An Agent For Change

Terry Nelson was a Federal agent for 30 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, the Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Here is what he says about drug prohibition.

Busting top traffickers doesn't work, since others just do battle to replace them. Despite the obvious failure of our drug control strategy, the public discourse surrounding this issue has focused primarily on continuing to wage the "drug war."

Mandatory prison sentences and interdiction efforts have very little effect on drug use. This year the World Health Organization found that the U.S. has the highest marijuana and cocaine use rates on the planet, despite having some of the harshest sentences.

We won't be able to expand treatment and prevention efforts until we stop spending so much money enforcing ineffective penalties, building new prisons and buying fancy cars and helicopters for law enforcement agencies. As we begin to treat problematic drug use as a public health issue, it will become much easier to prevent the death, disease and addiction that have expanded under the criminal justice mentality of prohibition.

But even with the best public health efforts, there will always be some who want to use drugs, and, as long as drugs are illegal, many willing to risk imprisonment or death to make huge profits supplying them. My years of experience as a federal agent tell me that legalizing and effectively regulating drugs will stop drug market crime and violence by putting major cartels and gangs out of business.

The Department of Justice reported [this month] that Mexican cartels are America's "greatest organized crime threat" because they "control drug distribution in most U.S. cities." If what we've been doing worked at all, we wouldn't be battling Mexican drug dealers in our own cities or anywhere else. There's one surefire way to bankrupt them, but when will our leaders talk about it?

Probably never. Why? In my estimation they have already been bought off by the cartels.
"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995
Here is what the Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™ has to say about marijuana legalization:
"President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana."
End of story. For now.

I think the murder rate from the presence of the Mexican gangs in our cities will have to go a lot higher before even discussion of legalization by our elected officials is on the table. One of the things that will help is a wave of kidnapings that the Mexican gangs are also famous for. Coming soon to a city or town near you. I can hardly wait.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 12.31.08 at 07:22 AM


Yes, Prohibition should be ended, but let's eighty-six the rhetoric about "public health," which has become newspeak for "self-righteous intolerance."

Brett   ·  December 31, 2008 8:03 AM

OK, lets take the bait and assume that Pot and other drugs are legalized. If I am John L. (Legitimate) Businessman, I can now set up a product distribution in a major city. What happens next?
1. The Tort Lawyers association immediately brings a lawsuit on behalf of all pot and cocaine users stating that there should be multiple warnings on the packaging and in addition there should be a lung cancer and AIDS fund set up for all "victoms" of these products.
2. J.L. Businessman now finds himself a pariah amoung all the other businesses and cannot get membership into the countryclubs he desires. Further, the profit margin slips considerably with all the legal fees.
3. J.L. Businessman sells the business to his Mexican cousin (Jose Illegitimate Businessman) who works hand in hand with the existing Mafia structure to bring back the underground economic model, which means there is no one to sue to produce the profits for the Tort lawyers.
4. As the gangs increase their influence into local politics, the federal government aims to undermine their efforts by providing free drugs in selected cities to all comers.
5. The selected cities now find their social services stretched beyond the breaking point and ask for the Imbecellic Pot and Cocaine Act (IPACA), signed by President Ted Rall, which authorizes construction of maximum security areas for the distribution and use of drugs.

Keep in mind that legalization is not necessarily a better thing. Think through the entire exercise. Honestly, if tobacco is being pushed as a controlled substance, how in any type of contorted logic can it be argued that Pot and Cocaine are not?

Pablo Panadero   ·  December 31, 2008 10:32 AM

1) Standard business cost. Hell, computer companies have to deal with class action lawsuits.

2) I wonder where these particular country clubs are. Generally, if you make enough money and dress well enough, they don't really care where it came from. And since the profit margin right now is around 17,000% percent (according to the government) I'm pretty sure you would have to employ a significant portion of the legal community to erode that margin. Pretty much every civil lawyer in the country would have to be working for a drug distributor for that to happen.

3) Just like cigarettes?

4) Just like cigarettes?

5) Just like cigarettes?

Phelps   ·  December 31, 2008 11:02 AM


It is fairly well established that pot has anti-tumor properties and may have anti-cancer properties as well although the evidence on that is not conclusive.

With nationalized health care coming and if the above proves out people may be forced to smoke it.

OTOH if you are right I guess we will just have to accept the financing of criminal gangs. The conversion of Mexico into a narco state and a lot of busy work for police.

Nothing can be done.

M. Simon   ·  December 31, 2008 1:53 PM

Legalize everything but murder and tax it. OK, that's a bit extreme, but it's more workable than moralistic government intervention.

The question I'm wondering about today is whether morals must be enforced by law? Whose morals will be the defining ones? Islam's? Wiccan's?

What is the relationship between immoral and cruel? Between cruel and inhumane?

Perhaps the best way is to let the effects of the substances extract their own payment. If one can function using cocaine, good for him... if not, well... dammit, cookies crumble.

Donna B.   ·  December 31, 2008 7:45 PM

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