Portland NORML News - Sunday, November 22, 1998

Nearly 10% Of Truckers Fail Oregon Drug Test (The Los Angeles Times version
of yesterday's news about Oregon State Police randomly detaining
and urine-testing professional truck drivers in Southern Oregon fails
to explain why such unconstitutional infringements wouldn't be tolerated
in California.)

Newshawk: Jim Galasyn
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Author: Associated Press


* Safety: Checkpoints Turn Up Evidence Of Drivers Using Marijuana, Cocaine
And More. But Some Of Their Vehicles Were In Even Worse Shape.

PORTLAND, Ore.--A 48-hour check of trucks along Oregon's southern border
showed nearly one in 10 drivers tested positive for drug use, an Oregon State
Police report says. And the numbers may be higher. The trucks themselves
were in even worse shape. About a fourth rumbled north despite bad brakes,
bald tires and cracked wheels. Inspectors ordered 98 of the rigs off the road
because of driver and equipment violations. Police stopped 373 trucks
entering Oregon at Ashland and Klamath Falls in October and collected urine
samples from 367 drivers, six of whom were arrested on the spot, the
Oregonian reported today.

"Drug use, combined with the long and at times excessive hours driven,
creates an increased propensity for commercial vehicles crashes," said state
police Lt. Charles E. Hayes. "And that should concern everyone. We share the
road with these people."

Violators may still be driving because state authorities do not automatically
notify the trucking companies.

In addition, federal regulations generally leave it up to the drivers to tell
their employers if they have been convicted or have lost their license. The
test results showed 34 drivers, or 9.3%, had drugs in their system, most
commonly cocaine and methamphetamines, marijuana and prescription

Twenty-six drivers, including some who were in reserve and not at the wheel,
refused to take the tests, Hayes said, suggesting that the drug use estimate
may be conservative.

Ericka Ohm, of the Oregon Trucking Assns., found the arrest figures less than
alarming and "kind of in line with national testing results." State police
planned the operation after a large number of truck crashes during the first
nine months of 1998 in southern Oregon. Seventy truck wrecks occurred in
Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties, causing 18 serious injuries and
three deaths. The operation was the first to deploy safety inspectors from
the Oregon Department of Transportation along with police trained to detect
alcohol and drug impairment.

Word of the border stop quickly spread via CB radio, and state police set up
another checkpoint in Klamath Falls to intercept drivers avoiding the Ashland

Before the operation ended Oct. 8, the California Highway Patrol reported
hundreds of trucks laying up in Northern California, waiting for the checks
to end.

Troopers issued 45 citations and 80 warnings for equipment or driving
problems. Four other drivers were so fatigued they were removed from
service, Hayes said.

Drag Net - Cigarette Buyers May Go Online To Avoid New Taxes
(The San Jose Mercury News says that when the 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax
increase mandated by Proposition 10 kicks in on January 1, authorities
in California fear many tobacco aficionados will find ways of avoiding
the tax - even if it means breaking the law. The state already loses
up to $50 million a year in unpaid cigarette taxes. Armed with an editor's
credit card, a reporter bought three cartons of Marlboro, Kools
and Lucky Strike cigarettes for $18.50 per carton from Riverbend Discount
Cigarettes, located on the Allegany Indian Reservation in Salamanca,
New York. "We haven't made an estimate yet as to what the impact is going
to be" under Proposition 10, said Monte Williams of the California Board
of Equalization.)

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 01:11:07 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Drag Net: Cigarette Buyers May Go Online To Avoid New Taxes
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center
Author: STEVE JOHNSON, Mercury News Staff Writer


Call it a smokers' revolt, or maybe just free enterprise in full bloom.

But come Jan. 1, when the 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax kicks in under
Proposition 10, authorities fear many tobacco aficionados will figure out a
way to avoid paying it -- even if that means breaking the law.

And as the Mercury News discovered, it's easy to do. All that's needed is a
phone, a credit card and access to the Internet. By tapping into the growing
numbers of online, out-of-state tobacco retailers -- some of them on Indian
reservations -- a reporter had little trouble buying cigarettes with no
California tax included. Nobody even bothered to ask the reporter's age.

Making it easier still for would-be tobacco scofflaws to evade taxes is
California's voluntary system for reporting such transactions.

By law, officials say, Californians who buy more than two cartons from such
outfits are supposed to pay this state's tax themselves. But compliance is
rare. With no easy way to identify violators, authorities have little chance
to punish them.

``Therein lies the dilemma,'' said Monte Williams of the California Board of
Equalization, who says the state already loses up to $50 million a year in
unpaid cigarette taxes. ``We haven't made an estimate yet as to what the
impact is going to be'' under Proposition 10, he said. But asked if the loss
could be higher, he added, ``You would have to assume that.''

Under the initiative -- which is expected to raise up to $750 million a year
for children's services -- California's total per-pack levy is due to hit 87
cents, including 37 cents from a previous tax. Because that will boost the
average cost of a pack from $2.55 to $3.05, some smokers aren't wasting
time. They've begun heading into places like Nevada -- whose tax is just 35
cents per pack -- to stock up.

Californians to Reno

``I've already had people coming from California,'' said Nora Mosquera, who
manages a Cigarettes Cheaper store in Reno. The shop sells a carton of
Marlboros for $20.96, which is slightly cheaper than the $21.53 currently
charged at the chain's San Jose outlets and considerably lower than the $26
or more they'll cost here after Jan. 1. ``We used to have a five-carton
limit,'' she added, but with Proposition 10, ``that's been lifted.''

While some local tobacco shops also report increased sales, authorities are
more concerned about smokers rushing to mail-order outfits like Smoker's
Choice of Worland, Wyo., and Riverbend Discount Cigarettes, located on the
Allegany Indian Reservation in Salamanca, N.Y. As the Mercury News
discovered, they supply cigarettes quickly, relatively inexpensively and
without a California tax.

Armed with an editor's credit card, a reporter bought three cartons from
Riverbend -- Marlboros, Kools and Lucky Strikes -- for $18.50 per carton.
The cost of postage was covered in that price and the cigarettes arrived the
following week. The reporter also bought two cartons of Marlboro 100s and
two cartons of Virginia Slims menthols from Smoker's Choice. Although no
invoice was included when they came in a couple of days, a Smoker's Choice
salesman said the cost was $18.95 per carton, plus a small service fee.

Neither outfit inquired about the reporter's age, to make sure they weren't
selling illegally to a minor. Nevertheless, when contacted later, a woman
handling Riverbend's transaction said she routinely calls credit card firms
to check the age of buyers paying by card.

Williams of the equalization board expressed concern about another potential
problem with the sales. Under a federal law known as the Jenkins Act, he
said, out-of-state retailers who sell and ship cigarettes into California
are supposed to file their names with the equalization board, as well as
submit monthly reports detailing how much they shipped and to whom.

In the cases of Riverbend and Smoker's Choice, officials with the two
suppliers said they hadn't bothered to do that because they didn't think
they needed to.

``We do not sell in California; we sell in Wyoming,'' said Warren Schroefel,
the manager of Smoker's Choice. ``My feeling is that as long as that item is
bought and paid for in the state of Wyoming, it's perfectly legal.''

The same argument was offered by the woman at Riverbend. ``We interpret it
that the sale and everything is taking place on the reservation,'' she said.

Legal nuances

Even some government regulators aren't entirely clear on the legal nuances
of mail-order cigarette sales.

``It gets to be a rather complicated issue,'' said Fred Lopez, an attorney
with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in San Francisco --
especially when the suppliers are on Indian reservations, which enjoy
certain tax benefits. ``We're trying to get together an internal work group
to look at those issues as a result of Prop. 10.'' Given the 50-cent tax
hike in California, he predicted, ``it will become a destination place for
cigarettes from other jurisdictions.''

Even though the Smoker's Choice cigarettes bore Wyoming's 12-cents-per-pack
tax stamp, authorities said customers receiving them in this state are still
obligated to pay the California tax. After discounting the two cartons from
each supplier that are tax-free under the law, the Mercury News promised to
pay California the $11.10 in taxes it owes.

But many other cigarette customers across the country aren't paying such
taxes. Washington state estimates it loses $63 million a year. Michigan puts
that figure at $75 million annually.

Some of those losses result innocently enough from smokers who buy small
quantities of cigarettes in states where the tax is much lower. Of the three
states bordering California -- Oregon, Arizona and Nevada -- Nevada's tax
will be the lowest by far once Proposition 10 goes into effect. And that is
likely to mean increased business for even the smallest tobacco vendors,
such as Jay Schmitt, who manages a Tinder Box franchise in Reno.

``We have a lot of visitors from California and they stop in the local
tobacco shops,'' said Schmitt. ``I think they'll do more of it now that you
have this ridiculous tax.''

Schmitt doesn't plan to get rich from the initiative, because he's a
low-volume retailer. But with so many states raising tobacco taxes, some
entrepreneurs have big plans. In September, the Omaha Indians in Nebraska
became the first tribe to start its own cigarette company -- the Omaha
Nation Tobacco Company. It's on the Internet, too, and offers cartons for

``There has been a significant increase in trafficking in cigarettes from
states with low taxes on tobacco to states with high taxes on tobacco,'' ATF
Director John Magaw has warned Congress. He said his agency has ``uncovered
involvement in cigarette smuggling by Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian
organized crime groups.'' In addition, he noted, some members of Indian
tribes also have gotten into the act.

Just this month, four people pleaded guilty to smuggling cigarettes and
alcohol into Canada through a Mohawk Indian reservation in New York. At
least 16 others also allegedly were involved. According to prosecutors, from
1992 to 1996, the scheme netted more than $500 million in illegal profits.


Pssst . . . Nicotine?


Pro Bono (A staff editorial in The San Francisco Examiner
says Mary Bono's revelation that her husband Sonny died
because of his dependence on prescription drugs underscores the insanity
of this country's "war on drugs.")

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 21:00:04 -0500
To: dpfca@drugsense.org
From: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Subject: DPFCA: US CA: SFX Editorial: Pro Bono
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/
Newshawk: Frank S. World
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 1998 San Francisco Examiner
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Section: Editorial, Page D 8
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/


When Sonny's Widow Revealed His Prescription-Drug Dependence, A Window Was
Opened On A Hidden Epidemic In This Country

SOMEBODY'S drug crazed in this country, but it's not necessarily the users.

Mary Bono's revelation that her husband Sonny died because of his
dependence on prescription drugs underscores the insanity of this country's
"war on drugs." Millions of Americans are hooked on legal drugs such as
Valium and Percodan - two of the pharmaceuticals that may have done in
Sonny Bono - while the government bares its knuckles against dying cancer
patients who try to ease their pain a bit by smoking marijuana.

The immediate cause of Sonny Bono's death was that he skied into a tree
last January at Heavenly Valley. But his widow - who replaced him as the
Republican member of Congress from Palm Springs - believes his judgment was
crippled by the 20 prescription pills he popped every day for a bad back.

This level of medication made him part of a huge, silent epidemic that
neither Gen. Barry McCaffrey nor DARE nor conservative politicians spend
much time bemoaning, let alone fighting. But legal mood drugs and
painkillers are abused more widely in this country than heroin, cocaine or
just about any other illegal drug you can name. Statistics are hard to come
by, but one study this year estimated that 2.8 million American women over
age 59 were addicted to prescription drugs.

Instead of combating this real peril, the federal goverment is filing suit
to stop AIDS sufferers from enjoying a joint, and pouring billions of
dollars into the eradication of coca fields in South America.

Symbolism builds. The "war on drugs" is headed by a real general,
McCaffrey. Two-thirds of the nation's $16 billion drug-war budget is eaten
by military maunuevers and police action, while only a third goes to
education, prevention and treatment. The ratios are the reverse of what
they should be. President Clinton says preventing teenage drug use is his
top priority, but Congress can't even get around to mild measures to reduce
teen smoking.

Loonier is the government's obsession with shutting down marijuana
dispensaries for the crticially ill. Since California voters passed
Proposition 215 in June 1997, the feds have been on jihad to wipe medical
marijuana from the face of the earth. Doctors are under threat of criminal
prosecution if they prescribe it, and narcs have shuttered marijuana clubs.

