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Without further ado, please enjoy the news: circa 08/27/93 NORML Busts DEA Hydro-Tech Sting NORML PROTESTS DEA STING OPERATION AT HYDRO-TECH GARDEN STORE IN SEATTLE SEATTLE, Wash: On Thursday, August 26 at 2 P.M., Washington and California NORML called a press conference and demonstration at the Hydro- Tech gardening store, 821 N. 40th St., to protest DEA surveillance of garden store customers for home marijuana cultivation. Protesters presented court documents showing that the owner of Hydro- Tech, Kevin Scott Bjornson, agreed to act as a cooperating informant for the DEA by operating his store as a "passive sting operation" in exchange for reduced charges arising from his arrest in the 1989 Green Merchant Operation. Protesters want Hydro-Tech customers to know that xerox copies of their checks, license plate numbers, and other information are subject to DEA inspection by agreement with Bjornson. Friends say that Bjornson was under intense pressure to cooperate, since the government had seized all his property and charged him with offenses that could have landed him in prison for the rest of his life. This may be the first public protest ever called at the site of a suspected DEA sting operation. Bjornson's troubles with the law began October 26, 1989, when Hydro-Tech was raided by Federal agents with guns drawn as part of the DEA's Operation Green Merchant aimed at gardening stores promoted in marijuana culture magazines. The DEA raided 65 stores nationwide, seizing inventories, shipping records and mailing lists to conduct further searches that have led to hundreds of arrests. No criminal charges were pressed on him at the time, and no marijuana was found, but his store and assets were seized under federal forfeiture laws. Subsequent investigations led to Bjornson being charged with various marijuana-related offenses. He pled guilty to seven marijuana-related charges in April, 1992, but was allowed to operate the store under DEA control while awaiting sentencing. As part of the bargain, Bjornson offered to lure customers to government attention and provided information in a number of cultivation cases. The news of Bjornson's activities shocked and saddened friends in the cannabis and libertarian movements, in which he had been a vocal activist, writing articles on individual freedom and indoor gardening. "I don't know anyone who feels good about this," said one long-time friend. California NORML, which interviewed him in a 1990 documentary video, issued the following statement: "We are sorry that Kevin succumbed to this degrading pressure. We know that he is acting contrary to his most deeply held beliefs. We are outraged by the DEA's KGB-style tactics, which have turned friend against friend and robbed Kevin of his liberty, property, and self-respect. We demand an end to the war on home marijuana growers and an amnesty for Kevin and other non-violent marijuana offenders." APn 08/28/93 Netherlands-Netherweed By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY Associated Press Writer AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Tiptoe right on past the tulips, and take a whiff of the latest delight under the dikes. Or even take a toke. The latest triumph of the Dutch green thumb is a super-strength marijuana dubbed "netherweed." And despite the Netherlands' live-and-let-live policy about pot use, the new crop has police worried and the government up in arms. Netherweed is four times stronger than regular marijuana. Cultivation has more than quadrupled in recent years; what used to be a window-box hobby has developed into a cottage industry, with reports of police raids almost daily. The crop is recharging debate over the legal use of drugs in a nation that long ago dismissed the notion that illicit drugs are a public health threat. Although neither soft nor hard drugs are legal in the Netherlands, possession for personal use is not prosecuted. Marijuana and hashish are sold in hundreds of "coffee shops," which draw droves of tourists. But police fear netherweed could make the Netherlands a major exporter of a drug that until now was mainly imported from outside Europe. This week the National Police Intelligence Agency reported seizures last year of 313,242 locally-grown hemp plants, equivalent to about 16.5 tons or $13 million worth of processed marijuana. Netherweed "can already be found on the menu of every coffee shop in our country," Richard Weijenberg, director of the police agency's narcotics research department, said in a government publication. The Health Ministry has proposed setting up a state monopoly to control the distribution of netherweed, prevent export, and set price and purity standards. Opponents claim any legalization move would draw an angry reaction from neighboring European states, whose attitudes toward drug use are less permissive. Lawmakers, anxious to avoid renewed condemnation of Dutch drug policies from abroad, agreed only to consider licensing cultivation of the plant, which is also used in rope and bird seed. The architect of the licensing proposal was Robert Samson, the Health Ministry's top drugs adviser. He warned that a crackdown on hemp hothouses "will result in a dispersion to smaller and smaller indoor facilities, which pose even greater problems for enforcement." The tide in favor of legalizing marijuana is rising, and includes the National Institute of Alcohol and Drugs, some senior government advisers and local politicians. They point to data that marijuana use has remained generally stable at about 600,000 regular users, or 4 percent of the Dutch population. And advocates maintain open sales in coffee shops means users are less likely to come in contact with narcotics dealers on the street. "We have allowed marijuana use for years with good results," said institute policy coordinator Mario Lap. "It's time for the next step." Like the tulip, netherweed has flourished thanks to crossbreeding and some of the world's most advanced farming techniques. On Thursday, a column of smoke seeping out of an Amsterdam warehouse betrayed a giant hemp plantation with 5,000 plants. Police found the place equipped with artificial lights and an automated drip irrigation system. They made no arrests; no one was inside. APn 08/29/93 Elderly Grower NORTHBORO, Mass. (AP) -- A 70-year-old