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Tag: Drugs

FBI: 2 Detroit Cops Accused of Stealing from Drug Dealers, Dispensaries

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT -- Two Detroit cops are accused of stealing drugs, money and property during warrantless raids and bogus arrests during a four-year crime spree that ended with their suspension and the disbandment of the city’s narcotics unit.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court, alleges that Lt. David Hansberry and Officer Bryan Watson targeted drug dealers and marijuana dispensaries, intimidating them and stealing their drugs, money and other possessions.

Also under investigation was Detective James Napier, 35, who fatally shot himself in front of his parent’s home in January.

According to the feds, the cops would “identify themselves as law enforcement officers performing official law enforcement duties in order to coerce their victims into complying with their demands and to encourage their victims to flee, leaving behind their controlled substances, money or personal property.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said today that the allegations shouldn’t reflect poorly on the many hard-working officers who bravely and honorably perform their duties.

“The vast majority of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department are honest and hard-working, but these defendants betrayed their oath and their fellow officers,” Craig said. “We are committed to the highest standards of integrity, and we will remove any officers who do not live up to those high standards.”

The FBI handled the investigation.

Holy Smokes! DEA Wants to Triple Production of Government’s Marijuana Supply

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The normally anti-marijuana DEA officially recommended that the federal government triple its production of almost 900 pounds of pot for research in 2015.

The proposal, endorsed by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, is intended to provide a sufficient amount of marijuana to conduct research on the dangers and the medical benefits of cannabis, The Huffington Post reports.

The DEA has the authority to decide when to make marijuana available because it is currently illegal and officially considered by classification to be absent of medical benefits.

The request for increased production follows “unanticipated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” the DEA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

Numerous studies around the world have shown medical benefits to marijauna.

Details of FBI’s Closely Guarded ‘Stingray’ May Soon Become Public

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI directed a local police department to drop criminal charges against a suspect in 2012 to avoid the public finding out about a secret device to track people, CNN reports.

The device, called the “Stringray,” allows investigators to find suspects by tracking their cell phones. The technology mimics a cell phone tower, tricking the phone into switching over to the “Stringray” while investigators access the location.

Judge Patrick H. NeMoyer in Buffalo, NY, has indicated he wants the FBI to turn over details of the secret technology that the bureau was using with Erie Police in Pennsylvania.

According to CNN, police used the device to track several criminal suspects, four missing people and a suicidal person.

But the judge believes the public has a right to know more details of the technology.

DEA Group Apologizes for Tweet Commemorating Black History Month with Arrest

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group affiliated with the DEA has apologized after tweeting a photo of a Harlem drug dealer to commemorate Black History month, The Washington Post reports.

The DEA said the tweet was a misunderstanding.

“The focus of original tweet was to be invaluable hard work of African American DEA agents, not the target of the investigation,” the DEA Educational Foundation said in an apology Monday.

The tweet was offensive because of the discorporate impact the drug was has had on black families and communities, The Post wrote.

“With the Justice Department and politicians from both political partiestaking active steps to reduce racial disparities in drug sentencing, and many states taking steps to reduce penalties for drug possession or legalize the use of some drugs altogether, the DEA has, at times, appeared out of touch with public sentiment in recent years.”

 Other Stories of Interest


Weekend Series on Crime: The Dangers of Methamphetamines

AG Holder Says Drug Cases Down Because Less Focus on Smaller Offenders

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors handled fewer drug prosecutions last year because of a new approach to handling smaller non-violent offenders, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a National Press Club address that prosecutions for drug cases fell 6% last year.

Holder said the feds are placing more focus on larger drug dealers, instead of smaller offenders.

Prior to the change in focus, Holder said drug users were getting sent to prison with no possibility of parole.

“For years prior to this administration, federal prosecutors were not only encouraged — but required — to always seek the most severe prison sentence possible for all drug cases, no matter the relative risk they posed to public safety,” he said. “I have made a break from that philosophy.”

He added: “These numbers show that a dramatic shift is underway in the mind-set of prosecutors handling nonviolent drug offenses. I believe we have taken steps to institutionalize this fairer, more practical approach such that it will endure for years to come.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Is Law Enforcement Crossing Line by Taking Photos of Drivers, Passengers?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A license-plate scanning system designed to combat drug trafficking and other crimes has raised serious privacy questions because of the technology’s ability to snap photographs of drivers and their passengers, the ACLU said, reports Bloomberg.

The concern is that authorities will combine the photographs with facial-recognition software.

“This adds a whole other dimension to what is already a very significant surveillance infrastructure,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the ACLU, said in an interview. “Facial recognition software holds the potential to super charge this kind of system. We haven’t seen anything like a nationwide systematic infrastructure snapping photographs of Americans as they go about their lives, and this is what this appears it can turn into.”

Records obtained by the ACLU found that the license-plate database had more than 343 million records.

“An automatic license plate reader cannot distinguish between people transporting illegal guns and those transporting legal guns, or no guns at all; it only documents the presence of any car driving to the event,” the ACLU said in a blog post last month. “Mere attendance at a gun show, it appeared, would have been enough to have one’s presence noted in a DEA database.”

Other Stories of Interest


Border Patrol Fatally Shoots Drug Smuggling Suspect in South Texas

istock photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Agents returned fire Wednesday morning and killed a drug smuggling suspect near Roma, Texas, the Associated Press reports. 

The incident happened after Border Patrol agents came under fire while investigating suspected drug smugglers in the desert, the agency said.

The agency, which has pledged to be more transparent about agent-involved shootings, didn’t divulge many details Wednesday evening.

Border Patrol has come under fire for what some critics charge is a quick-trigger mentality, even when the threat is minimal.

We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.