This is occurring even as voters this month in five more Western states -
Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Nevada - joined California in
attempting to legalize medical marijuana. Federal judges are compelled to
follow federal drug statutes when cases are brought to court, but the U.S.
attorney general has discretion in whether to prosecute. She doesn't have
to subsribe to "reefer madness." The real culprit, however, is Congress. In
a show of political cowardice, it refuses to rationally consider changing
inhumane and outmoded laws that deny comfort to sick and suffering
citizens. Dying for a joint? Yes, some of these people literally are.

Sonny Bono was a product of the flower power era. Whether or not he smoked
dope, everyone assumed he was higher than a satellite. Now, according to
his widow, he's killed by perfectly legal drugs. The additional irony is no
one would have known the true nature of his addiction except that Mary Bono
had the courage to speak out.

We hope her colleagues in Congress listen to her - really listen - and then
take steps to reel in the "war on drugs." In its psychoactive appetites,
this nation has been on a bad trip too long. We can either continue to pour
billions into high-tech drug-fighting weaponry and shutting down marijuana
clubs, or else we can face our real problems and search for real solutions.

Police Officers Are Wearing Badges Of Dishonor (The Los Angeles Times
focuses on the rise and fall of Ralph Riley, a Georgia policeman convicted
of drug-war corruption, to examine the growing nationwide problem of cops
being convicted of serious crimes, most of them involving drugs. The number
of federal, state and local officials serving time in federal prisons, mostly
for drug-related offenses, has multiplied five times in four years
to nearly 550 this year, according to government data.)

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 10:10:52 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US LA: Police Officers Are Wearing Badges Of Dishonor
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times.
Fax: 213-237-4712
Author: Jack Nelson, Chief Washington Correspondent


Justice: The rise and fall of one Georgia policeman illustrates a growing
national problem of cops being convicted of serious crimes.

BUTNER, N.C.--In six years on the Savannah, Ga., police force, Officer
Ralph Riley made 600 drug-related arrests. A tough, aggressive cop who
boot-strapped his way out of public housing to earn a degree in criminal
justice from Savannah State College, Riley built a reputation for
skillfully handling dangerous undercover assignments. He dreamed of joining
the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and maybe becoming a lawyer.

Today, Riley is serving nine years in the federal penitentiary here--one of
11 Savannah-area officers arrested in an FBI sting in September 1997 on
charges of protecting illegal drug shipments.

The story of how one Georgia policeman went from role model to convicted
felon casts a revealing light on an alarming national problem: the rapidly
rising number of police officers convicted of serious crimes--most of them
involving drugs and directly related to their law enforcement duties.

The number of federal, state and local officials serving time in federal
prisons, mostly for drug-related offenses, has multiplied five times in
four years to nearly 550 this year, according to government data.

Just a few weeks ago, for example, 44 police and other law enforcement
officers in the Cleveland area pleaded guilty to drug charges growing out
of an FBI sting.

"It's particularly worrisome to see an increase in cases where you have
criminals masquerading as police officers," said Mark Codd, chief of the
FBI's public corruption unit. "The ultimate corruption of the system is to
have police become active participants in the trafficking of drugs."

While police corruption has long plagued the nation's largest metropolitan
areas, it is now spreading to the suburbs and medium-sized cities. For

* In Mount Vernon, N.Y., the chief of detectives and a second highly
celebrated detective were arrested and accused of seizing illegal gambling
proceeds for their own use and taking payoffs for allowing gambling and
drug operations to function.

* Three former police officers in Palisades Park, N.J., will be sentenced
this month on convictions stemming from entering and burglarizing homes
whose security alarms had gone off.

* The sheriff, five deputies and the justice of the peace in Starr County,
Texas, pleaded guilty in March to taking bribes in return for setting low
bonds for people who had been arrested.

But Riley's case is particularly revealing because he is one of the star
performers in a program developed by the FBI to combat police-related
crime. He sat for a two-hour videotaped interview for use in instructing
other police officers, particularly those with little experience, to avoid
the temptations and corrupting influence of illegal drugs.

"Respect your oath," Riley said during the interview, choking with tears.
"If you break it, you will suffer severe consequences. I know from
real-life experience."

One Officer's Path to Destruction

The road to ruin for Riley was mapped out not by criminals but by fellow
police officers. He began violating his oath by entering into a police
culture in which bending the rules to get arrests and convictions was
widely considered to be part of the game.

On one of his first days as a rookie, Riley said, a veteran officer told
him: "All that stuff you learned in training school you can forget. This is
the real school now. Do what you have to do to do your duty and survive."

Riley soon concluded that officers who were considered the best "didn't
always follow the rules," and that was the top of "the slippery slope,"
according to Codd.

"Once you start out violating seemingly inconsequential regulations," Codd
said, "it's a short trip to the point where you begin accepting money for
doing heinous illegal acts."

Riley, now 33, is married and the father of a 10-year-old daughter. He
recalls how he used to take her to cheerleader classes and help her with
homework. He regularly gets letters in prison from her and his wife, a
hospital secretary.

Riley grew up in a drug-infested public housing project. His mother was a
hospital orderly who divorced from his father when he was 6. Riley helped
care for his younger brother and two younger sisters, cooking for them and
dressing them for school, Laura Riley recalled in an interview.

"He never gave me a minute of trouble and never messed with any drugs," she
said. "He used to tell the young drug dealers they better cut that out or
they would wind up dead or in jail."

Throughout high school and his first year at Savannah State, Riley worked
as chief custodian at the Savannah Science Museum. Across the street from
his home lived two of his high school classmates, Purvis Ellison, now a
Boston Celtic, and a youth known as Johnny Smooth.

When he enrolled at Savannah State, Riley recalled, "Johnny Smooth wanted
to know why I went to school and worked. He said he was going to be a dope
dealer and pimp and make some money." True to his word, Johnny Smooth
became one of Savannah's biggest dealers--until he was caught and landed in
Butner penitentiary.

Riley, a Marine Corps Reserve sergeant who scored a perfect 300 on the
Marines' physical fitness test, joined the Savannah police force in 1988
and was soon assigned to a drug-busting unit headed by Sgt. Billy Medlock,
a tough veteran who became his close friend.

On the streets, Riley was feared by drug dealers who could not understand
why someone who had grown up in their kind of poor neighborhood could go
after them so aggressively.

Even as an ordinary patrolman, Riley had embraced the widespread practice
of accepting discounted meals and ignoring other relatively minor
department rules. Now he moved into major infractions: roughing up suspects
and shading his testimony to get convictions.

"Drugs were a dirty business, but we had to present it clean in court,"
Riley said in a Times interview at the prison. "That's one thing which I
considered to be small, but of course it's quite serious."

Community leaders praised Riley not only for making his many drug busts but
also for teaching criminal justice at a local college and tutoring
elementary school students. He also lectured at boys' and girls' clubs on
the dangers of becoming involved with gangs and illegal drugs.

Beneath the surface, however, Riley was sliding ever faster down the
slippery slope.

Working undercover, he said in the FBI interview, he witnessed many
"horrible and dangerous scenes" and became less sensitive to taking risks
and breaking rules. Using his fists and sometimes a baton to rough up
pushers, he compiled a thick file of complaints about excessive force.

Riley said he felt protected by the police force's unwritten code of
silence. He told of introducing a rookie policeman to the code by
committing him to silence after seizing the gun of a suspect and firing
shots over the suspect's head.

Seeing all the drug money on Savannah's streets, Riley soon felt entitled
to some. He saw dealers in their teens and early 20s making up to $1
million a year. His annual salary: $32,000.

So after a crack house bust, he turned in only $16,000 of the $20,000 in
cash he seized and split the $4,000 with Medlock.

The result? Police Chief David M. Gellatly, who knew nothing of the skim,
praised Riley for producing $16,000 for the city treasury.

Riley was lured into the FBI sting by Medlock. As Riley told it, Medlock
knew of his "insatiable appetite" for the hot nightclubs four hours away in
Atlanta. He introduced him to a man he called Antonio Lopez, who got them
into a club where Prince, Riley's favorite singer, was appearing.

Unsuspecting Pair Lured Into Trap

What neither Riley nor Medlock knew was that Lopez was an undercover FBI
agent from Miami whose real name was Anthony Velazquez. And Velazquez had
already snared Medlock by paying him to provide protection for what he told
Medlock up front were illegal drug shipments.

Medlock brought Riley and Michael Holmes, a state juvenile justice officer,
in on the scheme but told them it was to protect shipments of diamonds, not

Velazquez appeared to be a smooth, sophisticated operator. He paid Medlock
$8,000 for escorting the first shipment through Savannah and gave him
$6,000 more to split between Riley and Holmes.

Because neither Riley nor Holmes was aware of the financial arrangements or
knew that drugs were supposed to be involved, Medlock gave them only $200
each. Riley thought that was not bad pay for 30 minutes of escorting a
shipment of diamonds.

One day, as the sting unfolded, Riley learned about Velazquez's financial
arrangements with Medlock and the supposed involvement of drugs. He was
furious--not about the drugs but about the money.

That night, according to Riley's wife, Michelle, he stormed into the house,
grabbed a shotgun and vowed: "I'm gonna kill Billy Medlock. He took my
money. I'm gonna kill that son of a bitch."

Riley left home with the shotgun and lured Medlock to a parking lot before
Velazquez, guaranteeing that he would get his fair share of any future
payments, persuaded him not to carry out the threat.

One evening, Riley was sitting in a patrol car in downtown Savannah when
suddenly his car door was flung open by a police lieutenant and a man
wearing a dark blue FBI vest. They were pointing pistols at his head. Like
the hundreds of drug pushers he had arrested, he was quickly handcuffed.

His arrest shocked most of his fellow officers. Det. Devonn Adams, who
worked with him on drug busts, said: "We would see a teenager driving a
$40,000 Lexus, and we knew he was a drug dealer. It was frustrating, but I
thought [Riley] was fighting his frustration by putting those kind of folks
in jail. We both used to go to the boys' club and warn the kids about the
dangers of drugs and gangs."

No one was more shocked than John C. Watts Jr., a lawyer who had been
Riley's friend and commanding officer in his Marine Corps Reserve unit. "He
always showed good judgment, and I could trust him with anything," Watts said.

Riley, represented by Watts in the FBI sting case, agreed to plead guilty
rather than risk a trial and possible life sentence. And he agreed to
testify against Medlock.

Medlock was convicted and sentenced to 22 1/2 years. One officer was
acquitted, but the other eight, all relatively inexperienced, either
pleaded guilty or were convicted and received long sentences. Two got life.

Riley's mother, a devoted Baptist who had brought him up in the church, has
not lost her faith. "It could have been really ugly and nastier. The Lord
was wonderful the way he looked out after Ralph."

Times staff writer Ronald J. Ostrow contributed to this story.

Dealer Goes Undercover on Underworld Odyssey (The Los Angeles Times
says that when Roberto Rodriguez went on the lam in 1989
after being sentenced to 12 years in prison, he embarked on an odyssey
through the drug underworld of the Americas that ultimately led to
revelations of official corruption in several US cities.)

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 10:19:22 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US LA: Dealer Goes Undercover on Underworld Odyssey
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times.
Fax: 213-237-4712
Author: Mark Fineman, Times Staff Writer


Drugs: Southland cocaine supplier forged friendship with DEA agent and
helped expose official corruption.

MIAMI--When Roberto Rodriguez was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1989,
apparently ending his reign as one of the San Fernando Valley's premier
cocaine dealers, a federal judge in Los Angeles gave the Cuban immigrant 30
days to get his affairs in order. That month became nearly a decade.

Rodriguez jumped bond and headed south, embarking on an odyssey through the
drug underworld of the Americas that made him a target of hit men in Los
Angeles and Detroit; a drug supplier for street gangs in Chicago, Detroit
and New York; and a partner and friend to leaders of the Cali cocaine
cartel in Colombia. Before it ended this year on witness stands and in
debriefing rooms in four U.S. cities, that long journey through drug land
for Rodriguez and his Cuban-born stepbrother, Osvaldo Marcial, also exposed
official corruption in several U.S. cities. Their testimony ultimately
revealed the dark double lives of corrupt cops in suburban Michigan, a
middle school vice principal dealing crack cocaine in South Florida, and a
former federal prosecutor who crossed the line for his cocaine overlords in
Miami. And it led to charges against two prominent businessmen in the
Dominican Republic accused of laundering cocaine profits. In all, court
documents obtained by The Times show that Rodriguez and his brother, along
with Mark Minelli, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who
won their trust, account for more than 40 convictions of major drug dealers
and the officials who protected them in Chicago, Detroit, New York and
Miami. In the more than 18 months since Rodriguez joined his brother in
secretly working for Minelli and the DEA, their undercover operations led
to the seizure of nearly $3 million in drug money, aircraft worth $3
million and cocaine worth $12 million. Their cooperation also helped solve
a gangland slaying in Chicago and an attempted murder in Los Angeles.

