Monday, November 28, 2005

The "Untouchable Narco-State" reaches the Texas border

In this morning's brief roundup, the "Untouchable Narco-State" reaches the Texas border, while in East Texas, prosecutors and law enforcement hype meth as "worse than crack." Collectively, these stories give you the sense that for all the drug war hype, in the big picture law enforcement is fiddling while Rome burns. Their solutions seem so small for a dilemma so vast ...

Texas Observer on the Drug War in Latin America
See their fine cover story on "The Untouchable Narco-State" and the DEA's near-futile efforts to combat drug trafficking in Guatemala.

Latin American Drug War Reaches Texas
Now that it's more difficult for addicts in Texas to make meth at home, the McAllen Monitor reports on the rise of meth smugglers crossing the Mexican border, while according to the Dallas News, border-area law enforcement says that

Rifles and handguns have been replaced by rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs, and high-caliber machine guns.

"Now the bad guys have more sophisticated training and better equipment," [Val Verde County] Sheriff [D'Wayne] Jernigan said. "They're better armed and willing to shoot."

Same Old Song and Dance from Walker County Drug Warriors.
Meanwhile, in Walker County (Huntsville), District Attorney David Weeks contributed greatly to the shrill tone of a hype-filled four part series on meth in the Huntsville Item (see parts one, two, three and four), portions of which seemingly could have been written by the spin doctors at the national Office of National Drug Control Policy. “You know, I thought that crack was the worst plague that we had ever seen, but I think meth is worse,” Weeks said. “From what I've seen, it's more addictive, it's more destructive, it's more violent. It's just about the worst thing you can come across.” Weeks was one of the DAs who opposed stronger probation and pushed Texas' disastrous pseudoephedrine restrictions (law enforcement officials say that after just three months they fear the new law will cause "more addiction, more overdoses, and more violence"). So he's in typical form here -- full of dire predictions but offering only bad solutions.

Meanwhile, local Sheriff Clint McRae, a former narcotics task force officer, told the paper meth is “more addictive than any other narcotic I have dealt with.” It's worth mentioning that a presentation I heard at a recent drug policy conference by Dr. Carl Hart, a clinical neuroscientist at Columbia University who studies the effects of meth on human workplace behaviors, contradicted such dire, 'worse than crack' claims -- bottom line, Hart said the qualities and intensity of the addiction, from a medical researcher's perspective, didn't differ that much from cocaine. Many of the side effects like meth mouth, it turns out, likely stem from the prohibition on safer chemicals for use by home manufacturers, but don't show up with the pharmaceutical meth he uses for tests. That makes sense. After all, US fighter pilots popping meth tablets to fly jets are taking the same drug, chemically speaking, as the meth-heads, but they aren't having their teeth fall out.

Go Here For More On The Drug War.
Blog Reload's Drug War Roundup links to a number of interesting items I don't have time to write about, including a bizarre incident in which US Border Patrol agents in Hudspeth County were outgunned by military-clad drug traffickers in a firefight over a dumptruck load full of pot.


Anonymous said...

Dear Grits,

DEA's efforts in Lima, Peru from their own people sounds like there isn't much effort. See;

Scroll down to November 26, 2005 19:46 PST Second Edition to "Morale Issues at Lima"

Those who don't know about this website should because it's a website for DEA Agents about DEA.

Now you have access to the other side of the story.

Anonymous said...

Monday, November 28, 2005
Last modified Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:51 PM CST

Bryan Cantrell running for district attorney

By Matt Pederson/

Bryan Cantrell believes it is time for a change in the Walker County District Attorney's office, and he wants to be the man to bring it about. Cantrell has announced he will run for district attorney in 2006 against David Weeks, the man who has held the position for the past 15 years.

“I felt that there's a need for change in the DA's office, and there are a lot of citizens in the community who have agreed with me,” Cantrell said. “I was asked to run by a lot of Huntsville residents and Walker County residents.”

Cantrell looked at specific things he said needed changing in the district attorney's office, and exposure was at the top of his list.

“I think one of the changes they would see if I was district attorney would be a greater presence in the courtroom, certainly in trial work,” Cantrell said. “They'd see me trying a lot of felony cases. I would intend on having my own docket and anybody who would be my first assistant would also have his or her own docket.

“One of the other things they would see as far as a difference would be my involvement in the community,” he added. “As a fundamental core principal, I think that in any elected office, you have an opportunity to reach kids before they start making really poor decisions. If you're deeply involved in their lives, as a pillar of the community, you earn their respect. You can help eliminate some of those poor choices, just because of your positive influence.

“The prosecution has to happen and the prosecutor has to do his job and represent the state in these cases, but above and beyond that, the way you change lives is not necessarily by what you prosecute, but by how much you choose to serve.”

Cantrell opened his own law office in Huntsville in 2001, which has since expanded to become Cantrell, Ray, Maltsberger and Barcus.

Cantrell also said he's found a pattern in his clientele.

“Of all the clients I have represented, 90 percent of them did not have a male role model in their life,” Cantrell said. “I did a survey, and still do. I ask (clients) a series of questions, because I want to know if there's a pattern out there that causes what I see in the courtrooms. I see a need - especially to prevent crime - to have adult role models involved in your kids' lives.”

jdallen said...

Grits - I always thought, back in the late sixties when I had a spell of eating my girlfriend's (and all her friends) diet pills for fun, that the teeth-loosening thing was because it caused you to clench your jaws all the time.

Do pilots go on week-long speed runs and take an excess for the rush? I think it's a different usage scenario.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't know, JD, you'd think if that were the case you'd hear about coke-heads' teeth falling out, too.

And to anonymous and Churt -- thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

But, but, but...I was told that now I can't buy allergy medication over the counter without submitting my ID like a common criminal, the Meth War was won! What went wrong?


Jeez, as an allergy sufferer in Austin I can't read stuff like this without getting pissed off. What a bunch of morons.