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Tag: Drugs

Parker: Marijuana Use Up among American Teens on the Rise

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The use of marijuana by American teens continues to increase. Unlike use of other drugs and alcohol, which are either decreasing or remaining stable, the use by 8th and 10th graders went up 1.3 and 1.8 % in 2013, according to the Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan of 40,000 to 50,000 teen agers in 389 private and public secondary schools.

Even more important than this result is the sharp decline among teens in the perception that marijuana use is risky. During the preceding eight years the percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who see great risk from regular pot use has gone down from 74 to 61%, 66 to 47%, and 58 to 40%, respectively.

Another significant finding is that, during the years 2012 and 2013 in states where medical marijuana is legal, one-third of the 12th grade users say that one of their sources is another person’s medical marijuana prescription.

The most encouraging result of the study is that the use of “synthetic” marijuana is decreasing significantly, and the use of bath salts remains stable at a relatively low level. Moreover, teens increasingly report that the risk of these synthetics is great. This result seems to credit the work of DEA, local law enforcement and other sources to publicize the significant dangers of these drugs, as well as the speedy scheduling and aggressive enforcement activity.

Drug use in decline among teens include: narcotics (other than heroin), OxyContin, Vicodin, and most hallucinogens. Alcohol use is also down, the lowest in over two decades. Drugs that are essentially stable in use include: heroin, LSD, amphetamines, Adderall, methamphetamine, Ketamines and steroids.

The study was funded by research grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted by research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. 2013 was the 39th year that the study has been conducted. The results will be published in a volume of Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use later this year.

 

Mysterious Death of Physical Therapist in Texas Catches Attention of Justice Department

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Something isn’t right about the death of a physical therapist who was found dead in an isolated section of Texas.

CNN reports that the Justice Department is investigating the death of Alfred Wright, a  ather who disappeared Nov. 7 after stopping at a liquor store to tell family members that he was having car troubles.

His partially clothed body was founded 19 days later in an area that supposedly had been searched. When the body was discovered, the medical examiner concluded the death was accidental, but a family-hired pathologist found “severe trauma” to the body, CNN reported.

Family members said the sheriff’s department said it found no foul play and believed drugs were involved.

Justice Department Searches for Crack Cocaine Convicts to Be Freed from Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.

Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.

Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.

So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.

“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”

The Game Remains the Same

ILLUSTRATION BY NOAH PATRICK PFARR/Baltimore City Paper

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — Over the last half-decade or so, City Paper has done in-depth reporting about how Baltimore’s drug game is tied to heroin arriving from Africa, gangsters who double as gang interventionists, the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) gang’s broad reach in prisons and the streets, and legendary old felons getting charged anew. Now, with federal drug-and-gun charges unsealed Nov. 26 against Nathan “Bodie” Barksdale, one man embodies all four themes.

The case involves Barksdale’s alleged dealings with co-defendant Suraj Tairu, a man with a 1990s New York conviction for helping to import heroin from Africa, and involves heroin contained in an “egg-shaped object”—a type of heroin packaging that is commonly swallowed and later excreted by so-called “internal smugglers” from Africa who bring them to the U.S. on commercial airline flights. Initially, only Tairu was charged in the case, on Sept. 12, and court documents state that he was supplying heroin to “a long-time, high ranking member of the BGF”—who, once the indictment was unsealed, was revealed to be Barksdale.

Barksdale grew up hustling in West Baltimore’s since-demolished Lexington Terrace projects in the 1970s and 1980s, and by the end of that decade he had become a local criminal legend whose violent exploits were depicted in a 2009 docu-drama project spearheaded by Kenneth Antonio “Bird” Jackson, a stevedore and strip club manager with his own outsize past in Baltimore’s drug game. The project, The Baltimore Chronicles: Legends of the Unwired, claimed Barksdale was the inspiration for Avon Barksdale, a key character on the HBO series The Wire—a claim The Wire’s co-creator David Simon rejects. Two other old school Baltimore gangsters whose identities were used to create Wire characters—Savino Braxton and Walter Lee “Stinkum” Powell, whose names were applied to characters who were enforcers for Avon Barksdale, Savino Bratton, and Anton “Stinkum” Artis—have also faced federal drug charges in recent years and are now in federal prison.

To read the full story click here.

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Hidden Tunnels and Border Wars

httpv://youtu.be/JbdN5I06kyc

Illicit Drug Site Silk Road Has Relaunched and Pokes Fun at Federal Law Enforcement

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just a month after the FBI arrested its founder, the black market site Silk Road is back up, the Daily Caller reports.

The notorious site, where people could buy drugs, guns and even hit men, relaunched Wednesday with more protections for its customers, who use a currency called Bitcoin to avoid being traced.

“You can never kill the idea of Silk Road,” the new Dread Pirate Roberts tweeted just before the new site’s launch.

The Daily Caller wrote that the encrypted website cannot be easily dismantled by the feds.

After the FBI took over the site, it read “This hidden site has been seized.” On the relaunched site, the phase “seized” was replaced with “risen again.”

Furious Bitcoin Users Prank FBI Following Silk Road Shutdown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has received more than 200 complaints from pro-drug advocates after agents raided Silk Road, an online marketplace for drugs, guns and other illicit goods, the Guardian reports.

While attempting to access $80 million worth of Bitcoins accumulated by Silk Road founder, the FBI seized $3.2 million worth of Bitcoins that the city had held in escrow for customers.

The FBI transferred the Bitcoins to blockchain.info so users can still access their Bitcoin accounts, the Guardian wrote.

Users sought retaliation by posting public messages along with minuscule transactions.

One Bitcoin user quoted Thomas Jefferson: “The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

FBI Busts Alleged Mastermind Behind Underground Marketplace for Drugs Online

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Investigators have struggled for two years to stop an online, underground marketplace from selling more than $1 billion in cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and other illicit drugs in exchange for a virtual currency called Bitcoin, The Verge reports.

But now it appears the FBI has snagged the mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, who is being charged with narcotics trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking.

The site, called Silk Road, was only accessible through a special network.

According to The Verge, law enforcement bought more than 100 packages of drugs and had them sampled.

“Samples of these purchases have been laboratory-tested, and have typically shown high purity levels of the drug the item was advertised to be on Silk Road, FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell told The Verge.