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Tag: Drugs

Mexican Cartel Recruiting American Kids

Portland DEA and Cops Make Record Drug Bust

Drugs and cash seized/portland police

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Earlier this week the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division (DVD) and the DEA received information about a large amount of drugs headed to Portland. On Wednesday, officers raided three area homes in what  the police department described as its biggest drug bust ever.

Officers found “28 pound of heroin, 2 pounds of cocaine, $156,000 cash, 6 handguns, 1 rifle, 1 ballistic vest, 2 cars, 1 horse trailer, and 6 saddles,” the Portland Police Bureau told MyFox Spokane.

Four were arrested in what is believed to be Portland’s biggest drug bust ever. The trove of drugs have a reported street value between $1.5 and $2 million.

Fla. Feds Break Up $40 Million Pill Mill

OxyContin or Oxycodone/dea photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Thirty two people were busted– including 13 doctors — in what the head of the Miami FBI described as “the nation’s largest criminal organization involved in the illegal distribution of pain killers.”

The bust capped a three-year investigation dubbed “Operation Oxy Alley” that netted the players tens of millions of dollars in profit, authorities said.  In a related state case, authorities charged a doctor with first-degree murder after a Florida man died shortly after filling an illegal prescription.

Authorities on Tuesday  unsealed the federal indictment that targeted the illegal distribution of pain killers and steroids through pill mills operating in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida, and through the Internet. The charges included racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

The law enforcement agencies involved in the take down included the DEA, FBI and IRS and local police departments.

The indictment alleges that twin brothers Christopher and Jeffrey George operated, managed and financed four  pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties: American Pain, Executive Pain, East Coast Pain and Hallandale Pain.

According to the indictment, from 2008 to early 2010, the defendants’ pill mills distributed approximately 20 million oxycodone pills and made more than $40 million from the illegal sales of controlled substances.

“These defendants showed a callous disregard for the well-being of their patients and the value of human life. For years, they distributed oxycodone and other controlled substances without regard to medical need, without individual treatment plans, and without physical examinations, ” Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement.

John V. Gillies, head of the Miami FBI said :  “The significance of today’s takedown is that we have dismantled the nation’s largest criminal organization involved in the illegal distribution of pain killers. Up until today, efforts focused on the demand by targeting individual users. Today, we attacked the source and choked off the supply.”

Authorities alleged that the defendants operated the clinics as pill mills that offered patients prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances “without any legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional medical practice.”

Authorities said patients included addicts and traffickers seeking to buy large quantities of oxycodone and other drugs. Some traveled from such states as  Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The clinics hired security guards to try and control  fights and arguments that often erupted between patients waiting in the clinic lobbies for their physical examinations or prescriptions, authorities said.

The indictment stated that by  2010, the doctors involved in the operation were examining close to 500 patients a day at the American Pain Clinic alone.

Lastly, authorities alleged in the indictment that the racketeering defendants engaged in wide-ranging violence, including kidnapping, extortion, assault, aggravated assault with a firearm against  competitors and others suspected of  stealing or other acts of disloyalty.

Ill. FBI Agent Pleads to Lying About Whereabouts of $43,643

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Where’s the money? That’s what authorities still would like to know.

FBI Agent Jerry Nau, 44, of Peoria, Ill. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Urbana, Ill.  to lying about the whereabouts of $43,643 seized during a drug investigation in November 2008 by a multi-county task force he was part of, according to the Peoria Journal Star. He is currently on unpaid leave.

The paper reported that Nau didn’t admit to taking the money, and said he didn’t know where the money went.

The plea agreement stated that Nau was to bring back the cash from the task force to the FBI evidence vault. After the conviction in the drug case in 2009, FBI agents looked for the money but couldn’t find it.

On June 30, 2010, Nau falsely told his superiors the money was in the task force evidence vault and faxed to the FBI’s Springfield office a receipt showing it was there, the Journal Star reported.

He then lied when he said two officers came with him and saw the cash. He also told Justice Dept. officials that he had brought the money back to the FBI Peoria office, but failed to log it properly, the paper reported. He said he then checked the vault and saw the money was missing.

The paper reported that his agreement says he “panicked” when he didn’t know where the money was and “he simply hoped the money would turn up.” He denied taking any money.

“The United States believes it is very serious when a federal law enforcement officer makes a false statement regarding evidence in a federal criminal case,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Indiana’s Southern District, according to the paper. The Indiana office handled the prosecution. “When asked to produce it, he failed to do so, was unable to do so and then made false statements about the status of the money.

“Where that money is now, only Mr. Nau and God know and he (Nau) isn’t saying other than he has misplaced it.”

Sentencing is set for Nov. 29 in Peoria. He faces up to five years in prison.

His attorney Jeff Flanagan did not return a call to the Star Journal for comment.