man charged with growing marijuana in a greenhouse said he hoped to make enough money to pay about $40,000 he owes in back taxes on his property. Police found 50 marijuana plants and several pounds of the harvested weed packaged for sale in a raid at his farmhouse Thursday. Dean Firth Squier pleaded innocent to a charge of growing marijuana for sale, and faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted. Squier said a drinking problem caused him to squander the nest egg he got when he sold his landscaping business in 1980. "I was drunk. I let things go," he said in Sunday's Boston Globe. "I felt I was being overtaxed, so I put it off. If you're drinking, you lose it." Squier said he hoped to make about $50,000 selling the plants to a buyer whose name he never learned. "Oh yeah, it occurred to me I'd get caught," Squier said. "This was the last resort. ... I would've been home free if I'd got the crop out." APn 08/29/93 Grandfather Grower NORTHBORO, Mass. (AP) -- A 70-year-old man said he turned to growing marijuana to pay off the tax man. Dean Firth Squier pleaded innocent to charges after a raid Thursday netted 50 marijuana plants. But he admitted he planted the illegal herb seeking to settle a 1986 tax debt that has grown to $40,000. "Oh yeah, it occurred to me I'd get caught," Squier said. "This was the last resort ... I would've been home free if I'd got the crop out." He said he squandering his savings with hard drinking. "I was drunk. I let things go," he said. "I felt I was being overtaxed, so I put it off. If you're drinking, you lose it." Now he faces up to 17 years in prison and loss of his property. Police Chief Kenneth G. Hutchins said people were feeling too sorry for Squier because he's a kindly grandfather. "I'm a little concerned that people are looking at him with more sympathy than they should because of his age," Hutchins said. RTw 09/01/93 COLOMBIA EX-CENTRAL BANKER JAILED ON DRUG CHARGE BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuter) - Justice authorities Wednesday sentenced Carlos Ossa Escobar, a former member of Colombia's powerful central bank board, to two days imprisonment following his arrest at Bogota airport carrying marijuana. Ossa, one of the country's most prominent economic figures, was traveling to Caracas May 31 for a meeting with Venezuelan Central Bank officials when police searched his luggage and found a small quantity of the drug. Ossa at first vowed to stay on in his post and claimed he had done nothing wrong but subsequently resigned. After being informed of the two-day sentence Wednesday, Ossa protested, saying that he disagreed with the decision but would accept it and headed straight for a jail "to be able to get out before the Colombia-Argentina (World Cup soccer) match". Ossa Escobar is not related to Medellin cocaine cartel boss Pablo Escobar. REUTER UPwe 09/01/93 Asset forfeiture money goes to sheriffs SACRAMENTO (UPI) -- The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department Wednesday received more than $400,000 from the federal goverment asset forfeiture program for its role in breaking up a marijuana distribution operation. U.S. Attorney Robert Twiss said the department received $430,000, while the Shasta County Sheriff's Department was given $143,000 for helping in the prosecution. The funds came from the sale of a mobile home park in Salem, Ore., once operated by convicted drug dealer Sherbert Raymond Chisum of Humboldt County. Chisum is serving a 12-year sentence in Colorado on marijuana distribution charges. He was forced to forfeit the mobile home park and other pieces of real estate prosecutors argued were bought with drug money. Shasta and Humboldt counties previously shared $300,000 in asset forfeiture funds obtained through the prosecution. APn 09/01/93 Marijuana-Indictment By RICHARD COLE Associated Press Writer MIAMI (AP) -- A Bahamian colonel and a man drug agents say is a key figure in a violent Colombian group called the PEPES were among 58 people named in marijuana-smuggling indictments unsealed Wednesday. Forty-four Americans were charged, and about half were taken into custody in Florida, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu and elsewhere Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administration officials said. The group allegedly smuggled 200 tons of Colombian marijuana into Florida through the Bahamas between 1987 and 1989, then sold it throughout the United States, said Orlando DEA agent Frank Chisari. Among those indicted was Felix Chitiva Carrasaquillo, who allegedly leads hit squads organized in Colombia by a group called "People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar" or the PEPES. The PEPES, believed to be made up of Escobar's cocaine-trafficking rivals, have been blamed for bombings and killings of associates of the fugitive Medellin cartel kingpin. Most recently, they were reported to have stolen a $1 million stallion owned by Escobar's brother -- then returned it castrated. Also indicted by the Orlando grand jury was Col. Batchelor LaFleur, who Chisari said is an officer in the Bahamian Defense Forces. LaFleur and another Bahamian, Marcus Dean, are accused of helping smuggle the marijuana through the Bahamas. Bahamian government spokesman George Stewart did not immediately return phone calls inquiring about LaFleur. DEA officials said Bahamian authorities cooperated in the investigation and LaFleur's arrest will be handled through normal extradition procedures. Chisari said the 200 tons constituted one of the last major marijuana shipments from Colombia. The country has largely left the marijuana business, and traffickers now prefer routes through Mexico, he said. UPce 09/02/93 Man sentenced for smuggling marijuana to jail BELLEVILLE, Ill. (UPI) -- A 20-year-old Belleville man who tried to smuggle a tiny amount of marijuana into the St. Clair County Jail while serving two weekends as part of his probation has been sentenced to two years in prison. Levon Becker was sentenced Wednesday by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Levon Becker, who said he felt the two-year term was needed to deter others from trying to bring drugs into the jail. Becker pleaded guilty last month to bringing contraband into a penal institution. He was caught June 19, while serving one of two weekends in the jail. He had been sentenced