Drug Policy

Cleveland DEA Informant Scandal Wraps Up

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a long and fascinating wrap-up of a massive debacle involving DEA agent Lee Lucas, drug informant Jarrell Bray, and the many people the two of them wrongly put behind bars.

The case reads a little like a trashy crime noir novel.  Despite ignoring repeated warnings about Bray's trustworthiness from local police, and despite signs early on that he should have known Bray was prone to making things up, Agent Lucas continued to take the convicted felon at his word, and continued to wrack up arrests and convictions based on Bray's assertions. 

Two dozen cases were dismissed.  All but one of those wrongfully arrested were black.   The kicker is that after all of this, Lucas is still on the DEA's payroll (despite about a half dozen prior incidents where he has been accused of unethical behavior).  And former U.S. Attorney Greg White, who prosecuted the cases Lucas brought in, has since been promoted to U.S. magistrate.

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  1. And so it goes

  2. Supporters like Cleveland Vice Detective Bernie Norman said White rushed to judgment.

    If I asked Detective Norman whether any cops/federal agents or informants that worked vice were crooked and untrustworthy, I wonder what he’d say. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he’d probably say if I asked him if the War on Drugs was a good idea. I would say that the mere act of volunteering for vice strongly suggests one of two things about the character of the officer. And one of the two is very, very bad.

  3. Art-P.
    Only one?

  4. Since conservatives still hold to the fantasy that their beloved, holy, tax and spend drugwar is somehow not-racist:

    http://www.fff.org/comment/com0303e.asp

    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/racepris.htm

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/preston9.html

    the numbers speak for themselves at least as well as the history-lesson, whether or not any of ’em want to ever in hell learn it.
    JMR

  5. I read the comments on the article.It’s sad.The typical,if they arrest your your guilty stuff.Of couse they give the cop a pass (because he was fighting drugs),and ignore the many false DUI’s in the news lately.Our laws are so broad it would be hard to find a person that hasn’t broken at least one.

  6. Art-P.
    Only one?

    My cynicism hasn’t completely overcome me yet. It’s strange, though. I don’t want to become overly dogmatic, but from the assumptions and premises I’m starting from it is literally impossible for me to believe that the War on Drugs is in any way a good idea.

  7. JMR,

    Lew Rockwell is not a conservative. He is a fruitloop. Furhter, the drug war is sadly bi-partisian. We should be so lucky that only conservatives support it.

  8. It’s gotten to the point anymore that when I see things like this . . . there’s just nothing left to say. It’s all been said so many times, so many ways by so many people and to absolutly no effect.

  9. I’m interested as to the “mainstream” opinion on the War on Drugs, bt every time I hear one it just sounds glib and inane to me.

  10. Jeez, reading the comments at the timeline page breaks my heart. If those commenters are representative of what those outside of this and other libertarian boards think, we may as well give it up.

  11. So, the guy who showed such a shocking lack of judgment in use of informants and information that justifies search and arrest warrants is now a US magistrate, who issues search and arrest warrants?

    Nice.

  12. “Stop Selling Drugs and you won’t be set up!”

    Yes, folks, people really ARE this stupid!

  13. A good portion of the public has completly lost its mind regarding the drug war. You just can’t talk to them about it. They are convinced that drugs are poison and that nothing, including being set up, is too bad to happen to the people associated with them.

    Ironicly, most of the people I know who support legalization are former cops and prosecutors who have actually been involved in fighting the drug war. The most radical people I know are usually have the least experience with law enforcement.

  14. Yup, our whole American society is circling the toilet bowl faster and faster and the sheeple just keep chanting “Flush! Flush! Flush!” all the way down.

  15. miche,
    I felt the same way you did. Fortunately, I think “cleve40” is an anomaly. Even so, it only occured to one poster, I think, that the War on Drugs is broken.

  16. I have my issues with Lew Rockwell (plenty of ’em) but he didn’t write that article, it’s just on his site. The point isn’t about Lew, it’s about the drugwar (though if you believe others who should know, they appear to have something in common…).
    JMR

  17. I had a conversation with someone who is normally very sane on about any issue. I don’t always agree with her, but she is anything but a wingnut, except when it comes to drugs. She was convinced that if you legalized drugs millions of people who don’t use drugs would do so and they would be (wait for it) out driving their cars stoned and pose a threat to her and her children. No kidding.

    What is disturbing about the conversation is that someone who is so otherwise mainstream and reasonable could be so batshit insane when it comes to drugs. You get the government you deserve sometimes. The drug war wasn’t dreamed up by a foreign occupation. It has a lot of supporters.

