by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced." — Albert Einstein
A graph published in the Washington Post illustrates the “embarrassing” results of government attempts to stymie illegal drug supply. The prices of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine—which collectively account for 90% of drug-related incarceration—plunged between 1980 and 2008, just as drug-related incarceration rose from fewer than 42,000 in 1980 to 562,000 in 2007. In the paper which produced the figures on which the graph is based—Long-Run Trends in Incarceration of Drug Offenders in the US—Jonathan Caulkins and Sarah Chandler of Carnegie Mellon University note that a major aim of drug-related incarceration is to drive up prices and reduce consumption by constraining the illegal drug supply. Law enforcement attempts to make drugs more expensive include crop eradication overseas, interdicting smuggling routes, street-level policing and busting dealers. But the numbers reveal an opposite outcome to that intended. “[The] relationships between incarceration, prices, and [use] seem perverse,” say the researchers. “Price plummeted and [use] soared precisely when drug-related incarceration was increasing dramatically, exactly the opposite of what one would expect or hope for.” The US has budgeted to spend $24.5 billion on drug control in 2013, 38% of it towards demand reduction (treatment, education, and prevention) and 62% towards supply reduction (law enforcement and interdiction).
"I was the personal photographer of Bolivian general Hugo Banzer during his 1997 presidential campaign. After he won, I asked him to send me somewhere to document something exciting. He selected the Chapare Province of Cochabamba, where I embedded with Bolivia’s Mobile Police Unit for Rural Areas (UMOPAR) from 1997 to 2001. In its heyday, the unit was a highly specialized and DEA-funded subsidiary of Bolivia’s Special Antinarcotics Force, and my assignment was to document its efficiency and success."
An NYPD commissioner, John Leach, supervises the destruction of liquor during the height of prohibition.
The Obama administration released its 2012 National Drug Control Strategy and accompanying 2013 drug budget Tuesday, and while the administration touted it as a “drug policy for the 21st Century,” it is very much of a piece with anti-drug policies going back to the days of Richard Nixon.
[…] The federal government will spend more than $25 billion on drug control under the proposed budget, nearly half a billion dollars more than this year. And despite the administration’s talk about emphasizing prevention and treatment over war on drugs spending, it retains the same roughly 60:40 ratio of law enforcement and interdiction spending over treatment and prevention training that [it] has obtained in federal drug budgets going back years. In fact, the 58.8% of the proposed budget that would go to drug war programs is exactly the same percentage as George Bush’s 2008 budget and even higher than the 56.8% in Bush’s 2005 budget.
The pale five-story brick building, on a drab residential block, looks like many others in the Bronx. But every floor, the police said, was devoted to a single purpose: growing marijuana.
Investigators discovered 593 marijuana plants on Tuesday in a raid of the building, at 610 Morris Park Avenue, in the Van Nest neighborhood, the police said. Three men were arrested, they said, in connection with the so-called grow house.
The authorities found 75 pounds of marijuana that had been cut, dried and packaged in plastic. The total amount of marijuana recovered from the site was estimated at 1,550 pounds. The police figured that 50 to 60 pounds, with a value of approximately $250,000, were being produced each month. +
The most recently discovered cross-border tunnel had elevators, a wooden floor and electric carts.
More than 32 tons of marijuana were seized in connection with the tunnel investigation, making it one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history, and the latest in a series of enormous busts along the California-Mexico border.
[…] The recent surge in massive shipments could be a sign that Mexico’s most powerful organized crime group, the Sinaloa drug cartel, has increased its control of Baja California, where the once powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel has been largely dismantled by killings and arrests.
The annihilation of the Arellano Felix cartel “was a big part of that,” said William R. Sherman, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in San Diego. “Sinaloa has traditionally run a lot of marijuana through other ports, and I think now that they have more control of this port, that’s certainly accounting for the large quantities we’ve been getting here in the last two years.” +
In recent years, Mexican attitudes about American involvement in matters of national security have softened, as waves of drug-related violence have left about 40,000 people dead. And the United States, hoping to shore up Mexico’s stability and prevent its violence from spilling across the border, has expanded its role in ways unthinkable five years ago, including flying drones in Mexican skies.
The efforts have been credited with breaking up several of Mexico’s largest cartels into smaller — and presumably less dangerous — crime groups. But the violence continues, as does the northward flow of illegal drugs. +
September 27, 2011—A University of New Haven forensic scientist is setting up a national databank for marijuana DNA that will permit law enforcement to track where the drug originated when an arrest is made.
[…] The DNA mapping initiative will allow law enforcement personnel for the first time to track where marijuana came from and link it to criminal organizations such as drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, growers in Canada or gangs in the United States.
[…] Coyle’s project has been funded with more than $100,000 from the National Marijuana Initiative (NMI) and the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA). The NMI and the HIDTA work together, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement in the detection, disruption and investigations of domestic marijuana trafficking focusing on priorities such as public lands, indoor cultivations activities, medical marijuana/dispensaries, undercover internet programs and forensics. +