Canada's Top-Secret Spy Bases Outside Ottawa)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: DND botched drug probe at spy base, memo confirms
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 1998 08:56:00 -0700
Lines: 99
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Pubdate: Tuesday 4 August 1998
Author: Mark Kennedy

DND botched drug probe at spy base, memo confirms

PCL Constructors Inc. / Canadian Forces Station Leitrim, south of
Ottawa, handles some of Canada's most sensitive national security
work. Last fall's probe was conducted after an informant told military
police of drug use by staff at the site.

Newly obtained government documents confirm that military police
botched a drug investigation involving staff at one of Canada's
top-secret spy bases outside Ottawa, CTV News reported last night.

The internal Defence Department documents lend credence to a story
initially aired last November by the network. At the time, CTV
reported the 1995-96 military probe of alleged drug use at the base
was badly mishandled and, as a result, no charges were laid and there
were no reprimands.

The listening post at Canadian Forces Station Leitrim just south of
Ottawa handles some of the most sensitive national security work in
the country's military. It is believed that dozens of communications
personnel eavesdrop on everything from cell-phone calls made by drug
dealers to coded messages from unfriendly foreign governments.

In early November, CTV reported the probe was sparked after an
informant told military police that drug use at the site, where
employees have top-secret clearances, had been going on for years. The
drugs allegedly being used were hashish and cocaine.

The suggestion that the military police raid on the base had been
mishandled caused a furore in the House of Commons, where Defence
Minister Art Eggleton insisted the drug investigation had been
"thorough" and had not been botched.

But now, through the Access to Information Act, CTV has obtained an
internal Defence Department memorandum dated several days after Mr.
Eggleton's public assurances.

The memo summarizes the findings of an internal departmental review
that was conducted "to identify what, if anything went wrong with the
conduct of the investigation into alleged drug usage" at the base.

Contrary to Mr. Eggleton's denial, the review found several serious
shortcomings in the drug probe. Among the main observations:

- There may have been the "potential" of alleged drug users on the
base passing on "classified information" to the "criminal element,"
namely drug traffickers.

- Military police carried out no surveillance of alleged drug users or

- Officers involved in the probe were inept at conducting interviews
with informants, meaning the subsequent interviews with alleged drug
users "were virtually non-productive."

- Military police didn't call local police or other investigative
agencies within National Defence for help in this "sensitive and
serious" probe. The review concludes the drug probe should have been
handed over to the National Investigative Service, a special branch of
the Defence Department.

Said the review: "Supervisors did not examine their resources and
determine that this type of investigation requires special handling
and a great deal of experience. Drug investigations have a history of
blooming into major cases. The sheer number of alleged users was a
trigger that identified the potential of a major case operation."

In hindsight, it would have clearly been better "to attack the problem
differently," said the review.

In its report last night, CTV said the internal review appears to show
the former commanding officer at the base wanted to get to the bottom
of the drug scandal but may have been hampered by unnamed "outside

The network interviewed Reform defence critic Art Hanger, a former
police officer who conducted drug investigations before becoming a
politician. Mr. Hanger said the newly released documents show Mr.
Eggleton bungled the affair.

"The security of this country is in jeopardy and he blew it," said Mr.
Hanger, who is demanding an inquiry.

"What other word can you use but coverup? If there is outside
interference into an investigation ... then it's important to find out
who did it and why. Now it's up to the minister to clean it up, but I
don't think he has the will to do it."

Mr. Eggleton was not available to be interviewed for last night's
report because he was on vacation.

Copyright 1998 The Ottawa Citizen

Heroin's New Image Hooks Teenagers (Britain's 'Times' Says A Report
Released Monday By The Home Office, 'New Heroin Outbreaks
Amongst Young People in England and Wales,' Suggests A Key Aspect
To Heroin's New Popularity Is Its Increasingly Cheap Price, But Ignores
The Role Of Prohibition In Bringing Down Its Price)

Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 13:33:47 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: Heroin's New Image Hooks Teenagers
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: mistyron@bigfoot.com (Misty)
Source: Times, The (UK)
Contact: letters@the-times.co.uk
Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/
Pubdate: Tue, 4 Aug 1998
Author: Richard Ford

Dealers' techniques have had alarming success


Battlefields on the front line

DRUG-PUSHERS have changed the image of heroin so successfully that its use
has reached epidemic proportions in many British towns and cities, a
government report said yesterday.

