This Weeks Corrupt Law Enforcers

Thanks to Stopthedrugwar.org

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

too much drug cash can corrupt cops

In Hartford, Connecticut, a prison guard was arrested last week in a state police sting operation after agreeing to smuggle heroin and a cell phone into a Suffield prison for an inmate. Corrections officer Connie Atkins, 43, met with an undercover police officer posing as a drug connection in Hartford on May 21 and took possession of a cell phone and what she thought was 28 grams of heroin. She was then arrested. Atkins faces charges of criminal attempt to possess narcotics, criminal attempt to convey narcotics into a correctional institution and criminal attempt to convey a wireless communication device into a correctional institution. She is out on bail, with a Superior Court hearing set for June 20.

In New York City, two Customs and Border Protection officers were arrested Wednesday, accused of taking bribes in a drug probe that snagged five other people as well. The so far unnamed CBP officers allegedly took bribes to look the other way as the other arrestees smuggled hashish and other drugs and contraband through Kennedy International Airport. The others arrested included two Customs brokers, an operations manager of a cargo cooperative, and two importers of counterfeit goods and controlled substances. They were due in court this week.

In Tucson, a Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty May 20 to smuggling more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the country in his government vehicle. Agent Juan Luis Sanchez pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, bribery, and workmen's compensation fraud. He admitted transporting at least six loads of marijuana ranging from 376 pounds to 921 pounds in 2002 and 2003. He also admitted receiving $45,000 in bribes. Sanchez will be sentenced August 13, when he faces up to life in prison, but a plea deal with prosecutors calls for a sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a former New Haven detective was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in federal prison after admitting he planted drug evidence and stole money from a crime scene. Former narcotics detective Justen Kasperzyk pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to violate civil rights and theft of government property. He will report to prison June 24, where he can hang out with his old boss, former narcotics division head Lt. William White, who is doing 38 months for corruption.


Medical Marijuana Allowed For Those On Parole

HELENA - The state Department of Corrections has backed off from a proposed rule that would bar anyone on parole or probation from obtaining medical marijuana as a prescription drug.

Diana Koch, chief legal counsel for the department, says the decision to exclude the marijuana provision from the rules does not mean the department endorses the use of marijuana.

Proponents of the medical marijuana law argued that it does not allow any penalty for using medical marijuana, regardless of the person's criminal history. Koch says she doesn't know if Montana voters understood the medical marijuana law was going to go that far. She says it's possible that a convicted drug dealer could get a medical marijuana card, and there would be nothing probation or parole officers could do about it.

Owners Of Six SoCal Medical Marijuana Stores Arrested

LOS ANGELES—The owner of six Southern California medical marijuana dispensaries, including one linked to a highway accident that killed a motorist and paralyzed a California Highway Patrol officer, was arrested Tuesday on drug and money laundering charges, prosecutors said.

Virgil Grant III, 41, of Carson, was indicted in U.S. District Court along with his wife, Psytra Grant, 33, but neither entered pleas, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office. The charges include selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Authorities are still searching for an employee, Stanley Jerome Cole, who allegedly sold a pound of marijuana to undercover agents for $5,700, said Mrozek.

A federal grand jury returned a 41-count indictment that named all three, Mrozek said.

Cole allegedly sold marijuana products to Jeremy White, who has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter in Ventura County in connection with a December 2007 accident.  The accident that prompted authorities to begin investigating Grant occured after CHP Officer Anthony Pedeferri had just pulled over Andreas Parra, a 20-year-old motorist from Phoenix, during a routine traffic stop. Pedeferri had dismounted his motorcycle and was talking to Parra when [suspect Jeremy] White's pickup drifted out of the northbound lanes of the 101 Freeway near Ventura and careened into Parra's SUV. Parra was killed.Pedeferri, a triathlete and the father of two girls, was knocked out of his boots and thrown 20 yards into brush along the side of the road, according to news reports. He was left paralyzed by his injuries.

White's blood was tested and a forensics lab supervisor said White had the highest levels of marijuana concentration he'd ever seen.

DEA agents conducted stings at each of Grant's stores, which included purchasing "a pound of marijuana for $5,700 out of the back door of the facility." Grant is charged with drug conspiracy, money laundering and operating a drug-involved premises within 1,000 feet of a school and his wife was also charged with drug conspiracy and 22 counts of money laundering.

