Thursday, April 06, 2006

Snitch case from hell targets South Asians in GA

Here's an odd twist on the use of snitches in the drug war. The spread of laws limiting sale of meth "precursors" have led to law enforcement targeting South Asian convenience store owners in rural Georgia, the New York Times reported today. Forty four of 49 defendants in the case are South Asian, while white store owners were mosty ignored. Reported the Times:
Documents filed by the A.C.L.U. yesterday include a sworn statement from an informant in the sting, saying that federal investigators sent informants only to Indian-owned stores, "because the Indians' English wasn't good." The informant said investigators ignored the informant's questions about why so many South-Asian-owned stores were visited in the sting.

Other filings said prosecutors had several tips that more than a dozen white-owned stores were selling the same ingredients, but failed to follow up on them.
The case reminds me of an incident Catonya mentioned in Wichita Falls where an Iranian convenience store owner received a life sentence for selling meth precursors.

UPDATE: Turns out there's a campaign website for "Operation Meth Merchant," with its own blog, no less. Thanks to Bob for pointing to the link in the comments.

NUTHER UPDATE: Pete at Drug War Rant relays an anecdote about precursor laws run amok.

3 comments:

wheeler said...

i hope situations like this will eliminate an all too popular excuse for police misconduct: that the police only target 'criminals.' this situation is evidence that anyone can be the victim of police misconduct. hence, that conduct should be tightly controlled by the law, not loosely guided by the officers' own discretion.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

Thanks for covering this very important campaign. There's a campaign to oppose Operation Meth Merchant at http://www.stopoperationmethmerchant.org/.

-bob

Pete Guither said...

Were you aware that 32 of those arrested were named "Patel"? I've always found that one of the most bizarre elements of this outrageous case.