Even teenagers from affluent, middle-class families are using a drug that
their counterparts would have dismissed 15 years ago as only for older
junkies. The targets of the drug-dealers are teenagers who regularly take
"recreational" drugs such as cannabis and Ecstasy.

Children as young as 14 are smoking and injecting heroin, many of them
unaware that it is addictive. In some areas, children as young as 10 had
taken the Class-A drug.

The drug-dealers also use mobile phones and pagers to deliver the drug to
users' homes or to a car park or pub.

Most heroin users were socially excluded and lived in disadvantaged
districts, but they also included some affluent and middle-class people who
frequently indulged in "recreational" drugs.

It is the success of dealers in changing the image of heroin over the past
15 years that is the most remarkable finding of the study. In the 1960s and
1970s, heroin users were people in their twenties, seen as pursuing a hippy
way of life; but in the 1980s they were viewed as social inadequates. These
days, in an attempt to change its bad image, dealers are selling heroin as
"brown" or "browns" and as a powder that can be smoked, like cannabis, at a
cost of about 10 a bag, much the same as the price of an Ecstasy tablet.
"The message, of course, is that heroin is apparently no more expensive and
little different from other 'recreational' illicit drugs," the Home Office
study, New Heroin Outbreaks Amongst Young People in England and Wales,
said. "The heroin outbreaks spreading across Britain are primarily a
product of purposeful supplying and marketing. The precursor to all of this
had been the strong, sustained availability of pure, inexpensive heroin
primarily from southwest Asia."

The techniques adopted by dealers have produced a new wave of heroin use by
young people, especially in towns and cities that escaped the ravages of
the big heroin outbreaks of the 1980s. "There is little doubt that a second
wave of new, young heroin users is emerging," the report said. "With 80 per
cent of areas confidently identifying new outbreaks within their
communities and providing such a consistent picture and profile of new
users it is, unfortunately, reasonable to suggest that we are facing a
second heroin epidemic."

It found areas with no previous heroin history becoming the sites for new
outbreaks, including parts of southwest England such as housing estates in
Bristol. Other towns in the grip of a heroin epidemic are Gateshead,
Hartlepool, Hull, Dewsbury, Bradford and Birmingham. Most regions in
England and Wales report serious outbreaks of heroin use as a result of
strong availability of the drug from southwest Asia, and new operators
using motorways to link big suppliers in cities such as Manchester, London
and Liverpool with dealers in smaller towns and estates. The profits of
dealing in heroin are enormous: an ounce of heroin costs a dealer about
800 and produces more than 300 bags priced at 10 each. The high returns
mean that there are always dealers ready to replace anyone seized by the

The report highlighted the role of Turkish processing plants and criminal
networks in organising the transport of heroin from Asia to this country.
It called for urgent action to set up services for young people and for
heroin users, and a co-ordinated approach to tackle the supply network.
Battlefields on the front line Two of the areas facing a heroin problem are
Gateshead and Hull. Gateshead, population 92,400, has seen heroin use
increase since 1994, aggravating a drug scene dominated by heavy drinking
and tranquilliser abuse. The police say that a small number of
well-organised dealers based at home and communicating by mobile phone are
setting up on the town's estates selling bags of heroin for between 5 and
10. "Smoking brown" was perceived by many young users as an extension of
their drug abuse based on alcohol, cannabis, solvents, amphetamines and
minor tranquillisers, the report said. In the North East, Goole and
Bridlington are experiencing new outbreaks of heroin use, but Hull,
population 240,000, is experiencing a full-scale outbreak of heroin use
based on a small network of 1980s users. The report said Hull had a
particularly susceptible population living in relative poverty.

French Police Question TVM Riders And Officials
('The International Herald Tribune' Says A Day After The Tour De France
Ended, Police Questioned 14 Members Of The Dutch TVM Team In Reims, France,
In Connection With The Bicycle Competition's Doping Scandal)

Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 11:25:13 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: France: IHT: French Police Question TVM Riders and Officials
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Aug 1998
Source: International Herald Tribune
Contact: iht@iht.com
Website: http://www.iht.com/
Author: IHT staff


REIMS, France---A day after the Tour de France ended, police questioned 14
members of the TVM team.

Six cyclists, along with eight team staff members, were questioned Monday
morning in Reims, northeast of Paris. Already the team director, Cees
Priern, its doctor, Andrei Mikhailov, and Joahnnes Moors, a masseur, had
been placed under formal investigation --- a step short of being formally
charged---on doping charges.