In late July, the Los Angeles City Council disapproved of the DEA's actions of raiding medical marijuana storefronts while placing a moratorium on new facilities so rules could be drafted to better regulate them. However, city attorneys say Grant misled the type of operation on his business license, which has also expired.

Federal investigators determined that White purchased the marijuana from The Holistic Caregivers, or THC, in Compton, which is one of the medical marijuana dispensaries allegedly operated by Virgil Grant.

California's medical marijuana law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana for profit. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states.

Virgil Grant was being held on $250,000 bail while his wife was released on $50,000 bail Tuesday evening, said Mrozek..

Messages left for Virgil Grant's attorney, Roger Rosen, and for Psytra Grant's attorney, Steven Schectman, were not returned late Tuesday.

The couple is due back in court Monday for arraignment.


Hailey:  For the second time in seven months, Hailey voters approved a trio of municipal ballot measures liberalizing local marijuana law enforcement policies.

On Tuesday, voters endorsed language legalizing the use of medical cannabis and hemp, and calling on local police to make marijuana law enforcement its lowest priority.

Voters had previously approved all three ballot measures in November, but city council members sued in January to have the measures declared illegal. 

The council"s lawsuit remains pending.

"In the coming weeks and months, we will learn whether the long-held democratic notion of a government "by the people for the people" applies in Idaho or whether lawmakers are willing to cast democracy aside in order to bow at the altar of pot prohibition," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said.

Marijuana Potency Claims Unfounded

Study Says "Claims ... about a 20- or 30-fold increase in cannabis potency and about adverse mental health effects are not supported by the evidence"

Sydney, Australia:  Allegations of a dramatic increase in worldwide marijuana potency are not supported by available evidence, according to a literature review to be published in the journal Addiction.

Investigators at the University of New South Wales, National Drug and Alcohol Research Center, conducted a meta-analysis of worldwide trends in cannabis potency.  Researchers reviewed nine international studies, which analyzed the potency of more than 100,000 marijuana seizures over a period of three decades.

"Increased potency has been observed in some countries, but there is enormous variation between samples, meaning that cannabis users may be exposed to greater variation in a single year than over years or decades," authors concluded.  "Claims made in the public domain about a 20- or 30-fold increase in cannabis potency and about the adverse mental health effects of cannabis contamination are not supported currently by the evidence."

The study criticizes a 2006 United Nations" report that claimed, "[T]oday, the characteristics of cannabis are no longer that different from those of other plant-based drugs such as cocaine and heroin."

A previous study of European marijuana potency trends published by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported: "There is no evidence of a significant increase in potency.  ... [The] effective potency of cannabis in nearly all EU countries has remained quite stable for many years, at around 6-8 percent THC."

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Parliament to recriminalize pot possession, alleging that the potency of cannabis had increased to "lethal" levels.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.  Full text of the study, "Cannabis potency and contamination: a review of the literature," will appear in Addiction.


10 Thousand Marijuana Plants Seized In Washington State

On the heels of a warning about increasing marijuana production in Washington state, a lower Yakima Valley farmer preparing a cornfield has been credited with the discovery of more than 10,000 young pot plants.

Agents from Law Enforcement Against Drugs, a regional task force, removed the recently planted marijuana Thursday from a field about seven miles east of Zillah. No arrests were reported.

Marijuana growers often seed cornfields with pot to take advantage of irrigation and camouflage in the taller legal crop.

Investigators said it was the first major outdoor marijuana raid in Washington state this year and one of the earliest of its size in years.

The pot apparently had been planted within the last week would have been worth $3 million to $5 million at harvest, State Patrol Sgt. Richard A. Beghtol, a task force member, told the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Yakima Valley's pot season usually is not in full swing until the summer, Beghtol said.

"I'm as surprised as anybody it came this quick," he said.

Earlier in the week, Drug Enforcement Administration agents told a conference of the state's sheriffs and police chiefs in Yakima that marijuana production in Washington state is about at the level of California seven to 10 years ago.

Seizures of marijuana plants in the state more than doubled to 296,611 last year, and Washington now ranks second in outdoor pot growing and third in indoor production, both led by California, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Meanwhile, in Yakima, city police and county sheriff's deputies report growing shipments of compressed bales of marijuana, mostly from Mexico but some from Northern California and southern Oregon.

Since December the Yakima City-County Narcotics Unit has seized almost 1,500 pounds of baled pot, compared 422 pounds of processed pot seized in all of 2007 and 25 pounds in 2006.

