Police


The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is a United States federal police agency but they operate in over 60 other countries as well. They conduct investigations worldwide to arrest drug traffickers and producers, seize their assets and prosecute them in the United States. These actions are usually in cooperation with their foreign counterparts but covert illegal operations are frequent.

The DEA is legally bound by the US constitution which states, DEA agents are prohibited from active involvement in arrests of suspects in host countries and from participating in unilateral enforcement actions without the approval of officials from the host government. There are five different functions that DEA agents officially engage in while on foreign missions these are: bilateral investigations, foreign liaison, institution building, Intelligence gathering and international training.

In Canada DEA stretches these rules to the limit. Money from the DEA is paid to informants in Canada. Informants and agents from the US conduct reverse stings, undercover drug sales, on Canadian soil sometimes without telling the RCMP. The DEA is represented in Canada at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver. DEA’s official role in Canada is to coordinate international drug-trafficking investigations between the United States and Canadian law enforcement.  The DEA website says “Both DEA offices in Canada are very operational, working with the Canadians on a full complement of cases while ensuring that our activities are in keeping with Canadian laws and existing agreements.”

In a RCMP/DEA joint operation a cocaine dealer was arrested in BC. The police made a deal with him in which he wouldn’t be charged if he became a confidential informant. He fed the RCMP information on local marijuana growers for months, he was paid $440,000 and moved out of town at DEA’s expense.  Unlike Canadian police the DEA relies heavily on paid informants.

They use another technique referred to as a rouse. A Canadian marijuana smuggler was caught in the US with 43 pounds of marijuana. Police on both sides of the border did not press charges because they thought if would interfere with a larger investigation. Once the investigation was over the smuggler got a letter from US customs it said,

The state of Washington has declined to press charges in this case. Therefore the government is obligated to return seized items to you. You are requested to personally pick up these items as your original signatures are required.

When the smuggler showed up at the border he was arrested by DEA and sentenced in American court.

The case of Sam Brown is very disturbing. He was a thrill seeker from Nelson, BC who got into marijuana smuggling. In February 2009 he was lured into Washington state by a DEA reverse sting which was code-named “Operation Blade Runner”. Sam was supposed to fly a helicopter with 200kg of marijuana across the border and take 71kg of cocaine back to Canada. The guy with the cocaine was arrested by DEA and they used his phone to contact Sam. After being arrested Sam Brown hanged himself in his US jail cell (CBC documentary, very well done).

Of course there is the famous Marc Emery case. The price of pot was arrested by a RCMP/DEA task force for selling marijuana seeds online and is in the process of being extradited to the US (more on Marc Emery). No other Canadian has been extradited for seed sales. Emery was targeted only because of his political activity.

The United States uses political pressure to force Canadian law enforcement to cooperate.  In 1999 DEA chief of staff, John Lampman, was asked “What if Canada doesn’t come through with some resources to keep up its end of the deal?” This is what he said,

I think what we’re looking at there is unilateral action by the United States. The United States is not going to fail to meet its commitment to its citizens. We want to do it with the cooperation of our neighbours, and that is the preferred way to go. But if Canada, for whatever reason, should fail to meet its part of the cooperative effort, we certainly are not going to fail to go unilaterally ahead and meet our commitment to our citizens.

The US does not stop at interfering with law enforcement they actually interfere with the legislative process. In 2004 Canada’s Liberal government proposed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Pressure from the US prevented the bill from becoming law. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada, on the situation,

It would be great for the Canadian economy because we’re huge producers of marijuana… We have actually talked about decriminalizing it, because our criminal law is federal. And it was pressure from the Americans that has kept Canada from decriminalizing possession of marijuana.

The US drug czar at the time, John Walters, said “We don’t want the border with Canada looking like the U.S.-Mexico border,” “You expect your friends to stop the movement of poison toward your neighbourhood” and “We have to be concerned about American citizens … When you make the penalties minimal, you get more drug production, you get more drug crime.”

Then president G.W. Bush said,

“United States would not look kindly on changes to Canadian marijuana laws and warned that it would be forced to take action”

At the time there were 12 states in the USA that had decriminalized marijuana for recreational use. The US is very sneaky in its methods of manipulation. The American’s disrespect of national sovereignty extends to many other countries all over the world. Check out this map,

DEA has always been heavily involved in South America. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the DEA ran Operation Snowcap, which involved the “dismantle and disruption” of the cocaine trade in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Chile,Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico. In 1986 the DEA was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in which the US sold arms to Iran through Israel in order to free 6 US hostages from Iran. The money was then used to fund Contra militants in Nicaragua. The DEA and CIA bought cocaine from the rebels and sold it on the streets in the US. Every part of this scandal was illegal but the fact that Drug Enforcement Agency actually smuggled drugs into the US and sold them to US citizens shows the true insanity of the war on drugs.

