Drug War

Sleep Safe, Greensburg. You Won't Have To Worry About These Monsters Anymore.

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There are no dead dogs, lying informants, or flash grenades, but this story from Greensburg, Indiana, really captures the mundane stupidity, utter dissonance, and day-to-day waste of resources that is America's drug war. Seems that last week a concerned citizen called a tip line to report some young people smoking pot at the house next door.

Here's what happened next:

The caller advised that there was suspicious activity, strange noises and unusual odors coming from the apartment. When GPD officers arrived, the strange smell was identified as "burnt marijuana," Chief Heaton reported.

After identifying the apartment that was emitting the odors, the GPD attempted to make contact. But inside the apartment, no one answered.

Working quickly to establish probable cause, the officers sought to obtain a search warrant from the office of the Decatur County Prosecutor.

In the interim period before the warrant was granted, the GPD kept a secure perimeter around the residence, making sure that no one went in or out of the apartment, Chief Heaton explained.

"It definitely tied up our units (for about two hours)," Heaton said.

The search warrant was secured and served at 1:23 a.m. Tuesday. Upon gaining entry to the apartment, the police found marijuana and proof of marijuana consumption and the five suspects were arrested.

Four of the five perpetrators were charged with "visiting a common nuisance," and one was charged with misdemeanor possession. One was also charged for failure to appear on a separate warrant.

The Greensburg Daily News dutifully adds that the "watchful citizen's" tip "brought the Greensburg Police Department closer to exterminating the drug problem in the city."

Yeah. Good luck with that.

NEXT: Reason.tv: Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups That Benefit From Drug Prohibition

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  1. There are no dead dogs, lying informants, or flash grenades,

    Yet still, somehow, a kick in the ‘nads.

  2. The caller advised that there was suspicious activity

    Fucking Blockwart

  3. Anyone else get the feeling that marijuana legalization is so last-year?

    1. I hope not, I really hope not.

      1. Obama has been elected. There is no longer any reason to talk about legalization until late in 1012.

        1. It was legal then, but people just thought it was good for rope.

  4. From the article:
    “The Police Chief stressed again the importance of community involvement in a case such as this. Without the tip from the public, the alleged marijuana den might not have been uncovered and busted.”

    Really?
    I am going to self-lobotomize just so I can get what the hell people are thinking. Do you ever feel the same way?

    1. Marijuana den. Never heard that one before.

      1. You’re being sloppy AA, it’s an alleged marijuana den. Don’t want to get sued for libel. Them Indiana reporters are to notch.

        1. dammit…

          top

          1. I retract my correction. Fuck it, let’s notch Indiana reporters. It’s better this way.

    2. Sadly the police chief didn’t think his guys could have don something more productive for their 2 hours.

  5. Wait, you guys have missed the big “liberty” story here.
    “Four of the five perpetrators were charged with “visiting a common nuisance,”
    What the heck is that!?! You go over to some guy’s apartment and they can make it a crime just to be there? I have never heard of such a law, but it sounds like a blatantly unconstitutional catch-all used to harass and intimidate the common folk. Seriously, what the heck is that?

    1. “”charged with “visiting a common nuisance,”””

      Yeah, what is that? Some pol somewhere wanted an excuse from visiting the wife’s family?

  6. Suffering from brain cancer, Kent Pankow was literally forced to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for lifesaving surgery–at a cost to family and friends of $106,000–after the health-care system in Alberta left him hanging in bureaucratic limbo for 16 crucial days, his tumour meanwhile migrating to an unreachable part of the brain, while it dithered over his case file, ultimately deciding he was not surgery worthy.Now, with the Mayo Clinic having done what the Alberta Cancer Board wouldn’t authorize or even explain, but with the tumour unable to be totally removed, the province will now not fund the expensive drug, Avastin, that the Mayo prescribed to keep him alive and keep the remaining tumour from increasing in size–despite the costs of the drug being totally funded by the province for other forms of cancer.Kent Pankow, as it turns out, has the right disease but he has it in the wrong place.Had he lung cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer, then the cost of the drug–$4,555 per treatment, two times a month–would be totally covered by Alberta’s version of OHIP [Ontario Health Insurance Plan].But he doesn’t.And so he is not only a victim of brain cancer, he is also a victim of arbitrary discrimination.

    http://www.torontosun.com/news…..38311.html

    1. meh.

      I am ambivalent as to whether my location is in Canada or not.

  7. Uh, Be Glad, shouldn’t you handle be Be Sorry We’re Turning Into Canada?

  8. The Greensburg Daily News dutifully adds that the “watchful citizen’s” tip “brought the Greensburg Police Department closer to exterminating the drug problem in the city.”

    Why do I get the feeling that it’s some old fart that wrote this article, and spends the rest of his time either on senior citizen patrol or sitting on his porch shaking his fist at cars going by faster than eleven miles an hour?