The pot shipped north is far less potent than what is grown indoors in British Columbia and the Puget Sound area and sells for about a third of the price, $1,000 a pound on the street compared with $3,000 or more for "B.C. Bud," enforcement officials say.

Oral Pot Preparation Effective For Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Journal Reports

Berlin, Germany:  Oral administration of synthetic THC capsules (dronabinol) mitigates symptoms in patients with treatment-resistance obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), according to a pair of case studies published in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Investigators at Berlin's University of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, reported two cases of OCD patients augmenting their treatment regimens with oral THC.

For the first patient, a 38-year-old female, dronabinol administration three times daily significantly decreased OCD symptoms within ten days.  For the second patient, a 36-year-old male, dronabinol treatment twice daily significantly decreased symptoms of OCD within two weeks.

Neither patient reported any physical or mental health side-effects from dronabinol.

Prior to their use of oral THC, both patients had been unresponsive to standard treatment medications.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.  Full text of the case study, “Improvement in refractory obsessive compulsive disorder with dronabinol,” appears online in the American Journal of Psychiatry at: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/165/4/536.


Medical marijuana distribution centers in Arroyo Grande will be permanently banned if an ordinance introduced Tuesday receives final approval by the City Council.

Council members voted 5-0 to approve the introduction of an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries that would make the city’s current temporary ban permanent.


The ordinance must come back to the council for final approval, likely at the next meeting May 27.
The proposed ban drew no comments for or against it from the small audience at the meeting, and the city staff report said no public comments about the ban had been received prior to the meeting.
That lack of public comments could preclude any medical marijuana proponents from filing an appeal of the city’s decision.
Mayor Tony Ferrara in April asked the city staff to prepare an ordinance that would permanently ban dispensaries as the result of several actions taken by the League of California Cities.
Ferrara said that “without disputing the benefits of medical marijuana or the lack thereof,” the dispensaries should be banned because of their impacts on communities and their “very loose” regulation, with no government oversight.
A report to the council from Police Chief Steven Annibali said although California voters in 1996 approved Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act, marijuana remains illegal to grow, possess and use as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law.
He noted a number of court cases have upheld the illegality of state laws allowing medical marijuana use.
Annibali also cited a number of cities that have experienced problems with dispensaries, including Morro Bay and Palm Desert, where marijuana was sold “illegally” to undercover officers; Claremont, where a dispensary was burglarized and plants were stolen; and Santa Cruz, where dispensary owners shut down their operation because of “behavioral problems” in the neighborhood.
“Staff believes that medical marijuana dispensaries negatively affect the health, safety and welfare of the community and would pose an unnecessary burden on the city’s Police Department,” Annibali said.
All five council members expressed support for the ordinance.
“I don’t see this as something the city wants to be on the leading edge of,” said Councilman Jim Guthrie, citing the issues raised in Annibali’s report.
“I agree there are a lot of issues to be resolved at the federal level before we want to be on the cutting edge,” said Councilman Ed Arnold. “I’ve never heard anyone in the community say this is something they want to see.”
The City Council enacted an interim moratorium on the dispensaries in November 2004, then extended that ban in December 2005 to give city staff time to study the issue.
If the ordinance is ultimately approved, Arroyo Grande will join a growing list of Central Coast cities that have banned the dispensaries, including Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Buellton.


This Weeks Corrupt Law Enforcers

With thanks to Stopthedrugwar.org

Belated justice comes for two crooked cops, one in Dallas and one in Long Beach. Let's get to it:

In Los Angeles, a former Long Beach police officer was sentenced Monday to eight years and one month in federal prison for participating in a series of home invasion robberies staged to look like legitimate drug raids. Joseph Ferguson, 33, was convicted of three counts in January, including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Ferguson was part of a ring of Los Angeles and Long Beach police officers who committed more than 30 home invasion robberies, using stolen LAPD vehicles to rob homes where they thought drugs or cash were stored. Of the 19 members of the ring, 15 have pleaded guilty, two are fugitives, and two, Ferguson and his brother, another Long Beach cop, were found guilty at trial.

