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Do you think it's time to legalize or decriminalize drugs?
An officer from the Mission Police Department in South
Texas, who was assigned to the Drug Enforcement
Administration task force, was arrested on federal
charges that he stole more than five kilos of coc aine
from a home during a drug raid before staging a fake
drug bust to cover up his crime days later.
Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez, 45, a 17-year-veteran of the
force, is accused of stealing 15 bundles of coc aine
from a home in Mission in July of 2012.
Corruption runs deep in the Rio Grande Valley –
one natural result of Mexico's $10 billion-a-year cartel
industry and America's $30 billion-a-year drug war.
Twenty years ago, a Hidalgo County sheriff was convicted
of racketeering and money laundering, and since then
other border-county sheriffs have been brought down
every three or four years. "Narcotics investigation is
a very slimy world," Sheriff Treviño told local newspaper
The Monitor in 2008.
"If anything is gonna kill us, it's internal corruption,"
he warned. "Because some of our folks can be bought.".
By 2012, word was getting around that the Panama Unit
might be dirty.The Panama Unit was the sheriff's idea.
It was a way to get his son working more or less under
him without violating state nepotism laws. The sheriff
wanted Jonathan to follow in his footsteps, to be one
of the top cops in the state, and leading a narcotics
unit was an important step. "Lupe was grooming him,"
says one federal agent. "The unit was created to help
Jonathan climb the ladder."
Dealers were starting to talk: Crooked
cops were one thing, but they shouldn't go around
stealing your #. Other cops saw red flags too –
like how the unit occasionally called in an operation
after the bust, instead of before.
Meanwhile, the Panama Unit was getting paranoid –
not about cops, but about drug dealers. Treviño
wasn't afraid of the cartels themselves: He was
smart enough not to step on their toes. "Not every
dealer in the Valley runs with a cartel," he says.
"So the more independent ones, you could go after
them safely." Also, if they did ever accidentally jack
the wrong stash, he had "friends on the other side of
the border" who could take care of him "in case #
hit the fan." He adds, "It's like a business. You have
to go through a chain of command. So I had people
up the chain who could put a stop to it."
"Escorts have been around forever," says a local
police chief. "Corrupt cops have been doing that
for a long time." The way they worked was a
couple of unmarked Panama vehicles would drive
behind and in front of Betty's shipments, protecting
the load from any bad guys and stepping in if any
good guys showed up. Escorting didn't pay much,
especially compared with the rips. But the unit
had a bigger plan in mind: They would use Betty's
connections, working loads and building trust, until
they got one valuable and vulnerable enough to rip off.
What was obvious to him was that the Panama Unit
had stumbled into a trap. Betty was an informant
all along – "loaded up in a government vehicle with
government coc aine,"
The news of the Panama Unit rocked Hidalgo County.
In all, nine officers associated with the crew were indicted,
and the DA announced he was throwing out as many as
75 cases: "Their credibility went from absolute to zero,"
It wasn't long before suspicion fell on the sheriff.
Lupe Trevino ultimately admitted to accepting
between $20,000 and $25,000 from El Gallo.
A sheriff's commander, who was himself convicted
of bribery, claims it was more like $1 million.
The cash was delivered in paper bags, fives, tens
and twenties. At his own sentencing in November,
El Gallo – who, to be fair, stood to earn a reduced
sentence by implicating the sheriff – said he gave
Lupe $53,000 for a new fishing boat and $40,000
for a trip to Vegas.
For most of the ’80s Michael Levine was a high-voltage
player in America’s drug wars, until he became
convinced that the government’s efforts were
misguided and useless.
“There is no drug war. It’s a fraud.
No other nation in the world has a drug war.
The rest have addiction problems. We have war.
Why? Because it’s a toy, a grab bag with a lot of
big hands in it.
originally posted by: wantsome
Screw that I don't want to live in a society where drugs are condoned. People with substance abuse problems have some serious psychological issues. Mind altering substances mess people up. I hate dealing with drug addicts and alcoholics as it is. People don't need the right to be able to walk into a store and say give it to me. I'm perfectly fine with locking them up. If it were up to me I'd get medieval on them.