Case Exposes Depth, Reach of Corruption

In short, the three men quietly became a singular wrecking crew against the
Colombian cartel's distributors and protectors in the United States, and
exposed the depth and reach of cocaine corruption in U.S. society. The
array of cases prosecuted with the help of the three men is "a disturbing
example of how the drug trade permeates every level of our society,
corrupting even those who we trust most," said Vincent J. Mazzilli, chief
of the DEA's Miami office. The court documents in these cases, culled from
federal courthouses in the United States and their counterpart in the
Dominican Republic, also tell the story of a unique friendship between
hunter and hunted at the front line of the U.S. war on drugs. It is the
kind of relationship that many prosecutors and drug agents say is the key
to winning that war. "Without someone like Rodriguez, we could not have
uncovered the nature of the corruption we had here," said Assistant U.S.
Atty. Joe Allen, who used Rodriguez this year to successfully prosecute
four senior police officers in the suburbs of Detroit for taking
drug-protection money. "It would take years and years and years to make a
case like this without a person at [Rodriguez's] level in the drug world,"
Allen said. How the brash and enterprising Rodriguez reached that level,
bringing along his younger brother, helps explain how the drug underworld
has flourished in the Western Hemisphere. Rodriguez's lawyer declined to
make him available for an interview. Marcial gave a brief interview outside
a Miami courtroom last week, confirming his undercover role and saying it
has left him feeling at peace--despite the price he said the drug
underworld has put on his head. The brothers have told their story
separately and in detail under oath on witness stands during trials this
year in Miami and Detroit. Those details were also confirmed in testimony
by Minelli, who has supervised the brothers since they switched sides in
the drug war. Federal drug enforcement officials say Rodriguez was among
Southern California's major cocaine dealers when he was caught in 1989
delivering more than 100 pounds of the drug. A legal immigrant who stated
that he came to Los Angeles from Havana as a child six years after Fidel
Castro's revolution in 1959, Rodriguez testified that he had been dealing
drugs throughout Southern California since 1977--an enterprise he later
estimated had netted him as much as $3 million through the years. Even
after his 1989 conviction, Rodriguez continued to deal cocaine during a
court-approved leave. He was caught selling 44 pounds of the drug to
undercover drug agents at a Temecula hotel as he attempted to recover his
financial losses from the earlier arrest. "You engaged in another drug
transaction to pay for the first one?" prosecutor Allen asked Rodriguez on
the witness stand in Detroit in February. "Yes." "And when you got caught,
you fled the country?" "That's right." Rodriguez testified in the Detroit
case that he fled to Miami, then to the Dominican Republic, Panama and
finally Costa Rica, where a doctor operated on his hands to surgically
alter his fingerprints. Rodriguez said he paid for the operation with a
$10,000 Rolex watch. He testified he had hoped to stay in Costa Rica and
start a new life with his wife and three children but panicked and fled to
Colombia when he learned that Interpol was investigating him.

Odyssey Continues With Colombia Cartel He didn't Leave Alone.

While in Costa Rica, Rodriguez befriended another Cuban-born drug dealer,
Jorge Hernandez, who had undergone the same fingerprint surgery as
Rodriguez. In 1991, the two men traveled to Cali, where Rodriguez
ingratiated himself with the leaders of Colombia's most powerful cocaine

He and Hernandez formed a partnership that would supply hundreds of pounds
of Cali cocaine to major U.S. cities in the years that followed. The
partnership ended only when Hernandez--who has pleaded guilty in Miami to
charges of drug trafficking and in Los Angeles to attempted
murder--threatened, as Rodriguez later recounted on the witness stand, "to
put a bullet in my head." It was during their partnership that Rodriguez's
brother became a major player in the two partners' cocaine operation.
Marcial testified at a trial in Miami in January that, unlike his brother,
he had immigrated to Los Angeles illegally--a yearlong journey from Havana
through Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico that cost $4,000 before he finally
crossed the U.S. border at Tijuana in 1987.

Marcial stated that Rodriguez started him in the drug business soon after,
and he moved up through the ranks as his brother rose in stature with the
Colombians and the Mexican cartels that transship cocaine into the United
States. "I was the pickup guy, the one that picks up the dope and puts it
in the stash house," Marcial testified in Miami. Later, Marcial said, he
graduated to "cocaine driver," running dozens of loads of at least 200
pounds each from Los Angeles and southern Texas to New York, Chicago and

41 Family Members Were Relocated

The brothers later testified separately that their key contacts were in
Mexico, Chicago, New York and Miami. Those contacts were so powerful, in
fact, that the U.S. government has spent more than $150,000 relocating at
least 41 members of Rodriguez's family from California and Colombia,
according to court documents and testimony.

Rodriguez testified that the family members received death threats after
the brothers began cooperating with drug enforcement agents after Marcial's
capture in May 1995. Marcial was arrested, along with four other people,
while delivering 30 pounds of cocaine to a suburban Miami apartment
complex. Among the powerful drug distributors who were later convicted as a
result of the brothers' undercover work and testimony was Francisco Medina,
a Chicago-based cousin of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. U.S. and Mexican
authorities had labeled Carrillo Fuentes the most powerful drug lord in
Mexico until his death after plastic surgery in 1997. Marcial's cooperation
also resulted in the arrest and guilty plea of Ruben Carillo Rosales, a
major Colombian cocaine distributor in Manhattan who later helped U.S.
authorities break up a smuggling operation that used Colombian air force
cargo planes to bring cocaine into the United States. And the brothers'
undercover work, aided by Carillo's subsequent cooperation, led to the
conviction of Luis H. Cano, a Mexican American businessman who was found
guilty by a federal jury in Miami this year of heading a vast cocaine
network that imported more than 10 tons of the drug into the United States
during the past decade. Cano, who is appealing the verdict, was sentenced
to life in prison.

U.S. authorities are trying to extradite two Dominican businessmen also
indicted for money laundering in that case. Through it all, the brothers
later testified, official corruption was the subtext that allowed their
smuggling operation to flourish. Marcial helped federal authorities win a
guilty plea to drug-conspiracy charges from his prominent Miami defense
lawyer, former Assistant U.S. Atty. [Name redacted]. After Marcial's 1995
arrest, he secretly recorded a jailhouse conversation in which [Name redacted] was
concerned only with locating a 300-pound cocaine shipment that Marcial hid
in the Chicago suburbs. Marcial, who testified that his attorney's actions
helped persuade him to cooperate with the DEA, also went undercover earlier
this year to expose drug trafficking by Willie Young, who was vice
principal of a middle school in Miami at the time. Marcial was the key
witness in September against Young, whom he described as a buyer and seller
of cocaine, before a federal jury that convicted Young of drug trafficking.
Young is scheduled to be sentenced Monday and faces up to life in prison.
It was Marcial's elder brother, though, who helped prosecutors win the
federal case against the four police officers in suburban Detroit. Such
cases, U.S. authorities say, are among the most difficult forms of official
drug corruption to expose because the lawbreakers are also the law
enforcers. The accused ranged in rank from sergeant to deputy chief.
Rodriguez testified at the Detroit trial of one officer that the four
police officials from Highland Park and Royal Oak Township had taken a
total of several thousand dollars in bribes to protect cocaine shipments
that Rodriguez brought into their towns for the Colombians. The officer was
convicted, and the other three pleaded guilty, to drug-conspiracy charges.
Asked during that trial why he decided to switch sides in the drug war,
Rodriguez first cited what he said was a murder contract put out on him by
"the thugs in Detroit." However, later in his testimony, Rodriguez gave the
same answer his brother has offered in several trials during the past year:
the trust and friendship they gradually forged with DEA agent Minelli.

Going After Top Distributors

For a year after Marcial's 1995 arrest and decision to work undercover for
the DEA, Rodriguez testified that he had several telephone conversations
with Minelli. "The understanding between me and Minelli was that if he was
to see me, he was to arrest me," Rodriguez stated. Meanwhile, Rodriguez
added, he helped Minelli make a case against Hernandez, his former partner,
who had been arrested with Marcial. Finally, in January 1997, Rodriguez met
Minelli for the first time--for breakfast at a Cuban cafe in North Miami
Beach--and surrendered. For the next two months, he worked undercover.
Wearing hidden microphones and cameras, he led Minelli to some of the top
cocaine distributors in the United States. As Marcial said on the witness
stand in Miami when asked why he decided to cooperate with federal
authorities: "I talked to my brother, and I told him about Mr. Minelli. I
convinced him to surrender himself. . . . I told him I know an agent, and
he is honest, and he can trust him with his life."

Minelli, a 14-year veteran of the drug fight, last month was awarded one of
the Justice Department's highest honors for his lead role in the Cano case.
He has won high praise from state prosecutors in Chicago, who say he and
his key witnesses solved a contract murder there earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Marcial has pleaded guilty to drug-conspiracy charges and is
scheduled to begin serving a nine-year prison term later this month. And
Rodriguez is in federal prison serving a 17-year term for his two drug
convictions in Southern California, although his attorney, Minelli and
other federal agents have indicated that they will formally appeal for a
reduced sentence later this year.

Looking back last week, Marcial, who also hopes to have his sentence
reduced in the coming weeks, said one of the best days of his life came
when he was arrested--and decided to "do the right thing." "I'm glad I got
caught," he told The Times. "That day they put the handcuffs on me,
something left my body--some kind of heavy stuff. It was like, that's it.
It's over."

Two Years Later, CIA-drug Controversy Continues (The San Jose Mercury News
notes two years have passed since the newspaper ignited a firestorm
of controversy with its "Dark Alliance" series, primarily written
by Gary Webb, which exposed the CIA-Contra-cocaine scandal.
The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee is expected
to hold hearings next year.)

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 10:24:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Two Years Later, CIA-drug Controversy Continues
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Galasyn
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center
Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998
Author: Pete Carey


House panel expected to hold hearings next year

Two years have passed since the Mercury News ignited a firestorm of
national controversy with a story of how supporters of a CIA-backed
guerrilla army in Nicaragua helped spark the crack epidemic in America in
the 1980s.

Since then, two federal investigations have produced three reports running
into hundreds of pages each. Now Congress is poised for a final look at the

The verdict of the investigations: The story was wrong in its major
allegations, which were described as ``exaggerations of the actual facts''
by Justice Department Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich.

But the CIA doesn't come off well, either.

The latest report, by the CIA inspector general, is a startlingly detailed
confession by the agency that it knew some of its helpers were alleged drug
dealers, that it failed to investigate many allegations and even continued
using some suspected drug traffickers as assets.

The House Intelligence Committee probably will hold hearings early next
year, according to congressional sources. The committee should be finished
interviewing witnesses within a month or six weeks, committee sources said.

``We will most definitely be issuing a report at the end of the day,'' a
committee source said, ``so you will get to see whether we agree with what
Department of Justice and the CIA inspectors general came up with and if
there's something new that we haven't heard.''

The series, titled ``Dark Alliance,'' traced the careers of Norwin Meneses
and Danilo Blandon, two Nicaraguans living in California in the first half
of the 1980s, and Ricky Ross, a young drug dealer in South Central Los
Angeles. It claimed that the Nicaraguans had ``funneled millions in drug
profits'' -- from sales of ``cut-rate cocaine'' to Ross -- to a CIA-backed
guerrilla army known as the Contras.

The series also implied that the Nicaraguans were somehow protected from
prosecution by U.S. government agencies.

The articles took on a life of their own, propelled by widespread
distribution on the Internet. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and
the Washington Post conducted their own investigations and said they could
not confirm the allegations. More recently, a book and an Esquire magazine
article defended the series and criticized the Mercury News for later
saying the series didn't meet the paper's standards in several respects.
The series' author, Gary Webb, left the paper and published his own book
expanding on the series and defending its findings.