Book Review: The Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel

By Lisa Sweetingham
LA Weekly​

William C. Rempel, who for 36 years worked as an investigative reporter and editor at the L.A. Times, has written the book At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel, which came out last month. The insider in question is Jorge Salcedo, the former head of security for the Cali Cartel in Colombia, who secretly turned on his employer in the late ’90s by becoming an informant for the DEA.

Rempel discusses and signs his book at Vroman’s Bookstore tonight, but if you can’t make it to Pasadena, here are seven astounding revelations about Colombian drug lords from the book.

7. The vicious blood feud between the Cali Cartel in the south (headed by the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers) and the Medellín cartel in the north (Pablo Escobar) all started in the late ’80s in New York City, when a pair of mid-level cocaine traffickers had a fatal feud over a woman. The dead man’s friends were allies of Escobar. The shooter sought sanctuary with Cali boss Hélmer “Pacho” Herrera. When neither side would back down, Escobar vowed to his former comrades: “Then this is war — and I’m going to kill every one of you sons of bitches.”

6. Herrera, the youngest of the four Cali godfathers, oversaw the most brutal wing of killers in the entire cartel. He was also openly gay, looked as if he had just stepped off the pages of GQ, and lived in an all-white compound with white marble floors, white walls and ceilings, and white leather furniture.

To read more click here.

Column: Ex-Fed Drug Prosecutor Says He’s Found a Book by Drug Policy Wonks Worth Reading

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.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

How many books have you read recently that actually changed your thinking on opinions you have held near and dear for decades?

Not many, I wager. In my case, damn few. Like most people I read for entertainment, education, reinforcement, seldom to challenge firmly held views.

As a three-decade drug prosecutor, I admit to some biases and assumptions, which place me among the anti-drug ranter ranks.

Not an “Okie from Muskogee” (Merle Haggard 1969) ranter, but one who is nevertheless skeptical of policy wonks, social “scientists,” and any “expert” who claims to have the answer to the cluster you-know-what which drug use, trafficking, and enforcement have been for the last 80 years in this country.

The book “Drugs and Drug Policy; What Everyone Needs to Know” by Mark A.R. Kleiman, Jonathan P. Caulkins and Angela Hawken (don’t let the deadly title scare you off) challenged some of my views and probably some of those of the readers of this paper. I haven’t converted to a legalization advocate or anything. Nor are the authors of this book.

But they do ask and try to answer some tough questions that permeate this confusingly complex subject. Or else they admit that the question is presently unanswerable.

The book avoids the vocabulary employed by experts in the field that is intended to demonstrate that their academic expertise puts them on a higher plain than the rest of us.

Even technical terms like capture rates and demand elasticity are deciphered in plain English sufficiently to make the point.

Kleiman, a professor of Public Policy at UCLA,   and his two partners, don’t claim to have all the answers or that progress will be easy. But they do ask the right questions, and their answers and discussions can benefit anyone connected to the subject—users and enforcers, policy makers and implementers, innocent bystanders and citizens.

Some of their suggestions do not pass the squirm factor, some seem impractical, others unlikely to ever claim a consensus. But a good number seem worth serious consideration and debate, including a few that concern law enforcement. Here are a couple:

1. Focus enforcement, especially the sanction of longer sentences, on traffickers who use violence and destruction, menace neighborhoods, and cause collateral damage to others. Conduct, not drug volume, should drive enforcement. Dealers not in these categories should be subject to routine attention and sanctions.

2. Eliminate long-delayed punishments for drug dealers like ineligibility for public housing, educational loans, and the like. These serve only retribution and make it more difficult for those who want to join the mainstream.

3. Reduce the number of dealers in prison from the present half million. Reducing sentences for non-violent, run-of-the-mill dealers would have no effect on drug supply and would free up more resources to target more culpable dealers. Plus reduce the pressure on governments to transfer education dollars to prisons.

Drugs and Drug Policy proposes over a dozen other suggestions in areas like treatment, health care, international supply control, harm reduction programs, alcohol and cigarette taxes, consumer marijuana cultivation, and a bunch more.

There will be the temptation for policymakers to applaud the ones they already agree with and reject the others. As if the status quo is so rosy we can’t afford some fresh thought on the subject.

Not all wonks are created equal. These three are worth reading with an open mind.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Bust Up Drug Ring at Detroit Airport Involving Delta Airlines Workers

Disgraced Ex-Fed Judge in Atlanta Set to Report to Prison

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Disgraced ex-U.S. District Judge Jack Camp of Atlanta, whose entanglement with drugs and a stripper led to a conviction and a loss of job, is headed off to prison in two weeks, the Associated Press reported.

AP reports that Camp is set to report to the Federal Correctional Institute in El Reno, Okla., on April 15 to begin serving his 30 days sentence.

Camp was busted in a sting buying drugs for a stripper he was having an affair with. He also gave the stripper his court-issued laptop.