to the weekends as part of probation he received for a theft conviction. Corrections officers searched Becker when he reported to the jail and found 0.2 of a gram of marijuana in the soles of his shoes, prosecutors said. Becker asked Donovan to place him on probation, but the judge noted Becker received probation for possessing a controlled substance last year and was on probation for the theft charge when he was arrested at the jail. Prosecutors recommended the minimum two-year sentence. Becker's attorney, Chief Assistant Public Defender Scott Mansfield of Madison County, also argued for probation. However, he described his client's actions as "extraordinarily stupid." UPne 09/02/93 Police raid home pot farm in Mass. IPSWICH, Mass. (UPI) -- Two people faced arraignment Thursday on charges of operating a sophisticated marijuana growing operation inside their Ipswich, Mass., home. Police said they raided the house Wednesday night after a month-long surveillance during which they used high technology thermal imaging to confirm the presence of an elaborate growing operation. Officials said state police conducted a flyover with special sensors to pick up heat from growlights inside the house. Police obtained a search warrant Wednesday afternoon. In the raid they found 150 marijuana plants growing in the basement in what police described as a sophisticated operation involving lights and timers. They seized the plants, said to be worth about $70,000, and $24,000 in cash. Arrested were Ross Adams, 37, and Nancy Havener, 37. Police said the two lived together in the house. They were to be arraigned Thursday in Ipswich District Court on a variety of drug charges. UPn 09/02/93 Publishing company accepts resignation of movie mogul TOKYO (UPI) -- A major publishing company Thursday accepted the resignation of its president, movie mogul and producer Haruki Kadokawa, arrested on suspicion of cocaine smuggling from the United States. The 16-member board of directors of the Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. named Kunimitsu Ohora, senior managing director, as the firm's new head at an emergency meeting. Company officials said they plan to have Kadokawa's name removed as publisher from the firm's publications by the end of the month. Kadokawa, 51, will remain on the board of directors since he is the leading stockholder in the company founded in 1946 by his father. Kadokawa, who co-produced the Broadway musical "Shogun," submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday. Police arrested Kadokawa Sunday on suspicion of violating the Narcotics Control Law and Customs Law. The case was turned over to prosecutors Monday. Kadokawa, 51, has denied any guilt. If convicted, Kadokawa faces a minimum of one year in prison. The firm ran an advertisement in major newspapers to apologize for Kadokawa's arrest. In about 70 national and local newspapers, the company's executives said the arrest betrayed the trust of both their publications' readers and the public. Police searched the main office of Kadokawa Shoten for evidence indicating that Kadokawa instructed his former aide, Takeshi Ikeda, to purchase cocaine in the United States and smuggle it into Japan. Ikeda, 44, was arrested July 9 at Narita International Airport for allegedly smuggling 80 grams of cocaine with a street value of 5.6 million yen ($53,000). Ikeda, who worked as a photographer for Kadokawa Shoten but left the company last month, has been indicted on charges of violating the drug control law. Police, who first searched the office Aug. 26, suspect Kadokawa ordered Ikeda to make five trips to purchase cocaine in Los Angeles from June 1992 to July. Kadokawa has produced dozens of films and directed several including "Heaven and Earth," a samurai war drama that was a big hit in Japan in 1991. He also co-produced the 1989 Broadway production of "The Threepenny Opera." In the wake of Kadokawa's arrest, the movie distributor Shochiku Co. announced it will stop showing the popular film, "Rex: the Story of a Dinosaur," Sept. 10, four weeks earlier than planned because it was produced and directed by Kadokawa. Ikeda reportedly told investigators he was instructed by Kadokawa to purchase the cocaine. Police are trying to determine if Kadokawa used company funds or his own to make the alleged purchases. Prosecutors indicted Wednesday Kyoko Sakamoto, a close acquaintance of Kadokawa's, for possessing 38 grams of marijuana at her home. Sakamoto, 39, a board member of an entertainment agency affiliated with Kadokawa, was arrested Aug. 11. UPn 09/02/93 Violence increases in marijuana fields UKIAH, Calif. (UPI) -- Authorities said Thursday there has been a noticeable increase in both violence and the size of the harvest this year in California's Emerald Triangle, a region known for illegal marijuana cultivation. Sgt. Ron Cadillo, a member of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET), said budget cutbacks to his strike force and the end of the state's seven-year drought have both had an impact on the illegal industry. "We are just not in the hills like we used to be," he said. "Over the last two weeks we've seen a marked increase in violence. We had one homicide in a marijuana field and two other shooting incidents." An outbreak of violence in the early 1980s forced local politicians to form COMMET. At its height, the unit was made up of nine full-time employees. This year, cutbacks have reduced the staff to two full time deputies and another part-time employee. Cutbacks have also affected the amount of assistance the unit gets from both state and federal drug agencies. Cadillo said cutbacks on all levels have not gone unnoticed by marijuana growers. He said crop yields appear to be larger than in the recent past with some plots now averaging 3,000 to 6,000 plants. circa 09/02/93 [untitled - Medical Marijuana News Conference] 9:30 am EVENT: (MARIJUANA) NEWS CONFERENCE -- SUBJECT: The Emergency Coalition for Medical Cannibas holds a news conference to mark the fifth anniversary of a decision by a Drug Enforcement Administration administrative law judge to permit use of marijuana as a prescription drug. The federal government has yet to change the policy. Participants include Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, Dr. John Morgan of CUNY Medical School, and Elvy Mussika, who suffers from glaucoma and is one of only nine patients across the country allowed to use marijuana legally. LOCATION: National Press Club, 14th and F streets NW -- September 7 CONTACT: Richard Cowan or Allen St. Pierre, 202-483-5500 -- Note: See related event, (MARIJUANA) RALLY, at noon ---------- UPwe 09/02/93 Drug conviction reversed SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- A federal appeals court unanimously reversed Thursday the drug convictions of a passenger in a car carrying illegal narcotics across the Mexico-U.S border. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Jerry Soyland had been searched illegally by a border agent and that his conviction on drug possession and distribution charges was improper. But by a 2-1 vote, the court upheld the conviction of the car's driver, Mary Whitaker, on drug charges after marijuana and paraphernalia was found in her vehicle. Whitaker and Soyland were stopped at the immigration checkpoint in Temecula, Calif. in a heavily loaded Mazda RX-7 after a border agent reported smelling methamphetamine in the car. After finding no illegal aliens, the agent received permission from Whitaker, the driver, to search the vehicle. The secondary search found Vitamin B powder, commonly used to dilute narcotics, and $4000 in cash. Whitaker and Soyland were searched, and marijuana and methamphetamine were found. The court said the agent did not have probable cause to search Soyland because his "mere presence" in a car carrying contraband was not a sufficient link to the narcotics. UPwe 09/03/93 Pot plants tossed at dump RED BLUFF, Calif. (UPI) -- Tehama County sheriff's deputies are trying to determine who tossed several large bags of marijuana plants into a local dump. Authorities confiscated the bags Thursday after an employee at the dump in the Rancho Tehama Reserve near Red Bluff discovered the illegal plants. The plants had been cut, stuffed in the bags and tossed among the refuse. Police said the illegal greenery ranged in height from six to seven feet and had an estimated street value of $20,000. There were no suspects. UPwe 09/08/93 Jail drug ring broken up in Butte County OROVILLE, Calif. (UPI) -- Butte County authorities said Wednesday they have broken up an elaborate drug ring organized from the county prison and arrested a Sheriff's Department employee for helping run the operation. Officials said county jail cook Sam Sorem, 44, was arrested after he was allegedly videotaped taking $100 from an undercover officer to smuggle five grams of methamphetamine to an inmate in the facility. Sgt. Dave Panchesson said he did not know how long the ring had been operating or how many people were involved, but said an unidentified inmate helped place orders with Sorem. The ring allegedly smuggled methamphetamine and marijuana to inmates at the prison. Panchesson said more arrests are pending. Sorem has been placed on administrative leave and booked on drug smuggling, conspiracy and possession of narcotics for sale. UPsw 09/09/93 Three arrested, 5,000 pounds of marijuana seized McALLEN, Texas (UPI) -- U.S. Customs Service agents Thursday arrested two men accused of moving more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana through McAllen during the past few years. A third individual was taken into custody in Miami, following a two- year investigation by Customs agents. Vince Klink, resident agent in charge at McAllen, said, "The suspects are charged with smuggling and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. We believe they are part of a smuggling organization that has been operating out of McAllen for the last five years." The suspects were arraigned Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate William Mallet and were held without bond at the Hidalgo County Jail in Edinburg. Klink said the arrests complemented several others already made in the investigation. He said, "We expect to round up a few more people named in the indictment before we are through." The Customs agents were assisted by members of the U.S. Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and a drug detecting dog. APn 09/10/93 Quayle-Prisoner By JAMES ROWLEY Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department's inspector general concluded that federal prison officials unfairly disciplined an inmate during the 1988 presidential campaign for spreading allegations that he once sold marijuana to Dan Quayle. Inmate Brett C. Kimberlin "was treated differently and held to a stricter standard of conduct... as a result of his contacts with the press to promote his allegations," said the report by the department's inspector general, Richard J. Hankinson. But Hankinson said there was no "conspiracy to silence" Kimberlin when Quayle was running for vice president. The report was obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. The Bureau of Prison's "disparate treatment" of Kimberlin took place because "traditional BOP methods of resolving problems associated with inmate conduct and with press contacts were not followed," Hankinson said. He concluded that officials at the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., who put Kimberlin in special lock-down cell just before the 1988 election were reacting to the extraordinary intervention of then-Bureau of Prisons' director J. Michael Quinlan. Quinlan had canceled a Nov. 4, 1988 prison press conference at which Kimberlin planned to make public his allegation about Quayle. Quinlan also ordered Kimberlin placed in a special detention cell that night. "Director Quinlan's personal involvement in overriding the decision of a local warden in this circumstance was quite unusual," the report found. Kimberlin claimed he sold marijuana to Quayle years ago when the former vice president was a law school student. Quayle has denied the allegation. And the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated Kimberlin's claim and concluded it was false. The investigation was sought by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who said in an Oct. 2 report that the Bureau of Prisons' actions were politically motivated. But Hankinson's report said: "There is no evidence to support the allegations that political forces or persons outside the Bureau of Prisons influenced the decision to either grant or subsequently deny Mr. Kimberlin access to the press." Quinlan told investigators