------------------------------------------------------------------- Grand jury finds shooting by Bend officer justified (The Oregonian says a Deschutes County grand jury Friday found that the Bend policeman who shot and killed 21-year-old Adam Gantenbein acted in justifiable self-defense. The family of Gantenbein, who moved to Bend from Portland several months ago, says he was a "nice guy" whose steady behavior is at odds with police accounts of the incident. Adam's father, Calvin Gantenbein, a former Portland Police officer, said that he and another retired Portland police officer had interviewed people who witnessed the shooting. What those witnesses said "does not match what the police were saying," he said in an interview Saturday. They intend to conduct their own investigation. "The family questions why the police department and the DA's office find it necessary to violate Oregon public records law," he said.)The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ * The 21-year-old victim's actions threatened police officers' lives, the jury rules Friday, but the man's parents plan their own investigation Sunday February 28, 1999 By Gordon Gregory Correspondent The Oregonian BEND -- A Deschutes County grand jury Friday found that the Bend policeman who shot and killed 21-year-old Adam Gantenbein acted in justifiable self-defense. Gantenbein, who moved to Bend from Portland several months ago, was killed in the early hours of Feb. 18 after what began as a routine traffic stop. According to police, Gantenbein refused to stop the 1996 Jeep he was driving until cornered on a busy street by three police vehicles. Gantenbein is then said to have nearly run over Sgt. Sandra Baxter and rammed two of the patrol cars. It was then that Bend policemen Albert Campbell and Mike Hartman fired their guns. Campbell apparently hit Gantenbein in the head. The grand jury concluded that Gantenbein's actions threatened the lives of the officers and that the shooting was therefore appropriate. But Gantenbein's parents, who expected the grand jury to exonerate the officers, say they are unsure if their son's death was necessary, and they intend to conduct their own investigation. Calvin Gantenbein, a former officer with the Portland Police Bureau, said he is prepared to accept his son's death if an independent review of the incident confirms the grand jury's finding. Gantenbein said there is some question that the events leading to his son's violent death unfolded just as officials say. He said that he and a retired Portland police officer have interviewed people who witnessed the shooting. What those witnesses say, "does not match what the police were saying," he said in a Saturday interview. He declined to explain how his information differs from the police version, but he said that the discrepancies, combined with the police's refusal to promptly release reports, files and other public information on the matter raises his suspicions. "The family questions why the police department and the DA's office find it necessary to violate Oregon public records law," he said. Gantenbein said authorities refused to provide any documents, tapes or other information about the case, though he said the information is supposed to become public after the grand jury concludes its work. No representative of the district attorney's office could be reached for comment Saturday. "If Adam did something that required them to shoot him, I can accept that fact," Gantenbein said. "All I want is the truth, and I don't think I'm getting it." Friends and family of Adam Gantenbein say they find it almost impossible to imagine the young man almost running down a woman and then ramming police vehicles. Gantenbein was a graduate of Jesuit High School in Beaverton, and had plans to attend college. "He's such a good guy," said Heather Fuerstenau, a friend from Portland. "He has never done anything wrong in his life. It just doesn't make sense."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thurston County wraps up case against marijuana advocate (The Associated Press says Gideon Israel is supposed to report to the Thurston County Jail on Monday to begin serving a nine-month sentence for conspiracy to deliver and manufacture marijuana and possession with intent to deliver LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Israel is the former proprietor of Rainbow Valley, 42 acres on the Black River south of Littlerock, where he lived and held rock concerts for 12 years. The People's Land Trust has filed a lawsuit against the county task force and the King County Sheriff's Office, seeking to save Rainbow Valley from forfeiture.)From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "HempTalkNW" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: Thurston County wraps up case against marijuana advocate Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 18:30:21 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Thurston County wraps up case against marijuana advocate The Associated Press 02/28/99 4:45 PM Eastern TACOMA (AP) -- Marijuana advocate Gideon Israel is to report to the Thurston County Jail on Monday to begin serving a nine-month sentence after county prosecutors wrapped up its criminal cases against Israel and his friends. He can be in a work-release program if he gets a job, but he doesn't have one. In Superior Court Friday, prosecutors accepted three guilty pleas and dismissed three cases against Israel's followers. The three people who pleaded guilty to marijuana-related charges were ordered to perform community service. In November 1997, county officers raided Rainbow Valley, 42 acres on the Black River south of Littlerock, where Israel lived and held controversial rock concerts for 12 years. In October, Israel, 49, pleaded guilty to three felonies, including conspiracy to deliver and manufacture marijuana and possession with intent to deliver LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. A civil case by the prosecution is pending to take possession of the property. Authorities plan to sell it and split the proceeds between Israel and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force. Trustees of the People's Land Trust filed a suit against the county task force and the King County Sheriff's Office. The members say the land is theirs and they want to keep it. *** hemp-talk - firstname.lastname@example.org is a discussion/information list about hemp politics in Washington State. To unsubscribe, send e-mail to email@example.com with the text "unsubscribe hemp-talk". For more details see http://www.hemp.net/lists.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- Showdown Looms On California Medical Pot Law (An editorial in the Auburn Journal by the newspaper's city editor, Pat McCartney, says this week, two high-profile cases in Placer County will test California's medical marijuana law. On Monday, Rocklin dentist Michael Baldwin and his wife Georgia will return to court in Auburn to answer felony cultivation charges. The next day, online magazine publisher Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, will attend a preliminary hearing before Superior Court Judge James D. Garbolino, seeking the return of some of the marijuana they grew. All we need is some compassion to implement Proposition 215. In Steve Kubby's case, it's a matter of life or death.) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 12:44:32 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Showdown Looms On California Medical Pot Law Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: ElPatricio@aol.com Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Auburn Journal Copyright: 1999 Auburn Journal Contact: ElPatricio@aol.com Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603 Author: Pat McCartney, Journal's City Editor SHOWDOWN LOOMS ON CALIFORNIA MEDICAL POT LAW In 1996, California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, better known as Proposition 215, by a 55-45 percent margin. Now all we need is some compassion to implement the law. This week, two high-profile cases in Placer County will test California's medical marijuana law. On Monday, Rocklin dentist Michael Baldwin and his wife Georgia return to court in Auburn to answer felony charges of cultivating marijuana. The couple claim protection under Proposition 215. The next day, online magazine publisher Steve Kubby and his wife Michele will attend a preliminary hearing on their Jan. 19 cultivation arrest in a Tahoe City courtroom. The Kubbys, who each say they use marijuana for a medical condition, will ask Superior Court Judge James D. Garbolino to return some of the marijuana they grew in their Olympic Valley home. Consider this a friend-of-the-court plea for Garbolino to set aside the question of the Kubbys' criminal liability, and to grant their request. Deciding that the Kubbys deserve at least a portion of the pot they grew would be just and compassionate. As far as I can tell, it would have no effect on the prosecution's contention the Kubbys were growing more marijuana than they needed. That issue may still be decided by a jury, and highlights the confused guidelines police and prosecutors follow to implement Proposition 215. The guidelines issued by former Attorney General Dan Lungren, a Roseville resident, state that "one can argue that more than two plants would be cultivation of more than necessary for personal medical use." No one in the medical marijuana movement buys that. "There's a tremendous resistance to the implementation of 215," said Dale Wood, a Tahoe City attorney who represents the Kubbys. Under federal compassionate-use rules, federal authorities still supply eight patients with 300 marijuana cigarettes a month, the equivalent of 7.1 pounds of pot a year. What is clear is that Steve Kubby would probably be dead except for his use of marijuana, the flowering portion of the hemp or cannabis plant that has been used as an intoxicant and medicine for uncounted centuries. That's the educated opinion of Dr. Vincent DeQuattro, who diagnosed Steve Kubby's adrenal cancer -- malignant pheochromocytoma -- two decades ago, and who was astonished to learn last year that Kubby was not only still alive, but running for governor of California as a Libertarian. Patients with the one-in-a-million disease usually die from heart attacks or strokes, as the tumor presses against the adrenal gland and produces excess amounts of adrenaline and noradrenaline. As it turns out, Steve Kubby was the only adrenal cancer patient that DeQuattro diagnosed who was still alive 10 years later. "In some amazing fashion, this medication (marijuana) has not only controlled the symptoms of the pheochromocytoma, but in my view, has arrested growth," DeQuattro stated in a letter to Garbolino. DeQuattro, a professor at the University of Southern California Medical Center, recommended the judge supply Steve Kubby with enough medication to control his life-threatening disease. The fact that marijuana is a useful drug has been known to medical researchers for years. When the Marijuana Tax Act was first passed in 1937, the American Medical Association opposed it, saying cannabis had been used safely for a wide range of ailments. In 1988, Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young reviewed a petition to change marijuana's standing as a Schedule 1 drug -- high potential for abuse, no medical benefit -- to Schedule II, which would allow the drug to be used for medicinal purposes under a physician's care. Young, acting on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration, noted that marijuana is exceptionally non-toxic, unlike even a common over-the-counter drug like aspirin. "It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record," Young stated in his conclusion. He recommended the federal government relax the restrictions against the medical use of marijuana or cannabis, something that may finally occur this year. I hope that wiser heads prevail and California's Compassionate Use Act is finally implemented. In Kubby's case, it's a matter of life or death.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rational Talk On Pot A Rare Event (Jim Wasserman, a columnist for the Fresno Bee, says marijuana is an old cause that never quite dies. Although the government blows ever more money trying to eradicate it and imprisons ever more citizens trying to stop it, people will still drift into a Fresno art gallery on a Thursday night to talk about it. But outside, it's a law-and-order world, where corporations make drug testing the newest solution and elected officials make illegal drugs impossible to talk about rationally. You wouldn't even know medical marijuana is legal locally.) Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 18:07:47 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Column: Rational Talk On Pot A Rare Event Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Fresno Bee Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.fresnobee.com/ Author: Jim Wasserman, The Fresno Bee COLUMN: RATIONAL TALK ON POT A RARE EVENT Marijuana is that old cause that never quite dies. Although the government blows ever more money trying to eradicate it and imprisons more citizens trying to stop it, the citizens will still drift into a Fresno art gallery on a Thursday night - and talk about it. Marijuana. Characteristically of the crowd and its subject, they start 20 minutes late. Among the 35 people are well-dressed Libertarian Party officials. There are young and aging hippies with Jerry Garcia ponytails, attorneys in suits and ties, a young doctor from Modesto and a handful of admitted users. One of the users is from the Bay Area, a pediatrician with AIDS. He says, "If it were not for medicinal marijuana, I probably would not be standing here tonight." It's no joke. Even the American Medical Association supports marijuana as an option. But outside is a law-and-order world, where corporations make drug testing the newest solution and elected officials make illegal drugs impossible to talk about rationally. Out there, as The Economist reports, there are eight times more drug prisoners now than in 1980. The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, also reports California has five times more drug prisoners now than in 1986. In its state prisons, 28% are in for drugs. Still the cause does not die. They assemble in the Spectrum Art Gallery. And they talk about the least harmful corner of the drug debate: medical marijuana. In November 1996, 56% of California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medicinal uses. Since then, similar initiatives have passed in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Nevada. Yet you wouldn't know it's legal locally. In the room, no one knows of any Valley medicinal-marijuana buyers' clubs. This stands in stark contrast with speakers imported for the event by Fresno radio station KFCF. They're activists from Oakland. They've dispensed marijuana from storefronts - before the U.S. government stopped them - with blessings of the city of Oakland and Alameda County. They offer funny advice. An earnest young man, Jeff Jones, director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, says in all sincerity that Fresnans should pressure their strong mayor for tolerance. You never heard a room laugh so loud in your life. Still, there is talk about starting something here. A collective marijuana garden for the sick. A cooperative to share marijuana for medicine. But the truth is people are scared. Dale Gieringer, NORML's California coordinator, says, "I really think it's time for pot smokers to come out of the closet." A lot of people giggle. The young doctor from Modesto asks if doctors here prescribe marijuana to help their patients. "No way," said one. "I can't think of any," an attorney says. "They're scared, man," adds another. "I called doctors from Salinas to Three Rivers and not a one would see me." It's now more than two years since the voters spoke. And fear of prison prevails over common sense. Outside an art gallery on a Thursday night, the old irrationality still rules.
------------------------------------------------------------------- War On Drugs Is Not Right (A letter to the editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, in Arkansas, says reform of medical marijuana laws has been supported by the DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York City Bar Association and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science.) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 20:48:26 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AR: PUB LTE: War On Drugs Is Not Right Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: James Markes Pubdate: 28 Feb 1999 Source: Log Cabin Democrat (AR) Contact: http://www.thecabin.net/contact/letters.shtml Website: http://www.thecabin.net/ Author: Danny Terway - Sante Cruz, Calif. WAR ON DRUGS IS NOT RIGHT I found Dr. James Dobson's column on marijuana (Feb. 21) long on propaganda and short on references. After quoting the "facts" as presented by one other doctor, he concluded that advocacy of medical marijuana is "unconscionable." I urge your readers to dig a bit deeper. Working under the department of Justice, the DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, ruled that marijuana should be rescheduled to allow prescription use. Medical use of marijuana has also been advocated by the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine The NYC Bar Association and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science favor an end to the Prohibition. These and the results of dozens of major studies of marijuana can be found online at www.druglibrary.org/schaffer. From what I see, there is a tremendous amount of respected science cited by drug law reformers. The vast majority of the prohibitionists just stick to rhetoric. After concluding that the federal government wasn't willing to give up its abstinence just yet, several states recently passed referenda permitting the medical use of cannabis. However, even in those places, patients are having to fight an uphill battle for their medication, due to decades of an ignorant War on Drugs. Dr. Dobson got it all wrong, it is his stance on marijuana that is "unconscionable."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Is There A Ventura In Kentucky's Future? (Robert T. Garrett, a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, says Annie Shimp is the stuff of nightmares, or at least insomnia, for Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton. She's a swing voter who is highly disgruntled with both major political parties. She might vote for a Jesse Ventura-type candidate, if there were an option comparable to the new Minnesota governor on this year's ballot. Shimp, 66, of Prospect, called the newspaper the other day to find out how to help Gatewood Galbraith obtain the 5,000 signatures he needs to qualify this fall as an independent candidate for governor. She thinks his idea of restoring hemp cultivation on Kentucky farms is a good one.) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 06:25:57 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US KY: Column: Is There A Ventura In Kentucky's Future? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Louisville Courier-Journal (KY) Copyright: 1999 The Courier-Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Feedback: http://www.courier-journal.com/cjconnect/edletter.htm Website: http://www.courier-journal.com/ Forum: http://www.courier-journal.com/webx/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Robert T. Garrett IS THERE A VENTURA IN KENTUCKY'S FUTURE? Annie Shimp is the stuff of nightmares, or at least insomnia, for Gov. Paul Patton. She's a swing voter who is highly disgruntled with both major political parties. She might vote for a Jesse Ventura-type candidate for governor of Kentucky. That is, if there were an option comparable to the new Minnesota governor on this year's ballot. Shimp, 66, of Prospect, called the newspaper the other day to find out how to help Gatewood Galbraith obtain the 5,000 signatures he needs to qualify this fall as an independent candidate for governor. Shimp, a retired homemaker and keypunch operator, worries Galbraith is "a loose cannon." But she thinks his idea of restoring cultivation on Kentucky farms of commercial hemp - for its oil and its use in fabric and paper - is a good one, one the state ought to aggressively investigate on behalf of its troubled tobacco farmers. And the impeachment spectacle in Washington only underscores her distrust of the two main parties, Shimp said. "I'd like to see him run and . . . see what his platform's going to be," she said of Galbraith, who lost two races for governor as a Democrat and last week mounted a petition drive for a third run, this time as an independent. "That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for him." But the deep disaffection of some Kentuckians, such as Shimp, is cause for worry for Patton. They may turn out to cast protest votes this fall. If so, and if presumptive Republican nominee Peppy Martin sharpens her performance, the fond hopes of Patton aides that their man will break all vote-getting records could evaporate. And the midnight oil really would burn in the Governor's Mansion if a more plausible candidate than Galbraith or Martin were to step forward as an independent or third-party candidate by Aug. 10. The more iconoclastic, the better - though Kentucky probably isn't ready for a governor who shows up for his inaugural ball, as Ventura did, wearing earrings and a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. At his petition-drive kickoff last week, Galbraith, 52, didn't mention either hemp or marijuana - although his web site, which hails him as "The Last Free Man in America," calls him "one of America's leading hemp/marijuana advocates." In fact, the long-legged Lexington lawyer didn't talk issues at all. He said Friday it would be "premature" to launch a fall campaign now. But he seems to be angling more for the mainstream, and wooing Ventura's Reform Party. By selecting as his running mate Kathy Lyons of Murray, an activist with the Community Farm Alliance, Galbraith signaled he will inveigh against "factory agriculture" - the advent of large-scale chicken and hog farming in Western and Southern Kentucky. Peppy Martin, meanwhile, has sniped at Patton. (She faces token opposition in the May 25 GOP primary.) But Martin, 52, a former Louisville publicist who lives in Hart County, is still struggling to find a trenchant sales pitch. Neither she nor Galbraith has Ventura's celebrity. But one can imagine how either might deftly slice Patton: Begin each speech with a reference to "our governor who likes to quote Karl Marx." Then, depending on the audience, either lament Patton's support for collective bargaining for public employees; or the way he let corporate Kentucky pick his cabinet, and then "took a chain-saw" to workers' compensation, the safety net for injured workers. "Paul's philosophy of government," they might say, updating a favorite line of yesteryear's populists, "is to put the Drano on the lower shelf, where the little man can reach it." Patton's richer than either Martin or Galbraith. He's got all the trappings of power. He tends toward the pedantic in speeches. He's got top advisers under indictment. There's material there for foes to exploit. Annie Shimp said she "would like to see another party on the ticket that would give us more of a choice." She may get her wish. Robert T. Garrett's column runs Sundays in Forum. You can reach him in Louisville at 582-4226.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Crack's Legacy: First of Two Articles - The War on Drugs Retreats, Still Taking Prisoners (The New York Times notes the worst legacy of the crack cocaine scare the newspaper took the lead in hyping in 1986 has been the harsh laws passed by Congress that have increased the number of incarcerated drug offenders by more than 400 percent, shifted money from schools to prisons and transformed police work, hospitals, parental rights, and courts. Marijuana was never mentioned in the floor speeches in Congress when the drug laws were rewritten in 1986, but the new penalties for crack were accompanied by harsher sentences for most "drugs." Ten years later, more people were sentenced under the federal system for marijuana than for any other substance. What the prison boom has not done, however, is reduce illicit drug use. The most recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, for 1997, estimated about 14 million people had used an illegal drug in the last month, a number barely changed since 1988. Of those, 600,000 had smoked crack, unchanged since 1988. In Congress, which enacted the 1986 drug laws without a single hearing, another major legacy has been an inability for more than a decade to engage in policy discussions about prisons and drugs.) Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 09:37:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Crack's Legacy: First Of Two Articles Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (email@example.com) Pubdate: 28 Feb 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Section: Front Page Author: Timoty Egan February 28, 1999 CRACK'S LEGACY: FIRST OF TWO ARTICLES The War on Drugs Retreats, Still Taking Prisoners *** Forum Join a Discussion on Drug Policy: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.eeb88c7 *** By TIMOTHY EGAN VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- Every 20 seconds, someone in the United States is arrested for a drug violation. Every week, on average, a new jail or prison is built to lock up more people in the world's largest penal system. It was not always so. Ten years ago, half as many people were arrested for drug crimes, and the nation's incarceration rate was closer to those of other democracies. But in the 1980s crack cocaine scared the country, and the criminal justice system has never been the same. Crack poisoned many communities. Dealers turned neighborhoods into drug markets. As heavily armed gangs fought over turf, murder rates shot up. Authorities warned that crack was instantly addictive and spreading rapidly, and predicted that a generation of crack babies would bear the drug's imprint. It looked like a nightmare with no end. But for all the havoc wreaked by crack, the worst fears were not realized. Crack appealed mainly to hard-core drug users. The number of crack users began falling not long after surveys began counting them. A decade later, the violence of the crack trade has burned out, and murder rates have plunged. Yet crack left its mark, in ways that few people anticipated. Crack prompted the nation to rewrite its drug laws, lock up a record number of people and shift money from schools to prisons. It transformed police work, hospitals, parental rights, courts. Crack also changed the racial makeup of U.S. prisons. More whites than blacks use crack, according to surveys, but as the war on drugs focused on poor city neighborhoods, blacks went to prison at a far higher rate. In California, five black men are behind bars for each one in a state university. But the harsh laws responding to crack have not reduced overall drug use. And now the ceaseless march of new drug offenders and the mounting costs of prisons are moving some of the people charged with enforcing the punitive laws to question the assumptions behind them. "We have a failed social policy and it has to be re-evaluated," said Barry McCaffrey, the four-star general who heads the National Drug Control Policy Office. "Otherwise, we're going to bankrupt ourselves. Because we can't incarcerate our way out of this problem." * Estimated Source: National Association of State Budget Officers *** More than a quarter-million Americans in prison for drug offenses could be better dealt with in treatment programs, he said, saving up to $5 billion a year. Since 1985 the nation's jail and prison population has grown 130 percent, and it will soon pass 2 million, even as crime rates continue a six-year decline. No country has more people behind bars, and only one, Russia, has a higher incarceration rate, according to the Sentencing Project, which tracks prison rates. Behind the increase is a national get-tough mood that has produced longer sentences for all criminals and the end of parole in many states. Polls show that most Americans favor lengthy terms for violent criminals. But perhaps the biggest single factor is the systematic jailing of drug offenders. In the first 10 years after Congress toughened drug laws in response to crack, the number of people imprisoned for drugs grew more than 400 percent, nearly twice the growth rate for violent criminals. More people are behind bars for drug offenses in the United States -- about 400,000 -- than are in prison for all crimes in England, France, Germany and Japan combined. Crack's legacy can be seen in nearly every corner of the land, even in the Mojave Desert, where the newest federal prison is rising at the dusty edge of Victorville. In an age of government downsizing, the federal corrections budget has grown more than tenfold in a decade, to nearly $4 billion, yet prisons are so stuffed with drug offenders that this one will be at capacity almost from the day it opens. Some experts argue what might seem obvious: that high incarceration rates deserve the credit for falling crime rates. "Putting people in prison has been the single most important thing we've done to reduce crime," Dr. James Q. Wilson, the political scientist whose ideas have influenced police departments for a generation, has written. In New York, the police and prosecutors say locking up thousands of drug offenders was a major factor in the city's turning the corner on crime. "What plays havoc with a neighborhood are the low-level dealers," said Bridget Brennan, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York. "When they take over a street or a stoop, everyone else is terrified. When you put those people in jail, it gives the community a sense that order has been restored." What the prison boom has not done, however, is reduce illicit drug use, national surveys show. Far fewer Americans use illegal drugs now than in the peak years of the 1970s. But almost all of the drop occurred before crack cocaine or the laws passed in response to it. The most recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, for 1997, estimated that about 14 million people had used an illegal drug in the last month, a number barely changed since 1988. Of those, 600,000 had smoked crack within a month, unchanged since 1988. But during that time, imprisonment rates soared. "What's happened across the board is that police started going after small-time street dealers and users," said Dr. Steven Belenko, a criminologist at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Crack never became a mainstream drug, but the fear of it changed perception and laws for virtually all illicit drugs, according to Belenko and others who have studied the war on drugs. "Crack probably had more impact on the entire criminal justice system than it had on the communities and the drug users," said Dr. Franklin Zimring, director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California School of Law. "This secondary impact, on police and prisons, may end up being more negative than anything associated with the drug." Among governors, teachers, criminologists and police chiefs, there is vigorous debate over how the drug laws enacted at the height of the crack panic have transformed the nation. But in Congress, which enacted the laws without a single hearing, there is nothing. For crack has left one other major legacy: The policy discussion in Washington on prisons and drugs has been frozen for more than a decade. The Evidence: As Crime Rate Falls, More Prisons Are Built The little towns tucked into the folds of the Appalachian Mountains in Schuylkill County, Pa., are a world removed from the city streets where crack cocaine was a media obsession in the mid-1980s. But the legacy of crack is all around. A first-year teacher there can expect to make $18,500 a year, the state-mandated minimum. A prison-guard trainee is paid $22,300. The job of watching over the drug offenders and others who are filling three new state prisons in the region is coveted. Pennsylvania might not seem the kind of place where prisons and jails would be booming. The state has an aging population. Crime has never been a particularly big problem; among the states, Pennsylvania has ranked near the bottom. But every year for the last 14 years, Pennsylvania has added at least one prison, and the corrections budget has soared to more than $1 billion a year, a fivefold increase over a decade. In 1988, not long before President George Bush spoke to the nation about the war on drugs while holding up a bag of crack, Pennsylvania radically changed its drug laws, establishing mandatory minimum sentences for people caught with illicit drugs. No time off for first-time offenders. No community service. No treatment for addicts. Pennsylvania was following the lead of Congress, which had set the nation on a course of strict incarceration for drug users with laws enacted in 1986 and 1988. Ten years later, its inmate population had grown 225 percent, to 35,600. Pennsylvania spends an average of $20,000 a year for each one, about the national average. Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, has no plans to change the incarceration policy. "Every public expenditure comes with a choice," said his spokesman, Tim Reeves. "We defend the choices we've made." The crime rate might not be so low if the state had not locked up so many drug offenders, Reeves said. "What would the rate be if those guys were not in jail?" he said. "Think about the cost to the community, the wasted lives and violent crime." But in building a penal system in which three of every 10 new prisoners are serving time for drugs, according to the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, which tracks prison rates for the state, Pennsylvania, like most states, has not reduced illegal drug use. "I don't think anybody believes it has turned out to be an effective policy," said David Sweet, a Harrisburg lawyer who headed a special commission that examined the state's prison growth. "It appeared to us that we were using a very expensive way to provide secure housing for people who probably don't belong in prison." Dr. Julia Glover Hall, a criminologist at Drexel University and president of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, which Benjamin Franklin established to monitor prisons and jails, said: "It's a stupid game we're playing. We're locking up all these nonviolent offenders, pouring money down a rat hole." She added: "I've been a crime victim. I'm not soft on criminals. But we have to look at the bottom line of what we're doing. There was this powerful scare in the crack years, and all across the country we passed these Draconian laws. Now we're starting to see how much it has cost the rest of us." Pennsylvania is typical of what has happened across the country. California is spending nearly $4 billion a year to operate the nation's largest prison system. As the state added 21 prisons since 1984 -- and only one university campus -- violent criminals fell to 42 percent of the prison population in 1997, from 57 percent, while drug inmates grew to 27 percent, from 8 percent. Political leaders have debated whether the building boom was at the expense of their budget's other big discretionary item, higher education. Many politicians said the state would try to fully finance both. But the numbers tell another story. Spending on prisons has grown 60 percent over a decade, and pay for prison guards has more than doubled. For higher education, there was virtually no growth, and salaries in the state university system stagnated, falling behind other states. A prison guard now makes about $51,000 a year, while a first-year professor in California's once-vaunted university system is paid $41,000. As the prison budget swelled, California raised tuition to make up the university financing gap. Over the last 10 years, as the state's population grew by 5 million people, state university enrollment fell by 20,000. The shift in priorities, documented in a number of studies, has become a major issue since a new governor, Gray Davis, and a new Legislature took office. "Most of our buildings are literally falling apart and we've lost 1,500 full-time faculty members," said Jeri Bledsoe, general manager of the California Faculty Association. "You bet there's been a price to pay for our prison boom." The Convicted: $40 Worth of Cocaine Brings a Life Sentence The biggest legacy of crack is out of sight, behind the concrete and steel of prisons. Addicts, couriers, girlfriends of dealers, people tempted by the lure of a quick buck, mostly poor blacks -- these are the dominant profiles of the people jailed since prisons started filling with drug criminals. Inside the maximum-security unit at the state prison for women in Topeka, Kan., Gloria Van Winkle is in the sixth year of a life term for possessing $40 worth of cocaine. A mother of two and a drug addict, she had two convictions for cocaine possession when a convicted thief told undercover agents she was smoking crack and they set up a sting. Kansas has all but forgotten about Ms. Van Winkle. Asked about her case, the state Sentencing Commission said no one was doing life for drug possession. "Only murderers get life sentences in Kansas," said its executive director, Barbara Tombs. On further review, Ms. Tombs found that, yes, for a brief period in the early '90s, a person convicted of three drug offenses could get life. That law was changed. Ms. Van Winkle's sentence was not. "I can't laugh anymore, I can't cry -- it's just a slow rage that makes me numb," Ms. Van Winkle said. Her sentence offers an eventual chance of parole, but for now, she lives for visits from her children, ages 10 and 6, and wonders what they will grow up to be like with her behind bars. Her concern is shared by many others: Three-fourths of the 54,000 women jailed for drug crimes have children. The police and prosecutors said Ms. Van Winkle should have been aware of the possibility of a life sentence. They said she was chosen because they thought she might lead them to dealers, but no follow-up arrests were made. Ms. Van Winkle's case is rare but not unique. Because of three-strikes laws and other changes made in the last decade, people in several other states are serving life sentences for drug possession. More typical among women convicted of drug offenses are 5- and 10-year mandatory terms. Tonya Drake, a mother of four, had no criminal record or history of drug use when she was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for mailing a package that contained crack cocaine. She says a friend paid her $44 to mail the package, which she did not know contained drugs. Ms. Drake admits what she did was wrong. "But the time does not fit the crime," she said in a prison interview. "You lock me up for 10 years. While I'm here, my father dies, my children grow up, it cost thousands of dollars to keep me behind bars." The children are having considerable trouble growing up with their mother in prison, said Ms. Drake's sister, Williet Mitchell. "Tonya was taken away from the kids at a time when everybody needed her," Ms. Mitchell said. "Now the kids are screwed up. They're