Series faulted

In two reports released this year, the inspectors general of the CIA and
the Department of Justice -- who are appointed by the president and who
report to Congress -- said their yearlong investigations did not
substantiate any of the series' major claims, including the notion that the
drug dealers ignited the crack epidemic in Los Angeles or nationwide. This
claim gave the story its explosive force, observed Bromwich, inspector
general of the Department of Justice.

But after poring over thousands of CIA cables and documents and
interviewing hundreds of people, the CIA inspector general's office found
that the agency was ``inconsistent'' in its reaction to allegations of drug
trafficking, unrelated to the Meneses-Blandon operation, in the Contra
apparatus. That is putting it mildly.

From 1982 to 1995, the agency had no published policy covering CIA
employees' contacts with people or companies known or suspected to have
trafficked in drugs, the CIA inspector general reported. If the suspects
were merely hired help -- agents, assets or independent contractors --
narcotics allegations were exempt from law enforcement reporting requirements.

The only exception was for employees involved in a counternarcotics
program, and the Contra war wasn't such a program.

Nor did the CIA have a policy of identifying or following up on allegations
about suspected drug traffickers, the CIA inspector general discovered.

Despite the absence of such rules, the inspector general said that many CIA
personnel ``understood the potential seriousness of information that linked
participants in the Contra program to drug trafficking. Indeed, many say
they believed that the agency's policy was not to have relationships with
such persons.''

Drug allegations

Such sentiments apparently didn't apply in a number of cases found in CIA
records by CIA inspector general investigators.

The agency received allegations of drug trafficking about one organization
and several dozen people involved in the Contra war, some of whom it
continued to deal with. It didn't inform law enforcement of allegations
about 11 Contra-related individuals and assets, the inspector general
found, nor Congress of allegations about eight of 10 Contra-related people.

Only three intelligence reports about narcotics were completed by the
agency during the 1980s that related to potential Contra involvement in
drug trafficking.

Among the problems found by investigators in CIA records:

a.. The CIA continued dealing with several suspected drug traffickers
around Eden Pastora, leader of a ``Southern Front'' Contra army in Costa
Rica, after the agency severed its ties with Pastora in 1984 because he'd
been linked to a major drug trafficker. Pastora's lieutenants had entered
into a mutual assistance agreement with Jorge Morales, a drug smuggler who
offered Pastora's army an airplane and two helicopters in exchange for help
smuggling drugs.

b.. The agency worried about Cuban drug trafficker Frank Castro, who
donated some airplanes to a group of Cubans affiliated with Pastora. While
he was being prosecuted in 1983 for drug trafficking in Texas, he claimed
to be associated with the CIA. An unsigned, handwritten note found by
investigators for the inspector general said that the Department of Justice
``. . . is willing to drop if he was in fact associated (with) Agency.'' A
CIA cable to headquarters in 1984 warned that he was ``exploiting
widespread paramilitary activities'' in Costa Rica as a cover for drug

c.. The CIA apparently didn't investigate when it received allegations
about the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Democratic Alliance. In 1981, an
informant told the CIA that the group had decided to smuggle cocaine to
raise money and that a trial smuggling run had already been staged by two
members, using cocaine that belonged to an unidentified Honduran. The CIA
reported the allegations to federal law enforcement and intelligence
agencies, but decided the informant was untrustworthy and possibly an enemy
agent and apparently never investigated further.

d.. The agency learned in 1988 that a key Contra officer was an escapee
from a 1979 drug charge in Colombia. The man was Juan Ramon Rivas, who had
organized a task force of 5,000 combatants by 1986. The agency continued
using Rivas after its lawyers determined that ``CIA regulations in this
area focus solely on individuals currently in narcotics trafficking.'' In
1989, Rivas quietly resigned from the Contra effort ``for medical
reasons.'' The CIA informed the Drug Enforcement Administration of the
situation but not the Colombian government.

e.. The CIA also continued working with some of the 14 pilots and three
companies used to support Contra activities who were targets of drug
trafficking allegations. For example, in 1987, a debate erupted within the
CIA over whether to use a shipping company owned by Alan Hyde, a Honduran
who was dogged by rumors of drug smuggling.

Hyde had been turned down the year before when he offered to ``help'' the
CIA. After a flurry of memos and cables and bureaucratic hand-wringing, CIA
lawyers said there was no ``legal impediment'' to using Hyde's company,
especially if steps were taken to make sure no drug smuggling occurred on
the job.

The case of `Ivan Gomez'

Then there was a CIA's handling of ``Ivan Gomez,'' a former military man
from Venezuela who reportedly assisted Pastora's Contra group.

Gomez -- a fake name the CIA gave him -- admitted five years after he was
hired as a contractor by the CIA that in 1982 he had picked up a bag of
cash at a bar in New York for a brother who was later convicted of drug
dealing. Gomez was dropped from the agency's payroll in 1988, but he was
not reported to prosecutors because he was technically not an employee. The
information was given to the FBI in 1989, after the FBI's counterterrorism
section asked the CIA about Gomez.

``It's a striking commentary on me and everyone that this guy's involvement
in narcotics didn't weigh more heavily on me or the system,'' said a former
CIA manager.

Gomez also figured in a story told by a former San Francisco drug dealer,
Carlos Cabezas, who was cited in Dark Alliance as being a conduit of money
from the Meneses drug ring to the Contras.

Cabezas told investigators that a man named Ivan Gomez was present in 1982
when Cabezas delivered drug proceeds to a contact in a Costa Rican hotel,
thus raising the question of CIA involvement in the drug smuggling operations.

The inspector general's investigators concluded that Cabezas' story was
full of inconsistencies and contradictions, and that he was prone to
hyperbole. They said Gomez was in the United States at the time of the
alleged meeting, that he had not yet received his alias and that there was
no evidence that Cabezas trafficked in cocaine for the benefit of the Contras.

The CIA inspector general said his investigation turned up no links between
Meneses, Blandon and the CIA. Nor did the Department of Justice find any
evidence that Justice officials interfered with the investigation or
prosecution of the two Nicaraguans or helped protect them.

The Blandon-Ross ring is not mentioned in the CIA cables, memos and other
documents described in the second CIA report.

One CIA cable, dated June 1986, says that in September 1984 ``Costa Rican
drug trafficker Norvin (sic) Meneses sought the cooperation'' of Fernando
``El Negro'' Chamorro, to move drugs to the U.S. Chamorro was the leader of
a small group of Contras in Costa Rica. There is no indication the CIA
followed up on this report.

In July 1986, Meneses -- then in Costa Rica -- became a DEA informant,
giving information about his former partner Blandon and other drug
traffickers. He later traveled to Los Angeles to introduce a DEA informant
to Blandon.

Continued interest

There are enough new leads, investigative loose ends and unanswered
questions in the reports to guarantee continued interest in the series.

``We . . . recognize that it is impossible to draw conclusions . . . with
absolute certainty because of the age of the cases involved, faded
memories, the dispersion of witnesses and evidence, and the special
interests of many of the people we interviewed,'' Bromwich wrote.

``We are also realistic enough to recognize that the suspicion of federal
law enforcement will not be extinguished by our report on these
allegations, especially because there remain some unanswered questions,
which are multiplied when the investigation takes place so long after the
events being investigated.''

Marijuana Isn't A Harmless Drug (An op-ed in The Boston Globe
by Alan Leshner, the director of the US National Institutes of Health,
makes a claim that New Scientist previously said "cannot be taken seriously,"
and asserts other long-discredited research supports his contention
that "marijuana is not a benign drug, and its use should not be encouraged,"
as if that justified busting almost a million Americans a year.)

Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 07:38:56 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: LTE: Marijuana Isn't A Harmless Drug
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: onegreenday@hotmail.com
Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Copyright: 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
Author: Alan Leshner


Before Thomas Clark advocates the use of marijuana in moderation or
suggests policy changes toward that end, he needs to look more closely at
the scientific facts ("A realistic prescription," Focus, Nov. 1).

In the first place, classifying drugs as either "hard" or "soft" is off the
mark. All drug use is potentially dangerous for many people, and it is
impossible to predict who will respond particularly badly. Marijuana is
neither "soft" nor "benign"; rather, it is a drug with a high potential for

In fact, every year more than 100,000 people, many of them adolescents,
seek treatment for their inability to control their marijuana use. Most
people who are knowledgeable about addiction would qualify this as an
addictive drug.

Another science-based reason for not condoning marijuana use comes from a
recently published study by a Harvard researcher showing that use of any
illicit drug, but especially marijuana, significantly increases the
probability that an individual will abuse other drugs during the course of
a lifetime.

Moreover, science has shown that short-term use modifies learning, memory,
emotional state, perception, and the motor skills necessary to drive a car.
And studies have shown that prolonged use can alter the lungs and immune
system in ways that last long after the individual has stopped using

The bottom line is that marijuana is not a benign drug, and its use should
not be encouraged.

Alan Leshner
National Institutes of Health
Rockville, Md.

New FBI Report Reveals More Marijuana Arrests in 1997 Than Any Other Year
in US History (The Marijuana Policy Project, in Washington, DC, says
there were 695,201 marijuana arrests last year, 87 percent of which were
for possession.)
Link to 1996 figures
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 18:59:04 -0500 From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG) Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Reply-To: MPP@MPP.ORG Sender: owner-mppupdates@igc.apc.org Subject: FBI report reveals record number of marijuana arrests To: MPPupdates@igc.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 22, 1998 MARIJUANA ARREST RECORD: New FBI Report Reveals More Marijuana Arrests in 1997 Than Any Other Year in U.S. History WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The total number of marijuana arrests was higher in 1997 than in any other year in U.S. history, according to an FBI report released on November 22. There were 695,201 marijuana arrests last year, 87% of which were for possession.[1] The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports division's annual report, "Crime in the United States," provides the number of arrests made by state and local law-enforcement agencies. "This is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Washington, D.C.- based Marijuana Policy Project. "Marijuana prohibition creates dangerous criminal markets and takes police resources away from violent crime." The number of marijuana arrests was almost as high as the number of arrests for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault combined (717,720).[2] "It is time to stop arresting adults who grow and consume their own marijuana at home -- and instead put these enforcement resources into effective drug education," said Chuck Thomas. "Public safety and children's health are at stake." Today, the Marijuana Policy Project released its new report, "Marijuana Arrests and Incarceration in the United States," using government-supplied data to estimate that there are presently 37,000 marijuana offenders incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails in the United States. (MPP's report is available on-line at http://www.mpp.org/prisoners.html.) "Looking at arrest and incarceration data, it's clear that Clinton's war on marijuana users is the toughest ever," said Thomas. 1. Numbers are derived by multiplying the percentage of all "drug abuse violations" that were for marijuana "sale/manufacture" (5.6%) and for marijuana "possession" (38.3%) by the total number of arrests for all drug abuse violations (1,583,600). These percentages and numbers appear in Table 4.1, page 221, and Table 29, page 222, respectively, of FBI's "Crime in the United States: 1997." 2. Table 29, page 222. - END - *** HOW TO SUPPORT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: To support MPP's work and receive the quarterly newsletter, "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 http://www.mpp.org/membrshp.html 202-232-0442 FAX

The 'Win At All Costs' series list (An index hyperlinked to all the stories
making up The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 10-part series published Nov. 22
through Dec. 13, about the prevalence of perjury and other malfeasance
federal prosecutors routinely engage in.)

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 05:31:11 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: The 'Win At All Costs' series list
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: http://www.MAPinc.org/
Source: (1) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) (2) The Blade (OH)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing.
Pubdate: 22 Nov thru 13 Dec 1998
Contact: (1) letters@post-gazette.com
Webform: (1) http://www.post-gazette.com/contact/letters.asp
Website: (1) http://www.post-gazette.com/
Contact: (2) letters@theblade.com
Website: (2) http://www.toledoblade.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: Over the past weeks we have made available, in a format that allows
readers to email copies to friends, the entire "Win At All Costs" series as
shown by title and MAP archive URL below. Subtitled 'Government Misconduct
in the Name of Expediant Justice,' the series never quite makes the tie
between the corruption of the justice system and the war on drugs. However,
at least one reader has, his letter is web published on the Post-Gazette
website. Perhaps more readers will send Letters to the Editor to the two
newspapers. In any case, the series makes excellent holiday reading.


