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Tag: Drugs

New Boston FBI Chief Pledges Cooperative Approach to Tackling Terrorism, Drugs, Guns

Harold Shaw

Harold Shaw

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Harold Shaw, the new head of the FBI in Boston, pledged to partner with local authorities and other federal agencies to tackle gun crimes, drug dealing and terrorism.

“There’s virtually nothing we can do in the FBI that’s not done in a task-force concept,” Harold H. Shaw said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “The critical element is partnerships.”

Shaw took over the Boston office in October and said his experience in counter-terrorism will help crack down on extremists.

“The tricks of the trade I learned were from the task-force partners who were doing it a lot longer than I was,” he said.

Shaw replaced Vincent Lisi, who retired to join the private sector in August.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigates Former NFL Stars for Links to International Drug, Gambling Ring

NFL LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As more than one billion fans tuned into Sunday’s Super Bowl, the FBI is investigating former NFL stars off the field in search of links to an international drug and gambling ring, the New York Post reports. 

Prosecutors charged accused ringleader Owen Hanson, a former tight end at USC, and 21 others with operating a multimillion-dollar operation.

Among those charged was Derek Loville, a former NFL running back.

The Post wrote that Hanson associated with dozens of pro athletes from the NFL, NBA and MLN.

The investigating appears to be growing in scope, the Post reported.

Border Patrol Agents Find 2,500 Pounds of Marijuana Stuffed inside Carrots

Fake carrots stuffed with marijuana, via CBP.

Fake carrots stuffed with marijuana, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents found 2,500 pounds of marijuana stuffed inside fake carrots that were being hauled across the Mexico border in Texas, Cleveland.com reports. 

A drug-sniffing dog detected marijuana in a tractor-trailer that was crossing the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

Border Patrol agents found the fake carrots that were mixed with real carrots.

The estimated value of the pot was $499,000, Customs and Border Protections said.

“Once again, drug smuggling organizations have demonstrated their creativity in attempting to smuggle large quantities of narcotics across the U.S./Mexico border,” Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. said in the news release. “Our officers are always ready to meet those challenges and remain vigilant towards any type of illicit activities.”

President Obama’s Dramatic Commutation Plan

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

This column recently presented the historic changes made by the Obama Administration to change the direction of drug enforcement, drug offender punishment and treatment for drug abusers. For the first time in four decades the executive branch has embarked on a systematic and multi-front program to reduce the penalties for convicted drug traffickers.

But it has also provided a program for early treatment of drug users who previously were limited to emergency rooms after overdoses followed by expensive hospital stays and limited rehabilitation.

One of the methods used by the President to affect the punishment scheme has been to wield his pardon and commutation power. President Obama has already set records by his commutation policy with 185 reduced sentences, 171 of which were in 2015, more than the combined number of the previous five Presidents combined.  Most of those grants have involved convicted drug traffickers serving long term prison sentences. The offenders chosen had little or no history of violence and were not repeat offenders.

Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, Clause 1 provides:  The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. The President’s clemency authority stems from the practice of Anglo-Saxon Kings to pardon, and it has not been seriously challenged either by Congress or the courts since it was included in the Constitution over two hundred years ago. It is now firmly ingrained in American public policy.

president obama- white house photo

Executive pardons and commutations are sometimes confused. Pardons are an expression of forgiveness by the President which removes the effects of a conviction, such as civil disabilities like voting, holding office or possessing firearms. Commutations, on the other hand, do not affect the conviction and only reduce sentences. The civil disabilities remain in effect. For example, a pardon can remove the legal basis for immigration deportation whereas a commutation will not.

Not since the period of 1919-1923 under the administrations of Presidents Wilson and Harding have substantial numbers of commutations been granted. During the period of 1986 to 1998 only 6 commutations were granted. Only President Johnson of the modern Presidents regularly used commutations under his executive clemency power. Other Presidents have used it sparingly: Nixon (60), Ford (22), Carter (29), Reagan (13), H.W. Bush (3), Clinton (61), Bush (11).

Now there is reason to believe that the final year of Obama’s Presidency will witness unprecedented numbers of commutations and pardons, potentially thousands, a total which will exceed any action in American history. Over 19,000 commutation petitions have been received, as many as the previous eight Presidents combined. The private pro bono group The Clemency Project is presently reviewing tens of thousands of additional petition requests for potential submission to the Office of Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department.

This onslaught is largely the result of DOJ’s announcement in April 2014 of an initiative to encourage qualified inmates to file petitions to reduce their sentences.