angry and bitter that she was forced to leave them." When the children see their mother in the prison visiting room, Ms. Drake tries to explain what brought her there. "I tell my kids I did something wrong, that it was a mistake," she said. "But it was my first and only mistake." In Kentucky, Louie Cordell, a 55-year-old father of nine with no prior convictions, is finishing a mandatory five-year federal sentence for growing 141 marijuana plants. Cordell was sent to prison under the 1986 law that set mandatory five- and 10-year sentences for the possession or sale of small amounts of crack. For marijuana, the law set a mandatory sentence of five years for possession of 100 plants, whether they were seedlings or 6 feet tall. That provision has since been changed to go by weight. The law punished Cordell, but it hit his family just as hard. He worked seasonally at a sawmill in a poor county in southeastern Kentucky and was growing the marijuana to help make ends meet, said his wife, Shirley. Since Cordell went to prison, a son gave up plans to attend college on a scholarship, in order to help support the family, and the Cordells have been on and off welfare. "There's no way to describe what's happened to us except to say that it's been bad in all ways," Mrs. Cordell said. "Louie was here providing for us and then they took him away. I expected him to get some time for what he did, but not five years." Marijuana was never mentioned in the floor speeches in Congress when the drug laws were rewritten in 1986, but the new penalties for crack were accompanied by harsher sentences for most drugs. Ten years later, more people were sentenced under the federal system for marijuana than for any other drug. Supporters of harsh penalties argue that locking up the Louie Cordells of the world has a deterrent effect and say convictions reduce other crimes associated with drug use. Marijuana arrests set a record in 1997 -- 695,200, nearly 90 percent of which were for simple possession. And marijuana remains, by far, the most popular illegal drug: 18 million Americans used marijuana at least once in 1997, according to the National Household Survey. And some 71 million, 33 percent of those over age 12, have used marijuana at some time. Asked about deterrence, the federal prosecutor in Cordell's case, David Marye, said marijuana cultivation does not seem to have diminished in rural Kentucky. "I've been prosecuting cases, state and federal, for 21 years, and we have so many people who keep doing what Louie Cordell was doing that it makes you wonder if we'll ever stop them," he said. The Cities: Racial Implications of the Crack Laws One of every 20 Americans born this year will serve time in prison, according to a Justice Department study. For blacks, the projection is one in four. By 1996, 8.3 percent of black men age 25 to 29 were inmates, compared with 0.8 percent of white men that age. The odds of going to prison used to be more even. But the criminal justice system's special treatment of crack cocaine dramatically threw off the balance, according to reports by the Sentencing Commission and the Justice Department. For people convicted of a crack offense, the world of justice is unlike any other. Crack is simply cocaine processed so that it can be smoked. But federal law equates 5 grams of crack with 500 grams of powder cocaine, a 1-to-100 ratio that no other country recognizes. Possessing 5 grams of crack is a felony with an automatic five-year prison term, while 5 grams of the same drug in powder form is a misdemeanor likely to carry no jail time. One consequence of the disparity is that kingpins at the top of a drug network who sell pounds of powder cocaine for processing often serve less time than street-level dealers who sell grams of crack. "One of the great victims of the drug war is that our sense of penal proportion has been thrown out," said Zimring, of the University of California School of Law. "Now we have a fairness problem." In addition, a law aimed at one type of drug use has been applied most often against one type of user -- urban blacks. A higher percentage of blacks use crack cocaine than whites or Hispanic people. But in absolute numbers, twice as many whites as blacks use crack, and three times as many whites as blacks use powder cocaine, the national household survey shows. As the war on drugs set up special penalties on crack, however, law enforcement focused on the highly visible, often violent crack trade in city neighborhoods, rather than the larger traffic in cocaine going on behind closed doors across the country. The result: Nearly 90 percent of the people locked up for crack under federal drug laws are black, McCaffrey said. In state prisons, blacks make up nearly 60 percent of the people serving time on drug offenses, according to Justice Department figures, though they are only 12 percent of the general population and 15 percent of regular drug users. "I don't think we got into this fix because of racism," McCaffrey said. "The impact of crack on the African-American community was devastating. And that's where enforcement has been concentrated." The racial disparity would disappear if the law treated the powder and crack forms of cocaine equally, said Dr. Douglas McDonald, a senior scientist at Abt Associates, a social policy research group in Cambridge, Mass., who testified before Congress. If enforcement were evenly applied, more whites than blacks would go to prison, he said. So for many blacks the legacy of crack is not just the violence and high prison rates that have hit so many communities, but a heightened sense that the law does not treat them fairly. "You have so many people who feel hopeless, who feel that it is extremely unfair that so many low-level offenders are going to jail for such a long time," said Mattie Compton, a black community leader in Fort Worth, Texas, who is deputy chief assistant U.S. attorney for the civil division. "We know we're going to lose people in poor neighborhoods, but when you see people who are prospects for future leaders going away to jail for so long, you wonder if we really are a community under siege," Ms. Compton said. Asked about the legacy of crack in the Roxbury district of Boston, where he works with drug addicts at a community health center, Seward Hunter said: "If you're African-American, you expect to be targeted by the police and you expect to be stopped and searched." Many in Congress say there is no racial intent behind the disparity between crack and powder. Crack is punished more severely because of the harm it does and because of the violent crimes associated with it. "No one should forget that crack traffickers deal in death, and that they do so to the most vulnerable among us, the residents of our inner cities," said Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime. The Change: Crack Makes News; Congress Responds How Congress came to write a law that allows a person caught with 400 grams of powder cocaine, worth some $40,000, to do less than a year in jail, while a person holding the same amount of cocaine in crack form will spend 10 years in prison, is a mystery to people who have tried to research the statutory intent. One lawyer who was instrumental in rewriting the drug laws in 1986 and 1988 says it came about through whim and attempts by politicians to one-up each other as crack seized headlines just before elections. "There was a level of hysteria that led to a total breakdown of the legislative process," said the lawyer, Eric Sterling, who as a lead lawyer on the House Judiciary Committee wrote the laws that established long mandatory terms for several drugs. Since leaving the Judiciary Committee in 1989, Sterling has worked to overturn the laws as president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Washington. In the summer of 1986, crack was just starting to be labeled as an epidemic when a college basketball star, Len Bias, died of a drug overdose, reportedly crack cocaine. Speaker Tip O'Neill, whose hometown team, the Boston Celtics, had drafted Bias, ordered an overhaul of federal drug laws. The death of Bias was invoked in Congress 11 times. The law, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, passed the House with only 16 dissenting votes. Despite complaints by some senators that no one had studied the bill, it sailed through the Senate and President Ronald Reagan signed it before Election Day. A year later, court testimony revealed that Bias had died of an overdose of powder cocaine, not crack. But by then crack had its special status in state and federal law. Crack was singled out for good reason, according to Edwin Meese, the attorney general in the mid-1980s and now the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow of Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research organization in Washington. "Crack cocaine was the scourge of the inner city," he said. "The reason laws were changed was to protect the inner city." In 1988, Congress passed another overhaul of drug laws just before the election, singling out crack as the only drug to carry a mandatory five-year prison term for possession. That year, a Gallup poll found that 62 percent of Americans surveyed agreed that to curb drug use they "would be willing to give up some freedoms." Crack was on the cover of news magazines, dominated television and newspaper coverage, and was labeled "America's drug of choice," by NBC. The New York Times reported that crack was spreading to the suburbs. William Bennett, the drug czar for 18 months under President Bush, said it might soon invade every home in America. Crack was compared to the bubonic plague and called "the most addictive drug known to man" in Newsweek. Today, few of the revisionist experts on drug laws dispute crack's link to violence and gangs. "It was a nightmare," McCaffrey said. "It was World War III." But crack was never America's drug of choice -- it did not come close. At the height of concern in the late 1980s, the National Household Survey on Drugs estimated that less than one-half of 1 percent of the population over age 12 used crack once a month, while 10 percent used marijuana. And three out of four high school seniors who tried crack did not continue to use it, according to a national survey of students by the University of Michigan. Both surveys have flaws, underestimating inner-city users and high school dropouts. But even after the findings for high use in certain urban areas are adjusted, crack was never the epidemic it was held up to be. The media attention was so hyperbolic that the Drug Enforcement Administration was compelled to correct the record. "Crack is currently the subject of considerable media attention," the agency said in 1986. "The result has been a distortion of the public perception of the extent of crack use as compared to the use of other drugs." Although crack was labeled the world's most addictive drug, 10 years of national surveys have shown that most people who try crack do not continue to use it. Because of its intense but short-lived effect, crack does tend to make its users "psychologically dependent," reported a Justice Department study. But numerous studies have shown that crack, like the powder form of cocaine, may be less physically addictive than alcohol or tobacco. The Pyramid: Lower-Level Dealers Feel the Sting of Laws Political leaders said harsh sentencing laws were intended to deter use of the most dangerous drugs, with crack at the top of the list. Failing that, they said, the laws would at least go after drug kingpins. But statistics show a different pattern among people sentenced to prison for drugs since 1986. Of the people jailed by the federal government for crack offenses, only 5 percent were considered high-level dealers, according to a study by the Sentencing Commission. "The current policy focuses law-enforcement efforts on the lowest level of the distribution line, the street-level dealer," the commission's vice chairman, Michael Gelacak, wrote. "Unless we ignore all evidence to the contrary, the current policy has little or no impact upon the drug abuse problem. The jails are full." Supporters of the crack laws say the numbers are explained by the pyramid structure of drug operations; by nature they have few people at the top, lots of people at the bottom. But those at the top are often dealing powder cocaine, with its vastly different penalties. And they are in a position to become informers, the only real hope of beating a mandatory prison term. Had Tonya Drake, the woman serving 10 years for mailing a package, been able to supply what the law labels "substantial assistance" -- information on a high-level dealer -- she might have reduced her sentence. The 1980s drug laws leave discretion in the hands of prosecutors to encourage people to "snitch." Ms. Drake identified the man who gave her the package, but he was never found. The prosecutor decided her assistance was not substantial. The fixed sentences have infuriated judges, who say they feel their role has been reduced to that of rubber stamps for prosecutors, while their courts are clogged with low- to medium-level drug offenders. "When you're dealing with first-time offenders, you should have some discretion," said Lawrence Irving, a former federal judge from San Diego. "I had cases where I was forced to give more jail time for low-level offenders than for the kingpins. It made no sense." In a 1994 case in Chicago, Marvin Aspen, a U.S. District Court judge, labeled his sentencings "a farce" as he sent the lowest and "least culpable" member of a big crack operation to prison for longer than a supplier at the top. Monica Boguille, the 20-year-old mother of a baby girl, was sentenced to 10 years for occasionally counting money for her boyfriend, a crack dealer. L.C. Godfrey, one of the ring's wholesale suppliers of cocaine, who was deemed helpful to prosecutors, received nine years. Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court said recently that federal judges should regain some of the discretion they once had. Five years ago, Chief Justice William Rehnquist made similar points in condemning the mandatory minimum sentences established by Congress. Dozens of federal judges, most of them former prosecutors, have taken a strong stand against mandatory minimum drug sentences. For these judges, the most significant legacy of crack is a legal system that has left them as little more than spectators in their own courtrooms. The Aftermath: The Penalties Outlive Fear of an Epidemic McCaffrey says he came to the drug debate with an open mind but has become convinced that current policies, with the primary emphasis on imprisonment, are failing. "The current system is bad drug policy and bad law enforcement," he said. On cost alone, arresting, prosecuting and locking up all drug criminals at the price of about $35 billion a year is not effective, he said. He now favors long sentences for dealers and treatment for low-level users. A recent study by Rand Corp. concluded that mandatory jail terms are the least cost-effective way of reducing cocaine consumption. For violent crimes, long sentences keep criminals off the street, it reported, but for drug crimes, "a jailed supplier is often replaced by another supplier." Drug treatment also has a low success rate; among regular users of cocaine who undergo treatment, only one in eight stops. But even that would achieve a greater reduction in cocaine use -- at a fraction of the cost -- than prison, the Rand study stated. "We misread a lot what was going on in the 1980s, in that we thought crack use was going to grow and take over society," said Dr. Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who conducted the study. "The real tragedy is that now that it's clear that crack was not the epidemic it was supposed to be, we still have these laws." But few authorities on crime expect the laws to change, no matter how full the prisons become. "For politicians, the drug debate is driven by the three R's -- retribution, revenge, retaliation -- and that leads to the fourth R, re-election," said Dr. James Alan Fox, dean of the college of criminal justice at Northeastern University. This month, the Clinton administration announced a plan to cut drug use in half by 2007. After years of reduced federal financing for drug rehabilitation, it would increase money for treating addicts. The war metaphor has been dropped by the White House, and by some in Congress as well. But the emphasis on long mandatory prison terms and locking up small-time dealers remains the main strategy for Congress. "I believe it is crucial, given our continuing struggle in the war on drugs, that we send an unwavering and unambiguous message to all Americans, and our children in particular, that the sale of illegal drugs is dangerous, wrong and will not be tolerated," said Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Abraham has introduced a bill that would establish much longer sentences for people convicted of powder cocaine offenses, making them closer to crack. "All that bill would do is lock up a bigger batch of small fry," said Julie Stewart, a former member of the conservative Cato Institute, who founded Families Against Mandatory Minimums after her brother was sent to prison on a marijuana conviction. The group has 37,000 members. But with polls showing that most Americans favor long prison terms for drug trafficking, attempts to persuade Congress to reconsider the laws have gone nowhere. Sentiment has remained the same for nearly a decade, dating to a time when some politicians predicted that the United States could be drug-free by the year 2000. Nobody makes such a prediction these days.
------------------------------------------------------------------- N.J. Police Superintendent Is Fired (The Associated Press says New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman fired State Police Superintendent Col. Carl Williams on Sunday after he said in an interview with the Star-Ledger of Newark that minority groups were more likely to be involved in drug trafficking.) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 03:44:09 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NJ: N.J. Police Superintendent Is Fired Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: S. Mitra Kalita, Associated Press Writer N.J. POLICE SUPERINTENDENT IS FIRED TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Christie Whitman fired the head of the New Jersey State Police on Sunday after he said in a newspaper interview that minority groups were more likely to be involved in drug trafficking. The Black Ministers Council of New Jersey and the state chapter of the NAACP had been calling for State Police Superintendent Col. Carl Williams' ouster for weeks, saying he was not acknowledging a history of racist procedures on the part of the State Police. Whitman said Sunday the state's law enforcement system must be carried out free of bias. She said Williams' comments "are inconsistent with our efforts to enhance public confidence in the State Police." Her spokesman, Pete McDonough, said Williams' comments were the last straw in an already hostile situation between minorities and police officers. Williams has come under fire over allegations that the agency practices racial profiling, targeting minorities for traffic stops. In an interview with The Star-Ledger of Newark published Sunday, Williams said he did not condone racial profiling, but said it is naive to think race is not an issue in drug crimes. "Two weeks ago, the president of the United States went to Mexico to talk to the president of Mexico about drugs. He didn't go to Ireland. He didn't go to England," Williams said. "Today with this drug problem, the drug problem is cocaine or marijuana. It is most likely a minority group that's involved with that," said Williams. Williams, 58, has repeatedly said he has never condoned racial profiling. But he told the newspaper some generalizations can be made. "If you're looking at the metamphetamine market, that seems to be controlled by the motorcycle gangs, which are basically predominantly white," he said. "If you're looking at heroin and stuff like that, your involvement there is more or less Jamaicans." McDonough said Williams' comments were unacceptable. "The comments were insensitive and absolutely counter to bolstering confidence in law enforcement," McDonough said. "There are vast segments of the New Jersey public whose confidence in the system is shaken." Last week, The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division had been investigating the New Jersey State Police for two years. Williams was not immediately available for comment, and a state police spokesman, John Hagerty, did not return messages.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mom Mourns Son Lost To Mean Streets (The Vancouver Province, in British Columbia, travels to Calgary to interview the grieving mother of 21-year-old Allister Marselje, who died trying to navigate safely through the seamy underbelly of the marijuana culture in Vancouver created by prohibition. Allister's beaten body was discovered last December in a dumpster behind the Cross Town Traffic Cafe, a smoke-easy off Vancouver's West Hastings Street where Marselje earned a living weighing out gram bags. Police believe he was the victim of a struggle for power and money in the city's lucrative, world-famous marijuana underworld, killed because he was believed to have information about a contract on the life of a major player in the cafe's business. The contract may not even have existed. Charged with Allister's murder is Alhaj Hadani, 28; Ross Living, 22, and Jamie Yochlowitz, 25. All three will appear in court tomorrow to set a trial date.) Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 12:14:54 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Mom Mourns Son Lost To Mean Streets Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sunday 28 February 1999 Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Copyright: The Province, Vancouver 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/ Author: Jason Proctor, Staff Reporter The Province Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n214.a08.html MOM MOURNS SON LOST TO MEAN STREETS "I wonder if, 10 years from now, I will look back on this with disapproval." Allister Marselje wrote the entry in his journal as he sat in a tiny Granville Street hotel room, smoking a joint. He was 21 years old and determined to muddle his way through a difficult life: Dealing pot, surviving on Vancouver's mean streets and trying to navigate safely through the seamy underbelly of the city's marijuana culture. As the Calgary woman reads his journal today, Allister's mother finds proof her son was starting to learn. He was thinking about his life and ready for a change. Sadly, Allister never had the luxury of looking back with the wisdom of time on a misspent youth. "My heart is not only broken, it's shattered," said Gwen Robertson, Allister's mother. "He was my one and only boy." Allister's beaten body was discovered last December in a dumpster behind a pot-smoking cafe off Vancouver's West Hastings Street. Police believe he was the victim of a struggle, detailed in Friday's Province, for power and money in the city's lucrative, world-famous marijuana underworld. After reading the article, Allister's mother contacted The Province to tell her son's story. Like many young people who find their way on to Vancouver's streets, Allister was the product of a broken home, some bad decisions and a stubborn nature. He was also a generous, sensitive child whose death drew more than 200 people to mourn at his funeral. Allister told his mother he wanted to learn about life the hard way. "I told him once that it must be nice to know everything," she laughs. "He said 'Yeah, I wish you did.'" Allister grew up between two homes after his parents divorced. He quit school in Grade 11 and moved out of his mother's Calgary home when he was 17. By the time he was 18, his girlfriend was pregnant. Robertson still recalls finding marijuana for the first time in her son's bedroom. She called police, who gave him a lecture, put him through an anti-drug program and forced him to write a pair of essays on marijuana abuse. "If he thought a rule was stupid, he wouldn't obey it," said Robertson. Allister wasn't ready to become a father, and he and his girlfriend split. He headed to the West Coast, where he gravitated downtown to a pot culture often depicted as harmless compared with the tougher worlds surrounding heroin and cocaine. While in Vancouver, Allister made a living by weighing, bagging and delivering one-gram bags of marijuana to sellers at the Cross Town Traffic Cafe. Police allege he was beaten to death at the back of the cafe because he was believed to have information about a contract on the life of a major player in the cafe's business. The contract may not even have existed. Charged with Allister's murder is Alhaj Hadani, 28. Ross Living, 22, and Jamie Yochlowitz, 25, are charged with manslaughter. All three will appear in court tomorrow to set a trial date. As 1998 was drawing to a close, Allister appeared to be pulling his life together. He was in contact with his ex-girlfriend and looking forward to playing an active role in his son's life. He had also set things right with friends from the past, and told his mother he was looking forward to coming home for Christmas. "The guy had a lot going for him," says Robertson. "He was much more than a high-school dropout. He was more than a plastic-bag pot dealer. "He was finding his way through life." Robertson says she is now putting together a scrapbook of memories, articles and pictures of Allister. She has been asked to speak about Allister to the troublesome 14-year-old son of a frustrated friend. "I don't know what I'll say," said Robertson. "I'll just go by my gut."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re: Mom Mourns Son Lost To Mean Streets (A letter sent to the editor of the Vancouver Province says prohibition, not marijuana, killed Allister Marselje. A 1998 study by the U.S. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found the number of state inmates incarcerated for violent crime who were under the influence of cannabis alone at the time of their offense was too small to be recorded statistically. The report found 21 percent of state inmates incarcerated for violent crime were under the influence of alcohol alone when they committed their crime. Only 3 percent were under the influence of cocaine and 1 percent were under the influence of heroin alone.