The six riders---Jeroen Blijlevens, Steven De Jongh, Servais Knaven, Bart
Voskamp, Sergei Ivanov and Sergei Outschakov---made no comment as they
entered the police station.

Jan Van Het Hoge, the team's cook, said the riders ''are all very at ease
and don't think they will be put under official examination because they
are innocent. I hope..we can go back to the Netherlands quickly."

The investigation of the TVM team began in March, when customs agents found
performance-enhancing drugs in a team car.

Priem and Mikhailov were arrested July 23, and subsequent searches of TVM
hotel rooms resulted in the seizure of more drugs. Team members were taken
to a hospital in Albertville, where they were subjected to extensive
medical checks.

The l7th stage of the race had to be annulled when all the cyclists,
angered at the treatment of TVM members, refused to race.

On Friday, TVM riders pulled out of the race saying they had neither the
physical nor the mental strength to continue. They quit while the Tour was
in Switzerland, meaning the riders would not have to come back through

Marie-George Buffet, the French sports minister, said she was determined to
attack doping among athletes. In an interview published Monday in the.
French daily Le Monde, she said doping was common at the junior level. Of
221 athletes who tested positive for drugs in France in 1997, she said 27
were "at the top level."

Tracing Money, Swiss Outdo US On Mexico Drug Corruption Case
('The New York Times' Says The Anticipated Success Of A Swiss Detective Team
In Showing Raul Salinas De Gortari Made Money By Assuring The Safe Transport
Of Cocaine Through Mexico To The United States Has Turned
An Unflattering Mirror On Washington's Handling Of What US Officials
Once Described As A Watershed Effort To Combat Not Just The Flow Of Drugs
Through Mexico Into The United States, But The Complex System
Of Official Corruption That Has Long Allowed It To Flourish)

Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 20:07:09 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Mexico: Tracing Money, Swiss Outdo U.S. On Mexico Drug
Corruption Case
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)
Source: New York Times (NY)
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Aug 1998
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Author: Tim Golden, New York Times


MEXICO CITY -- When the young chief of Switzerland's drug police
arrived here in late 1995 to inquire about $132 million found in Swiss
bank accounts belonging to the influential elder brother of a former
president, he knew enough about Mexico's political underworld to be
wary of his official hosts.

No sooner had he been whisked from the airport by a squad of burly
Mexican plainclothesmen, for example, than he began to wonder if he
wasn't being kidnapped.

"I had seen it in the movies," the official, Valentin Roschacher,
said, recalling what turned out to be merely some aggressive police
security measures en route to his hotel. "I thought, 'Are these guys
the good guys or the bad guys?"'

Now, more than two years later, Roschacher and his men have learned
enough about organized crime in Mexico to follow a complicated
financial trail and information from convicted drug traffickers to the
conclusion that Raul Salinas de Gortari earned vast of sums of his
money by assuring the safe transport of cocaine through Mexico to the
United States.

Yet while the Swiss are preparing to use that evidence in a civil
court action to confiscate the fortune of Salinas, the elder brother
of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, a much larger and more
experienced group of law enforcement officials in the United States
has been unable to make a similar case of their own.

Some of those officials say they may yet win criminal indictments.
Privately, though, others acknowledge that Washington's pursuit of
Salinas has been troubled from the start, with turf battles among law
enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors, disputes over the
handling of witnesses and complaints from agents in the field of
meddling and a lack of interest by higher-ups.

The secrecy with which both governments have proceeded makes it
impossible to fully evaluate their evidence before it is presented in
court, and Salinas has denied any wrongdoing.

Justice Department officials are also quick to note that they have
sought to build a criminal case, which entails a higher standard of
proof than the Swiss will face.

Nonetheless, the unlikely initial success of Roschacher's small
detective team has turned an unflattering mirror on Washington's
handling of what U.S. officials once described as a watershed effort
to combat not just the flow of drugs through Mexico into the United
States, but the complex system of official corruption that has long
allowed it to flourish.

The contrast is even more striking, officials say, because the Swiss
appear to have relied almost entirely on witnesses and information
that were first uncovered by the United States.

"They're like the mouse that roared," one former senior American law
enforcement official said of the Swiss authorities. "They were blocked
almost every step of the way. But they just kept going and kept going,
and they finally made a case."

Whether any of the investigations will definitively resolve the
question of the Salinas family's alleged collusion with the drug trade
remains far from clear.