In Dallas, the former Dallas narcotics detective at the center of the "sheet-rock" scandal has begun serving a five-year prison sentence. Former Dallas police officer Mark Delapaz was found guilty of lying to a judge to obtain a search warrant in the scandal, which saw dozens of innocent immigrants sent to prison after being arrested by Delapaz and his partners and charged with cocaine possession. But the "cocaine" turned out to be gypsum, similar to the stuff sheet rock is made of. Delapaz was sentenced for tampering with evidence and aggravated perjury. The scandal has cost the city $4 million in payouts to victims and led to changes in departmental policy. Another officer involved, Jeffrey Harwood, was sentenced to two years probation after a jury found him guilty of lying on a police report, and cases are still pending for two other officers, Eddie Herrera and David Larsen


Britain Goes Backwards, Marijuana Reclassified From Class 'C' To Class 'B'

Shortly after Mr Brown entered Number 10 last year he ordered a review into whether cannabis should be reclassified from a Class C to a Class B drug.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, in its report published on Wednesday, said it did not think cannabis should be reclassified.

This team of advisers has been studying new research on cannabis from Keele University about the links between the drug and mental illness.

This study doesn't seem to back up claims that rising use of cannabis between the 1970s and 1990s has led to more cases of schizophrenia.

But the government is effectively ignoring the council's advice by upgrading the drug

During the three years since the downgrade to class 'C'   the number of cannabis dealers being sent to jail have fallen to a 10-year low, while prosecutions have fallen a third from 2,790 in 2003 to 1,994 in 2006.

Figures from Parliamentary Answers also showed that in 2003, prior to reclassification, 2,099 cannabis dealers were found guilty and 697 jailed. But in 2006 only 1,158 were convicted and 279 jailed.

It's incredible,  as the rest of the world admits to the benefits of Marijuana as a medicine for so many ill's, Gordon decides it's bad for Brit's, and thats that!,  f*** the recommendations of 23 experts in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy that make up the council of advisors, if these guy's have any respect for themselves their last bit of advice  will be telling the Home Secretary where to stick the next fat contract, anything less would expose them as mercenary forkers  going through the motions for their Queens shilling,  fully aware their advice is worth zip

So for all the expense and wasted man hours, maybe? a few dealers could get a year more bird thanks to the re-class' wow!,  I wonder if there is one person who now smokes weed that is now thinking that the new penalties are just too great to continue, i doubt it, i doubt making it class 'A' would deter one person, but i guarantee that the police will now be too busy ferrying smokers back to the station, (instead of the current caution on the street)   to work on 'real' crimes, crimes  with actual victims.

Don't plan on redecorating No 10 Gordon, you won't be there that long!


Class A: Seven years for possession, life for supplying

Class B: Five years for possession, 14 for supplying

Class C: Two years for possession, 14 for supplying


Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Thanks as always to    Stopthedrugwar.org

New Haven's former top narc heads to prison, a Louisiana DARE officer goes down, a South Carolina jail guard gets caught shooting cocaine, and an Idaho deputy gets caught ripping off cash and drugs. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In New Haven, Connecticut, the former head of the New Haven police drug squad was sentenced Monday to 38 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars in supposed drug money planted by the FBI in a sting and for taking bribes from bail bondsmen. Former Lt. William White, 64, pleaded guilty last October in US District Court to conspiracy to commit bribery and theft of government property. He admitted to stealing $27,500 planted by the FBI in a car trunk and another $1,000 planted at a house after being told it belonged to drug dealers.

In Pineville, Louisiana, the Pineville Police DARE officer was arrested April 23 after a drug deal he was plotting with an informant while on duty was inadvertently broadcast over a police scanner. Officer Raymond Smith, 37, a nine-year veteran and DARE officer for the last year, was working at a local elementary school, when local law enforcement starting overhearing a conversation about taking "bricks" and "kilos" to Detroit. Smith then met with the informant, and was arrested for conspiring to obtain and distribute one kilogram of powder cocaine.

In Union, South Carolina, a Union County jail guard was arrested April 23 for stealing cocaine used to train drug dogs and shooting it up on the job. Union County Detention Center Officer Ricky Haney, 53, is charged with possession of cocaine and misconduct in office in the April 7 incident. He is now a former Union County jail guard at last report residing at his former place of employment.

In Boise, Idaho, a former Fremont County deputy sheriff was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing cash and prescription drugs from the county jail. Deputy Bradley Holejsen, 25, came under suspicion after an inmate being released asked for his cash back and it couldn't be found. An audit quickly turned up missing prescription pain relievers, and after several interviews with investigators, Holjeson resigned and moved to Boise. He now faces charges of grand larceny and possession of a controlled substance.


Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain, Researchers Report

NEW YORK -- Giving carefully calibrated doses of marijuana to people with neuropathic pain, which can be difficult-to-treat and extremely painful, can ease their pain without clouding their minds, California researchers report. 
Neuropathic pain can result from spinal cord injury, diabetes-related nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, or other types of nerve injury, and is typically treated with a wide range of drugs including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and anti-inflammatories, the study's lead author, Dr.  Barth Wilsey of the University of California, Davis Medical Center, said in an interview. 
Wilsey became interested in testing marijuana for treating neuropathic pain, he said in an interview, after many of his patients told him they were already smoking pot to cope. 
To examine the pain-fighting effects of pot scientifically, he and his colleagues had 38 people with neuropathic pain smoke high-dose joints containing seven per cent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ( 9-THC ), a lower dose version containing 3.5 per cent 9-THC, or a placebo cigarette from which all 9-THC had been extracted. 
Each study participant went through a trial of each of the three cigarettes, using a standardized system for puff timing and inhalation length developed at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. 
All study participants had abstained from smoking pot for at least 30 days beforehand, and smoking sessions were separated by at least three days to allow the drug to leave their systems.


Medical Marijuana Patient Denied Transplant Dies

A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died late on Thursday.

The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer…. Dr. Brad Roter, the physician who authorized Garon to smoke pot to alleviate for nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite, said he did not know it would be such a hurdle if Garon were to need a transplant.

Garon died a week after his doctor told him a University of Washington Medical Center committee had again denied him a spot on the liver transplant list because of his use of marijuana, although it was authorized under Washington state law

He had been in the hospice for two months and previously was rejected for a transplant at Swedish Medical Center for the same reason he later got from the university hospital.

Swedish said he would be considered if he avoided pot for six months and the university hospital offered to reconsider if he enrolled in a 60-day drug treatment program, but doctors said his liver disease was too advanced for him to last that long. The university hospital committee agreed to reconsider anyway, then denied him again.

If you are disgusted by this please take the time to contact the University of Washington Medical Center and let them know.

UW Division of Transplant: (206) 598-6700
Fax number: (206) 598-0628


Marijuana Pharmacy Manager Gets 5 Years Probation

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The former manager of a Los Angeles medical marijuana store was sentenced to five years probation on Wednesday after pleading guilty, court officials said.

John Carberry, 56, could have been jailed for up to 20 years but was instead ordered to perform 1,500 hours of community service, in the latest example of federal authorities cracking down on California's tolerance of marijuana use.

Under a state law introduced 12 years ago, California allows marijuana for therapeutic purposes, a policy which is at odds with federal law that prohibits all use of the drug.

The law in California has led to mushrooming of medical marijuana dispensaries, with around 100 of the shops estimated in Los Angeles alone.

Prosecutors said Carberry managed a store which sold 1.7 million dollars worth of marijuana and related products, including "Kief Kat" candy bars, "Toke" soda and "Trippy" peanut butter.

Marijuana Policy Project Fight The Lies

The group, the Marijuana Policy Project, said three ads will be posted on the Internet and a fourth will run on television statewide. They are designed to allay fears that 'a', medical marijuana increases youth access to marijuana,'b', that there is no proven medical value to using medical marijuana, and 'c' that there is no support in the medical community for medical marijuana.

"You have certain aspects of the law-enforcement community who are vocally advocating against this bill. We hear certain legislators and the governor's office saying they are not inclined to support his bill based on the words of law enforcement. So we thought it was important to see what law enforcement is saying," said Neal Levine, state director of the group.

Law enforcement officials such as Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion have consistently testified against medical marijuana measures, raising concerns about the medical value of the drug and whether a bill opening up its use would be subject to abuse.

The TV ad features an Ely, Minn., resident, K.K. Forss, who has used marijuana illegally to combat chronic pain caused by a ruptured disk and nerve damage from subsequent surgeries. When he has used marijuana, obtained from friends, muscle spasms were alleviated and he has been able to sleep, he said. It has taken away the side effects of other medications, he said.

A bill that would allow some patients in Minnesota to use medical marijuana has been resurrected this year and awaits a floor vote, which has yet to be scheduled. The bill would not legalize marijuana. But it would allow patients who qualify to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to receive similar amounts on a regular basis from groups set up to dispense the drug. The measure passed the Minnesota Senate last year but did not receive a House vote.

Echoing concerns from law enforcement, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he is not inclined to support the bill.