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Sent: Canada: Mom mourns son lost to mean streets Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 12:58:26 -0800 Lines: 35 To the editor, My heart goes out to the friends and family of Allister Marselje, (Mom mourns son lost to mean streets, Feb 28), another casualty in the waning days of the "War on Drugs". While it is true that the black market in cannabis is relatively peaceful, all black markets are inherently violent. It is easy and tempting to confuse systemic black market violence with the psycho-pharmacological violence associated with alcohol, but unlike alcohol, cannabis suppresses violent behavior. A 1998 study by the U.S. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that 21% of state inmates incarcerated for violent crime were under the influence of alcohol alone when they committed their crime. Only 3% were under the influence of cocaine and 1% were under the influence of heroin alone. The number of inmates under the influence of cannabis alone was too small to be recorded statistically. (1) Allister's death and countless more are the price we pay for our morally gratifying but counter-productive "War on Drugs". The "mean streets", the turf wars, the spread of infectious disease, the junkies in our alleys and the needles in our playgrounds are the price we pay to "send a message" to our children with drug prohibition. Allister Marselje did not get our very costly message. How many more must die before we get the message and end the War on Drugs? 1) "Behind Bars: Substance Abuse and America's Prison Population." NY Columbia University, 1998. Matthew M. Elrod 4493 [No Thru] Rd. Victoria, B.C. V9C-3Y1 Phone: 250-867-5309 Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Sentenced For Laundering Drug Cash (The Chicago Tribune version of Friday's news about Robert Flahiff, the Quebec Superior Court judge who is free on bail while appealing a penalty of 3 years in prison for laundering more than $1 million in drug money between 1989 and 1991, while he was still a lawyer) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 06:26:03 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Judge Sentenced For Laundering Drug Cash Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Author: Tribune News Services JUDGE SENTENCED FOR LAUNDERING DRUG CASH MONTREAL, CANADA -- A Quebec Superior Court judge has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for laundering more than $1 million in drug money. Robert Flahiff, 51, was convicted of laundering the money between 1989 and 1991 while he was a lawyer for a cocaine dealer. The judge, free on bail pending an appeal, is still receiving his salary despite his suspension from the bench two years ago. He became a judge in 1993. Flahiff's defense lawyers had pleaded for leniency, but Quebec Court Judge Serge Boisvert said Friday the offense deserved a stiff sentence. According to testimony, Flahiff began taking satchels of cash to a branch of the Bank of Montreal in 1989. A former bank official testified Flahiff was allowed to enter the branch after business hours with a sports bag containing thousands of dollars. The bills were turned into bank drafts that ended up in Swiss banks.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Certifies Mexico As Full Partner In Drug War, Despite Reports Of Corruption (The Buffalo News, in New York, says President Clinton on Friday gave his stamp of approval to Mexico as a fully cooperating ally in the "crusade against drugs," despite testimony from U.S. law enforcement officials that illegal-substance syndicates south of the border had gained enormous power.) Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 10:00:49 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Clinton Certifies Mexico As Full Partner In Drug War, Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: Buffalo News (NY) Copyright: 1999 - The Buffalo News Fax: 716-856-5150 Website: http://www.buffnews.com/ CLINTON CERTIFIES MEXICO AS FULL PARTNER IN DRUG WAR, DESPITE REPORTS OF CORRUPTION Mexico on Friday won President Clinton's stamp of approval as a full partner in the crusade against drugs, despite testimony from U.S. law enforcement officials that narcotics syndicates south of the border have gained enormous power in that country. Clinton's certification of Mexico as "fully cooperating" in the counter-narcotics campaign sent the matter to Congress, which has grown increasingly exasperated in recent years over reports of continued drug-related corruption in a Mexican justice system that has failed to corral many major traffickers. Anti-certification forces in Congress denounced the president's action Friday and pledged a campaign to overturn it. But it remained unclear whether congressional critics were merely going through the motions or whether they will wage an uphill fight to demote Mexico in the annual drug rankings. Congress, which has 30 days to overturn the ruling, has never rejected a presidential certification. Certification has become an annual, angst-ridden rite since Congress enacted a law in 1986 requiring the president to evaluate the level of counter-narcotics cooperation of countries deemed to be major producers or transit points for the lucrative worldwide drug trade. Countries not certified as full partners face sanctions, including loss of foreign aid and U.S. opposition to loans from international development banks. Some lawmakers are already looking beyond this year's report. In a letter to Clinton made public Friday, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D- Calif, and Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and a handful of others argued that the president should hold Mexico to stricter standards in the coming year. They want Mexico to make progress in extraditing drug traffickers to the United States (to date no alleged Mexican cartel leader has been); to ratify new bilateral protocols for extradition and maritime cooperation; and to make a "major improvement" in seizing the cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine that pass through its territory en route to the United States. The senators, who described themselves as holding "varying positions" on certification this year, stopped short of threatening to mount an effort to overturn Clinton's decision. But in the House, a bipartisan coalition may do just that. "The situation has gotten worse rather than better," said Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla. "I'm really concerned (the Mexicans) may be on the verge of losing control of their country. You could have the creation of another narco-terrorist state. When it's along our border, you have a very serious problem." House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., an ally of the White House, said he will oppose Clinton's decision. "The law requires that we objectively assess what the Mexican government has done over the past year, not put our hopes in what progress may come in the future," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Forgiving Relationship (An editorial in the San Diego Union Tribune ponders President Clinton's whirlwind summit in Merida this month with Mexican President Zedillo. Mexico detests the certification process and the annual criticism it foments from its overbearing neighbor to the north. It is American drug consumption that provides the rich incentives for narco-criminals, whose work undermines law and order in Mexico. "We feel that it's a unilateral, subjective and unfair process," said Mexico's former ambassador to the United States, Jesus Silva-Herzog. "It's difficult for us to understand how is it possible that the largest consumer of drugs in the world becomes the judge." There is a vast disparity between living standards in Mexico, a nation of 95 million people with an average per capita income of $4,400 per year, and the United States, where, with 250 million people, per capita income averages seven times that.) Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 10:32:26 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: A Forgiving Relationship Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ Forum: http://www.uniontrib.com/cgi-bin/WebX A FORGIVING RELATIONSHIP Yet Drug Certification Process Does Highlight Simmering Issues Between Mexico And United States It's been a while since President Clinton was known to play the saxophone. Yet, while dining with his Mexican counterpart, Ernesto Zedillo, near the Yucatan city of Merida, Clinton sat in on a small combo and laid down an impromptu rendition of the torch standard, "My Funny Valentine." A paean to the two leaders' wives, no doubt, Clinton might just as well have been playing to his host. A major theme of Clinton's presidency, after all, has been the courtship of Mexico. His whirlwind Merida summit with President Zedillo this month was nothing less than a diplomatic love fest, meticulously scripted to send the message that relations are fundamentally sound between two very different countries that just happen to share a 2,000-mile-long border. "We are more than neighbors," Clinton proclaimed in a speech. "More and more, we belong to the same American family ... What binds us together is far, far more important than what divides us." Optimism has become a cornerstone of Clinton's foreign policy, whether the goal is to press for democratic change in China, force a Balkans truce or craft a lasting Mideast peace -- objectives that, to be sure, require mountains of faith to even pursue. Some analysts, though, are arguing for a bit less window dressing and a lot more candor from the White House when it comes to U.S.-Mexico relations, particularly in such thorny areas as trade, immigration and drug trafficking. Few had expected Clinton to change his tune in making his decision announced Friday to certify to Congress that Mexico is cooperating fully with U.S. efforts to combat the scourge of illegal drugs. Mexico has patently failed to thwart a massive narco-crime industry that U.S. authorities say will smuggle perhaps $30 billion worth of drugs into the United States this year -- about 60 percent of all the illicit drugs that will make their way onto the nation's streets. But that wasn't enough to stop Clinton from giving Mexico's counter drug efforts a passing grade; he signaled as much during the summit by praising Zedillo's commitment to a U.S.- Mexico alliance against drugs. Beyond his instincts to put the best possible face on a messy problem, Clinton downplayed the failings in Mexico's anti-drug efforts because to decertify would trigger painful sanctions against Mexico, a key U.S. economic partner, and risk shattering the relationship Clinton and Zedillo have met worked hard to forge. "Clinton is clearly doing backflips to be able to send up certification language to the Hill," said Mexico expert George Grayson, professor of government at the college of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va. To do otherwise, said Grayson, would "poison the relationship." Every year at this time, that relationship is tested by what has become a diplomatic rite of spring, when the White House grades the counter-narcotics efforts of Mexico and some 30 other countries that are major sources or distribution channels for drugs. Under a 1986 law, the president must certify to Congress by March 1 of each year whether these countries are cooperating fully with U.S. anti-narcotics efforts. Countries whose programs are decertified face immediate suspension of most U.S. aid -- humanitarian and counter-narcotics assistance are excepted -- unless the president decides to sustain assistance for national security reasons. Congress has 30 days in which to overturn the president's certification recommendations, through a joint resolution, or allow the White House ruling to stand. Frustration among congressional members -- and constituents angered by the flood of drugs from Mexico -- has crested for the past two years with vocal, if unsuccessful, legislative efforts to decertify Mexico. More sound and fury is expected this time around, particularly if the Clinton administration paints too rosy a picture of Mexico's failed anti-drug policies. "I just can't ratify, nor sanction, a concept that tells the people of both republics that this is coming along," said Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., a major player in the issue as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. "They need to make sure that it's absolutely clear that the progress has been limited." Mexico detests the certification process and the annual criticism it foments from its overbearing neighbor to the north. It is American drug consumption, Mexicans are quick to point out, that provides the rich incentives for narco-criminals, whose work undermines law and order in Mexico. "We feel that it's a unilateral, subjective and unfair process," Mexico's former ambassador to the United States, Jesus Silva-Herzog, said