A partial account of the Swiss and U.S. inquiries, assembled from
government documents and dozens of interviews, suggests that neither
has penetrated into the brothers' inner circle.

But some experienced investigators have concluded that Raul Salinas
could have been a valued asset for the traffickers even if he could
not necessarily pick up the phone and call off police raids. He might
have been paid off, they said, just to provide an impression of
acquiescence at the highest levels.

"Raul Salinas was not somebody who protected a truck with a gun as it

went to the border," Roschacher said in an interview at his office in
Bern, the Swiss capital. "What we are talking about is a system -- a
system in which a person can give orders to someone who gives orders
to someone else."

Raul Salinas, who remains in a maximum-security prison cell in Mexico
on charges of ordering the murder of a prominent politician, has
steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. He has insisted that most of the
money in his accounts was given to him by major Mexican industrialists
for an investment fund that he was to establish.

"I have never had any kind of dealings with drug traffickers, nor have
I received any benefit or money from any drug trafficker," he told the
Swiss attorney general, Carla del Ponte, in a handwritten letter from
prison two months ago. "The source of my money, and of all the money
that I managed, is legitimate."

Carlos Salinas, who left office just before the Mexican economy
collapsed at the end of 1994 and left the country soon afterward, has
never been charged with any crime. He lives in Ireland and the south
of France, one of his old friends said, waiting impatiently for some
judgment more generous than the one a bitter Mexican public has handed

Within months after the Swiss police found Raul Salinas' bank accounts
on a tip from American drug agents, his case had entangled some of
Mexico's biggest businessmen, as well as banks in Mexico, the United
States, Britain and France. Initially, though, Swiss officials saw
nothing remarkable in the notion that a foreign leader's relative
might have stashed illicit wealth in their banks.

"I thought, 'It's just a case like any other case," Roschacher

Like the hidden fortunes of Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines or
Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, the Salinas accounts presented an
opportunity for the embattled Swiss to show that dirty money would no
longer be safe in their vaults. There was another incentive as well:
Whatever part of Salinas' money the government could convincingly tie
to drugs, officials said, it would be able to keep under Swiss law.

In Bern, the Swiss capital, Roschacher had three hard-working
detectives and the support of Mrs. del Ponte, the plain-spoken
prosecutor who has earned a wide reputation for pressing to open up
Switzerland's banks. He didn't have much else.

After years of collaboration with American law-enforcement agencies,
Swiss officials assumed they could count on help from the United
States. Instead, banking and credit card records took months to
arrive. Interviews with convicted drug smugglers and other witnesses
from United States court cases were sometimes slow to be granted,
sometimes postponed and sometimes refused.

By the second half of 1996, with the Swiss under pressure to show
progress, tempers began to rise. At one point, officials said, as Mrs.
del Ponte was trying to interview one American-supplied informant in
the presence of a fastidious federal prosecutor from New York, she
exploded in anger and later fired off a letter to her counterpart,
Attorney General Janet Reno.

"Sometimes we have had difficulties coordinating our procedures," Mrs.
del Ponte said euphemistically, emphasizing her gratitude for the
American help that eventually arrived. "Of course, when I am over
there and the public prosecutor says to me, 'You cannot ask this
question,' I am going to get angry."

In Washington, law-enforcement officials had far more investigative
resources and more knowledge of the mechanics of Mexican corruption.
But they also found themselves struggling to move their
sometimes-rivalrous agencies and prosecutors in the same direction at
the same time.

The rumors that circulated about Raul Salinas during his brother's
presidency had centered on the notion that he had grown rich from the
kickbacks of Mexican businessmen whom he might have helped to win
lucrative deals from the state. American drug-enforcement, Customs and
FBI agents had also received reports linking him to at least two major

Mexican cocaine smugglers.

Drug-enforcement officials said the reports were startling, but not
enough to merit a special inquiry. That view quickly changed after the
discovery of the Swiss accounts, but after some bureaucratic struggle,
it was the FBI's office in New York, where Salinas had also banked,
that was finally assigned the investigation.

Bureau officials said the inquiry was important because its targets
were high-profile: Salinas, who had moved tens of millions of dollars
through Citibank, and officers in the bank's private-client section,
who appeared to have helped him without trying very hard to verify the
legitimacy of his funds. Still, people familiar with the probe said it
was not a primary focus of the bureau office, which soon consumed by
its investigation into TWA Flight 800.