that he did not have any contact with Bush-Quayle campaign officials at the time. Levin called the report by Hankinson, a holdover appointee of President Bush, "a major disappointment" and said it "avoids any criticisms of actions taken in this matter despite the report's admission that the actions were `unusual."' Quinlan retired last year as prisons director, citing health reasons. He declined to comment Friday on the report. Kimberlin, who is serving 51 years for convictions including drug conspiracy and eight Indiana bombings, has been in jail since 1980. He also has sued the Bureau of Prisons, accusing prison authorities of violating his constitutional rights. The controversy began when Quinlan canceled the Nov. 4, 1988 meeting Kimberlin had scheduled with reporters at the Oklahoma prison, citing safety reasons. Quinlan told investigators he was concerned that Kimberlin would become "a big wheel" if inmates learned he was holding press conferences, the report said. Hankinson concluded that Quinlan made no attempt to determine if prison officials had properly assessed the safety issue when they set up the interview. On Nov. 7, the day before the election, Kimberlin was again placed in special detention because he tried to set up a telephone conference call with reporters in Washington. He was disciplined again on Dec. 22 for attempting to contact reporters again, the Justice report said. In both instances, Kimberlin was disciplined for technical violations of rules governing telephone use by inmates, the report said. By seeking media attention, Kimberlin "risked and received closer scrutiny" by prison authorities, the report said. "We believe it fair to surmise that in taking some of the actions they did, some FCI El Reno staff reacted more to what they perceived to be headquarters desires rather than local interpretation of existing policy," the report said. "We are pleased that the review of the facts of the case had proven there was no evidence to support the allegations" of political interference, said Dan Dunne, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons. RTw 09/12/93 RENO SAYS FBI AND DEA DUPLICATE EFFORTS PHILADELPHIA, Sept 12 (Reuter) - U.S. Attorney-General Janet Reno on Saturday deplored duplicate efforts against illicit drugs but did not endorse merging the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). "What I want to try to do is figure out the best way to end the duplication while at the same time maintaining the drug enforcement effort at its present level or at an enhanced level," Reno told a national group of editorial writers. "That's not necessarily a merger of the two (agencies)," she added. Vice President Al Gore, as part of sweeping recommendations unveiled this week to increase governmental efficiency, has urged transferring the DEA's law-enforcement powers to the FBI. Both agencies operate under the authority of Reno, as head of the Justice Department. "Right now the drug enforcement initiative in America is so fragmented there is great duplication in terms of intelligence capability and in terms of automation and in terms of vehicles, procurement, budget, personnel, training," Reno said. The attorney general argued that any effort to curtail drug abuse and drug-related crimes should include progress in social services, including improving drug treatment centres and education and setting up new jobs programmes. Reno, who called for "the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach," said calls for a single-mission agency to supervise drug enforcement were being considered. "Many people tell me that the DEA has a greater capacity to investigate street crime and to work more closely with local law enforcement," she said. Reno said there were many good reasons for combining the efforts of the two agencies. "There are so many issues in which drugs cut across every single type of investigation that we get into that it would be far better to consolidate those efforts," she said. The attorney-general did not say when she planned to make a decision on a merger of the agencies, which would require Congressional approval. REUTER APn 09/14/93 Drug Use By CASSANDRA BURRELL Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- After gradually declining during the 1980s, teen-age use of marijuana increased nearly 16 percent last year, a drug prevention group said Tuesday. Nineteen percent of senior high school students surveyed said they used marijuana at least once during the 1992-93 school year, up from the 16.4 percent who said they had used the illegal drug the previous year, said the National Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education -- or PRIDE. That works out to a 15.8 percent increase in the number of students reporting they had used marijuana. About 5.8 percent of the junior high school students said they used marijuana at least once last school year, an 20.8 percent increase over the 4.8 percent who did the previous school year, said PRIDE. The Atlanta-based group has polled students on their drug use every year since 1982. PRIDE surveyed 236,745 junior high and high school students in 40 states. "These findings signal the end of a cycle of decreasing drug use by students and the beginning of a new trend back to increasing use and dependence," PRIDE President Thomas Gleaton said during a news conference. The use of hallucinogens also increased slightly for senior high school students. PRIDE said 5.7 percent of students said they used those types of drugs last year, compared to the 5.3 percent who did the year before. "We simply cannot afford to relax," said Lee Brown, director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy for the Clinton administration. "Our prevention efforts should be redoubled and, when needed, redesigned to better address emerging problems." Brown said he planned to submit his strategy for decreasing drug use nationwide by the end of the month. The plan will include a program of drug education, prevention, treatment and law enforcement, he said. Senior high students taking part in the survey also said they smoked more cigarettes, but used less beer, wine coolers and liquor and took fewer "uppers" and "downers." Use of inhalants and cocaine, including crack, remained unchanged. There were no significant decreases in the use of tobacco, beer, wine coolers, liquor, uppers or