In 2005, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has kicked the DEA out of Venezuela, alleging that DEA agents are “spies” who are in his country not just to root out the illegal drug trade, but to assist a purported US attempt to overthrow Chavez, who was an outspoken critic of Bush administration foreign policy. DEA was accused later that year of collaborating with drug traffickers by the Venezuelan government.

The DEA treats Mexico as if there were no border. In 1984 DEA agent Enrique Camarena defied the Mexican government and searched for the gigantic marijuana fields controlled by the Quintero cartel. He found the fields and the DEA and Mexican Army raided the fields and claimed to have found 8,000 tons of marijuana baled and ready for shipping. The Mexican government protected the Quinteros and gave the pot back. On February 7, 1985 Camarena and his Mexican counterpart were kidnapped from in front of the US Embassy. An audio tape of the torture inflicted by the Quinteros was found along with their bodies. The torture was very gruesome and even involved a doctor who kept them alive so the torture could continue.

The DEA’s illegal investigations and arrests have surfaced in Europe as well. DEA have been criticized for violations of Dutch sovereignty in drug investigations. In 2005 DEA admitted to activities on Dutch soil. Minister of justice Piet Hein Donner, had denied to the Dutch parliament that he had given permission to the DEA for any such activities, which would have been a requirement by Dutch law in order to allow foreign agents to act within the territory.

The DEA reestablished its presence in Afghanistan in early 2003 after they were kicked out by the soviets in 1979. Crop eradication was the primary goal of DEA but they are now targeting trafficking and production rings. DEA paramilitary groups called Foreign-Deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) were deployed in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. FAST teams are basically the same as Operation Snowcap. They look like military but they are not, watch this video.

There are DEA offices and teams stationed all over the world but not one single foreign police agency is stationed on US soil. Their official story is that they cooperate with authorities in the host country. While that is true in many cases the DEA does not follow the rules. They see them selves as a global police force and will continue illegal operations with or without international support. It seems that filling US prisons and US hegemony are more important than national sovereignty.

American drug laws are being threatened by anti-prohibition groups.  People are beginning to wake up to the evils of prohibition.  The DEA published this booklet, Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.  It is available online HERE.  The DEA says this booklet is “designed to cut through the fog of misinformation with hard facts”.  Let’s take a look at the top ten “facts” about legalization.

1. We have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts.

They go on to say “Ninety-five percent of Americans do not use drugs.”

The exact opposite of that is true. An estimated 117,325,000 Americans aged 12 or over (47% of the US) have used illicit drugs in their lifetime. The lion’s share being marijuana use (41% of total US population).   Marijuana use has declined slightly in recent years but heroin use has grown significantly as well as cocaine.  Drug use follows trends for which change over time.  For example acid was popular in the 60s and again in the 90s but not right now.  Speed and meth were popular with the artsy crowd in the 60s and now meth is seen as a hillbilly drug.

Lets not forget the legal drugs.  The DEA only combats illicit drug use but the scope of drug use in America paints a picture.  Over 66% of US adults drink alcohol on a regular basis and 82% have tried it. 90 billion is spent on alcohol annually in the US alone. Tobacco use is also alarming, 173,927,000 Americans have used tobacco in their lifetime. In addition the use of menthol cigarettes among smokers is on the rise. Caffeine use is also alarming, approximately 70% of Americans are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive and abused drug, in fact there are four caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders recognized by psychiatric professionals.

2. A balanced approach of prevention, enforcement, and treatment is the key in the fight against drugs.

Prohibition has never worked. Alcohol prohibition created a lucrative black market run by organized crime groups, corruption among law enforcement and politicians, and did little to curb alcohol use. Drug prohibition has taken all these problems to the next level.

The DEA continually promotes it’s special drug courts. These courts often sentence people to forced rehab. While that is better than prison many people don’t need or want rehab. In the case of marijuana the unnecessary treatment is used to create statistics that show marijuana is addictive, which it is not. (see marijuana rehab industry)

3. Illegal drugs are illegal because they are harmful.

Absolute bullshit. The legal drugs are more harmful than the majority of illegal drugs. In the case of marijuana the DEA uses myths and half-truths to show it is harmful.  Here is a quote from the DEA site:

smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette.

That is not true at all (see joint/cigarettes myth).  Another DEA tactic is emergency room mentions. Emergency room mentions are not reasons for visiting the hospital. If you go to ER, lets say for a broken leg, and mention marijuana verbally or on a survey it goes to this statistic. That is a loose measurement of prevalence of use not an argument for harm related to the drug. The DEA’s arguments that marijuana is harmful are 100% false. The lethal dose for marijuana is about 900 joints in one sitting (physically impossible), it is not addictive, and there has never been a recorded death or case of cancer as a direct result of marijuana use.

The DEA’s lies are immoral. A publicly funded agency should not lie to the public to stay in business. They are going after the children too, check out justthinktwice.com.

