Portland NORML News - Sunday, September 20, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Stage Is Set For Showdown On Use Of Pot ('The Rocky Mountain News'
Says Michael Domangue Of Grand County Is About To Become The First
Medical Marijuana Defendant In Colorado Allowed By A Judge To Invoke
The State's 'Choice Of Evils' Defense - A Vietnam Veteran, Domangue Suffers
From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder And Other Mental And Emotional Problems
Stemming From His Military Service)
Link to earlier story
Newshawk: cohip@levellers.org (Colo. Hemp Init. Project) Source: Rocky Mountain News (CO) Contact: letters@denver-rmn.com Website: http://insidedenver.com/news/ Pubdate: 20 Sep 1998 Author: Guy Kelly, Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer STAGE IS SET FOR SHOWDOWN ON USE OF POT Court to hear man's claim he has compelling medical need to smoke marijuana The law says marijuana is a crime, but to Michael Domangue, it's medicine. And now the 50-year-old Grand County man will get to take his case to a jury. Next month Domangue may become the first person in Colorado to argue in court that his medical condition justifies smoking pot, even though it's against the law. "Nobody has ever jumped over this hurdle with a medical marijuana case before," said Domangue's attorney, Warren Edson. Colorado doesn't have a law exempting the medical use of marijuana from criminal prosecution, but it does have a "choice of evils" defense. Generally, it allows a defendant to argue that he was justified in breaking the law to prevent a greater injury. Domangue claims he smokes pot to ease a variety of mental and emotional problems stemming from his military service in Vietnam. Similar cases are percolating in courts nationwide as part of a movement to allow the use of marijuana to ease conditions ranging from glaucoma to arthritis, said Tanya Kangas, director of litigation for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, known by the acronym NORML. "The legal precedent that's important to NORML is that a defendant ought to be able to tell a jury why he or she smokes marijuana," Kangas said. "Then the jury can decide whether that information is important to that particular case." NORML and several other groups have a "Medical Marijuana Support Fund" that helps with expenses in such cases, including Domangue's. "We are definitely seeing a wave of these cases going through the courts," Kangas said. Earlier this month, Edson, who serves on NORML's legal committee, argued in Grand County District Court that Domangue ought to be allowed to tell a jury that he smokes marijuana for medicinal reasons. Although prosecutors objected, Judge Richard P. Doucette agreed to allow the "choice of evils" defense, setting the stage for a perhaps precendent-setting trial in Hot Sulphur Springs beginning Oct. 14. Prosecutor Craig Henderson of the Grand County district attorney's office will now have to prove that not only did Domangue violate laws against possessing and cultivating marijuana, but also that he can't use his medical condition as a justification for breaking the law. Henderson won't talk about the case, but he argued in a motion that allowing the defense in this case is a waste of time that will confuse the issue and mislead the jury. This won't be the first time Domangue has been involved with the law over marijuana, or that he has made a case for what he believes are the plant's medicinal powers. In March 1995, he founded the Sacred Herb Church in Boulder to promote marijuana, and he has long been a proponent of exploring new legal territory in pot cases, Edson said. Domangue has been charged with several minor marijuana offenses in the past few years. They were either dismissed or they resulted in a fine or probation. Edson said Domangue in 1984 attacked police officers because he thought they were Viet Cong. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to the Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo until he was discharged in 1989. Domangue declined to discuss the current case. Records show he was sitting in his mobile home last October when Grand County deputies in the trailer park on other business noticed a pot plant in his window. Domangue invited them in and when he was asked if he knew why they were there, he pointed at the window and said, "It's probably that plant there." There was also a wood plate on the coffee table in front of Domanague with marijuana seeds and "a little marijuana." He's been charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. But he's also been charged with cultivation, a felony punishable by six years in prison. He is now free on $5,000 bail. The wall of the trailer had a cloth picture with the words "Why Hemp," and his reading material included Marijuana Growers Handbook and Marijuana Botany. Domangue also said he had a letter from his doctor saying he smoked marijuana for medical purposes. Dr. Ray Leidig of the Mental Health Center of Boulder County, who once treated Domangue, testified in his behalf at the recent hearing. Leidig said the use of marijuana reduces anxiety in people who suffer delusions or hallucinations. He declined to discuss Domangue specifically, but he and Edson said Domangue has a long and troubled legal and medical history. Edson said Domangue is a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and who smokes to ease the symptoms of psychiatric problems. Domangue has taken a prescription drug called Marinol, a synthetic marijuana, but Edson said the medication is too intense and long-lasting for Domangue. One of the elements of the "choice of evils" defense requires that the defendant show that other reasonable alternatives were pursued but didn't work. *** Rocky Mountain News 400 W. Colfax Denver, CO 80204 Phone: (303) 892-5000 Fax: (303) 892-5499 Email: letters@denver-rmn.com Web: www.denver-rmn.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------