Out Of Control (Part 1 of 2) - 'Win At All Costs'

Out Of Control (Part 2 of 2) - 'Win At All Costs'

[combined into one take at the Portland NORML site - ed.]

From Beginning Of Cases To End, Rule Changes Led To Misconduct

Fighting To Prove Innocence Led 3 To Stiffer Sentences

Federal Sting Often Put More Drugs On The Streets

Informant Lured Him Into A Costly Deal

Feds Sought Bigger Drug Deal To Ensure A Stiffer Prison Sentence

Drug Charge Beaten, But At High Price

Hiding The Facts

Smuggler Sells Out His Lawyer To Strike A Deal

He Committed The Murder

Changing His Story To Fit The Case

The Damage Of Lies

Fish Tale Was One Of Many Stretches

Thwarting Attempts To Check On Witness

A Question Of Whom To Trust

Selling Lies

Inmate Exploited Prosecutors' Need For Witnesses

Feds Finally Use Safeguards But Only To Protect Their Own

A Crowd On This 'Bus'

Switching Sides

A Troubling Pioneer

Unique Way Of Solving Mystery

Surprise Response To Newspaper Ad

Giving In To The Temptation

Agents Can't Keep Hands Off Drug Evidence

When Safeguards Fail

Businessman Goes To Prison When Agent's False Testimony Isn't Corrected

Promoter Says Attractive Property Made Him A Target

Calculated Abuses

German Criminal Finds A Lucrative Life As Federal Informant

Under Consent Decree, FBI Still Violates Order

Agents Dug Up More Problems For Archaeologist

Government Goes Back On A Deal

Wrath Of Vengeance

Failing To Police Their Own

Hyde Amendment Makes Violations Costly

Congress Steps In To Protect Whistleblower

Aggressive Attorney At OPR Targets Prosecutor, Loses On All Counts

Win At All Costs series sidebars end the series

Out Of Control - Win At All Costs series (The first part of a 10-part series
by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says a two-year investigation by the newspaper
has found that during the past 10 years, federal agents and prosecutors have
pursued justice by breaking the law hundreds of times. They lied, hid
evidence, distorted facts, engaged in cover-ups, paid for perjury and set up
innocent people in a relentless effort to win indictments, guilty pleas and
convictions. New laws and court rulings that encourage federal law
enforcement officers to press the boundaries of their power provide few
safeguards against abuse. Victims of this misconduct sometimes lost their
jobs, assets and even families. Some remain in prison because prosecutors
withheld favorable evidence or allowed fabricated testimony. Some criminals
walk free as a reward for conspiring with the government in its effort
to deny others their rights.)

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 15:43:20 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Out Of Control - 'Win At All Costs'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing.
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the introduction and the first of a 10 part series, "Win At
All Costs" in the Post-Gazette which may be found on line at:

Hundreds of times during the past 10 years, federal agents and prosecutors
have pursued justice by breaking the law.

They lied, hid evidence, distorted facts, engaged in cover-ups, paid for
perjury and set up innocent people in a relentless effort to win
indictments, guilty pleas and convictions, a two-year Post-Gazette
investigation found.

Rarely were these federal officials punished for their misconduct. Rarely
did they admit their conduct was wrong.

New laws and court rulings that encourage federal law enforcement officers
to press the boundaries of their power while providing few safeguards
against abuse fueled their actions.

Victims of this misconduct sometimes lost their jobs, assets and even
families. Some remain in prison because prosecutors withheld favorable
evidence or allowed fabricated testimony. Some criminals walk free as a
reward for conspiring with the government in its effort to deny others
their rights.

This series of stories examining federal law enforcement officials'
misconduct grew from another investigative series that Post-Gazette
reporter Bill Moushey completed in 1996.



Legal Rules Have Changed, Allowing Federal Agents, Prosecutors To Bypass
Basic Rights

Loren Pogue has served eight years of a 22-year federal prison sentence on
drug conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Pogue, a Missouri native, never bought drugs, never sold them, never held
them, never used them, never smuggled them, never even saw them.

But because federal prosecutors allowed a paid government informant to lie
about Pogue's involvement in the sale of a parcel of land to supposed drug
smugglers, he was convicted. Under tough federal sentencing guidelines, a
judge had no choice but to give the Air Force veteran what might
effectively be a death sentence.

Pogue -- father of 27 children, 15 of them adopted -- is 65. He doesn't
expect to leave prison alive, and as details later in this story will show,
he is baffled that the government he served for more than 30 years worked
so hard to betray him.

In another case, hundreds of miles away, federal agents interrogated
businessman Dale Brown for four hours at a Houston, Texas, warehouse. When
he tried to leave, they stopped him. When he asked for a lawyer, they
refused to get him one.

After Brown finally was charged in a government sting called Operation
Lightning Strike, federal prosecutors denied that the warehouse
interrogation had even happened. They said the dozen others who reported
the same coercive tactics in the sting were making it up, too.

Federal sting operations are supposed to snare criminals, but in Operation
Lightning Strike, federal agents spent millions of dollars entrapping
innocent people who worked on the periphery of the U.S. space program.

The evidence against them was contrived. The guilty pleas were coerced.
Those who fought the charges won.

Brown said all it cost him was his business, his savings, his family and
his health.

In Florida, prisoners call the scam "jumping on the bus," and it is as
tantalizing as it is perverse. Inmates in federal prisons barter or buy
information that only an insider to a crime could know -- often from
informants with access to confidential federal crime files.

The prisoners memorize it and get others to do the same. Then, to win
sentence reductions, they testify about crimes that might have been
committed while they were in prison, by people they've never met, in places
they've never been. The scam succeeds only because of the tacit approval of
federal law enforcement officers.

Cocaine smuggler Jose Goyriena used "jump on the bus" testimony to help
federal prosecutors put three men in prison for life, and he was set to do
it again for prosecutors who promised to cut his 27 year sentence by 10
years or more.

Prosecutors knew Goyriena had bragged about his lies to cellmates, but the
prosecutors didn't reveal what they'd heard to any of the men Goyriena had
helped condemn -- violating one of the fundamental tenets of American
justice. It was defense attorneys who finally caught Goyriena in the scam.

In this nation's war on crime, something has gone terribly wrong.

A two-year investigation by the Post-Gazette found that powerful new
federal laws designed to snare terrorists, drug smugglers and pornographers
are being aimed at business owners, engineers and petty criminals.

Whether suspects are guilty has come to matter less than making sure they
are indicted or convicted or, more likely, coerced into pleading guilty.

Promises of lenient sentences and huge government checks encourage
criminals to lie on the witness stand. Prosecutors routinely withhold
evidence that might help prove a defendant innocent. Some federal agents
work so closely with their undercover informants that they become
lawbreakers themselves.

Those who practice this misconduct are almost never penalized or
disciplined. "It's a result-oriented process today, fairness be damned,"
said Robert Merkle, whom President Ronald Reagan appointed U.S. Attorney
for the Middle District of Florida, serving from 1982 to 1988.

"The philosophy of the past 10 to 15 years [is] that whatever works is
what's right."

The Justice Department did not respond to questions the newspaper posed in
writing about concerns raised in this series. Nor would it return phone
calls requesting comment.

The Rules Have Changed

When this investigation began, the term prosecutorial misconduct would have
elicited mostly blank stares. Only a few of the misconduct cases the
newspaper was tracking in its nationwide research had generated more than a
few lines in the back pages of local newspapers.

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr changed that. His investigation of
President Clinton has generated intense public debate about federal
prosecutors and their tactics. Many of the issues Starr's probe has raised
parallel concerns found in this investigation -- from the huge pools of
money available for federal investigations to the lack of safeguards and
oversight to the use and abuse of grand juries.

One key component of how federal law enforcement is supposed to work has
received only passing notice. In rulings reiterated over and over during
the past 50 years, the Supreme Court has made clear that federal agents and
prosecutors have a broader duty than simply investigating, capturing and
prosecuting criminals. They also are entrusted to ensure that the
constitutional rights of suspects and defendants are not abused.

"The function of the prosecutor under the federal Constitution is not to
tack as many skins of victims as possible against the wall," said the late
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. "His function is to vindicate the
rights of the people as expressed in the laws and give those accused of
crime a fair trial."

There is every reason to believe that most federal agents and prosecutors
respect Douglas's edict, but this investigation found a significant
minority do not, and their numbers seem to be on the rise.

"The problem is at the margins -- but the margins are growing," said an
article titled "Curbing Prosecutorial Excess," which Arnold I. Burns
co-wrote in the July 1998 issue of The Champion, a publication of the
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Burns is no left-wing zealot. A lifelong Republican, he was appointed
deputy attorney general by Reagan, resigning that office in the wake of
accusations about the conduct of Burns' boss, Attorney General Edwin Meese.

There is a fragile balance between the rights of a defendant and the power
of the government, Burns said in a recent interview. That balance has
shifted, resulting in misconduct in every phase of federal criminal cases
-- from the investigation, to the grand jury, to the arrest, to the trial,
to the sentencing, he said.

Despite Douglas's eloquent admonition to the contrary, federal law
enforcement officers charged with enforcing the law too often decide
they're above it.

The Powerful Prosecutor

Some would argue that's nothing new.

Federal law enforcement officers, after all, have always wielded great
power. U.S. courthouses attract the politically ambitious, who can trade on
a U.S. prosecutor's crime-fighting stature to pursue higher office.

"The [federal] prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and
reputation than any other person in America," said former Attorney General
and Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson. And that was in 1940.

But Jackson would have found the array of crime-fighting tools available to
federal agents and prosecutors today staggering -- from racketeering to
money laundering to conspiracy laws.

At the same time, Congress has eliminated many of the checks and balances
aimed at preventing the abuse of this power, from trimming protections
against illegal searches and seizures to punishing people who plead
innocent rather than guilty in federal court. A person who fights a federal
charge must, by law, receive more prison time than someone who pleads
guilty to the same crime.

Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton have signed on to this new
crime-fighting order, and a more conservative Supreme Court has upheld
these new laws at almost every turn.

The Justice Department -- the cabinet agency that is supposed to ensure
that these new powers are administrated fairly -- has downplayed that role
to the point that few complaints about abuse are even investigated.

These changes didn't happen in a vacuum. In the past 20 years, voters have
made it clear that they love get-tough-on-crime politicians. A campaign
promise to toss drug dealers in prison will trump concerns about fair
trials or individual rights every time.

Congress, the Justice Department, the electorate and the courts have
combined to give this nation's most aggressive law enforcement agents and
prosecutors far more power than they've ever had before and few reasons to
worry about the consequences of abusing that power.

Add political ambition to the mix, and the results are predictable and
frightening, Merkle said.

A federal prosecutor "is a political animal," he said. "His boss is
politically ambitious. He is being pressured for budgetary purposes to get
statistics, and that causes them to prosecute absolutely [bogus] cases to
get those statistics."

Other former federal prosecutors agree.

"I like to think that most prosecutors are honest and most agents are
honest, but there are unfortunately enough examples of dishonesty cropping
up that it is troubling to anybody in this business," said Plato Cacheris,
who was born and raised in Oakland and worked eight years as a federal
prosecutor before becoming one of Washington, D.C.'s, top criminal defense
lawyers. He currently represents Monica Lewinsky.

Thomas Dillard, who spent 14 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in
Knoxville, Tenn., then four years as U.S. attorney for the Northern
District of Florida, said a lack of real world experience among prosecutors
also has hurt. "You've seen an increase in career prosecutors that you
didn't have 15 years ago, people who never practiced in the private
sector," he said. "They sit in this lofty tower with a rather skewed vision
of the world. They are on a divine mission, and everything that gets in
their way is evil. The ends justify the means."

Huge budgets exacerbate the problem. "The war on crime has gotten to the
point that all these [prosecutors'] offices are stuffed to the gills with
resources," Dillard said. "They have to justify their existence. They go
out and make things crimes that weren't even crimes 10 years ago.

"For it to get to the point where prosecutors honestly believe they are
immune from state ethical standards, they honestly believe purchasing
witness testimony at any cost is OK, and they honestly believe a grand jury
is their own little forum, all of that is . . . bizarre."

Media attention on crime -- federal crime in particular -- has become huge.
A stream of cable television talk shows has put federal crimefighters in
the limelight every night on prime time.

Playing to the camera becomes another pressure on law enforcement officers
to win at any cost. "The media is always looking for the big crime story,
and society in general is always looking for someone to one-up its array of
crime," Merkle said.