downers among junior high students, Gleaton said. Among the most disturbing findings was an increase in the number of black students who used marijuana at least once last year, Gleaton said. "Among African American males in junior high, annual use of marijuana rose 71 percent; for females 100 percent," the group said. "Overall, African American students continue to use less marijuana than white students, but the difference is smaller than in previous years," the group said. Thirty percent of all students surveyed said marijuana was "easy to get," an increase over the 25.9 percent who said the same thing the previous year, the group said. About 77 percent agreed that marijuana was "very" harmful to health, a decrease over the 79.3 percent who said so in the 1991-92 school year. This is the second consecutive year the group has found that overall drug use is rising or remaining unchanged from the year before, Gleaton said. UPma 09/14/93 Builder sentenced in drug case ELYRIA, Ohio (UPI) -- A Vermilion builder has been sentenced to two to 10 years in prison for participating in a marijuana-smuggling ring in Erie and Lorain counties. Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge Floyd Harris sentenced Terry McDonald after McDonald pleaded guilty Monday to one county of marijuana trafficking. McDonald, a well-known building in Lorain County, was also fined $5, 000. Under a plea bargain agreement in which he agreed to enter a guilty plea, McDonald must cooperate in the prosecution of co-conspirators and forfeit his Vermilion home and a car. Prosecutors said the drug ring, which operated for about 10 years, sold 1,100 pounds of marijuana during one nine-month period. McDonald reportedly took part in the operation, along with some high school friends from Florida, and controlled the marijuana selling in Lorain County. McDonald will be eligible for early release after serving at least six months of his prison sentence. UPsw 09/15/93 Drug agents arrest 4, seize 7,000 pounds of marijuana HOUSTON (UPI) -- U.S. Customs agents revealed Wednesday that they drove a drug-laden truck from Laredo to Houston, where they arrested four men allegedly waiting for the vehicle to arrive. Agents said the truck arrived Tuesday afternoon at the Port of Entry at the new Colombia Bridge at Laredo. Inspectors said they discovered marijuana bales elaborately concealed inside large furniture boxes labelled as "Futon Mattresses." Authorities said the driver was released after extensive questioning. However, Customs agents drove the truck to its Houston destination, where surveillance was established on two warehouses on the city's southeast side. Agents of the Customs Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Houston Police Department later arrested four men in connection with the operation, and seized 7,000 pounds of marijuana. The suspects were identified as Eliazar Gomez-Gonzalez, a 29-year-old resident alien from Mexico; and Pedro Cano, 44, Dario Moreno-Vela, 37, and Jose Guadalupe Morales-Guerrero, 29, all Mexican nationals. The Drug Enforcement Administration officers said the seized marijuana had an estimated street value of $5.6 million. UPwe 09/15/93 Police uncover marijuana garden CAMPBELVILLE, Calif. (UPI) -- Authorities said Wednesday they have destroyed a small marijuana garden in a remote area of Lassen National Forest. Police said 45-marijuana plants up to five-feet high were discovered Tuesday night and uprooted. The garden had an estimated street value of $180,000. There are no suspects. APn 09/15/93 Drug Use WASHINGTON (AP) -- A private drug prevention group says teen-age use of marijuana increased nearly 16 percent last year. Nineteen percent of senior high school students surveyed said they used marijuana at least once during the 1992-93 school year, up from the 16.4 percent the previous year, the National Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education, or PRIDE, said Tuesday. About 5.8 percent of the junior high school students said they used marijuana at least once last school year, compared to 4.8 percent the previous school year, said PRIDE. The Atlanta-based group has polled students on their drug use every year since 1982. PRIDE surveyed 236,745 junior high and high school students in 40 states. "These findings signal the end of a cycle of decreasing drug use by students and the beginning of a new trend back to increasing use and dependence," PRIDE President Thomas Gleaton said during a news conference. This is the second consecutive year the group has found that overall drug use is rising or remaining unchanged from the year before, Gleaton said. PRIDE said 5.7 percent of students said they used hallucinogens last year, compared to the 5.3 percent who did the year before. Senior high students taking part in the survey also said they smoked more cigarettes, but drank less beer, wine coolers and liquor and took fewer "uppers" and "downers." Use of inhalants and cocaine, including crack, was unchanged. There were no significant decreases in the use of tobacco, beer, wine coolers, liquor, uppers or downers among junior high students, Gleaton said. UPsw 09/16/93 Pentagon re-thinking its drug war priorities By CHARLES DOE WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A broad review of U.S. strategy in the war against drugs is under way, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. Pentagon spokeswoman Kathleen deLaski described the review as an "interagency" effort designed to identify where and how drug suppliers and traffickers might most effectively be stopped. But deLaski called "premature" a published report based on National Security Council documents that concluded Pentagon efforts to interdict drug transporters outside U.S. borders had failed. The Washington Post reported that a classified NSC review had concluded the antidrug effort has had no impact on the cost or availability of cocaine on American streets. The NSC, according to the Post story, recommended that resources now being used by the military in its coastal interdiction effort should be redirected. "No recommendations have been made to the policy makers," deLaski said. "(Secretary of Defense Les) Aspin has not been asked to make any recommendations yet. The review, she said, "hasn't gotten to that point." "This is a process that began in the spring. It's an interagency