New Drug Strategy Sought (A 'New York Times' Article
In 'The Houston Chronicle' About The White House Drug Czar's Campaign
For A US-Mexico Border Drug Sub-Czar)
Link to earlier story
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 10:31:09 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US: New Drug Strategy Sought Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: viewpoints@chron.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 Author: CHRISTOPHER S. WREN NEW DRUG STRATEGY SOUGHT Director wants single official to coordinate border operations New York Times WASHINGTON -- U.S. border inspectors searched slightly more than a million commercial trucks and railway cars entering the United States from Mexico last year. They found cocaine stashed in cargo compartments on only six occasions, said Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the White House director of drug-control policy. He cites the dispiriting statistic in pressing for an overhaul of the strategy for stanching the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. Slightly more than half of the cocaine smuggled into the United States, and much of the heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, comes through Mexico. McCaffrey is proposing that interdiction operations along the 2,000-mile-long southwestern border be coordinated by a single federal official, who would assume responsibility for all counter-drug efforts by a half-dozen government departments and no fewer than 22 federal agencies. But McCaffrey, who holds Cabinet-level rank as the administration's top drug-control official, is getting a cool response from other government institutions such as the Justice and Treasury departments, where spokesmen said last week only that his proposal was under review. Some departments and agencies fear that the proposal could infringe on their authority and their budgets. McCaffrey presides over a federal drug-control budget exceeding $16 billion this year, but actual allocations are proposed and controlled by the departments and agencies involved. McCaffrey said in an interview that his proposal harbors no hidden agenda. He said that more efficient cooperation and superior technology were needed to interdict illegal drugs at the southwestern border and its 24 ports of entry and 39 other sanctioned crossing points. Buying more sophisticated radar, scanning and night-vision equipment, he said, would cost a fraction of the $2 billion that the government already spends annually to combat border smuggling. "I'm not talking about the Marshall Plan," McCaffrey said. "I'm talking about better organization."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Chief Seeks Overhaul Of Strategy At Border (The Lengthier
'New York Times' Original Version)

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 21:42:33 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: U.S. Drug Chief Seeks Overhaul of Strategy at Border
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Galasyn
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 20 Sep 1998
Author: Christopher Wren

U.S. DRUG CHIEF SEEKS OVERHAUL OF STRATEGY AT BORDER

WASHINGTON -- U.S. border inspectors searched slightly more than a million
commercial trucks and railway cars entering the United States from Mexico
last year. They found cocaine stashed in cargo compartments on only six
occasions, said Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the White House director of
drug-control policy.

He cites the dispiriting statistic in pressing for an overhaul of the
strategy for stanching the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
Slightly more than half of the cocaine smuggled into the United States, and
much of the heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, comes through Mexico.

McCaffrey is proposing that interdiction operations along the
2,000-mile-long southwestern border be coordinated by a single federal
official, who would assume responsibility for all counter-drug efforts by a
half-dozen government departments and no fewer than 22 federal agencies.

But McCaffrey, who holds Cabinet-level rank as the administration's top
drug-control official, is getting a cool response from other government
institutions like the Justice and Treasury departments, where spokesmen
said last week only that his proposal was under review.

Several officials who follow drug policy in Washington said that the
proposal failed to spell out whom a new border drug "czar" would report to
and who would control actual operations.

Some departments and agencies fear that the proposal could infringe on
their authority and their budgets. McCaffrey presides over a federal
drug-control budget exceeding $16 billion this year, but actual allocations
are proposed and controlled by the departments and agencies involved.

McCaffrey said in an interview that his proposal harbors no hidden agenda.
He said that more efficient cooperation and superior technology were needed
to interdict illegal drugs at the southwestern border and its 24 ports of
entry and 39 other sanctioned crossing points.