Alcohol is the drug that society has the most problems with. It is addictive, poisonous, has a high potential for abuse and no medical value. Four in ten criminal offenders report alcohol as a factor in violence. 43% of Americans have been exposed to alcoholism in their families. Tobacco is physically worse. Nicotine addiction is harder to quit than heroin. These drugs are harmful and kill millions every year but they are legal, why?

This chart sums it up. It ranks drugs based on the amount of drug it takes to get high vs how much it takes to kill you:

4. Smoked marijuana is not scientifically approved medicine. Marinol, the legal version of medical marijuana, is approved by science.

Marinol is a synthetic form of THC in a pill.  It is not popular among those who need medical marijuana.  There are three major complaints.  First, vomiting patients have trouble swallowing a pill. Then, if a patient does swallow the pill, the good effects don’t kick in for hours. And when the pill finally starts to work – buckle up. “A 2.5 milligram Marinol pill absolutely knocked me out,” reports one man with AIDS. “I wound up lying on the sofa for days, just totally drugged and unproductive.”  Patients prefer smoked marijuana because it is cheaper, more effective, works almost instantly, and easier to dose.  Here’s a good article “Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn’t“.

Marinol costs $652 U.S. for 30 doses while cannabis can be bought for less than $100 for the equivalent amount.  Marinol was first made in 1985 when a company called Unimed bought the patent and began producing.  The reason a pill was created is a plant cannot be patented.  The pharmaceutical industry is based entirely on patents.  If you could grow your own medicine why would you pay thousands of dollars per year to a drug corporation?

The American Medical Association has recently stated that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance must be reviewed (article).  The DEA suffered a blow and has been working to remove references to the AMA’s stance on marijuana from their website and publications (article).

5. Drug control spending is a minor portion of the U.S. budget. Compared to the social costs of drug abuse and addiction, government spending on drug control is minimal.

What?!?  The DEA’s annual budget was $2.4 billion in 2006 and increases every year.  That’s just the DEA, the cost of maintaining the extreme amount of prison space required for drug war POWs is enormous, as well as local police, judges, prosecutors etc.  In 2003 the US federal government spent over $19 billion on the drug war, that’s $600 per second.

Drug prohibition is the lifeblood of many private industries as well including the private prison industry, private rehab, anti-drug advertising, drug testing, and many others.  There are countless other corporations who benefit from drugs being illegal; big pharma, alcohol and tobacco companies to name a few.  Of course there are the organized crime groups who actually sell the illicit drugs.  The money involved here is insane!

6. Legalization of drugs will lead to increased use and increased levels of addiction. Legalization has been tried before, and failed miserably.

The “legalization” that was tried before was actually the decriminalization of marijuana in Alaska that started in the 70s but they deliberately did not tell the whole story. As the DEA correctly points out Alaskans passed a referendum to recriminalize the personal use of marijuana by a slim margin in 1990. However, in 1993 the Supreme Court of Alaska ruled that a popular vote could not change a constitution amendment. The court has upheld this decision on several occasions. As the law currently stands in Alaska you are legally allowed up to one ounce of marijuana in the privacy of your home and up to 25 marijuana plants.  In Amsterdam you are only permitted to have 5 grams of marijuana without facing prosecution.  The DEA knows this and purposely lied in their “fact sheet”.

Decriminalization does not remove the “forbidden fruit” appeal of  drugs.  Some rebellious teens do drugs because they are illegal.  Under decriminalization people arrested for small amounts of pot don’t get a criminal record but they still pay a fine and it is still illegal.  It was not just an experiment either, twenty one states in the US have decriminalized marijuana to some degree.

The argument that legalization will lead to higher levels of addiction assumes that prohibition limits demand.  That is not the case.  Drugs are available in an absolutely uncontrolled market. High school students frequently claim that pot is easier to get than alcohol.  The law is not much of a deterrent.  When alcohol prohibition was removed in the 1930s did everyone become a drunk?  Absolutely not.

Let’s try a thought experiment.  If a big bucket of heroin and one of cocaine were left unattended on a busy street corner how many people would use the drugs?  Probably the same amount that are using it now.  Less than 1% of the population have used heroin and nearly 10% have tried cocaine.

7. Crime, violence, and drug use go hand-in-hand

That’s true but not for the reasons they say it is.  Illegal drugs are available only in the black market created by prohibition.  In a black market you can’t rely on the cops or other agencies to solve disputes so violence is the only option.  This market is run by criminal gangs who have built up massive amounts of money due to prohibition.  Drug users do not have to be criminals.  If you could go to a gas station and by a pack of “greens” the criminals would not be involved.  You don’t see Starbucks (one of the biggest drug dealers in the world) shooting up the competition do you?

8. Alcohol has caused significant health, social, and crime problems in this country, and legalized drugs would only make the situation worse.