process that involves 12 different groups within the government....No decisions have been made." The Pentagon currently spends about $1.1 billion on the war against drugs and much of it goes for air and sea interdiction of drug shipments. DeLaski defended the interdiction efforts. "The Department of Defense," she said, "has provided invaluable detection and monitoring support to U.S. and host nation law-enforcement agencies." DeLaski noted that the Pentagon's contribution to the drug war is only a portion of the overall effort, which includes participation by such organizations as the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service as well as state and local governments. While acknowledging that the estimate was a rough one, deLaski put the cost of the overall antidrug effort at more than $30 billion a year. "You've got to remember here that the Department of Defense does not have any direct interdiction responsibility," she said. "It is a support agency, working with...others." She acknowledged that interceptions of drug shipments as a result of Air Force and Navy surveillance had recently declined, but she attributed it to the smugglers' defensive reaction. "Traffickers have been forced to use more desperate measures to bring drugs into the country and that that is one reason that detections are down," she said. Attorney General Janet Reno has been among the recent critics of the effectiveness of the drug interdiction effort. "Generally, interdiction, which has been very costly, does not work, " Reno said in a Washington Post interview last week. And Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., whose Senate Appropriations subcommittee oversees U.S. antidrug efforts abroad, said there is no evidence those operations had cut drug production in Latin America. "We've spent over $1 billion down there so far and we've accomplished virtually nothing," Leahy said. "We ought to realize it's not going to work and call it quits." APn 09/16/93 Drug Strategy By TOM RAUM Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration is reviewing the effectiveness of the Pentagon's interception of cocaine and other elements of the nation's war on drugs, officials said Thursday. One draft of the re-evaluation reportedly includes a National Security Council recommendation that policy be shifted toward destroying cocaine labs in South America and disrupting trafficking operations. Now the focus is on intercepting drugs at sea as they near U.S. coasts. The recommendation, reported in Thursday's editions of The Washington Post, is preliminary and no decisions have been made by senior officials, said White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers. "It's a draft. ... We're in the midst of a review," Myers said. She said that several agencies were participating in the review. Attorney General Janet Reno was quoted in a Post interview as saying "general interdiction, which has been very costly, does not work. I've not seen anything in the six months that I've been in office that's indicated to me that it's been a cost-effective effort." The Post said the policy paper will note that there has been virtually no effect on the price or availability of cocaine on the nation's streets. At the Pentagon, spokeswoman Kathleen deLaski, called such a recommendation premature because "no decisions have been made." Defense Secretary Les Aspin has not been asked to make any recommendations, she said. Asked for Aspin's view on the military's efforts in drug detection and monitoring, Ms. deLaski said he "wants to look at it." She said the Pentagon believes traffickers have been forced to use "more desperate measures" to bring drugs into the country. Instead of flying drugs into the country, traffickers have resorted to such methods as building suitcases out of cocaine to try to get the material into the country, she said. Defending the Pentagon's expenditure of $1.14 billion budget on the drug war, she said the department has "provided invaluable detection and monitoring support to U.S. and host nation law-enforcement agencies" and has directly assisted in seizing more than 200 metric tons of cocaine since fiscal year 1990. But she emphasized that the military acts in a "support role" to other federal agencies in the effort. Myers, the White House spokeswoman, said, "Obviously we're concerned about protecting what we think are vital services in the war on drugs. ... We are re-evaluating our strategy, and until we have a final product I don't have much more to add." UPma 09/16/93 Toledo drug ring exposed TOLEDO, Ohio (UPI) -- A Toledo Fire Department dispatcher is among four people who have pleaded innocent to federal charges involving conspiracy to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in Toledo since 1986. Deborah Harris, 34, a fire dispatcher since 1984, was released from custody after posting a $1 million secured property bond set during her Wednesday arraignment in Toledo's U.S. District Court. Three other defendants, Calvin Taylor and Paul Braswell, both of Toledo,also arrested in connection with the alleged ring entered innocent pleas and were freed on bond. Another defendant, Darril Martens of Oregon, Ohio, is being held to allow federal prosecutors to appeal the $500,000 bond set by U.S. Magistrate James Carr. During his arraignment earlier this week, yet another defendant, Lyndon Coucher of Toledo, was denied bond. Two other defendants, Gary Roscoe, of Miami, Fla., and Gregory Harris of Toledo remain in custody and will be arraigned at a later date. Prosecutors said Gregory Harris, the brother of Deborah Harris, was the ringleader of the group. He faces charges of money laundering, racketeering, and failing to report $700,000 in income, in addition to drug trafficking. Deborah Harris is also charged with money laundering, and income tax evasion. Toledo Fire Chief Michael Bell says she has been suspended with pay from her dispatcher's job, pending an internal affairs review of the criminal charges. Federal authorities arrested Deborah Harris and five of the other defendants on Sep. 10, after unsealing a 40-count federal grand jury indictment. Gregory Harris was arrested in Los Angeles one week earlier, allegedly while carrying drugs to be sold in Toledo. WP 09/16/93 U.S. Considers Shift in Drug War; Military Interdiction Called a Failure By Michael Isikoff