The person seldom heard in all of this is the victim, Merkle said. "People
don't know how they're being suckered."

Nor do federal courts help to prevent misconduct as much as they once did.
"The courts used to more consistently monitor both prosecutorial and law
enforcement power in general, [but] over the past 10-15 years, the courts
have contracted that power to the point of a total nullity," said Bennett
Gershman, a former New York State prosecutor who teaches law at Pace
University of New York. His law textbook, "Prosecutorial Misconduct," was
published last year.

"The courts used to be a buffer between prosecutors and the rights of
defendants," he said. "They are now simply a rubber stamp."

Federal law enforcement officers know that in the pursuit of convictions,
they have a key advantage: Their actions will do them no harm. No matter
what the misconduct, it is almost impossible for a criminal defendant to
sue a federal officer or prosecutor for damages. No matter what the
misconduct, the Justice Department rarely disciplines agents or prosecutors
who cross the line into unethical or illegal behavior.

Government Stings

Pogue and Brown were the victims of a government sting operation, a
crime-fighting tool that Congress approved in 1974. The law allows federal
agents to set up an illegal enterprise with the goal of luring in criminals
and then arresting them.

Used properly, it can be effective, but there have been dozens of cases
over the past decade in which government stings trapped the innocent or
exaggerated the misconduct of suspects. Time after time, former criminals,
con artists, dope smugglers, perjurers and killers were employed to help
catch suspects in exchange for reduced sentences or even six-figure
payoffs. With straight faces, prosecutors insist in court that none of
these witnesses have an incentive to lie.

In 1990, Mitchell Henderson was a disgraced former police officer deeply in
debt because of alcohol, marijuana and other drug abuse. Even so, the Drug
Enforcement Administration promised him as much as $250,000 to set up a
sting operation to try to snare Latin American drug dealers.

Henderson mostly failed -- he helped the DEA trap one low-level Colombian
drug smuggler after more than six months of work. That's when he set his
sights on Pogue, whom he'd once worked for in Costa Rica, where Pogue lived
and operated a real estate development business.

Henderson told Pogue he'd found businessmen who wanted to buy a piece of
property in Costa Rica. Pogue agreed to close the land deal. For a little
more than two hours, he listened as federal agents, disguised as Colombian
drug smugglers, talked about the illegal drugs they would ship through the
landing strip they would build on the land they were about to buy.

Pogue admits he should have left the room when the conversation turned to
drugs. Instead, on May 30, 1990, he was arrested.

At Pogue's trial, Henderson told two key lies: first, that a Colombian drug
dealer had approved the purchase of the land Pogue would close on, and
second, that Pogue had been aware of a drug connection to the land sale
from the start.

There never was a deal for any drug smuggler to buy the land, according to
DEA and court documents that Pogue obtained after his conviction. Henderson
made that up. The documents confirm that Henderson, at another trial,
testified that Pogue knew nothing of the drug connection to the land until
he arrived to close the deal.

Pogue's attorneys say this evidence would have destroyed the prosecution's
key argument: that Pogue had been a willing participant in the drug
conspiracy long before he walked into a motel room to close the deal.
Despite this clear evidence to the contrary, federal prosecutors to this
day insist that everything Henderson said was true.

The Grand Jury

The framers of the Constitution included grand juries as a safeguard in the
Bill of Rights, providing that no person should stand trial for "a capital
or otherwise infamous crime" without grand jurors first determining that
sufficient evidence existed to press charges.

William B. Moore Jr. laughs at that one. A federal grand jury indicted him
on criminal charges that he tried to win a contract for his Texas company
by using a lobbyist to bribe the U.S. Postal Service.

At his trial in 1989, the government produced 50,000 pages of evidence and
84 witnesses. Then the judge asked the federal prosecutor: When are you
going to link Moore to the crime? The prosecutor never did. The judge
dismissed the charges before the defense even presented its case.

Moore and his company spent almost four years and $9 million defending
themselves. After the trial, he filed complaints with the Justice
Department and sued the government, saying the prosecutor manipulated the
grand jury process to indict him.

The suit describes a particularly telling incident: Prosecutors promised a
witness leniency if he would testify about the bribery scheme. Outside of
the grand jury's presence, a prosecutor questioned the witness about
Moore's knowledge of the scheme. Nineteen times during that intimidating
session, the witness told the prosecutor that he had no idea if Moore knew
about the bribery. The witness said he would not lie to satisfy the
prosecutor's demands. The prosecutor tore up the government's
non-prosecution agreement in his face.

The witness softened. His lawyer begged for another chance. So under
careful questioning by the prosecutor before the grand jurors, the witness
hedged enough to hint that Moore might be implicated in the scheme. Grand
jurors never learned about the witness's 19 emphatic denials.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility found no
problem with the prosecutor's conduct. The report of its investigation,
kept secret, exonerated him of wrongdoing in 1991.

If the government office that oversees federal officers finds no problem
with such conduct, what recourse is there against a federal prosecutor
content to manipulate a grand jury to win an indictment? Almost none, the
Post-Gazette found. The government enjoys almost absolute immunity from
civil suits based on its conduct in criminal trials. Moore's efforts to sue
prosecutors for framing him have meandered through the courts for the past
eight years, meeting intense government opposition at every juncture.

Discovery Violations

Discovery is a cornerstone of American justice. It requires that federal
prosecutors turn over to criminal defendants any evidence that might help
prove the defendants' innocence or that might show the biases or lack of
credibility of witnesses against them.

The reason is simple, the Supreme Court has ruled: Withholding this
information could result in an unjust verdict. Yet in its investigation,
the Post-Gazette found hundreds of cases where prosecutors intentionally
withheld discovery information.

In May 1998, James R. Sterba went on trial in Tampa, Fla., on charges of
soliciting a minor over the Internet for an unlawful sexual encounter, a
charge he vehemently denied. The key witness against him was a government
informant. Federal agents paid her $2,000 to visit Internet chat rooms to
lure men to a hotel with the promise a girl would be waiting.

When Sterba's attorneys asked prosecutors for information that might
reflect on the credibility of this witness, they were assured there was
none. The trial was almost over when Sterba's lawyers learned:

The witness was using a false name that hid her long criminal record.

In exchange for her help in the Internet sting, federal agents dropped an
investigation into the witness's connection with an international
pornography ring.

Her record included a guilty plea for making a false statement and filing
false police reports that led to the arrest of an innocent man.

Prosecutors were duty-bound to turn over this information but did not. On
Aug. 13, the judge dismissed the indictment against Sterba, who had been
imprisoned for nine months awaiting trial. He finally went free.

This particular type of discovery violation is common. Frequently,
defendants aren't told that witnesses against them have committed crimes,
including murder; or that they have lied in previous trials; or that they
have received money or reduced prison sentences in exchange for their

But a discovery violation doesn't guarantee a new trial. The Supreme Court
has ruled that a verdict stands unless defense attorneys can show the
information not made available at trial would have changed the outcome.

In Pogue's first appeal, judges peppered attorneys with questions about the
irregularities in the government's conduct, but they let the verdict stand,
without even issuing an opinion as to why.

The net result is that the system encourages prosecutors to calculate just
how much evidence they can withhold without risking a reversal. They
substitute their judgment in determining what evidence is important rather
than allowing a judge and jury to decide.

It has not always been that way.

Gary Richardson, whom Reagan appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern
District of Oklahoma, had an "open file" discovery policy in his office
during his tenure, which ended in 1984. Defense lawyers were permitted to
come in and look at anything prosecutors had collected on a particular case.

Now, Richardson is a defense attorney and says that "open file" discovery
simply doesn't happen any more, and he wonders why. "My attitude was that
if you can't take the truth and win, then you weren't supposed to win," he

Telling Lies In Court

Federal prosecutors often face a quandary when they investigate criminals
or put them on trial.

Fellow criminals usually don't want to snitch on their colleagues or
testify against them, and they surely don't want to spend a lifetime in
prison. So deals are made. Sometimes, witnesses with information about
criminal activity get paid as informants. Sometimes, they get reduced
prison time. In return, they must promise to tell truthfully everything
they know.

This sounds good in theory, but Don Carlson knows better. In 1992, federal
agents stormed his San Diego area home in search of thousands of pounds of
cocaine. They didn't identify themselves. Carlson figured it was thieves
trying to knock down his front door. He fired two shots into the door then
was shot in the thigh as he dropped his gun and scrambled to a bedroom.
There, as he lay defenseless on the floor, an officer shot him twice in the

There were no drugs. An informant whom the government was paying $2,000 a
month had made up a story about the drugs because he thought Carlson's home
was vacant and he needed to feed stories to agents to keep the money coming.

The informant's tendency to lie was well known. Federal agents in South
Florida dumped him as an informant because of his repeated lies. But the
lure of a major drug bust won out over common sense. Agents used his story
to get a search warrant for Carlson's home.

In this case, their misconduct cost the government. Carlson received a
multi-million dollar payout after agents almost shot him dead, but he got
no apology. "All they said was that they were a victim of circumstances,"
said Carlson.

Maybe so, but perjury is among the most pervasive problems in the federal
justice system -- affecting investigations, grand jury testimony and trials.

The courts have hinted at some changes. In a startling decision in July,
the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, 3-0, that promising leniency
to witnesses in exchange for testimony amounted to buying that testimony,
which violates federal law. Federal appeals courts in South Florida,
Louisiana and Tennessee have issued similar, preliminary rulings in the
past few months.

The Colorado court recently pulled back the decision so that all 12 of the
court's judges may rehear arguments. If the ruling isn't changed, it will
certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Further appeals might become moot.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, has introduced an amendment in the
Senate that would exempt federal prosecutors from the statutes cited in the

'Jumping On The Bus'

"Jumping on the bus" has taken perjury in the federal justice system to new

Inmates deal for confidential information from other inmates, government
informants and snitches within the federal bureaucracy; they then memorize
it and recruit others to do the same. Then, to win sentence reductions,
they testify to facts only a real insider could know.

The detailed information that inmates deal might sell for $200,000 or more,
but it can be traded for a sentence reduction of 10 or more years.

It's not a bad trade for inmates whose misadventures with the law might
have left them with substantial assets but a future that included decades
behind bars.

Federal authorities haven't responded to inquiries about the "jumping on
the bus" phenomenon, but witnesses have told of being questioned in federal
investigations of the problem.

Richard Diaz, a former Miami police officer and now a prominent Miami
defense attorney, says that since the early 1990s, the practice that earned
drug smuggler Goy-riena promises of cuts in his prison sentence has touched
hundreds of cases in South Florida and other jurisdictions.

In Atlanta, a former prison inmate opened an office where federal prisoners
could buy information they might use to testify against suspects they
didn't know.

Diaz believes the phenomenon can be traced to mandatory sentencing
guide-lines that Congress enacted in 1987, imposing stiff prison terms for
most federal crimes and sharp reductions in the amount of time off for good
behavior that inmates may earn.

"Jumping on the bus" is one of the few ways left for federal prisoners to
cut their prison time.

Dangerous Alliances

The close relationships that federal law enforcement officials sometimes
develop with criminals are necessary and treacherous.

Mob bosses don't tend to share information about their criminal
enterprises, and often the only way for federal agents to pierce their
secretive shell is to develop ties with criminal colleagues.

That arrangement can prove slippery. This investigation found dozens of
cases where agents became so close to their informers that they crossed the
line - sometimes assisting them in their criminal activities or protecting
them, or even joining them and sharing in the profits of their crimes.

Few safeguards are in place to prevent the practice or, in some cases, to
even discipline the most flagrant abusers.

For decades, FBI Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio oversaw investigations
involving New York City's Colombo Crime Family. He was also the FBI's lone
contact with a key informant in that family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who was a
Colombo captain and a notorious killer.

DeVecchio's superiors and other street agents would be stunned when he was
later accused of passing confidential information to Scarpa, helping Scarpa
avoid arrest, helping Scarpa punish his enemies, and allowing Scarpa to
continue a crime career that included several murders.

DeVecchio is even accused of helping fabricate evidence with Scarpa in
order to win indictments, convictions and guilty pleas against Scarpa's

A strikingly similar case unfolded a few years ago in Boston. Associates of
James "Whitey" Bulger, one of the city's most notorious mobsters, could
only wonder why he escaped prosecution, even as they were indicted,
convicted and imprisoned for the rest of their lives. The reason: The FBI
took sides, making sure that Bulger's criminal enterprise flourished while
his opponents were arrested and sent to prison.