"This isn't a big deal," McCaffrey said. "It's organizing 39 places so that
manpower, technology and intelligence make it very risky to smuggle things
that are, by weight, more valuable than gold."

For the proposed border czar, McCaffrey said he envisioned a politician,
lawyer or law-enforcement professional who speaks Spanish, is highly
regarded in the border community and favors close cooperation with Mexico.
He did not mention any names. Buying more sophisticated radar, scanning and
night-vision equipment, he said, would cost a fraction of the $2 billion
that the government already spends annually to combat border smuggling.

"I'm not talking about the Marshall Plan," McCaffrey said. "I'm talking
about better organization."

More than 11,000 U.S. inspectors, agents and other officials are deployed
along the border with Mexico. But their resources are strained by the
cross-border traffic that has burgeoned since the North American Free Trade
Agreement was carried out nearly five years ago. Such traffic amounted to
254 million crossings by people, most of them in 75 million cars, and 3.5
million trucks and railway cars entering the United States from Mexico in
1996.

Information about border smuggling is so fragmented and incomplete,
McCaffrey said, that it leaves some drug operations running blind. "Whether
we and the traffickers end up at the same point is all too often left to
luck and gritty, individual police work," he said in a speech in El Paso,
Texas, on Aug. 26.

A draft summary of McCaffrey's proposal, which has been sent to some
members of Congress as well as to other government officials, identified
some specific obstacles to be overcome in fighting drug smuggling along the
border:

* Communications systems used by different agencies are sometimes
incompatible, leaving them isolated or relying on "jerry-built solutions"
to keep in touch with law-enforcement operations working the border.

* Agencies collecting intelligence often fail to share it with other
organizations that are in a position to catch drug smugglers, and sometimes
cannot reach everyone in their own ranks in time to stop a drug shipment.

* Efficient technology for screening vehicles for smuggled drugs without a
time-consuming physical search is seriously lacking.

