------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Author: Associated Press NEARLY 10% OF TRUCKERS FAIL OREGON DRUG TEST * 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 painkillers. 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 stop. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Drag Net: Cigarette Buyers May Go Online To Avoid New Taxes Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center Author: STEVE JOHNSON, Mercury News Staff Writer DRAG NET: CIGARETTE BUYERS MAY GO ONLINE TO AVOID NEW TAXES 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 $11.95. ``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. ***
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: US CA: SFX Editorial: Pro Bono Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ PRO BONO 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US LA: Police Officers Are Wearing Badges Of Dishonor Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times. Fax: 213-237-4712 Author: Jack Nelson, Chief Washington Correspondent POLICE OFFICERS ARE WEARING BADGES OF DISHONOR 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 example: * 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 drugs. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US LA: Dealer Goes Undercover on Underworld Odyssey Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times. Fax: 213-237-4712 Author: Mark Fineman, Times Staff Writer DEALER GOES UNDERCOVER ON UNDERWORLD ODYSSEY 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 cartel. 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 Miami. 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Two Years Later, CIA-drug Controversy Continues Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998 Author: Pete Carey TWO YEARS LATER, CIA-DRUG CONTROVERSY CONTINUES 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 evidence. 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 trafficking. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: LTE: Marijuana Isn't A Harmless Drug Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 22 Nov 1998 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Copyright: 1998 Globe Newspaper Company. Author: Alan Leshner MARIJUANA ISN'T A HARMLESS DRUG 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 abuse. 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 marijuana. The bottom line is that marijuana is not a benign drug, and its use should not be encouraged. Alan Leshner Director 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.)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: firstname.lastname@example.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. 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). "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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: The 'Win At All Costs' series list Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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) email@example.com Webform: (1) http://www.post-gazette.com/contact/letters.asp Website: (1) http://www.post-gazette.com/ Contact: (2) firstname.lastname@example.org 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. THE 'WIN AT ALL COSTS' SERIES LIST Out Of Control (Part 1 of 2) - 'Win At All Costs' http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1068.a04.html Out Of Control (Part 2 of 2) - 'Win At All Costs' http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1068.a05.html [combined into one take at the Portland NORML site - ed.] From Beginning Of Cases To End, Rule Changes Led To Misconduct http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1069.a01.html Fighting To Prove Innocence Led 3 To Stiffer Sentences http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1078.a06.html Federal Sting Often Put More Drugs On The Streets http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1079.a02.html Informant Lured Him Into A Costly Deal http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1079.a04.html Feds Sought Bigger Drug Deal To Ensure A Stiffer Prison Sentence http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1079.a07.html Drug Charge Beaten, But At High Price http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1079.a08.html Hiding The Facts http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1080.a03.html Smuggler Sells Out His Lawyer To Strike A Deal http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1082.a01.html He Committed The Murder http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1107.a01.html Changing His Story To Fit The Case http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1107.a11.html The Damage Of Lies http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1107.a12.html Fish Tale Was One Of Many Stretches http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a02.html Thwarting Attempts To Check On Witness http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a03.html A Question Of Whom To Trust http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a04.html Selling Lies http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a05.html Inmate Exploited Prosecutors' Need For Witnesses http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a06.html Feds Finally Use Safeguards But Only To Protect Their Own http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1108.a07.html A Crowd On This 'Bus' http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1111.a05.html Switching Sides http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1111.a06.html A Troubling Pioneer http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1112.a01.html Unique Way Of Solving Mystery http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1112.a02.html Surprise Response To Newspaper Ad http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1112.a03.html Giving In To The Temptation http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1112.a04.html Agents Can't Keep Hands Off Drug Evidence http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1112.a05.html When Safeguards Fail http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1133.a09.html Businessman Goes To Prison When Agent's False Testimony Isn't Corrected http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1134.a01.html Promoter Says Attractive Property Made Him A Target http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1134.a03.html Calculated Abuses http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1135.a03.html German Criminal Finds A Lucrative Life As Federal Informant http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1135.a04.html Under Consent Decree, FBI Still Violates Order http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1137.a03.html Agents Dug Up More Problems For Archaeologist http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1137.a07.html Government Goes Back On A Deal http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1137.a06.html Wrath Of Vengeance http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1137.a05.html Failing To Police Their Own http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1154.a05.html Hyde Amendment Makes Violations Costly http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1154.a06.html Congress Steps In To Protect Whistleblower http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1154.a07.html Aggressive Attorney At OPR Targets Prosecutor, Loses On All Counts http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1154.a08.html Win At All Costs series sidebars end the series http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1155.a01.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Out Of Control - 'Win At All Costs' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.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: http://www.post-gazette.com/win/ 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. *** OUT OF CONTROL 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 testimony. 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 said. 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 back. 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 ruling. 'Jumping On The Bus' "Jumping on the bus" has taken perjury in the federal justice system to new heights. 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 enemies. 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 deal. 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 misconduct. 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 said. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: From Beginning Of Cases To End, Rule Changes Led To Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: http://www.post-gazette.com/win/ FROM BEGINNING OF CASES TO END, RULE CHANGES LED TO MISCONDUCT 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. 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. Investigations 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 complete. 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." Trials 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. Sentencing 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. Appeals 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. Oversight 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" (email@example.com) Subject: Poll on Drug Testing of Students Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com 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. Arthur *** Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 09:20:19 -0600 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "Carl E. Olsen" (carl@COMMONLINK.NET) Subject: Re: Poll on Drug Testing of Students Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also vote and leave your opinion at: http://www.usaweekend.com/ Sincerely, 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: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Uphill Struggle On Trail Of Record Heroin Bust Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 Source: Sun Herald (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunherald.fairfax.com.au/ Copyright: 1998 John Fairfax Holdings Ltd Author: Darren Goodsir and Chris Dobson, in Hong Kong Page: 51 UPHILL STRUGGLE ON TRAIL OF RECORD HEROIN BUST 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 transactions. 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 originated. 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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