"It wasn't a big man-burner," one former senior official said, noting
that the inquiry focused more on the trail of financial transactions
rather than on the history of Salinas' alleged misdeeds. "It was a
paper chase."

At offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington,
Mexico and Texas, agents were turning their attention to Mexico's new
cocaine kingpin, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Again, there was a thin
record of informants who said Raul Salinas had met with Carrillo and
his associates, received money from the trafficker's operations, or
helped assure the movement of his loads.

Officials said they knew they would be hard-pressed to turn such
intelligence information into witnesses who could stand up in court
and convincingly accuse the brother of a former Mexican president. But
some complained that the greater challenge was navigating the
disparate and sometimes competing investigations going on around the
United States.

For months after Mrs. del Ponte's confrontation with the New York
prosecutor, two officials said, the Swiss authorities' access to
American informants all but dried up. They had yet to solidly link
Raul Salinas to the drug trade. And the outcry over Switzerland's
handling of the bank accounts of Nazi victims was adding to pressure
on the government to prove its vows of greater openness.

Then, little more than a year into the effort, the investigators' luck
began to turn.

"We had a chance to talk to witnesses who knew a lot about what had
happened in Mexico," Roschacher said. "For the first time, they were
people who knew things concretely -- 'I was there; I saw that' -- and
not by hearsay."

Not long thereafter, though, Swiss investigators also began to see the
confidentiality of their witnesses start to erode as information
leaked to the news media, particularly in Mexico, raising questions
about Salinas' accusers.

One such witness, officials said, was Marco E. Torres, a Mexican
smuggler who pleaded guilty to drug charges in the United States in
1996 and received a reduced sentence for his cooperation.

According to two officials familiar with his statements, Torres said
he arranged the protection of cocaine shipments with Raul Salinas and
paid him one large bribe himself after a drug seizure in Mexico in
1993. But parts of Torres' account, including his claim to having
known the Salinas brothers for years, were refuted by Salinas' lawyers
after they were first reported last year.

Roschacher said he was not sidetracked by such particulars.

"As long as no one can say, 'He is a notorious liar -- we have checked
and what he says is wrong,' then for us he is a witness and we take a
look at him," he said. "Our case is not built on Marco Torres. His
credibility is good. But we have several others who are as good or

Swiss officials would not name those other witnesses, saying their
identities would only be disclosed to judges who will review the
matter if, as expected, lawyers for Salinas challenge the confiscation
of his accounts.

But starting in early 1997, for reasons that remain unclear, the
spigot of American assistance opened wider. The Justice Department
arranged for Swiss interviews with almost a dozen more witnesses,

officials said, including at least three convicted drug smugglers who
offered detailed information linking Salinas to specific payoffs.
Mexican officials also produced records showing that during the last
half of his brother's six-year administration, Raul Salinas had made
huge deposits in Mexican banks.

In an interview, Mrs. del Ponte said the evidence made it clear that
he had been "directly involved in receiving money for protecting the
shipment of tons of cocaine through Mexico."

Precisely how Salinas might have arranged such protection -- despite
never working in law-enforcement and having left the government
altogether in 1992 -- was a question law-enforcement officials
struggled to answer.

Mexican investigators said that they have focused closely on a
relationship between Raul Salinas and one of his closest business
associates, Justo Ceja, who served as Carlos Salinas' private
secretary and is a fugitive from charges that he illegally amassed a
large fortune while in government. (Raul Salinas' accountant was
arrested in mid-July on similar charges, while Salinas' wife was
sentenced to two years' imprisonment for pressuring witnesses to lie
in the murder proceedings against her husband.)

Investigators said they have also determined that both Salinas and
Ceja had dealings with several senior Mexican law-enforcement
officials, each of whom has since been accused publicly of taking
bribes. But the only one of those former officials to ever be charged
with drug offenses, Mario Ruiz Massieu, has shown little promise as a
government witness.

American officials said that drug-enforcement agents in Mexico City,
Houston and El Paso who tried to build their own case against Salinas
were able to find several informants by the spring of 1997 who told of
drug payoffs that Raul Salinas supposedly received. Two of those
witnesses, in particular, gave detailed accounts of having seen
Salinas meeting with major drug traffickers.

The two most important informants were taken from Mexico to Texas,
officials said, where they submitted to lie-detector tests and
appeared at first to be telling the truth. But under what agents
described as unusual high-level pressure to recheck the men's stories,
they were given further tests in which they appeared to be less
candid. In May 1997, officials said, the United States Attorney in San
Antonio abandoned the case entirely.

