Drug Policy

Prohibitionist County Commissioner Arrested for Drug Trafficking


El Paso, Texas County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. was arrested late Wednesday on federal drug-trafficking charges. Few details have been released, but according to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spokeswoman, the investigation involves multiple agencies:

DEA, ICE, IRS with the assistance of the FBI along with our local partners are conducting an ongoing operation, and we cannot release further details at this time.

Back in September 2011, Gandara harshly criticized drug legalization in an official statement:

Legalizing drugs is the coward practice of combating cartels, it is an insult to our men and women in law enforcement, and the laziest form of parenting our children and youth about the effects of drugs.

He also attacked former El Paso City Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat running for Congress. O'Rourke advocates legalizing marijuana to stop Mexican drug violence, and recently spoke at a Cato Institute conference on ending the drug war. O'Rourke summed up his anti-drug war views to the El Paso Times last fall, saying:

We can do a much better job of keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids and keeping marijuana proceeds out of the hands of cartels that use those proceeds to murder, kill and terrorize with impunity, corrupt public officials, recruit people and arm themselves.

But Gandara disapproves of O'Rourke:

As a parent, it is common sense for me to support Congressman (Silvestre) Reyes who is against the legalization of drugs. Unfortunately, on (sic) this upcoming primary election we will have many wolves in sheep's clothing running for office who are seeking election with an ulterior agenda to legalize drugs.

As the Houston Chronicle notes, this isn't the first time the Gandara family has run afoul of the law:

He is the son of former Socorro Mayor Willie Gandara Sr., who was charged in 2010 in an FBI public corruption investigation. Voters last May removed the elder Gandara from office.

Hat tip to Ethan Nadelmann.

Reason.tv on the drug war.

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  1. He did it for the children.

    1. Yes, but which job?

  2. In the words of the inimitable Nelson Muntz: “Ha ha!”

  3. So, are we seeing the same trend in drug warriors as we do with homophobes? The most strident ones are actually doing what they rail against?

    Oh man, I certainly hope so.

    1. The ones that bug me most likely do not use or directly profit from illegal drugs, but their campaign contributors seem to be the herbicide, weapon and drone manufacturers who profit from ‘drug wars.’
      Canesco wants the U.S. to make good on $1.5 billion in aid to Mexico’s drug war. (The Merida Initiative from 2008.)

  4. No surprise. Legalization would be bad for business. I assume that a large percentage of the most strident drug warriors are on the payroll.

    1. ^This. And surprised that Epi missed this.

      1. It was implied, dude!

        1. Reading comprehension fail! My bad.

      2. In Epi’s defense, it was totally implied.

        1. Yes. I just wanted to make it crystal clear in case any prohibition lovers were reading.

          1. Flounder is apparently my alter ego, though I was not nearly so inept in college. Only mildly so.

    2. “Legalizing drugs … is an insult to our men and women in law enforcement”


      Outstanding sanctimony. Anyone who can say that with a straight face while distributing deserves some recognition.

      Whatever the outcome of this investigation, he shouldn’t have any trouble finding future work. I’m thinking lobbyist for a professional association looking for government regulation to “protect the public”. Fire and brimstone preacher would be another good option.

    3. Didn’t Hillary say we couldn’t wind down the WoD because there was too much money in drugs, or something like that? Totally truthful.

  5. Once more life not only imitates but exceeds The Onion. It has always been a joke that the mob didn’t want legalization because it was bad for their business. Apparently that is not a joke, it is actually true.

    1. Drugs, prostitution, gambling…

      1. They are okay with gambling because they own the casinos. Legalized gambling is just a state enforced monopoly for them. The only draw back is they have to pay taxes.

        1. Before state-run lotteries there were mob-run lotteries. State run lotteries really messed with their revenue stream.

          Also, casinos on tribal lands. Don’t know if they’ve somehow managed to co-opt that revenue stream.

          Cool handle, btw.

        2. John???? Oh, shit…

  6. Him and those fucking anti-legalization Humboldt County growers really piss me off.

    1. Those fuckers are the scum of the earth. They want the government to throw people in prison so they can keep their monopoly. If I were king, the DEA would be visiting them first thing. They would be the last people ever sent to prison in this country for growing pot.

    2. Those assholes are the reason why I changed my mid about the “baby step” of medical weed. Now I’m opposed to medical weed and in favor only of full legalization.

  7. it is common sense for me to support Congressman (Silvestre) Reyes

    This has to be one of the more bizarre sentences I’ve ever read in my time watching TX politics.

    1. Oh, PLEEEZE!! Unless you just started this morning, it’s not in the top 10. We’re talking about a state that had Ann Richards as governor and Clayton Williams as a serious contender. I can come up with five more inane comments and I moved to Colorado 20 years ago.

      1. What did Clayton Williams say that lost him the election? Was it something about relaxing and enjoying rape?

        1. Was that the election with the immortal comment that it was a contest between a nut with two boobs, and a boob with two nuts?

          1. That would be the one. It was the election that confirmed Texas’ faith in not giving the governor very much power.

            1. Rick Perry has only raised that faith to a level I would describe as ‘bedrock’.

              And Claytie’s comment was “Rape is like bad weather. As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

  8. Speaking of fine, upstanding public servants, here’s a Florida Lawmaker accused of stalking a US attorney via text message:


    Note that since he’s a Democrat, the story doesn’t name his party affiliation.

  9. DEA, ICE, IRS with the assistance of the FBI along with our local partners are conducting an ongoing operation,

    Fuck, but how many goddam donut-munching pension-suckers does it take to bust one half-wit crooked-ass County goddam Commissioner, anyway?

    1. One. The rest show up for the press conference to steal some of the credit. See e.g. the Famous But Incompetents.

    2. It was the biggest crime in the last fifty years, and everyone wanted to get in on the act.

      Why do you hate the color, glossy photos with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back?

      1. I cannot tell a lie. I put that envelope under that pile of marijuana!

  10. This is actually one of the subplots from “Machete”. Awesome.

  11. So this guy was both the Baptist and the Bootlegger.


  12. The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in 1920s Detroit was liquor, at $215 million a year and employing an estimated 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During just one raid, the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy, and Sheriff Edward Stein.

    If you support prohibition then you’re either a black market profiteer, a corrupt politician, a terrorist, a sadomoralistic fake-conservative, or an authoritarian wing-nut-socialist.

  13. cartels that use those proceeds to murder, kill and terrorize with impunity, corrupt public officials, recruit people and arm themselves.

    many wolves in sheep’s clothing running for office who are seeking election with an ulterior agenda to legalize drugs

    As opposed to his ulterior agenda to keep drugs illegal, which profits/profited him greatly.

    Also, talk about projection. Wolf in sheeps clothing indeed.

    What a fucking fuckstick.

  14. I hope the prison he ends up gives him the extra slippery soap.

  15. The drug dealers certainly do not want the prohibition to end, it is what keeps prices up and their wallets fat. It is identical to the alcohol prohibition of yesterday, and it is very telling when officials demand prohibition, this could mean that they are profiting off of the sales somewhere. Not to worry folks, as the old saying goes, America will do the right thing, after trying everything else.

  16. Baptists and bootleggers, the perpetual alliance.

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