Dark Leviathan: The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
A Rob Ford video has been found by Toronto cops. Toronto police chief Bill Blair says the video cannot be released or described, and will be placed before the courts because some unnamed person will be charged with extortion. While he never mentions the word "crack", he does say that the video is congruent with what has been described in the media and does not appear to have been doctored. [more inside]
Dr. Donna Nelson is the science advisor for Breaking Bad. After reading an interview where show creator Vince Gilligan said no one on the show's staff had a scientific background, she reached out to the Breaking Bad creator. The rest is history.
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
Paul Solotaroff of Rolling Stone investigates the life of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and the path he took from NFL player to murder suspect.
"Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results." [more inside]
Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods." [more inside]
"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
Informant, former wiseguy and goodfella Henry Hill (website, Wikipedia) has been made dead by illness. He was not a schnook.
If you like real-life crime drama, Burgled in Philly, by John Davidson, will keep you occupied for a few minutes. [more inside]
It just hasn't been a good month for the Chicago Bears. First they lost Jay Cutler and Matt Forte to injuries, and yesterday wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in an undercover drug sting, after an investigation that began in July 2011.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years How the British fell out of love with drugs
Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
Nathan Avon "Bodie" Barksdale is a real life Baltimore gangster upon whom the character from "The Wire" was based. Now, Nathan Barksdale has a chance to tell his side of the story in this upcoming documentary. [more inside]
Saving Mexico "To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade."
"I knew I could be arrested, even die, because with these things you expect everything. But at that moment I was so desperate about the money, and to do something for my life." [more inside]
Bill Moyers Journal, April 17, 2009 From crime beat reporter for the BALTIMORE SUN to award-winning screenwriter of HBO's critically-acclaimed The Wire, David Simon talks with Bill Moyers about inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today. Sorry for the one link post.
Thirty-six years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates
lit up hailed the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
Stop Snitchin' may be the hidden link between hip hop and the 1980s alternative rock group, House of Freaks. According to the New York Post, journalist Ethan Brown has accomplished "making the Stop Snitching movement seem reasonable" in his new book Snitch: Informants, Cooperators, and the Corruption of Justice. Brown argues that harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses have created a "cottage industry of cooperators" and informants who fabricate evidence, because Provision 5K1.1 of federal sentencing guidelines gives leniency in exchange for "substantial assistance to authorities." According to Brown, two of these criminal cooperators included Ray Dandridge and Ricky Gray, the perpetrators of the Richmond spree murders that ended the life of Brian Harvey of House of Freaks, his wife, and his two children. On the other hand, Mark Kleiman argues that the Stop Snitchin' movement has driven homicide clearance rates so low that, in some cities, "you have a better than even chance of literally getting away with murder." [more inside]
The US Sentencing Commission has recommended that Federal sentencing guidelines be reduced for crimes involving crack cocaine -- and is now deliberating making the new guidelines retroactive for prisoners already incarcerated. [WaPo] If taken into effect, about 3,800 inmates could be released by this time next year. [more inside]
Frustrated with perceived inefficacy of local law enforcement and government, residents of Calle de la Montera have started posting video of criminal behaviour (mainly prostitution) on their street to YouTube. The Data Protection Agency (tasked with privacy enforcement) is not amused (in Spanish; machine translation), but the neighbourhood watch group maintains it is not breaking the law (m.t.).
America's forgotten war. Are we winning?
"Police in Mexico are investigating claims that rival drug gangs are using the internet as a new battle ground."
In the "debate" over the War on Drugs, there's a lack of nice quantitative data presentation in one place. Brian C Bennett aims to rectify that. From trends in alcohol initiation relative to legal age limits, to investigation of the deaths classified by CDC as marijuana-induced. There are lots of charts, as for cocaine purity over the years, or treatment admissions, or arrest trends. The site map is your quick guide to the 2000 charts & articles.
Tawdry, tawdry stuff "Another prison guard smuggling dope, another cop caught tweaking, an airport security professional trying to get rich, a horny Florida deputy, and a Michigan police chief who sounds like a real decadent party animal." Lots of not-so-fun reading in Corrupt Cops Stories, a weekly feature in the Drug War Chronicle. The archive goes back a few years.
91 pounds of LSD?...at that dosage level, Pickard and Apperson possessed 2 billion hits of acid—enough to give every person in the Western Hemisphere two doses and still have 250 million hits left over.