"We knew there was an enormous political component to the case," one
former law-enforcement official who worked on it said. "But the
Justice Department, without ever saying so, appeared not to want us to
deal with the political targets. They wanted us just to concentrate on
the drug traffickers."

Similar questions have been raised following the announcement in April
by Citibank's parent company, Citicorp, that it will merge with
Travelers Group Inc. -- a $70-billion corporate marriage that could
conceivably snag if the bank is ensnared in a major money-laundering
case. Justice Department officials declined to discuss the Salinas
investigation in detail. But they denied that their problems in making
a case had anything to do with political or foreign-policy concerns.

Still more doubts about Washington's coordination of the Salinas case
were raised by two other key witnesses, a Chilean-born computer expert
named Guillermo Pallomari and a Colombian cocaine trafficker named
Jose Manuel Ramos.

Pallomari, a former aide to the main boss of the Cali cocaine cartel,
Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, fled Colombia in August 1995 after threats
on his life and was interviewed by American drug-enforcement agents
for nearly three months.

But officials familiar with the debriefings said he was never asked in
detail how the Colombians had protected their shipments through
Mexico, and some officials were stunned to learn what Pallomari, now a
protected witness, told the Swiss last Nov. 19 at a Federal prison
facility in southern Virginia where American officials took him to be

According to officials familiar with his debriefings and a partial
transcript of his statement recently published in the Mexican
newspaper El Universal, Pallomari said the Colombians began to
strengthen their partnership with Carrillo, the Mexican trafficker, in
about 1992, after problems with their operations in the Caribbean.
Rodriguez Orejuela also tried to replicate in Mexico the network of
political protection he had established in Colombia, Pallomari said.

To this end, the informant said, Cali bosses drafted a manual on
political corruption and sent a copy to Carrillo. They also funnelled
some $80 million in bribe money to Mexico -- about half of which was
supposed to have gone to Raul Salinas to assure the compliance of his
brother's administration.

Pallomari said the money was sent with cocaine loads, deposited with
front companies, or paid through a Bolivian intermediary whom the
Colombians stationed in Mexico. On one occasion, he said, Raul Salinas
intervened at the Colombians' request to get back most of a five-ton
cocaine load the police had seized in Acapulco in early 1994 with
American help. Pallomari also showed the Swiss how payments to Mexican
politicians were reflected in a partial set of 1994 accounting ledgers
that were seized from the Cali cartel by an elite Colombian police
unit in 1995.

Officials said Pallomari's story had some inconsistencies, but they
did not question that it might have been vital to the drug-enforcement
agents in Texas who were then trying to tie Salinas to Carrillo 's

In the end, those agents did not learn even the outlines of
Pallomari's account until a year and a half after he came under
American protection. When law-enforcement officials from around the
country caucused in El Paso in January 1997 to assemble the available
evidence against Carrillo's organization, officials said, Pallomari's
information was about the best they had against Salinas.

But Pallomari was unavailable. Federal prosecutors in Miami said they
could not loan their witness until they had finished their own case
against the Cali gang. Long before they did, the drug-conspiracy case
that might have linked Salinas to Carrillo collapsed when the
trafficker died after plastic surgery last July.

U.S. prosecutors were apparently even less successful in coordinating
the information offered by Ramos, a former lieutenant to the Colombian
drug cartel based in the city of Medellin.

According to two people familiar with Ramos' case, he approached
prosecutors in Houston in 1991, the year he was sentenced on drug
charges to two life terms in prison. He had met Raul Salinas in the
late 1980s, he told them, and had contracted with him to arrange and
protect the landing of drug planes in different parts of northern Mexico.

One American official said doubts lingered about part of Ramos'
account, and his credibility was challenged by a federal prosecutor
who did not believe he had been forthright about another Colombian
drug operation that had been discovered in Texas.

But Ramos also offered unusual documentation to corroborate his
claims: encoded payment ledgers, photographs and even a special
Mexican passport he had received under the carefully chosen alias
"Alejandro Salinas." Still, two people familiar with the case said
Ramos was all but ignored until late 1997, when the U.S. Customs
Service arranged for him to be interviewed by a federal prosecutor in
New York and then by the Swiss authorities.

"He knocked on the door several times," one of those people said. "He
was rebuffed each and every time."



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