In 2015 President Obama spread his message of drug penalty reform to an Oklahoma prison, the first sitting President to make such an appearance. Petition requests are conditioned on a record of non-violence, a likelihood of a lower sentence under recent legislative and Sentencing Commission changes, a low-level role without significant ties to criminal organizations, gangs or cartels, custody for at least 10 years, and good conduct in prison.

DOJ recently announced an intention to hire 16 new Attorney Advisors (salary range $92,145 to $141,555) for the Office of Pardon Attorney to help process the clemency petitions and prepare recommendations to the Deputy Attorney General and the President. This move demonstrates what a high priority the initiative has in the Department and the Administration.

Criticism of Obama’s plan comes from various law enforcement and GOP sources. The President of the National Association of United States Attorneys considers his drug “reform” measures to be inconsistent with the long term security of the country. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte complained to the Attorney General that the initiative is unconstitutional, a “blatant usurpation of law making authority of the legislative branch.”

It would not be surprising for there to be legal action against the President’s plan. But it is doubtful that a court would eventually interfere (although there is some authority in dictum by Chief Justice Burger in the 1974 case of Schick v. Reed that pardons which violate other provisions of the Constitution could be invalid). However, any stay ordered by a federal judge in connection with a civil action could affect the President’s timetable. He has almost exactly one year, January 17, 2017, when the new President is sworn in, to take action.

Expect a staggering number of inmate releases in the next twelve months through commutations, probably several thousand, by far the largest number in U.S. history. Plus over 8,000 releases of inmates as a result of re-sentencing after the Obama-initiated changes by the Sentencing Commission of the Sentencing Guidelines. The combined effect will be one of the most spectacular actions by a President in the waning days of his presidency.

Whether the policy will ultimately be beneficial to the public or a dangerous miscalculation will be much debated by historians and in early morning diner klatches around America for years to come.

Mexican Drug Cartel Founder Found Dead, Tortured And Riddled with Bullets

Carlos Rosales Mendoza

Carlos Rosales Mendoza

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican drug cartel founder who was on the DEA’s Most Wanted List was found tortured and dead along with three other men dumped along the side of the road, The Daily Mail reports.

Carlos Rosales Mendoza, who founded La Familia Michoacana, was found riddled with bullets.

Mendoza was a key member of the La Familia cartel.

According to authorities, Mendoza was trying to start a new cartel when he died.

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Crackdown on Pain Meds Turning Legitimate Patients into Victims

pain medsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Patients with a legitimate need for pain medication are having a hard time getting their drugs because of a crackdown on opioid addiction, Al Jazeera reports. 

Since the 2013 crackdown began, more pharmacists are refusing to fill valid prescriptions for controlled substances, even to people with a legitimate need.

“But federal drug policy has done the most damage. For the past five years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been orchestrating a high-stakes proxy war between physicians and pharmacists, creating tens of thousands of so-called ‘opioid refugees’ in the process,” Al Jazeera wrote.

Among those hardest hit are poor, minority and elderly people who have a legitimate need for pain meds.

Al Jazeera called it the “equivalent of medical redlining.”

The So-Called ‘Adorable Drug Kingpin’ is the Daughter of a DEA Special Agent

Sarah Furay, dubbed the "Adorable Drug Kingpin."

Sarah Furay, dubbed the “Adorable Drug Kingpin.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 19-year-old woman’s beaming booking photo following her arrest on drug trafficking charges went viral, and she was dubbed the “adorable drug kingpin.”

Now for another twist: The suspect is the daughter of a DEA special agent, the Dallas Morning News reports. 

Sarah Furay, 19, was charged with possessing and selling ecstasy, meth, cocaine and marijuana.

Turns out, Furay is the daughter of Bill Furray, a supervisor special agent for the DEA, currently serving as the agency’s diplomatic attache at the U.S. Ambassador’s office in Panama City, Panama.

The father has declined to comment, saying it’s a personal issue.

Other Stories of Interest

‘El Chapo’s Cartel Influence Continues to Be Strong in U.S. After His Prison Escape

DEA map

DEA map

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Although Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was jailed and escaped from a Mexican prison in July, his Sinaloa cartel continues to traffic drugs across the border on a massive scale, The Daily Mail reports.

A newly released map by the DEA shows that El Chapo’s gang continues to yield tremendous influence, sending drugs all over the U.S.

A DEA report indicates that Sinaloa “maintains the most significant presence in the United States.”

“These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks,” the report states.

“They control drug trafficking across the southwest border and are moving to expand their share, particularly in the heroin and methamphetamine markets.”

Other Stories of Interest

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