Ryan Grim is writing about acid again at Slate.
Ryan Grim is writing about acid again at Slate.
Crothersville, Indiana. John Neace forces himself to pass by the run-down apartment buildings every day. Inside, the police say, Mr. Neace's 10-year-old daughter stumbled on someone with methamphetamine last month. Her drowned body was found five days later at a nearby creek, small hands tied tightly behind her back.
"You can't buy any better heroin in the world than you can buy in New Jersey" The Drug Enforcement Agency cites New Jersey has having the purest heroin in the United States.
The City of God (#29 IMDB top 250) is a film about life in Brazilian "favelas" (shantytowns) where poverty, drugs, violence and crime rule the streets. At murder rates of more than 40 per 100,000, one person shot every 30 minutes in the city, Rio ranks as the world's most dangerous places along with Cali, Colombia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Rio has over 600 favelas and the crime and violence is becoming so bad corporations are fleeing the city while the military is under direct assault and the prison system is breaking down. Favela guided tours available or see the movie available now on DVD.
The war on drugs is unfairly targeting doctors who prescribe legal pain medication to their patients who suffer from chronic pain, according to a spokeswoman of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She was speaking at a press conference of patient and physician advocacy groups, sponsored by the Pain Relief Network, in support of Dr. William Hurwitz. Dr. Hurwitz has been indicted and imprisoned for prescribing high doses of opioid pain relievers, as have other pain-management doctors. But these crackdowns may end up doing more harm than good to patients in chronic pain. [More inside.]
Elliott could no longer bear the waste. He had six staff and a budget of £3.5m a year. He had a potential client group of 25,000 users ... but at the end of all his work and all that public money, the total number of detox beds he was able to provide was five. The Guardian reports from the front-line of the drugs war. (part two) You may have no interest in Drugs or the UK but read this superb piece for a profile of a bureaucracy in farcical, tragic, total collapse.
Jeb Bush linked to Terror Flight School Owner, whose plane was also seized for Heroin Trafficking. How can it be that not only is the Bush family linked to the Bin Laden family, but they just happen to have been travelers on a Lear jet which was seized with a record amount of 30 pounds of heroin. The owner of the Lear jet coincidentally, pictured here with Florida Governor Jeb Bush (which had to be retrieved from Google's diligent cache system since the page has since been removed), also owns the school where the alleged WTC leader Mohammed Atta took flying lessons. Coincidence? Or did Bush Know?
Can the current prohibition really be blamed on one guy? First he tells Congress that "marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind" and then World War 2 comes and farmers are encouraged to grow it. After the War, he turns around and tells Congress that it could be used by the Russians to make our men lazy and pacifistic. If he had kept his original argument, our men would be insane killers against the Russian army. What would the country be like if there never was a HARRY J. ANSLINGER ?
Right. Let me get this straight. A security guard found a handbag unattended in a night club. He then searched the bag, supposedly looking for ID, and found a small packet containing a white powdery substance, which he handed over to the Central Narcotics Bureau. A woman, Ms. Low, later says the handbag belongs to her. The Judge notes that "There was no denial that this was her handbag. She claimed it was hers." Ms. Low's friend, after being offered immunity from prosecution, then says they both snorted cocaine earlier on in the evening. On the basis of the evidence presented, Ms. Low is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Smoke pot, stay out of jail. As your lawyer, I advise you to read this cartoon by Ellen Forney. See also: Bustcard.
Yasmine Bleeth only gets two stinking years probation. Yeah, she gets court costs, yeah, she gets community service. But no jail time. Unless it's because she only had (only had?) less than 25 grams of cocaine...oh, and driving under the influence. The question this post begs is: Is this another instance of a double standard for celebrities? I've heard about double standards for child molestation (a football player in New York), murder (Ray Lewis), etc...and there are obviously MANY instances of celebrities getting preferred treatment when it comes to drug charges. I guess this is just another one.
Disposable dipper to detect "date rape" drug is launched. Now if only we could get something that would detect whether or not the person we're dating is being unfaithful. Well, I guess holding a gun to his/her head and asking them will have to continue to do...
anguish of a drug war judge moral of the story: if an undercover cop asks you to sell crack opposite the white house, just say no. wrong answer gets you framed for 10 years