  18. LOL, Corruption is Bliss!

    JT
    http://www.Fireme.To/udi

  19. Two dozen cases were dismissed. All but one of those wrongfully arrested were black.

    No, the War on Drugs Brown People isn’t racist. Not one bit.

    Is it time for an Anslinger quote alreadY?

  20. She was convinced that if you legalized drugs millions of people who don’t use drugs would do so and they would be (wait for it) out driving their cars stoned and pose a threat to her and her children. No kidding.

    I’ve heard this idea before, too. And I’m still completely baffled as to where it comes from.

  21. She was convinced that if you legalized drugs millions of people who don’t use drugs would do so and they would be (wait for it) out driving their cars stoned and pose a threat to her and her children. No kidding.

    I’ve heard this idea before, too. And I’m still completely baffled as to where it comes from.

    It’s infantile thinking, “Daddy makes the rules because he loves us and wants to protect us”. If you don’t trust yourself, you certainly can’t trust others.

  22. I had a conversation with someone who is normally very sane on about any issue. I don’t always agree with her, but she is anything but a wingnut, except when it comes to drugs. She was convinced that if you legalized drugs millions of people who don’t use drugs would do so and they would be (wait for it) out driving their cars stoned and pose a threat to her and her children. No kidding.

    Hey, next time she goes all wingnutty, you can point her to the recent survey that indicates that drug use is twice as high in the US, where it is illegal, as it is in the Netherlands, where it is legal and regulated.

  23. “Hey, next time she goes all wingnutty, you can point her to the recent survey that indicates that drug use is twice as high in the US, where it is illegal, as it is in the Netherlands, where it is legal and regulated.”

    I did and it was like talking to a cocker spaniel about calculus. It is hopeless. What is scary is that contrary to what J sub D thinks, this woman is not a nanny-stater big brother type on any other issue. She is not the only one. I know lots of people who have a very healthy distrust of the government on everything but drugs. The propaganda arm of the drug war has done an amazing job. The government propaganda combined with the addiction industry’s propaganda about all drug use being a sickness have convinced a lot of otherwise rational people of some pretty irrational things.

  24. It’s “Just Say No” But We Know You Will Fail Therefore We Must Keep Them From You Or Lock You Up For You Are Too Sick to Be Among Society. Or something like that.

  25. I wish that the more I screwed up at my job the more I got paid

  26. I did and it was like talking to a cocker spaniel about calculus.

    Nice imagery.

  27. Radley, “wrack up arrests” is tortured; you want “rack up arrests.”

    To be wracked is to be emotionally overwhelmed; so you can say “wrack and ruin” and “wracked with sobs”, but you don’t “wrack up” billiard balls, and that’s where the etymology for “rack up… [FITB]” derives from.

    Other than that, same old, same old. The DEA is an agency exclusively built in order to crush legitimate, informed, personal and consensual choices. Its goals are immoral and unethical by definition; why the raised eyebrows over the news that it cannot maintain moral or ethical behaviors in the execution of its goals?

    As long as we tolerate such parodies of government regulation, such infliction of unauthorized power and coercion, we will have a surfeit of individuals like agent Lucas crawling through the legal system like the cockroaches they most closely resemble.

    Though that may be just a trifle unfair to cockroaches.

  28. Since conservatives still hold to the fantasy that their beloved, holy, tax and spend drugwar is somehow not-racist:

    JMR,

    Get a clue: Lots of conservatives (and all true ones, imho) do NOT support the “drugwar”.

  29. Art P.O.G.,
    I assure you that there are many Texans who feel like those commenters. I’ve a new friend who used to like to do blow and fuck around on his wife. They are working on saving the marriage but will both tell you that anybody who does any drug but pot should be locked up until they’re clean. No matter how many examples I give about him getting clean without prison, they refuse to consider that the drug war is bad.

    And then I have another buddy who sold some shit here and there. He was stopped on the street in front of his apartment (upscale neighborhood) and went to jail for an unpaid traffic ticket. Because he had been arrested 10 years ago with a small possession, the police got a warrant and searched his home. His girlfriend, who was there at the time, was arrested and charged with possession and intent to distribute. She’s never sold a drug in her life (to my knowledge anyway) and has a young child (who was not present at time of arrest). I like these people but felt almost watched this afternoon when I gave her a few bucks to help out. My husband is more than freaked that I’d meet her at all considering how awful the cops can be in situations.

    The drug war makes everybody a criminal.

  30. The drug war on some drugs makes everybodyone a criminal.

    There, FIFY.

    /grammer semantic nazi

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