Just before a federal grand jury was to indict Bulger in 1995, he
disappeared and has not been heard from since, casting more suspicions on
the FBI and its relationship with Boston's top mobster. No FBI agents were
disciplined in that case nor the New York case. Top agents in charge
retired with pensions.

DeVecchio has taken the Fifth Amendment in several trials exploring the
FBI's complicity, and because of the FBI's conduct in Boston and New York,
dozens of criminals convicted on the basis of evidence that these
relationships tainted might go free.

Abuse At Sentencing Time

Federal judges used to determine the sentences of the guilty.

They don't any more. In an attempt to standardize prison time and stop the
practice of judge-shopping, Congress adopted strict sentencing guidelines
in 1987. The guidelines mandate exactly how much prison time will be served
based on the severity of the crime: so many years for a certain amount of
drugs sold, so many for a certain amount of money embezzled.

This change produced an unexpected outcome: Federal prosecutors and agents
now have the power to manipulate the charges a suspect will face and, as a
result, the sentences that suspect will serve.

That power is broadly abused. For example, when a jury convicted Pogue of
closing a land deal with federal agents he thought were drug smugglers, the
judge didn't determine Pogue's sentence. Those agents did, when they
discussed, in his presence, the quantity of drugs they would ship and the
price they would pay for the land, making sure that both amounts met the
criteria established for major drug and money laundering conspiracies under
federal sentencing guidelines.

The same kind of strange machinations can be found at the other end of the
sentencing pipeline. Judges may not arbitrarily reduce sentences -- a
prosecutor must request a reduction, usually for a suspect who has
cooperated and implicated others.

For example, Mary Ann Rounsavall and her brother, James Rounsavall, were
charged in 1994 in a multi-million dollar drug operation and
money-laundering scheme that stretched from Southern California to
Nebraska. The government's evidence was thin. Prosecutors pressed Mary Ann
Rounsavall to testify against her brother. She refused. She was threatened
and cajoled, she said. Then came the clincher. Prosecutors told her that
her brother was dying. She wasn't allowed to talk to him, but she was
promised a substantial reduction in sentence if she testified against him.

Her mother assured her that testifying would be the best course -- after
all, he would soon die anyway. Rounsavall agreed to the deal; her testimony
put her brother away for life, and prosecutors seized millions of dollars
in assets from him and his sister. Before sentencing Mary Ann Rounsavall,
U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf peered down at the prosecutor, asking if
he planned to request a sentence reduction based on Rounsavall's
substantial assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Gillen did not offer
the motion.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Kopf had no choice but to order Mary
Ann Rounsavall imprisoned for 20 years rather than the maximum of eight
she'd have gotten with a prosecutor's recommendation for leniency. Long
known as a hard-liner on drug offenses, Kopf described the incident as
"horribly wrong."

Rounsavall has filed several motions trying to force the government to
honor its promises. She said federal agents had given her some of the
testimony that had ensured her brother's conviction.

And there's more: Her brother wasn't dying. She says federal prosecutors
lied about that, too. He is healthy and now serving a life sentence.

Defense Attorneys Targets

Defense attorneys have become favorite criminal targets of federal
prosecutors, even when they've done nothing wrong.

This investigation turned up dozens of cases where prosecutors filed
questionable charges against attorneys who represented big-name criminal
defendants, sometimes sacrificing certain convictions in the process.

In 1990, U.S. Attorney Anthony White charged Ciro Mancuso in one of the
largest drug conspiracy cases ever brought in Reno, Nev. The evidence
against Mancuso, who owned a half dozen homes and estates, was overwhelming.

Still, Mancuso's San Francisco attorney, Patrick Hallinan, filed dozens of
motions, accusing White of illegal and unethical conduct in his
investigation. White had never taken kindly to such tactics from opposition
attorneys -- often seeking to disqualify them in court.

Then, Mancuso offered a deal. He would implicate his lawyer and others in
the drug conspiracy in exchange for a lenient sentence. White jumped at the

Hallinan seemed an unlikely drug smuggler. An amateur archaeologist, he was
a respected defense lawyer whose father was regarded as one of the finest
attorneys San Francisco had produced. Hallinan's brother was head of the
city's law department. But based on Mancuso's testimony, Hallinan was soon
indicted for drug smuggling, money laundering and racketeering.

White wasn't done. In June 1994, federal agents raided Hallinan's San
Francisco home, looking for evidence that Hallinan had illegally smuggled
Peruvian artifacts and other ancient art.

Hallinan was acquitted on the drug, money laundering and racketeering
charges. No charges were filed after the search of his home, though
Hallinan has yet to recover hundreds of documents and valuable pieces of
art that agents seized in the raid.

Mancuso was sentenced to only 10 years -- despite his drug kingpin status
and the perjury he committed, but he thought even that was too much. In
November 1996, his lawyers appealed the sentence, claiming that White
promised him "little or no jail time" for testifying against Hallinan. A
9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel disagreed, but Mancuso might still
be out of prison in a year and a half.Fixing the problem

Congressman John Murtha, D-Johnstown, says he watched as an out of control
federal investigation nearly destroyed Joseph McDade, his colleague in the
U.S. House of Representatives.

A Philadelphia federal jury acquitted McDade, R-Scranton, in 1996 on
charges that he accepted gifts from defense companies in exchange for
helping them win lucrative contracts.

During an eight-year investigation, McDade said prosecutors intimidated his
friends, interrogated his relatives and staff and tried to damage his
reputation through news leaks.

Murtha wondered how an average citizen with average resources could survive
a similar assault. "When I sat beside Joe McDade for eight years and
watched him go through the excruciating pain, . . . it made me recognize
the tremendous power a [federal] prosecutor has. I could see that if they
did this to a Joe McDade, an ordinary citizen has no chance," said Murtha.

Murtha and McDade decided to draft legislation called the Citizens
Protection Act. Its most important provision would have established an
independent oversight board to monitor federal prosecutors and require them
to abide by the legal ethics laws of the states in which they operate. It
also provided sanctions against prosecutors who knowingly committed

Many of the bill's provisions touched on concerns raised by this
investigation, which found that even when misconduct is clear, federal
officials are loathe to acknowledge it or punish it or ensure that it
doesn't happen again.

Murtha said the bill hit a nerve in the House of Representatives. More than
200 congressmen signed on as sponsors, many saying that constituents in
their home districts had asked them to investigate complaints about federal
law enforcement officers' misconduct. "It seemed like everyone had a story
to tell," he said.

The House approved the legislation in August on a broadly bi-partisan vote,
345-to-82, despite the Justice Department's intense opposition. "I've never
seen an effort [to kill a bill] -- a focused effort -- like I've seen in
this particular case, from the Deputy Attorney General right on down the
line," Murtha said.

The victory was short lived. The House bill became part of the federal
appropriations package that Congress passed in October, and the Justice
Department managed to have all but one provision killed in the conference
committee that crafted the budget bill. That provision, requiring federal
prosecutors to abide by the ethics laws in the states where they work, is
important, but the appropriations bill delays its implementation by six
months, giving the Justice Department time to try to eliminate it, Murtha

That puzzles Burns, the deputy attorney general under Reagan. He recalls
drafting a memorandum requiring that all federal prosecutors adhere to the
local ethics rules, the very rule his former department is now trying to kill.

"Look at it this way," he said. "[Pretend] there is a case, United States
v. Burns. That means it's the whole FBI against Burns -- its investigators
and forensic accountants and everything else the government has. It's
already one-sided.. . . Let's have an even playing field."

But the Justice Department doesn't want a level playing field, the
Post-Gazette found. Any push by Congress for substantive change in
protecting the rights of citizens is always met with the Justice
Department's same dire warnings: Fiddling with the laws that empower
federal law enforcement officers might hamstring efforts to fight drugs,
child pornography and international terrorism.

In 1995, for instance, the U.S. Senate conducted hearings to demand answers
for the disastrous confrontations by federal agents at the Branch Davidian
complex in 1993 in Waco, Texas, and at the home of anti-government rebel
Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Officials with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assured
senators that changes in policies and procedures had been made to solve the
problem, but some of the agents identified as ordering illegal actions
eventually won promotions.

Shortly after that hearing, Attorney General Janet Reno announced that,
because of its large backlog of cases, she was doubling the size of the
Office of Professional Responsibility, which is charged with ensuring that
federal officers don't abuse their authority.

The most recent General Accounting Office report on the Office of
Professional Responsibility, in 1995, found that it substantiated only 9
percent of the 411 complaints it investigated between 1980 and 1990. The
Post-Gazette found that the office still investigates very few cases; the
office also has failed to correct the problem mentioned in the GAO report:
"[The Office of Professional Responsibility] operated too informally,
failing to document key aspects of its investigations, such as decisions
not to interview certain people or conclusions that charges were false."

Last year, House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Illinois, introduced
legislation that allowed victims wrongfully prosecuted by the federal
government to recover attorney fees and other defense costs. Under Justice
Department pressure, the bill was diluted -- requiring that any such action
be filed within 30 days of the completion of the federal action. Justice
lobbying also eliminated the sanctions that individuals who commit abuses
would have faced.

Still, Murtha believes that the lopsided margin by which the House approved
the Citizens Protection Act is a strong base on which to build. "We think
it was a step in the right direction, and I guarantee you that I'm going to
push it further."

Others share Murtha's cautious optimism. "I think that while our system of
justice and the administration of justice and criminal justice is the best
in the history of the world, it requires a lot of reform and change and
improvement, and I think it's wrong to say this is how it is and how it is
going to be," said Burns.

From Beginning Of Cases To End, Rule Changes Led To Misconduct
(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its two-year
investigation that found federal agents and prosecutors have pursued justice
by breaking the law hundreds of times. New laws and court rulings
over the past two decades have made it easier for federal law enforcement
officials to arrest, convict and imprison the guilty.)

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 16:00:41 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: From Beginning Of Cases To End, Rule Changes Led To
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing.
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is a sidebar to 'Out of Control, the first of a 10 part series,
"Win At All Costs" in the Post-Gazette which may be found on line at:


New laws and court rulings over the past two decades have made it easier
for federal law enforcement officials to arrest, convict and imprison the

Critics say a lack of safeguards has also increased the chance that
innocent people will be snared or have their rights violated.

Here is a summary of some of the most significant changes.


Sting operations. In 1974, Congress authorized sting operations, which
allow federal agents to set up an illegal enterprise with the goal of
luring in real criminals and then arresting them. A lack of safeguards has
led to abuses, such as the 1984 case in which federal agents talked
automaker John DeLorean into a drug deal that might save his business. A
jury acquitted him, saying federal agents entrapped an innocent man.

Thornburgh Rule. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh served as U.S.
Attorney General from 1988 to 1991. In 1989, he issued a memo saying that
ethics rules that bar associations established in the areas where federal
prosecutors worked did not bind the prosecutors. Attorney General Janet
Reno made the memo official policy in 1994. Opponents said it allowed
federal prosecutors to engage in conduct -- such as contacting a criminal
suspect without his lawyer being present -- that might cause private
attorneys to face disbarment. But legislation attached to this year's
federal budget bill, which U.S. Reps. Joseph McDade, R-Scranton, and John
Murtha, D-Johnstown, sponsored, requires the department to end the
practice, though the legislation delays implementation for six months. The
Justice Department already has begun efforts to kill it.

Forfeiture. Like money laundering, federal forfeiture statutes passed in
1990 were aimed at getting at the assets of big-time criminals. Forfeiture
allows federal prosecutors to file civil suits to seize property if it can
be linked to a criminal activity -- even if the owner of the property is
never convicted of a crime. Because the standard of proof is lower in a
civil suit, the statute was supposed to give federal officers a powerful
tool against illegal drug trafficking, but in a series published in 1991,
The Pittsburgh Press found that federal agents have broadly abused
forfeiture laws and that the homes, cars and cash of ordinary people are
most often the targets of forfeiture. An amendment to the law that sought
to safeguard the innocent was passed last year, but the measure was watered
down under Justice Department pressure. So, despite intense lobbying by
opponents of these one-sided actions, little has changed.