* Only three devices capable of scanning trucks for hidden compartments are
deployed along the border. "Traffickers quickly adjust to the construction
of such devices and shift drugs elsewhere," the summary said. As a result,
the report said, the number of cocaine seizures at checkpoints and traffic
stops last year was less than half the number made in 1995. Cocaine
seizures as a result of investigations were only one-quarter of those in
1995.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Janet Reno picked a federal attorney in New
Mexico, John J. Kelly, as her representative for the southwest border
region. Reno created the post in 1995 to coordinate the efforts of the FBI,
the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service and the Border Patrol, which all fall under the Justice Department.
This arrangement does not include the Customs Service, which conducts most
border inspections, and the financial crimes units of the Treasury
Department, which tracks money laundering. The State Department and the
Pentagon run their own anti-drug programs in Latin America. The Department
of Transportation watches cross-border traffic and supervises the Coast
Guard. Conscious of looking tough on drugs in an election year, Congress
disregarded other advice from McCaffrey.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved its version of a new
Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act, which calls for an 80 percent cut
in the flow of illicit drugs into the United States by the end of 2001 and
authorized $2.6 billion that has yet to be appropriated.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate
Caucus on International Narcotics Control, McCaffrey called the target of
80 percent "completely unrealistic." He has set a target of a 10 percent
reduction for the same period.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Festival Planning Forges On ('The Herald-Bulletin' In Anderson, Indiana,
Says Organizers Of The Hoosier Harvest Fest Are Determined To Hold The Event
September 25-27 At Pine Lakes Campground In Pendleton, Despite Madison County
Prosecutors' Threat To Arrest The Campground Owners And Forfeit
Their Property)
Link to earlier story
From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 10:18:06 EDT To: dpfor@drugsense.org, nlc@norml.org Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: Fw: FEAR: IN: HOOSIER HARVEST FEST FORGES ON (fwd) Sender: owner-dpfor@drugsense.org Reply-To: dpfor@drugsense.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: "John Silvertooth" (jsilver@madras.net) To: (LawBerger@aol.com) Subject: Fw: FEAR: IN: HOOSIER HARVEST FEST FORGES ON (fwd) Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 10:35:29 -0700 -----Original Message----- From: Kathy Ging (kging@efn.org) To: jsilver@madras.net (jsilver@madras.net) Date: Monday, September 21, 1998 11:02 PM Subject: FEAR: IN: HOOSIER HARVEST FEST FORGES ON (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 06:51:49 -0700 (PDT) From: Bernard Nickerson (berniex@efn.org) Subject: FEAR: IN: HOOSIER HARVEST FEST FORGES ON >>>> for conde and ocf: FORGE ON "The trouble-makers here are not the festival organizers, but the money-hungry prosecutors who just learned about profiteering from asset-forfeiture." *** Herald-Bulletin, Anderson Indiana. FESTIVAL PLANNING FORGES ON * Despite warnings, Hoosier Harvest Fest organizer says event will be held as planned. by Keri McGrath PENDLETON - Despite emphatic warnings from the Madison County's prosecutor's office, organizers of the Hoosier Harvest Fest are determined to hold the controversial event Sept. 25-27 at the Pine Lakes Campground. The Hoosier Harvest Fest, a rally dedicated to the decriminalization of marijuana, has earned the close scutiny of county law enforcement because of rampant drug use by festival participants in the previous years. According to County Deputy Prosecutor David Puckett, Drug Task Force officials found a variety of illegal drugs being sold at the campground last year including heroind, cocaine and LSD. To dissude event organizer Paul Guthrie from holding the fest and Pine Lakes' proprietor Don Winters from allowing it on his property, county prosecutors distributed a letter to them detailing the possible consequences should the sale of drugs become a problem at the event. Aside from prosecution, Puckett said in the letter the Winterses could stand to lose the campground that serves as their livelihood under state and federal forfeiture laws. "The is the most outlandish statement I've ever heard," said the Wintereses attorney, William Levy. "The family has nothing to do with the festival. The operate a private campground, and while (decriminalization of marijuana) may not be the most popular cause, they have the right to assemble. To further dissociate themselves from the proceeding at the festival, the Winterses and Guthrie signed an agreement in which Guthrie takes full responsibility for all activity during the festival -- an attempt to exonerate the family from liability for illegal activities. Among the stipulations outlines in the agreement are that Guthrie must post signs stating the same and use of illegal narcotics are prohibited, to take "reasonable and necessary" steps to prevent unlawful acts, and provide liability insurance. I doubt it will mean anything" Puckett said of the agreement. "The way I see it, it's no different from a crack house." "The owners have been notified about what goes on and we have told them what could happen. We are going to be there and we are going to do our job." The winters family declined comment, but event organizer Guthrie said the family has not canceled the festival. "If they try to take the campground we will fight it" Levy said. "All the way to the Surpeme court if we have to." by Keri McGrath Herald-Bulletin, Anderson Indiana. *** Note: this is the fourth year of this event. Last year there were only 17 arrests out of about 4000 people and it was reported that most of the arrests were for underage drinking. Nothing has ever been written in the paper about these Hempfests being loaded with narcotics. Last year, the state's Emergency Management Team was parked outside of the campgrounds. The trouble makers here are not the festival organizers, but the money- hungry prosecutors who just learned about profiteering from asset-forfeiture. Indiana wants the Republican Convention in the year 2000 . . .
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Hemp Happening In Coconut Grove (A MSNBC Story
By WTVJ In Miami, Florida, Says Statewide Groups
Who Have Started A Petition To Legalize Hemp
And Medical Marijuana Held A Gathering Saturday)

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 20:20:58 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: Hemp Happening In Coconut Grove
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: Sun, 20 Sep 1998
Source: MSNBC WTVJ-Miami FL
Contact: wtvjnews@nbc.com
Website: http://www.msnbc.com/local/WTVJ/

HEMP HAPPENING IN COCONUT GROVE

Sunday, September 20 - Although marijuana is legal in some states - at
least for medical purposes - it is not legal in Florida.

That means it's parent plant, hemp, can not be grown here either. But
Saturday statewide groups were in Coconut Grove pushing for the use of
pot in specific ways.

Hemp can be used for many things besides smoking. You can use it to
make clothes, paper and even automobile oil. But since its most famous
produce is marijuana, hemp advocates get little respect.

Kevin Aplin, of the Cannabis Action Network, explains that hemp can
grow in 120 days and uses no chemicals to process the fiber. So, we
think it's an environmentally responsible way of erasing our paper and
textile needs in this state.

But the government, our politicians, are entrenched against it. So,
statewide groups have started a petition to legalize hemp and
medicinal marijuana.