  9. I like the part about the secure perimeter. I wonder how many stormtroopers THAT took.

  10. I wonder how many stormtroopers THAT took.

    I’m guessing three squad cars, rotating through (a) watching the front door, (b) watching the back door, and (c) going to Dunkin’ Donuts.

  11. Because my comments on Radley’s site seem to get swallowed up instead of posted, I repeat here:

    Just occurred to me that the WOD is actually pretty aptly named. I.e., it’s a war that’s on drugs.

  12. After identifying the apartment that was emitting the odors, the GPD attempted to make contact. But inside the apartment, no one answered.

    Dave’s not here.

  13. I guess Greensburg either doesn’t have a SWAT team, or these guys had no dogs to target.

  14. If the cops break into the house without a warrant, Radley’s going to (justly) skewer them for violating the 4th Amendment.

    If they jump through the hoops necessary to get a warrant, and upon getting it, find that the laws alleged to have been broken were actually being broken, he (unjustly) skewers them for wasting police resources.

    Seriously, just because you don’t think that marijuana should be illegal does not mean the police should be expected to act as if it isn’t. If you don’t like the drug laws, work to change them. Lay off the police who are just doing their job in this case.

    1. Except for the whole “arrested 4 people for visiting a nuisance” thing. If you’ve got 5 guys in bean-bag chairs playing playstation in a smoke filled room and you bust the resident for possession, you could be “just doing your job” – but arresting the other 4 for being in a private residence is way, way, way over the line. I realize they probably wanted to bust them for pot, because they knew for a fact they were smoking pot – regardless of what could be proven – but to go ahead and arrest them on a bogus charge like that is …. uhm.. bogus.

    2. Fuck the police. Just doing your job is no excuse for immoral actions. Arresting anyone for drug possession is immoral. Someone in the police made the decision to pursue this to ridiculous extremes.

      In any case, what Radley is primarily skewering here is the ridiculousness and waste of the whole situation of the war on drugs.

    3. “this story from Greensburg, Indiana, really captures the mundane stupidity, utter dissonance, and day-to-day waste of resources that is America’s drug war.”

      If you read the article before grabbing your “Defending the Cops for Dummies: talking points edition”, you might have noticed Mr. Balko took no unfair swipes at the police. Any cop who sees this story and doesn’t think it’s a huge waste of time ain’t worth his badge.

      1. Tulpa, I didn’t mean to pile on there but come on, incidents like this a embarrassing for law enforcement. If I were a cop, not very fucking likely but anyways, if I were pulling details like this it would cause me shame. With all the bad shit that happens out there, you stand around for two hours to bust some stoners playing video games. And you wonder where the lack of respect for law enforcement around here comes from.

    4. well ya. locking people up in a cage for possession of a plant is in fact evil in either situation. Even if you have a spiffy uniform, and filled out all the paperwork correctly.

    5. If you don’t like the drug laws, work to change them. Lay off the police who are just doing their job in this case.

      Sounds a lot like what a defender of Vichy France would say.

    6. Tulpa:

      Where did I criticize the police? The entire post was prefaced with the statement that the article “captures the mundane stupidity, utter dissonance, and day-to-day waste of resources that is America’s drug war.”

      1. I guess it was a Pavlovian response. I heard the bell even though you didn’t ring it.

    7. If they jump through the hoops necessary to get a warrant, and upon getting it, find that the laws alleged to have been broken were actually being broken, he (unjustly) skewers them for wasting police resources.

      So there’s no such thing as a waste of resources as long as some violation is found?

      So there’s no such thing as a law so stupid, so hateful, that it just shouldn’t be enforced.

  15. Shouldn’t 2 hours have been enough time for them to flush all the weed and do something with whatever paraphernalia they were using? And how is it legal for police who have no warrant to detain people in an apartment?

    1. It would appear that they attempted the old Tommy Chong method of destroying evidence — smoking it. They just got too stoned to finish the job….

  16. Great line by the Police Chief from the article: “The officers did a great job of identifying the odor and confirming the suspicious activity and suspicious noise,” Heaton said.
    That’s so comical I don’t really have a snappy rejoinder to add.

  17. Is it wrong that I thought, “Well, on the bright side, at least they bothered to get a warrant?”

  18. Bitching about the police in this case is largely misplaced. The rat bastard neighbors who called the cops are the real bad guys. The cops are just the attack dogs he sicked on his neighbors. Had the narc happy neighbor not jumped on the phone to squeal, and sic the cops on the smokers? None of the bullshit would have happened. Left to their own devices, the cops have better things to do.

    It’s more a bad neighbor scene then a bad cop scene.

    1. Mark my words, the day will come in this country, when seemingly-random firebombings later turn out to have not been random at all, and are so common, the general public will start assuming that the “victim” probably deserved it. Everyone in this country can probably think of at least one or two people who, if their house or office got firebombed, wouldn’t lose a minute of sleep over it.

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