Exclusionary rule. From 1914 to 1984, the Supreme Court had a simple rule
for police who violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in
any search or seizure: Evidence obtained would be excluded from trial. But
Congress, tired of criminals being released on "technicalities," approved a
law in 1984 that provided for an exception to the exclusionary rule:
Evidence would be allowed into a trial if officers believed in good faith
that they had acted properly in a search or seizure. That has caused
defense lawyers and constitutional scholars to lament that there are more
good-faith exceptions than there are rules of exclusion.

Search warrants. Prior to 1987, police needed clear and convincing evidence
that a crime had been committed before a judge would issue a search
warrant. Under new laws and court rulings, officers can get a warrant based
on the word of an informant who doesn't even have to be named. In 1984, the
Supreme Court allowed evidence obtained through a search warrant not
supported by probable cause to be used in court, so long as it was "issued
by a detached and neutral magistrate." Congress then approved new laws
adding more bite to the ruling. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens
wrote that the ruling meant the court's destruction of the Fourth
Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures was now

Anti-terrorism. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
allows the death penalty for certain federal crimes and sharply curtails a
defendant's rights in some federal proceedings and appeals. For example,
the law allows the government, unilaterally, to designate "terrorist"
organizations and makes it a felony to support even the lawful and
humanitarian activities of such organizations. It also permits the
president, using undisclosed and even illegally obtained evidence, to
designate as terrorists aliens residing in the United States and to deport
them, even if they have committed no crime. The law also explicitly
prohibits the FBI from investigating people because of their views,
affiliations or other First Amendment activity.

Wiretaps. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 also
expands the use of roving wiretaps for investigations and allows federal
agents to tap any telephone calls of suspects for as long as 48 hours
without a court order. This covers cellular telephones and situations where
suspected criminal organizations use call-forwarding to hinder the
government's ability to find them.

Grand juries. A federal grand jury, which usually is composed of 23 people,
hears accusations that a federal prosecutor presents to determine if enough
evidence exists to indict a suspect for a crime. Since the defense is not
allowed rebuttal, this proceeding gives prosecutors tremendous power. The
late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand lamented that "a good
prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich." While judges overseeing grand
juries may hear motions on the conduct of prosecutors in the secret
proceeding, such motions are seldom granted, and a recent Supreme Court
ruling adds to a prosecutor's power: It said that federal courts do not
"possess broad supervisory powers over grand jury proceedings."


Perjury. In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled in Mooney vs. Holohan that
prosecutors may not admit testimony they know to be false. That ruling has
been refined and expanded several times, but increasing reliance on the
so-called "harmless error" rule of modern law has further diluted it. Under
this doctrine, unless a defense lawyer can prove to a judge that perjured
testimony would have changed the verdict -- even if that perjured testimony
was known to prosecutors -- a criminal defendant gets no relief.

Brady Rule. A 1963 ruling set the standard for what prosecutors must do to
help a defendant. Called "discovery," it requires prosecutors to turn over
to defendants any evidence that might help prove them innocent or show the
biases and criminal records of witnesses against them. The Supreme Court
also has ruled that if a prosecutor improperly withholds discovery
material, a conviction should be reversed only if the verdict would have
been different had that material been known at the trial. To ensure against
discovery violations, some federal prosecutors, as recently as 15 years
ago, opened all of their files on a case to the defendant's attorney. Over
the past decade, prosecutors have intentionally withheld discovery evidence
in hundreds of cases, but only in extreme cases have verdicts been overturned.


New rules. In 1987, Congress passed legislation that effectively switched
the authority for sentencing a criminal defendant from a judge to a
prosecutor. The law establishes sentencing guidelines that must be followed
when a defendant is found guilty, and those guidelines are based on the
severity of the crime. For example, a defendant found in possession of a
few ounces of drugs would get a more lenient sentence than a defendant who
possessed a few pounds. Congress believed the guidelines would ensure
fairness and stop defense attorneys from shopping for lenient judges.
However, the guidelines have fostered a new form of misconduct called
sentencing entrapment, where prosecutors seek to boost the charges against
a defendant up front to ensure he will face a maximum sentence. In a drug
conspiracy, for example, a person may be found guilty for simply discussing
a drug deal. So informants trying to snare a suspect make sure the
quantities discussed are huge, to ensure maximum sentences. This gives
prosecutors more clout in negotiating a plea bargain.

Early release. In 1987, the U.S. Sentencing Commission dramatically cut the
amount of time that was permitted to be cut from a prisoner's sentence for
good behavior. Before this change, a prisoner who behaved in prison could
reduce his sentence by at least one-third and sometimes by as much as
one-half. Under the new rules, a convict may earn only 54 days of "good
time" per year. When added to stiff mandatory sentencing laws that Congress
adopted, the cut in good behavior time has swelled the population of
federal prisons and produced another unintended result: a surge in federal
prisoners willing to lie against defendants in court. The reason? A witness
who helps win a conviction usually gets a sentence reduction at the request
of the prosecutor, one of the few avenues left for prisoners seeking to cut
their prison time.


Appeal limits. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
makes it much more difficult for a federal prisoner to file an appeal once
a year has passed after his conviction. This has forced prisoners to rush
their appeals and sometimes miss presenting the most compelling evidence
for a new trial. One example: The Post-Gazette found that when the
government withholds evidence that might help a defendant, it is often
uncovered long after a conviction through a Freedom of Information Act
request to federal law enforcement agencies. These agencies sometimes take
years to respond to a FOIA request. The new appeal limits make it much more
difficult for this new evidence to get before an appeals court.


Office of Professional Responsibility. This office within the Justice
Department is supposed to oversee the conduct of federal agents and
prosecutors, but little oversight is happening. The office opened official
investigations into only 9 percent of the 4,000 complaints filed against
federal law enforcement officials during the past 20 years. The office
found that only 4 percent of those complaints had merit. Since the office
only discloses specifics of its investigations on rare occasions, it is not
clear what punishment might have been meted out.

Congress. Last summer, the U.S. House approved the Citizens Protection Act,
345-82, a major legislative victory for Pennsylvania Reps. John Murtha,
D-Johnstown, and Joseph McDade, R-Scranton. But only one provision survived
as part of the federal appropriations bill that Congress approved last
month: the repeal of the Justice Department's Thornburgh Rule, which had
exempted federal prosecutors from abiding by the ethics rules in the states
in which they operate.

Killed were provisions that would have established an independent oversight
board to monitor federal prosecutors, and sanctions for prosecutors who
committed misconduct. A section that would have included independent
counsels such as Kenneth Starr under the bill's provisions also was killed.

Last year, a bill that House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Illinois,
introduced was signed into law, allowing victims wrongfully prosecuted by
the federal government to recover attorney fees and other defense costs,
but under Justice Department pressure, it was watered down to require that
any such action be filed within 30 days of the completion of the federal
action, and it provides for no sanctions against those who commit abuses.

Poll on Drug Testing of Students (List subscribers alert you to USA Weekend
online and call-in polls continuing through Nov. 26. Is it unreasonable
to require urine tests of high school students in order for them
to join clubs or athletic teams?)

From: Artbenlou@aol.com
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 09:23:06 EST
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Poll on Drug Testing of Students
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

USA Weekend has a call-in poll on whether it is reasonable to drug-test high
school students for them to qualify for clubs and athletic teams. In one
case, students have to pass to get a parking permit! The lines will be open
until midnight on November 26. The call costs 50 cents. They will accept only
one call from any one phone number.

Call 1-900 370-1222 to say that the testing is "An Excellent Idea" (I have
to be fair here), or 1-900-370-1555 to say that it is unreasonable.

USA weekend comes inside of a lot of Sunday newspapers. The article is on
page 10 of the November 20-22 issue.



Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 09:20:19 -0600
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: "Carl E. Olsen" (carl@COMMONLINK.NET)
Subject: Re: Poll on Drug Testing of Students
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

You can also vote and leave your opinion at:


Carl Olsen

Hemp seed - perfect for the munchies (The Toronto Star says hemp seed
has long been a food source in Europe and Asia, and has undergone
a resurgence in North America in the last five years. Outlawed in Canada
in 1938 because of its association with marijuana, hemp has made a comeback
thanks in part to Health Canada allowing its commercial cultivation.
Hemp seed is good for you - it contains essential fatty acids,
is of much higher quality than flax seed, and is 22 percent protein.)

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 09:51:44 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: TorStar: Hemp seed: perfect for the munchies
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star (Canada)
Pubdate: Sunday, November 22, 1998
Page: F3
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Author: Patty Winsa

Hemp seed: perfect for the munchies

Hemp seed, long a food source in Europe and Asia, has undergone a
resurgence in North America in the last five years.

Outlawed in Canada in 1938 because of its association with marijuana, the
THC-loving plant of the same species, hemp has made a comeback thanks in
part to Health Canada, which put new regulations in place in March this
year that allowed for its commercial cultivation.

Mama Indica's, a division of the B.C.-based Northern Lights Hemp Co., makes
seven different hemp seed treats and distributes its products throughout
Canada and the U.S.

Roasted hemp seeds taste a little like sunflower seeds with the shell still
on. That's why it's probably best that the company makes them with
different flavourings including sea salt, cajun, and an eastern mix.

They're also small, and so don't make for the best finger food, apt as they
are to slip through your fingers. You may want to try the company's
granola-type bars, which contain hemp seed and other nuts and are held
together with honey and brown sugar.

Ron Shaul, the company's owner, says his business is growing in leaps and
bounds. It's increased 75 per cent each year since he's owned it.

Part and parcel of the hemp rebirth is the fact that hemp seed is good for
you. The seed, which is 22 per cent protein, produces much higher quality
oil than flax seed and contains essential fatty acids.

Hemp oil is one of the best balanced and most nutritional for human use.

It's also THC-free. (THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.)

But during harvesting, the seed can sometimes be contaminated by the parts
of the plant that do contain the hallucinogen.

Uphill Struggle On Trail Of Record Heroin Bust (The Sun Herald, in Australia,
says that despite an international hunt, police have yet to identify
the criminal masterminds behind last month's record heroin seizure
in Australia.)

Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 03:55:22 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Uphill Struggle On Trail Of Record Heroin Bust
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell (kenbo01@ozemail.com.au)
Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998
Source: Sun Herald (Australia)
Contact: letters@sunherald.fairfax.com.au
Website: http://www.sunherald.fairfax.com.au/
Copyright: 1998 John Fairfax Holdings Ltd
Author: Darren Goodsir and Chris Dobson, in Hong Kong
Page: 51


DESPITE an international hunt, police have yet to identify the criminal
masterminds behind last month's record heroin seizure in Australia.

After a four-week global asset search, Australian Federal Police have only
made restraining orders on a modest Hong Kong home unit, stolen watches,
bracelets and gold bars, freezing only $400,000 in assets and jewellery
from the 18 gang members charged with the bust.

The notes were found in bank safety deposit boxes - but belong to only one
of the 18 foreigners implicated in the October 14 seizure at Grants Beach,
near Port Macquarie, on the NSW north coast.

Officials have failed to find assets held by the other 17 defendants - six
Hong Kong Chinese nationals and 11 Indonesians. It is feared police have so
far only netted the minnows of an international drugs syndicate.

According to sources, the investigation is now spreading to China and
Thailand, with checks being made on air travel movements and financial

Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau officers, who have been in Sydney for the past
few days to help prepare evidence for court hearings, believe the
organisers of the massive 400kg shipment - shipped on the Belize-registered
freighter Uniana - have so far evaded detection.

Checks to unmask the ring-leaders have stretched to the US where the
headquarters of the Uniana's owners is located.

AFP chemists are conducting heroin profile analyses to try to locate the
area in the Golden Triangle, and even the laboratory, where the drugs

This process may be made easier because of the quality of the haul -
believed to be about 70 per cent pure heroin.

In Bangkok, where the AFP has its largest liasion office, police are trying
to find the route and method used to transport the drugs to the Uniana.

It is believed the Uniana picked up the consignment from another ship
somewhere in the Gulf of Thailand.

AFP sources said confiscation proceedings have been initiated in relation
to only one the defendants.

A tiny home unit, in Tai Wo in the outlying New Territories in Hong Kong,
has been seized.

This led police to execute search warrants on bank security boxes.

A hearing, in chambers, is scheduled for December 6, where further
applications and orders will be made over asset seizures.



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