in a telephone interview from Mexico City. "It's difficult for us to understand how is it possible that the largest consumer of drugs in the world becomes the judge." Many in Washington recognize the Mexican government's frustration, and Coverdell said Zedillo -- who a few weeks ago earmarked for counter- narcotics efforts another $500 million -- deserves support for devoting high-level attention to the drug problem. And yet, Coverdell said, Mexico has done far too little to combat narco-traffickers, or to rid the country of the official corruption that enables them to operate. "The data remains terribly disturbing," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do here." The annual certification imbroglio gnaws at a relationship also strained by immigration and economic issues. Mexicans and Americans will make some 250 million legal border crossings this year, one indicator of the growing economic and cultural integration of the two countries. "With each crossing," said Clinton, "we move beyond mere diplomacy, closer to genuine friendship." Again, though, Clinton sees a glass that's half full. Roughly 150,000 Mexicans immigrate legally to the United States each year, adding richly to the country's pool of some 15 million Americans of Mexican descent, but also competing with native Americans for jobs while taxing the services of state and local governments. At least as many slip into the country illegally. But while numbers of illegal entries are fuzzy, Mexicans make up the largest block of the estimated 400,000 people of various nationalities who enter the country illegally each year, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C. think tank. What drives the mass movements is the vast disparity between living standards in Mexico, a nation of 95 million people with an average per capita income of $4,400 per year, and the United States, where, with 250 million people, per capita income averages seven times that amount. That wage gap has also driven a major restructuring of American industry, as thousands of U.S. manufacturers and suppliers have set up shop in Mexico, aided by the low tariffs and investment guarantees embodied in the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Clinton, who ramrodded the NAFTA through a reluctant Congress in his first major, and still most dramatic, legislative victory, hails the integration of the two economies as a step forward for both countries. NAFTA, said Clinton, has strengthened both economies, providing a buffer from the ravages of the global economic crisis and a model for broader trade agreements he hopes might one day link the entire Western Hemisphere. Last year, as U.S. exports to hard-pressed Pacific Rim nations plummeted by 19 percent, two-way trade between the United States and Mexico grew 11 percent to nearly $175 billion. That placed Mexico in third place, behind Canada and virtually neck-and-neck with Japan, among U.S. trading partners. Mexico is on track to eclipse Japan this year as this country's number-two trading partner. "We must expand this oasis of confidence and growth in our hemisphere," Clinton said, reiterating his call for a Free Trade Area of the Americas stretching from the Yukon to the southern tip of Argentina. And yet, true to form, there's a flip side to the cheery portrait Clinton paints of the cross-border economic ties. NAFTA opponents complain bitterly that the agreement, which was negotiated by the Bush administration, has put to flight hundreds of American factories, large and small, which have invested some $30 billion building new plants in Mexico, sending good-paying jobs south of the border. The trade picture, moreover, is grossly distorted, these critics assert, because it counts as U.S. exports tens of billions of dollars each year of relatively low-value parts and raw materials that are shipped south and used to manufacture or assemble finished goods that Mexico then exports to this country. "They're processed in Mexico and sent right back here and the only effect it has on U.S. employment is to reduce it and the only effect it has on U.S. wages and incomes is to lower them," said trade expert Alan Tonelson, research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a trade association representing more than 1,000 small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. "This is simply a trade policy that's designed to encourage outsourcing," said Tonelson, "to encourage U.S. corporations to move to Mexico and take advantage of low wages, lax regulations, et cetera." Adds Charles McMillion, chief economist for the Washington consulting group, MBG Information Services, "It has the effect of squeezing profits and squeezing wages in these companies and forcing them, if they possibly can, to move at least some of their production to Mexico. It's put incredible pricing pressure on them over the last couple of years." Plenty of other experts disagree. "I'm an unapologetic optimist on this," said Chandler Stolp, director of the U.S.-Mexican Policy Studies Program at the University of Texas in Austin. The shifts decried by NAFTA's critics, Stolp said, merely represent the rational corporate response to a low-wage base on the country's southern doorstep. That sort of integration, Stolp said, helps U.S. companies compete favorably against their overseas rivals, even as it offers Mexican workers a ladder up from poverty. "If trade were just a matter of selling finished products to each other, then Mexico and the United States really have very little to do with each other," said Stolp. "We're not competing with Mexico, we're partnering with Mexico." Clinton, for his part, concedes that the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship is imperfect, as are links on immigration and drugs. What's important, he maintains, is not to curse the darkness, but rather to light those candles that might be lit. "Any complex relationship will have its ups and downs," Clinton said in Merida. "But we know our differences cannot divide us."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Sinaloa: Mexico's Capital Of Drug Crime (The San Francisco Examiner rewrites a recent Los Angeles Times article about the social disintegration in the Mexican state caused by prohibition in America.) Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 18:08:40 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Mexico: Sinaloa: Mexico's Capital Of Drug Crime Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Sam Quinones SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER SINALOA: MEXICO'S CAPITAL OF DRUG CRIME NAVOLATO, Mexico -- Jorge Aguirre Meza was a thin man who walked with a severe limp from a childhood bout with polio. But he stood tall against drug smugglers and bandit gangs of this flatland farming town of 75,000 people, and of his state of Sinaloa, which is now suffering Mexico's most widespread case of savage drug-related violence. And so on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 27, Jorge Aguirre Meza was riddled with bullets in front of his home and his 9-year-old daughter by two masked men with AK-47s, as he tried desperately to maneuver his Dodge Ram Charger out of his cul-de-sac. "Is there no place here for people who refuse to accept crime as a way of life?" wrote the daily Noroeste in an editorial the next day. Although he had been threatened many times before, Aguirre Meza, at 39, felt safe from such an end as long as he stayed in the public eye. "Here, they think more carefully about killing someone who has public support," said Leonel Aguirre Meza, his younger brother. Jorge Aguirre Meza was president of the Sinaloa Lawyers Federation, a statewide lawyers union. Then he was a city councilman, a former candidate for mayor of Navolato, about 12 miles west of Culiaca1/2n, Sinaloa's capital. He was a high school teacher and had been a federal prosecutor. He founded the Navolatan Citizens Council for Human Rights, and was a founding member of the statewide Sinaloan Commission for the Defense of Human Rights. But his activism, which at one time might have protected him, also most likely got him killed. Awash in executions As rising levels of common street crime have swept across Mexico, Sinaloa has been awash in executions not only of drug gang members but of prominent citizens as well. Sinaloa is a hot agricultural state stretching down the Pacific Coast. The home of the Mazatlan tourist resort, the state is probably best known within Mexico as the birthplace of drug smuggling. Since the 1960s, virtually every major Mexican drug lord has been Sinaloan. In the 1970s, a wave of drug-related violence prompted the government to institute Operation Condor, using the military essentially to raid and terrorize the hills for two years. The most important traffickers left for Tijuana, Juarez, Guadalajara and elsewhere. The great cartels of today -- the Juarez, Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels -- were set up to control the trade and the violence. Since then, Sinaloa tolerated the drug trade so long as narcos kept their wars among themselves. Even today, both Sinaloan society and police use the term "ajuste de cuentas" -- an adjusting of accounts -- to describe the motive behind a drug land hit, and as an excuse to not investigate it. But the cartel system has been disrupted in recent years, as some leaders have died or gone to prison. Left behind is a detritus of increasingly brutal gangs that no longer recognize the implicit social contract. The state Secretary of Citizen Protection conservatively estimates that more than 200 armed gangs are involved in drugs, as well as highway robbery, murder for hire and kidnapping. Some have police protection. Some are former police officers. A good many are simply unafraid of the police. Noninvolvement no protection At one time, noninvolvement in the drug trade was protection from its violence. "This is what I find has disappeared," said Elmer Mendoza, a Culiacan novelist. "We're all the same in their eyes now." Through the 1990s, the Sinaloa murder toll has included 47 lawyers, 40 state police officers and 12 university professors, while a long list of well-known farmers, ranchers, merchants, professionals and social activists have been kidnapped or killed, sometimes both. Meanwhile, Sinaloa's homicides have tripled, rising steadily from about 215 in 1987 to average about 650 annually over the last few years. In January, the state saw 51 murders, about a third of which appear to be execution-style hits. A recent state study of 100 homicides found that only eight had been solved. Aguirre Meza's hometown of Navolato has been transformed by the violence. It was once peaceful, with no more than a half-dozen murders a year. Residents routinely walked the street at night. But by the mid-1990s, the city had become a dumping ground for people executed elsewhere; it was known as "The Cemetery." From 1993 through 1996, some 80 execution victims were found bound, shot through the head, some buried, some wrapped in blankets. Everyone knew who was responsible: A band of killers run by a man who once practiced law in the area, Jesus Rios Felix. A warrant, then a threat In 1992, a social activist named Servando Ramirez was murdered in Navolato. Jorge Aguirre Meza was appointed special prosecutor to investigate. He eventually swore out a murder warrant against Rios Felix. Aguirre Meza was threatened with death, and in 1996 left to be a federal prosecutor in Mexico City. The gang had been a well-controlled bottom rung in the Sinaloa Cartel, run by drug lords Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Hector "El Guero" Palma. But first Guzman, and then, in 1996, Palma, went to prison. The gang began freelancing. They formed a shadow government in Navolato. For a while, they set up a roadblock and robbed motorists. Though they had arrest warrants against them, they drove about armed and in flashy Chevrolet Suburbans and Ford Cherokees. A local doctor once collided with one of their Suburbans. Four men dragged him from his car and beat him with their rifles in the middle of the street. The police watched. Only when someone from the crowd yelled for them to do something did they step in to calm the four thugs, who then drove off. The doctor moved to Mazatlan. Since then, the gang has divided. Other gangs have popped up, all independent and without higher control. Now, at night, Navolato's streets and plaza are empty. In 1997, Aguirre Meza returned from Mexico to accept the job of Navolato's chief of police, aware of the risks. Within six months, he imprisoned the area's biggest drug smuggler, 25-year-old Victor Contreras, for firing a high-powered rifle in a cemetery during a Day of the Dead celebration. Last fall, Aguirre Meza ran for mayor. He lost, but won a city council seat, which he'd occupied for less than a month when he died. Calls for army intervention Following his murder, several prominent Sinaloan businessmen and politicians called for the army to step in again. But it may be too late for such facile solutions. "More people are involved (in the drug trade)," said Leonel Aguirre Meza. "Now in what institution -- any one you want to mention -- is there