Washington Post Staff Writer A Clinton administration drug policy review concludes that Defense Department interdiction efforts have largely failed to stem the flow of cocaine in the United States and recommends a refashioning of the international drug effort, according to administration officials. The classified review by the National Security Council recently concluded that despite $1.1 billion being spent by the Pentagon annually - much of it to detect drug smugglers in the "transit zones" of Central America and the Caribbean - there has been virtually no impact on price or availability of cocaine on U.S. streets, officials familiar with the document said. As a result, the sources said, the NSC has proposed a "controlled shift" that would redirect Pentagon resources away from interdiction and toward more military aid for operations aimed at dismantling cocaine labs and disrupting trafficking organizations in South America. But the policy goal already may have been partially undermined by recent congressional action slashing international U.S. anti-drug programs in the Andean nations, officials said. The proposed shift also has drawn intense criticism from officials at the Customs Service and the Coast Guard - the two lead U.S. interdiction agencies - who have argued that it would hamper their efforts to keep drugs out of the country. Both agencies' operations are heavily supported by Air Force radar planes and the Navy's Aegis guided-missile cruisers, which provide early warning of potential drug planes and smuggling boats, officials said. "The Customs and Coast Guard are going nuts over this," said one administration official involved in the NSC review process. "It's a pitched battle." But the NSC's analysis is in line with broader administration doubts about the value of the federal government's multibillion-dollar interdiction program. "General interdiction, which has been very costly, does not work. I've not seen anything in the six months that I've been in office that's indicated to me that it's been a cost-effective effort," Attorney General Janet Reno said in an interview last week. Initiated last April and recently completed, the NSC review is designed to support a proposed directive that is to be signed by President Clinton later this month and announced as part of a new administration drug strategy by national drug policy director Lee Brown. Administration officials had hoped to use the directive to signal the president's intention to pursue a vigorous international effort at a time when the drug issue has faded from public attention and some critics have questioned the president's commitment. The directive lays out broad policy goals, restates a Bush administration finding that drugs are a "national security" threat and recommends a continuation of international drug efforts at current funding levels. While the proposed directive calls for a stepped-up emphasis on programs in the drug "source" countries of Latin America, it directs agencies to develop an implementation strategy and come up with specific budget requirements. But administration officials also acknowledged that events may be overtaking them. The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved sharp cuts in foreign aid for anti-drug programs, including a $47 million reduction in the budget of the State Department office that supports joint U.S.-funded raids on cocaine traffickers in Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. U.S. officials said this week that those cuts, most of which have been adopted by the full House, will be crippling. State Department officials said they will be forced to close a U.S.-built, military-style base in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley, the world's main coca-growing region, and sharply curtail helicopter support for Drug Enforcement Administration raids in that country. As a result, DEA chief Robert C. Bonner said he will be forced to pull his agents out of the country by the end of the month unless alternative funding is found, sources said. "We can't do what we do without helicopter support," said Bill Ruzzamenti, DEA spokesman in Washington. "The U.S. is essentially going to have to pull out of Peru, which grows two-thirds of the world's coca," said another drug official, who asked not to be identified. "We're facing a real disaster." But Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who oversees the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign operations, has argued there is no evidence that U.S. operations have diminished drug production in the region. "We've spent over $1 billion down there so far and we've accomplished virtually nothing," he said in an interview. "We ought to realize it's not going to work and call it quits." While the future of the drug war in the Andes is now clouded, the NSC is taking aim at the Pentagon's drug interdiction budget, officials said. Although initially reluctant to be dragged into the drug war, the Pentagon now spends about $1.1 billion a year on the effort, about 70 percent of which is for "detection and monitoring" to support interdiction efforts. The bulk of that pays for Aegis cruisers and E-3 radar planes that patrol the transit zones in and around the Caribbean. Sources said Pentagon officials have been largely "neutral" in the NSC review on whether their transit zone interdiction efforts should continue at existing levels. But NSC officials concluded that a substantial chunk of those funds would have to be spent anyway for steaming and flying time and was being improperly allocated to the department's drug account. More importantly, administration officials said, despite record worldwide seizures of cocaine in each of the past four years, the NSC review cites official U.S. government data showing there has been no dip in the price or purity of the drug or the number of cocaine-related hospital emergencies. "The availability of drugs has not been significantly affected over the past four years as a result of our efforts," said one administration official. "The price is about the same, the number of (drug-related) emergency room (admissions) is the same. And that's all we have empirically to measure how effective we have been . . . . In today's environment we can no longer afford a full-court press on interdiction."
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