This argument is used frequently by prohibitionists.  Well why is alcohol legal then?  I’ve already pointed out some of the problems with alcohol.  The truth is marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol and the DEA prevents this alternative from getting to the public.  To me this argument is an admission of guilt.

For info on the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol look no further than SAFER.  Or get yourself a copy of the new book “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

Drunk driving is a major problem but studies show that stoned drivers are more cautious and safer drivers.  Each drug has its own unique pros and cons. If you can’t compare apples to apples the argument breaks down.

9: Europe’s more liberal drug policies are not the right model for America.

Europe has different forms of decriminalization and harm-reduction.  These policies have already made their way into the US.  The American stance of militarized outright prohibition with no compromise has not worked.  It is pretty ignorant to ignore alternatives when the system is failing.  What is the shelf life for bad legislation?

10. Most non-violent drug users get treatment, not jail time.

Again they are tooting their own horn about the “drug courts”.  The DEA thinks that treatment over incarceration shows mercy.  They won’t let you forget it either.  That does not change that hundreds of thousands of non-violent users are in jail for extremely long sentences.  (see marijuana vs rape).  The US imprisons more of their own people than any other nation past or present.  The drug war is the main recruiter for the growing US prison population.  Jail or not they still get a criminal record and that is just as bad.

The DEA’s arguments against legalization are weak.  I thought they could do better with a $2 billion/year budget.  But why are they arguing about the law anyway?  DEA is the drug enforcement agency they are supposed to enforce the law not rationalize it. As David Bratzer of LEAP said “If police officers are qualified to comment on anything it lies merely in the area of arresting criminals and helping people in distress.” Laws are supposed to be determined by the legislative branch of the government and in a more general sense the voting public, not the cops.  That just shows how fucked up the DEA is.

Here is a particularity disturbing incident where a family got busted with 15 pounds of marijuana. The RCMP took their three kids away and charged both parents with possession. That’s pretty sad as it is. Read these two different articles about the same story.

Article 1

The first one says:

Searching the vehicle revealed 15 pounds of marijuana — enough to make about 27,240 joints, which would have a street level value of $102,000.

Article 2

The other article says this about it:

A search of the vehicle uncovered 6.8 kilograms of marijuana in a “wet” state, said Sgt. Dave Hardy of the Cochrane RCMP on Thursday.

“It was in a stage of basically rotting which made the odour overwhelming,” said Hardy.

Since when is 15 pounds worth $102,000. Good weed sells for $2500 per pound which would make this worth $37,500 and this wasn’t even good weed. I can only speculate on the cops’ motive to lie about the value of busts. I assume it is to make their bust sound like it made more of an impact then it really did. The police and media almost always exaggerate marijuana street value estimates.

This program is a total failure. It not only does not keep kids off drugs it actually encourages drug use. DARE is a thinly veiled police PR program. It is instructed by a uniformed police officer who tries to show police in a community building light instead of just law enforcement. It all sounds good for the cops but what about the kids.

The program was founded in 1983 by a Los Angeles police chief and is taught by uniformed officers to millions of students in 43 countries. Drug use statistics show absolutely zero impact and even show an increase in use. Numerous studies show that DARE has failed miserably; check this link.

DARE Cop

DARE Cop

The curriculum is total bullshit. They show situations where children are peer pressured into using drugs and how to say no. They do not discuss effects of drugs or laws pertaining to individual drugs. They group cocaine and marijuana in the same sentence insinuating that they are the same thing. 6th graders frequently see drugs and paraphernalia for the first time in DARE classes. This piques their curiosity and essentially dares them to try it. The way DARE goes about drug education creates a “forbidden fruit” effect that actually increases drugs’ appeal. Students know that DARE lies to them. Just look at me I am a DARE graduate and I’m an avid marijuana user and running a pro-marijuana blog!

Cops don’t know how to educate. These special DARE officers are given eighty hours of training on child development and how to teach. What they really do is sensationalize drugs and give an intentionally frightening version of show and tell. The program also does not teach about penalties for drugs. Some kids go home and call 911 when they find they’re parents in possession of drugs. When they get arrested the kids can’t understand what happened.

The solution: Take the cops out of the classroom. Have the regular teacher do a section telling the truth about drugs. The real truth. Have them teach real up to date scientific facts about drugs. Such facts as addiction, criminal offences and moderation. Parents can’t cop out, so to speak, and let the DARE program do the hard part for them. The fact is that many of the kids will go on to use drugs but through real education they can use the right ones and avoid the wrong ones. Yes, I am talking about marijuana here. In 2008 19.6% of 8th graders in the US have tried illicit drugs as well as 34% and 47% for 10th and 12th graders(NIDA stats). The DARE program puts all drugs in the same category so the kids don’t know the difference between crack and hash until they find out the hard way.