Drug Policy

Narcotics Safety Checkpoint a Success

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Last week the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office set up what a local paper described as a "Narcotics Checkpoint" near Starks, Louisiana. The Beauregard Daily News reported that the checkpoint, a response to complaints about drug dealing, was a "success," resulting in three arrests for marijuana and hydrocodone possession, two misdemeanor summonses for marijuana possession, and the discovery of four ounces of pot that someone threw from a car window when he saw the cops. "The Narcotics Checkpoint's main objective was to get the narcotics off of the street," the paper reported, quoting Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Deputy Dale Sharp, who explained that "anything off of the streets is not in the hands of kids or anyone else."

Problem: While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld DUI and license-and-registration checkpoints aimed at promoting traffic safety, it has said checkpoints aimed at finding illegal drugs are unconstitutional. Solution: Pretend the drug checkpoint was not a drug checkpoint. "They're really safety checkpoints," Chief Deputy Joe Toler told The Drug War Chronicle. "There just happened to be narcotics officers out there, and it just so happened that we did our safety checkpoint in a certain area where the place is known for drug trafficking. It just so happened they were all in the right place at the right time."

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  1. “There just happened to be narcotics officers out there, and it just so happened that we did our safety checkpoint in a certain area where the place is known for drug trafficking. It just so happened they were all in the right place at the right time.”

    What a convenient set of coincidences. Wow fate must really love the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office.

    I only hope that karma comes around to bite the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office in the ass.

  2. Epi —

    Exhibit number one why I care more about facts on the ground than theory in the heads of judges/legislators/whatever. SCOTUS probably thought it was just fine to say “heck, so long as they’re checking licenses. They’re professionals…” When in fact the last time one of those guys had actually interacted with a cop in any meaningful way, candy bars cost a nickel.

  3. Every second that our police forces are diverted from finding and arresting violent criminals is a success story. For the violent criminals. Murder, rape, child molestation, spouse abuse all go by the wayside while our police are diverted over to what is 85% non-violent marijuana possession. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that violent crimes all have appallingly low clearance rates. How about the fact that no one even has any hope that identity thieves will ever be stopped. Way to go guys. What a victory, for violent criminals. But, drug arrests by way of traffic stops are easy targets and make good headlines. Like this proves that LEO’s are really protecting us. It’s far safer to go after non-violent, low hanging fruit than to take down dangerous murderers. The war on drugs is a sham to make us feel better.

  4. The Supremes might catch on that when the Constitution means diddly-squat, their pronouncements carry less weight as well.

  5. When I was in the Navy we did the same thing. We would take on some Coast Guard sailors to pretend we were law enforcement and do “safety inspections” on ships in the gulf.

  6. I only hope that karma comes around to bite the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office in the ass.

    Will Westerners stop abusing the concept of Karma? For Christ’s sake, not every religion is obssessed with punishment.

    The only way this situation gets fixed is by getting better people into office. You can’t design a government that cannot abuse its powers. You need instead better quality people in government.

    Wonder why that’s failing? LOL

  7. After reading that article it looks like they arrested 3 people all in the same vehicle to get $300 of pot off the street.

    What the hell, is that supposed to be a great drug bust? Lots of man power used, it took a week to put together, multiple officers paid to work the operation, so they could get $300 worth of pot off the street.

    The arrests will be nothing since any lawyer worth his salts should get this thrown out on constitutional grounds fairly easy.

    The big crime here was wasting of tax payer dollars by inept cops, and stupidity by local officials.

  8. Anti-global,

    Yeah, and to do that, all we need to do first is build better people.

    You get right on that…

  9. It just so happened they were all in the right place at the right time.

    Yeah, the cops used to set up a safety checkpoint at our high school. If you left the parking lot you entered the coned off area where the inspections took place. There was only one way out.

  10. You can’t design a government that cannot abuse its powers.

    True. That’s why government powers need to be very limited.

  11. “anything off of the streets is not in the hands of kids or anyone else.”

    Well played, Mr. Sharp….

  12. At first I thought to myself, ‘Boy, I’d sure like to be a defendant in one of those cases.’ But then I reread the article and saw that it was Louisiana. Nope, don’t guess so.

  13. So basically if one was stopped at that check point they would have no right to say “no, you cannot search my car “..all because it was a “drug traficking area?”That is sad..