no narco influence? Plus, while you have the authorities much more corrupted, you have the citizenry really afraid." Complicating things is what observers say is a loss of civic values. "This is the third generation that's living with drug smuggling," said Oscar Loza, director of the Sinaloan Commission for the Defense of Human Rights, whose two successors were both assassinated: Jesu1/2s Michel in 1988, and Norma Corona in 1990. "There are families who see as completely normal that their children marry into narco families. Before it was rejected and ostracized. But little by little, people get used to it." A "narco-culture" now exists in Sinaloa. The exploits of semiliterate smugglers are told in ballads; narco-fashion -- a polished country-hick look, including cowboy hat, boots, jeans, gold chains and silk shirt -- has been the rage for a while. Drug trafficking is one of the few routes to economic and social advancement open to the working classes, and the drug trafficker has become Sinaloa's hero figure. "The people who exercise other values -- respect for life, for work, for the individual -- like Jorge, become of secondary importance," said Elmer Mendoza. And, like much of Mexico, Sinaloa is simply unprepared to fight back. Decades of paternalistic, centralized government in Mexico City have crippled municipal governments and police, institutions that might form a bulwark against drug trafficking. Navolato police, for example, have a total of 13 working patrol cars, none of them bulletproof, and 111 pistols -- all for 210 officers, most of whom have only finished junior high school. Officers are rationed eight bullets a day. The police chief is an engineer whose last job was teaching high school. Pursuing the killers No one yet knows who killed Jorge Aguirre, or why. His friends and associates say they will pressure the government until they know. The administration of new Gov. Juan Milla1/2n has vowed to solve the case. But the number of unsolved murders in Sinaloa over the last five years is depressingly long. On Feb. 4, several hundred people marched through Culiaca1/2n, under the banner "Sinaloa For Peace." Among them was Abraham Hernandez, once an agricultural consultant, whose life is now different due to the violence. Hernandez's son and two nephews were kidnapped from a party in Culiacan in 1996 and are presumed dead. Hernandez and his relatives have staged more than 20 marches to keep pressure on authorities to solve the disappearance. Hernandez himself has used up his personal savings and sold his business to devote full-time to the case. During his travails, he met Aguirre Meza. "He was a citizen who wanted to defend society. Doing that, he ran up against certain interests and that caused his death," Hernandez said. "We can't allow that. It's not right that people who defend their rights, or society's rights, have to die."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Holds Former Police Chief For Drugs - Reports (According to Reuters, El Universal newspaper and Reforma daily said Rodolfo Leon Aragon, the former head of Mexico's equivalent of the FBI, the federal judicial police, was arrested Friday in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on charges of taking up to $1 million in bribes from the Juarez drug cartel. Leon Aragon's detention meant police had carried out six of the just-under-40 arrest warrants issued last weekend in connection with the drugs trade and money-laundering operations in the state of Quintana Roo.) Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 22:24:13 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico Holds Former Police Chief For Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 28 Feb 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. MEXICO HOLDS FORMER POLICE CHIEF FOR DRUGS-REPORTS MEXICO CITY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - A former Mexican police chief, accused of taking up to $1 million in bribes from a powerful drug cartel, was detained by police, newspapers reported on Saturday. El Universal newspaper and Reforma daily said Rodolfo Leon Aragon, ex-head of Mexico's equivalent of the FBI, the federal judicial police, was arrested on Friday in the port of Salina Cruz in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office (PGR) said he could not immediately confirm the reports. According to the papers, Leon Aragon's detention came after the PGR last weekend issued arrest warrants for around 40 former government officials and businessmen allegedly in the pay of the Juarez cartel. He was named head of the judicial police in 1993 but sent as a special PGR agent to Guatemala soon after. The PGR alleges Leon Aragon accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in protection money from late Juarez cartel boss Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who died in mid-1997 after an extensive plastic surgery operation went wrong. The Juarez mob, based in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, is among Mexico's top three drug-smuggling organisations. Universal said Leon Aragon had been running a small business in Salina Cruz. The arrest of the former high-flying police officer came on the same day the White House "recertified" Mexico as an ally in the drug war, saving it from economic sanctions. Certification must still pass through the U.S. Congress. Leon Aragon's detention meant police had carried out six of the just-under- 40 arrest warrants issued last weekend, which the PGR said were in connection with the drugs trade and money-laundering operations in the southeastern tourism state of Quintana Roo.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pilots Face Tough New Breath Tests (The Mail on Sunday says Britain's aviation minister, Glenda Jackson, is reacting to fears that pilots are flouting the ban on consuming alcohol 48 hours before flying by unilaterally requiring pilots to submit to breath tests. Foreign pilots are the main target. Refusal to take the tests will result in an immediate ban from flying into or out of UK airports.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Non-Testers List (NTList@Fornits.com) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 04:41:42 -0800 X-Loop: ntlist-Request@Fornits.com Subject: [ntlist] FW: UK: Pilots Face Tough New Breath Tests Reply-To: email@example.com -----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 1999 4:00 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Pilots Face Tough New Breath Tests Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun,28 Feb 1999 Source: Mail on Sunday, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/ PILOTS FACE TOUGH NEW BREATH TESTS AIRLINE pilots will face police breath tests for the first time under strict new laws. Aviation Minister Glenda Jackson is to act over growing fears for passenger safety after alarming reports of pilots flying under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They are banned from drinking 48 hours before flying. But at present police have no powers to breath-test or take blood samples from pilots or air traffic controllers, who will also be covered by the new laws. Confidential reports have raised fears that many are flouting the drinking ban. Last year a British Airways pilot was sacked after he staggered on to his plane still drunk from a night out with colleagues. Another was dismissed after confessing to being a heroin addict. At any one time, between 50 and 60 pilots are being counselled by the Civil Aviation Authority for alcohol-related problems. Foreign pilots are the main target. Refusal to take the tests will result in an immediate ban from flying into or out of UK airports. But British pilots will also be subject to the new law, which will set a maximum limit four times tougher than for motorists. Crew members whose performance is found to be 'impaired' by drink or drugs face dismissal. A Government source said: 'It is a legal anomaly that pilots are not subject to an alchohol limit and cannot be tested by police. 'It is an offence for a pilot to be working under the influence of alcohol, but there is no mechanism under which they can be tested.' Ms Jackson said: 'We are drawing up proposals to set limits for aircraft crew and give the police the power to require suspected offenders to provide samples.' *** For help, send a HELP command to: ntlist-Request@Fornits.com To join/leave send join ntlist or leave ntlist More info: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6443/ntl.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anger as police take pupils to cannabis cafes (The Daily Telegraph, in Britain, says certain parents and teacher groups are angry about a plan to take 60 schoolchildren to visit cannabis cafes in Amsterdam's red light district as part of a drugs education project run by police. Police believe the teenagers need to have a rounded picture of drug-taking, even if that means taking them to places where drugs are legal and taken freely. A spokesman for the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations said: "There is a danger that in giving children too much information about drugs, we encourage them to experiment.") Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 22:51:05 +0000 From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  Anger As Police Take Pupils To Cannabis Cafes Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK) Copyright: Telegraph Group Limited 1999 Pubdate: 28 February 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Author: Linda Jackson The Daily Telegraph (UK) Sunday 28 February 1999 Anger as police take pupils to cannabis cafes By Linda Jackson SIXTY schoolchildren are to visit cannabis cafes in Amsterdam's red light district as part of a drugs education project run by police which has angered parents and teacher groups. Police believe the teenagers need to have a rounded picture of drug-taking, even if that means taking them to places where drugs are legal and taken freely. Downing Street's Social Exclusion Unit has been briefed on the scheme, which is the brainchild of Bob Haynes, schools liaison officer for Thames Valley Police. But news of the project has provoked an angry reaction. Last night the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations described the project as "highly irresponsible" and "dangerous". A spokesman, Margaret Morrissey, said: "There is a danger that in giving children too much information about drugs, we encourage them to experiment. "Youngsters don't need to know all the effects a drug has on the body. They just need to be taught they are dangerous and how to say no." During a series of visits in July, the 16-year-olds will also speak to drug offenders about the problems associated with drug-taking. There will also be a chance to visit a cannabis museum, which extols the virtues of the drug tolerated in parts of Holland. On their return to Britain, the children will give presentations to younger pupils as part of a project called Helping Young People by Peer Education. Peter Stoker, director of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, described the programme as a "limp approach which typifies too much of what passes as drug education. Drugs are best kept away from children. One person's drug use could be a lot of people's harm," he said. Mr Haynes defended the scheme, saying children learned best from their peers, who had to be in a position to answer a wide variety of questions about drugs and drug-taking. "Through their involvement in the project, the children learn all about the different ways of taking drugs. This means they are in a position of knowledge if they are asked about a particular form of solvent sniffing, for example," he said. "If necessary they can advise on a safer way, thus minimising potential harm. Eventually the more people know about drugs, the more they will understand they are not an answer to their problems." He said the trip to Amsterdam was a "reward" for the children after completing a residential weekend and evening sessions. "We have a residential weekend in Reading, where children are given information about drugs, the positive and negative effects, and the methods of use. They also have to attend three evening sessions," said Mr Haynes. "The trip to Amsterdam is a reward for going to the classes. It also gives the children a chance to look at drugs from a different approach.It is up to them to make their own judgments about whether drugs should be legalised or not. We don't ask them for their views." Mr Haynes said there were now 15 schools in Berkshire involved in the project, which began with a handful of pupils two years ago. Although he admits there was some initial opposition, he said the scheme soon gained support. Schools are charged UKP1,600 for four pupils and a teacher to go on the residential course and five-day visit, which Mr Haynes claimed was "very cost-effective". The children are accompanied by police and stay in a conference hotel on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Question and answer sessions are held at the end of each day. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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