Pot is Elvy Musikka's panacea. She was one of the first Americans
legally allowed to smoke joints - in her case, to keep the glaucoma
that's blinded her right eye from stealing her sight from the left
eye. Musikka says that smoking pot isn't just medicine...it's the
most efficient, the most reliable and the safest part of our
treatment.

Just last week an overwhelming majority of legislators in the U.S.
Congress voted against marijuana as medicine on the grounds that it's
addictive, and dangerous.

To Elvy Musikka this is ignorance. This is stupidity to maintain
these laws. For her, legalizing pot use has become a personal
crusade: Marijuana, I thank God for it every day of my life.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Well-Trained Team Behind Massacre (An 'Associated Press' Update
In 'The Seattle Times' On The Investigation Into The Murders Of 18 People
In Ensenada, Mexico, Supposedly Linked To A Marijuana Trafficker)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 11:51:57 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Well-trained Team Behind Massacre Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: opinion@seatimes.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Pubdate: 20 September, 1998 Author: Mark Stevenson, Associated Press WELL-TRAINED TEAM BEHIND MASSACRE But scene in Mexico of 18 bloody deaths has few clues EL SAUZAL, Mexico -- The killers arrived in three light trucks before dawn, dressed all in black and carrying automatic rifles. They worked quickly, professionally. And when they were done, 18 men, women and children from one extended family lay dead in bleeding mounds beside a patio wall at the ranch by the sea in northern Mexico. "The children said that it lasted an eternity -- an hour," said state Cmdr. Felipe Perez Cruz, quoting testimony of a 12-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl who survived the Thursday morning massacre linked to drugs. "It was probably 15 or 20 minutes." Statements by investigators and a tour of the blood-stained compound a day after the killings provide signs of a well-organized team carrying out orders to kill an alleged marijuana trafficker and his relatives for some unknown crime against rivals in the drug trade. After driving across a dusty plain, at least nine or 10 gunmen got out at the ranch this suburb of the Baja California resort of Ensenada. The killers broke into three teams, each assigned to one of the family's three houses. "They must have known the family," Perez Cruz said. First hit was the Tovar family household, headed by a sister of alleged trafficker Fermin Castro - apparently the main target. The Tovar family was the only part of the Castro clan not believed to have been involved with drugs, investigators say. One team went through a downstairs window in the Tovar house, in the middle of the compound. Micaria Jaime Tovar, eight months pregnant with her second child, her 1-year-old son Cesar and four other family members were taken to the patio, probably at gunpoint. A second team entered the house of Francisco Flores Altamirano, Castro's brother-in-law and alleged lieutenant in marijuana smuggling. The last team went after Castro, who local media say was known as "The Iceman." While the first and second teams gathered half-dressed couples and pajama-clad children in a corner of the patio in the early morning chill, the third team raced up an exterior staircase and battered or shot in a third-story doorway in Castro's house. Castro was caught in his second-story bedroom, where he was beaten and possibly tortured. Two days later, Castro lay in a coma with gunshot wounds to the head, barely alive. It was unclear whether he was taken to the patio, where the victims were closely packed together against a cinderblock wall. His wife and 2-year-old son were among those killed there. Normally, the story would have stopped with the gunmen issuing a warning that would have been respected under a code of silence so strict that "you can't get a word out of these people," federal investigator Jose Luis Chavez says. Traffickers' relatives - and especially children - are rarely targeted in drug-related paybacks in Mexico. But something was different this time. Perez Cruz said the killers may have been in an "altered state" - drugged or emotionally upset. Or the killers may have been following little-used rules about punishment for those who switch sides in drug gangs, local media say. Still closely huddled together, toddlers beside their mothers, they were ordered to get down on the cold concrete. Neighbors woke when bursts of automatic weapons fire shattered the early morning quiet at 4:15 a.m. "There weren't finished off one by one. They simply sprayed them all with bullets," Perez Cruz said. Eighty spent shells, an average of four bullets per victim, were later found. Mario Alberto Flores, 12, miraculously survived. Losing blood, he wandered about Castro's home until he was found by his cousin, Viviana Flores, 15, who was never discovered by the killers. The girl, six months pregnant, had hidden between a table and an armoire. There were no signs of struggle in the houses or on the patio. Apparently no weapons were kept at the compound. The crime scene offers no clues for the killers' motive.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