  14. You can’t design a government that cannot abuse its powers. You need instead better quality people in government.

    No, but you can design a government with fewer powers to abuse.

  15. Seems like a pretty straightforward suppression motion for the defendants.

  16. As Beauregard is such a magical land of coincidences, maybe all the drugs were flying through the air on the winds and entered the vehicles through open windows.

  17. No, but you can design a government with fewer powers to abuse.

    And then you lose the advantages of government, and might as well be an anarchy.

    I would rather have a government that was reasonably trustworthy, as it’s a much better option.

    I don’t think any sane government would worry so much about drugs. It would either implement truly draconian policies, or let natural selection take care of the drug users.

    Either way, it’s insane to pump money out of the country AND gain instability from a quasi-police-state.

  18. Reminds me of the time I hit a drug checkpoint in north Georgia. They actually had signs that read “DRUG CHECKPOINT” so I guess it was before the scotus ruling. I had a tallboy in my lap and a brand new quarter in my pocket. Either by luck or proper grooming, they waved me on through. I advise not attempting to toss anything, because they usually have someone watching the cars as they pass the checkpoint sign.

  19. All cops should be required to have an IQ of 130.

  20. And then you lose the advantages of government, and might as well be an anarchy.

    There are no advantages. It is sometimes less disadvantageous than anarchy. 🙂

    Minarchy. Minarchy. Minarchy. Learn the word. Protect us from Canadian hordes, provide a justice system, and otherwise leave me the fuck alone.

  21. All cops should be required to have an IQ of 130.

    Nope. All cops should have to pass a personality test that shows they have a average to below average craving for power and authority.

  22. The only way this situation gets fixed is by getting better people into office. You can’t design a government that cannot abuse its powers. You need instead better quality people in government.

    The problem with the “better quality people” solution is that as government gets more and more powerful, and individuals more and more dependent, you have fewer and fewer “better quality people” to choose from. The grandson of the king, raised in the lap of luxury and shielded from personal responsibility, is never a competent king. With other forms of centralized government it just takes a couple of extra generations.

    I would rather have a government that was reasonably trustworthy, as it’s a much better option.

    There is no such thing as “trustworthy government.” Government is honest only as long as everybody is watching it and making needed corrections. Smaller government is easier to watch and its screwups cause less damage.

  23. “””Nope. All cops should have to pass a personality test that shows they have a average to below average craving for power and authority.””””

    The prevention aspect might help, probably not much. I say punishment should be the deterrent.

    “”””There is no such thing as “trustworthy government.””””

    Never has been, never will be.

  24. Juanita | October 29, 2007, 4:13pm | #

    Let’s see, there’s Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Japan, Rising Sun, Hiroshima, Atomic Bomb, Enola Gay, oh and Miata.

    Juanita | October 29, 2007, 4:18pm | #

    Market dog blue asphalt, the fly the goat philidelphia won fish breakfast bear.

  25. Juanita | January 7, 2008, 10:40am | #

    Putting innocent children at risk is just disgusting. The drug war is supposed to protect children.

  26. But if they scared someone into tossing a bag, wouldn’t that be more drugs on the street? It was safely in the car before.

  27. Anti-Globalist says: “Will Westerners stop abusing the concept of Karma? For Christ’s sake, not every religion is obssessed with punishment.”

    You might be able to find some religions not obsessed with punishment, but the idea that karma, in most, if not all the religions it is central to, is not tied up with punishment (and reward) is fatuous nonsense.

    Karma has been interpreted in many ways, by many people, but by far the most common interpretation is that one is either punished or rewarded for one’s behavior. Thus, one should not object to one’s station in life because one deserves it, based on one’s actions in past lives, and one might be punished for objecting to one’s current station in future lives.

    Go read Kyoukai’s Nihon Ryouiki for an early formative work from Japan. It makes things very clear- if you suffer it is only because you are being punished for your past actions. This is a very common way of looking at karma in religions that adopted the concept.

    If anything, Christianity, at least in some forms, is a bit less punishment-centered, as you can apparently do whatever you want, for as long as you want, and then get completely off the hook and enjoy eternal bliss if you are lucky enough to die slowly enough to get to apologize at the right time. Karmic religions generally don’t care much about remorse.

    Judaism seems to have relatively less punishment than most religions, but it is not punishment free… frankly, without punishment I can’t see the need for religion.

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