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Botched drug sting: Trucker looks to Supreme Court


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Fleet Owner  /  May 17, 2016

The owner of a small Texas trucking company, whose semi was commandeered without his knowledge by the Drug Enforcement Administration in a botched drug sting, has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case for damages to his truck. He is also asking for police protection from retaliation by the Zetas Cartel who were involved in the drug sale.

His case was recently dismissed by a federal appeals court in New Orleans leaving the Supreme Court as his last option.

During the 2011 incident in Houston, not only was Craig Patty's truck damaged but his driver, Lawrence Chapa – a confidential informant for the DEA – was killed and a sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded by a plainclothes Houston Police officer. Four men were convicted in Chapa's death.

Patty is seeking up to $6.4 million in damages but stated on several occasions that he was more interested in letting the public know about how the DEA operates – without regard for citizens' property and rights, he says. Many of the documents surrounding the case were sealed from public view. He is also seeking police protection as the drug cartel may believe he was in on the raid and could seek vengeance.

Lower courts have so far sided with the government arguing that federal agents acted within their rights to use discretionary action during their operations and this includes placing a confidential informant in the driver's seat of truck without the owner's permission or knowledge and not having to pay for damages to the truck.

Read the full story: Feds not liable for truck damaged during botched drug sting

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If the U.S. government didn’t allow Mexican drug cartels to operate in our country, the whole event would never have taken place.

This all begs two questions:

Why does the government refuse to eradicate the Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States?

Is the U.S. government unable to eradicate the Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States , i.e., does it no longer have the ability to “govern” within our borders?

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Same as the irs.  If they wrongfully convict you and you lost everything and later prove yourself innocent they are not liable. Heard this second hand from a friend that saw something on tv about it. 

The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by the people who vote for a living.

The government can only "give" someone what they first take from another.

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The Weekly Standard  /  May 23, 2016

Local authorities in Pueblo, just 40 miles south of Colorado Springs, were recently alerted by a vigilant resident to a possible illegal marijuana grow operation. Within days, on March 31, sheriff's deputies from the Special Investigations Narcotics Section raided a single-family home that was in the process of being converted into a "grow house." Authorities discovered 127 marijuana plants, over $100,000 in growing equipment, and two Cuban nationals.

At first, no one seemed to take particular note of the individuals, Adriel Trujillo Daniel, 28, and Leosbel Ledesma Quintana, 41, who had recently moved to Colorado from Florida. They were arrested on felony drug charges but local authorities initially believed it was an isolated event.

But in the span of the next week and a half, local authorities would arrest at least four more individuals in the Pueblo area in similar cases, with similar backgrounds. All were recent transplants to the state. All were reported by neighbors or by other Pueblo residents who had witnessed suspicious activity. All were transforming residential homes into elaborate marijuana grow operations. And all were Cuban nationals.

"We have quite a bit of evidence" to believe they are members of "Cuban cartels," Pueblo sheriff Kirk Taylor says in an interview.

Local, state, and federal officials believe it's not just isolated to Pueblo. "It's across the entire state of Colorado," DEA assistant special agent in charge Kevin Merrill says. "It's just basically taken over the state, these residential grows."

Merrill likens the danger to that of meth labs in homes. Besides the criminal element, turning a house into a greenhouse invariably destroys the home. "The destruction of the homes and neighborhoods is even greater."

It is what Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers calls "the total nightmare" scenario, a byproduct of the state's recent legalization of first medicinal, and later recreational, marijuana.

People from out of town or even foreign countries move to Colorado and "buy or lease houses by the hundreds if not thousands," explains Suthers, who previously served 10 years as attorney general of the state.

The new residents then convert the residential homes to industrial grow operations. They're "basically trashing the houses because they're making so much money they don't care, and growing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of plants in each house. And transporting it out of state to marijuana markets nationally and internationally. Literally. Marijuana is going back to Mexico from Colorado," asserts Suthers.

This criminal activity undermines a key argument used for legalizing marijuana in the first place. "One of the big arguments was, we're going to get the cartels out of the marijuana business. Because we're going to have all these legitimate businesses selling it. The Mexican cartels are going to dry up and go away," he says.

But now things are different. "Mexican cartels are no longer sending marijuana into Colorado, they're now growing it in Colorado and sending it back to Mexico and every place else."

With legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana came the ability for locals to grow up to six plants at home-and sometimes up to 99, if they are a designated caregiver under the state law that legalized medicinal marijuana. "That has created an enforcement nightmare for the police," the state's former top cop says. "But it's going beyond that. Because of that aura of no enforcement, organized crime has come to Colorado to grow the marijuana."

"The surprising element is Cuban-Cuban cartels," Suthers says.

The DEA official insists the international element is increasing. "It's not just Cubans. We have Vietnamese-based organizations, Russian organized people. But we have seen a large influx of Cubans coming here. And we believe that all the organizations are here because we have a perceived lack of enforcement."

Thanks to the ubiquity of marijuana in the state of Colorado, when they come, "they don't really have to hide," says the DEA official. "Their [main] risk of arrest or prosecution is when they move the marijuana outside the state."

Another reason the problem is particular to Colorado-and not in the other 22 states and the District of Columbia that have some form of legal marijuana-is that Colorado has uniquely loose medical marijuana laws, which are meant to allow the ailing to grow substantial crops at home. "In Colorado, if you go to a physician and you get a recommendation, you can grow 99 plants, so if you live with four others, you can grow almost 500," says Merrill, the DEA official. He has never seen any sort of mid- to large-scale home operation actually being used for medical marijuana. It is one of "the unintended consequences of the medical marijuana" law, Merrill contends.

The state's marijuana czar appears to agree with Merrill's contention-and has called for further regulation. "There has been evidence that people will abandon the black market for a regulated market, even at higher prices. However, as long as there is both an economic incentive to grow in Colorado and ship out of state, as well as legal loopholes to allow unlicensed individuals to grow large quantities of marijuana, it will be difficult for law enforcement to shut down the black and gray markets," says Andrew Freedman, the coordinator of marijuana policy for Colorado. "Interestingly, these loopholes are found in our medical marijuana laws, not in our recreational marijuana laws."

Which suggests John Suthers may find widespread support when he soon proposes to the legislature to , eliminate the influx of foreign crime [that would be an unlikely first] by outlawing home grows. That's a law even the legal growers and sellers of marijuana will likely support.


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