'Serpico' Claims Scotland Yard Elite Ran Drug Cartel ('The Sunday Times
Of London' Says Duncan MacLaughlin, A Scotland Yard Detective For 18 Years,
Will Publish Allegations That Illegal Drug Rackets Worth Millions Of Pounds
Were Run From Inside Britain's Biggest Police Force - 'There Were No Better
Criminals In The Country . . . I Was A Member Of The Most Professional
Criminal Cartel That Britain Has Ever Produced')

From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: 'Serpico' claims Scotland Yard elite ran drug cartel
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 19:55:20 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net
Source: The Sunday Times of London
Pubdate: September 20 1998
Online: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk
Writer: Nicholas Rufford
Newshawk: ccross@november.org

BRITAIN
'Serpico' claims Scotland Yard elite ran drug cartel

DRUG rackets worth millions of pounds were run from inside Britain's
biggest police force, according to a former Scotland Yard detective who
is to publish his allegations.

The officer, dubbed "Serpico" by friends after the New York police
officer who was pilloried for exposing corruption, described sections of
the drug squad and the regional crime squad at Scotland Yard as the
"most professional criminal cartels in Britain". He is writing a book in
which he alleges that officers stole drugs, paid phantom informants and
fabricated evidence.

Duncan MacLaughlin, a detective for 18 years, is believed to be the
first officer to talk openly about alleged corruption within the elite
squads in which he worked.

His claims are likely to give renewed urgency to the efforts by Sir Paul
Condon, the Metropolitan police commissioner, to stamp out criminal
activity within the force. Condon has already launched a wide-ranging
inquiry into police corruption, and has set up CIB3, a special unit of
the Complaints Investigation Bureau, to investigate.

MacLaughlin, 38, who admits he was not "straighter than straight", spent
five years in the drug squad and five years in the London-based regional
crime squad, which drew the best detectives from forces across southern
England to investigate serious crime.

He described the regional squad, which he left in 1994, as like Colditz,
the second world war prison. "You put all the clever ones, all the
brains, in one office, and you got the cleverest scams. There were no
better criminals in the country . . . I was a member of the most
professional criminal cartel that Britain has ever produced."
MacLaughlin said hundreds of thousands of pounds were siphoned from
police funds through the creation of phantom informants. "If we got
anonymous information that there was going to be a deal involving, say,
25 kilos of coke [cocaine], straightaway you would create an imaginary
informant. Then a friend would come in and sign a bit of paper and maybe
receive up to 40,000 reward money."

Another practice was to sell drugs which were seized on raids. "Drugs
were recycled all the time. If you found 15 kilos of coke, you produce
12 kilos and 3 would be sold. A kilo of coke you get 30,000 for, so
you have made 90,000."

The claims are some of the most detailed made against Scotland Yard.
MacLaughlin resigned in July. He was facing a discipline charge - which
he denies - for allegedly removing paperwork relating to a murder
investigation.

MacLaughlin does not admit to being involved in any of the crimes he
alleges, though he does admit to holidaying in the Caribbean while on
police assignment to trace a drug baron's assets. He said he did not
feel guilty because he was not spending taxpayers' money, but cash from
a Home Office reward fund. "I was no angel, I would go back to the
Caribbean just when it suited me. The Met police had no idea. It just
showed how incompetent they were," he said.

Roy Clark, deputy assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, said that
some of MacLaughlin's claims were false and others "wildly exaggerated".
He said it was a pity that MacLaughlin was "not prepared to come forward
and, if there was any truth in his suggestions, share his information
with the anti-corruption squad".

Another former senior officer in the complaints bureau described
MacLaughlin as an oddball who would have been sacked had he not
resigned.

MacLaughlin claims that he was rebuffed when he tried to give
information to Ian Quinn, the bureau's director. A Scotland Yard source
dismissed the claim and said MacLaughlin had made an allegation to the
bureau about the private life of a senior officer for which there was
"not an iota of evidence".

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

Top
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.

Comments, questions and suggestions. E-mail

Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/

Next day's news
Previous day's news

Back to the 1998 Daily News index for September 17-23

Back to the Portland NORML news archive directory

Back to 1998 Daily News index (long)

This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/980920.html

Home