Borderline Cases


Prosecutors in southern Texas went on strike in July, refusing to accept drug cases referred to them by federal authorities. But the lack of cooperation does not necessarily signal a lack of enthusiasm for the war on drugs.

Indeed, state Sen. David Sibley (R-Waco), who supports the strike, charges the feds with being too easy on drug smugglers. He told The Dallas Morning News that the Justice Department was only "paying lip service" to the idea of "zero tolerance" because it routinely declines to prosecute cases involving relatively small amounts of drugs, instead passing the ball to local authorities.

"For years, border counties, the poorest in the U.S., have borne the burden of border justice," another state senator told the News. "We can no longer bear this burden. The federal government must prosecute and pay for what it is charged to do."

The money could be on the way. Gov. George W. Bush has promised that if he's elected president he will push for $50 million to help border counties prosecute the drug cases the Justice Department doesn't want to bother with.