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Thread: The War on Drugs

  1. #1
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    The War on Drugs

    http://www.dcclothesline.com/2016/01...-drug-cartels/

    Entire Florida Police Dept Busted Laundering Tens of Millions for International Drug Cartels

    Bal Harbour, FL – The village of Bal Harbour, population 2,513, may have a tiny footprint on the northern tip of Miami Beach, but its police department had grand aspirations of going after international drug traffickers, and making a few million dollars while they were at it.

    The Bal Harbour PD and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office set up a giant money laundering scheme with the purported goal of busting drug cartels and stemming the surge of drug dealing going on in the area. But it all fell apart when federal investigators and the Miami-Herald found strange things going on.

    The two-year operation, which took in more than $55 million from criminal groups, resulted in zero arrests but netted $2.4 million for the police posing as money launderers. Members of the 12-person task force traveled far and wide to carry out their deals, from Los Angeles to New York to Puerto Rico.

    Along the way, the small-town cops got a taste of luxury as they used the money for first-class flights, luxury hotels, Mac computers and submachine guns. Meanwhile, the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriffs were buying all sorts of fancy new equipment.

    Besides these “official” uses of the money, confidential records obtained by the Miami-Herald show that officers withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars with no record of where the money went.

    “They were like bank robbers with badges,” said Dennis Fitzgerald, an attorney and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who taught undercover tactics for the U.S. State Department. “It had no law enforcement objective. The objective was to make money.”

    The operation, which was not fully reported to federal authorities, funneled millions of dollars to overseas criminals and interfered with investigations being carried out on known money launderers.

    The latest revelations show that at least 20 people in Venezuela were sent drug money from the Florida cops, including William Amaro Sanchez, the foreign minister under Hugo Chavez and now special assistant to President Nicolas Maduro.

    They wired a total of $211,000 to Sanchez, even while the U.S. government was investigating Venezuelan government leaders involved in the drug trade. Instead of reporting their knowledge of Sanchez to federal agencies, the cops went on laundering money, taking their cut, and all the while aiding Sanchez in his machinations, which likely included political corruption.

    Four other Venezuelan criminals and smugglers were major recipients of the millions being wired from the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriff’s Office, including a figure tied to one of the largest drug cartels in the hemisphere.

    These actions violated strict federal bans on sending illegal money overseas, and the Florida cops never investigated the backgrounds of the people receiving their laundered drug money.

    “I can’t think of a more podunk town than Bal Harbour — not in a bad way. But in the sense that these cops would have otherwise been stopping traffic or shooting radar,” said Ruben Oliva, who has represented alleged narco-traffickers since the 1980s. “In reality they were being launderers. The minute they started doing busts, it would have been over.

    “This is like a movie. You’ve got these guys and they’re flying all over. They’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m in the big leagues.’ I’ve seen every kind of law enforcement money-laundering investigations. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s really one for the ages.”



    After the Department of Justice busted the Bal Harbour PD for misspending seized money to pay police salaries, the Miami-Herald began deeper investigations and found a much bigger pool of money that was never noticed by the feds. Soon after that, the ambitious sting operation—which was really just a money-making scheme—began to fall apart.

    “The Miami Herald gained unprecedented access to the confidential records of the undercover investigation, reviewing thousands of records including cash pickup reports, emails, DEA reports, bank statements and wire transfers for millions of dollars. The inquiry found:

    ▪ Police routinely withdrew cash — thousands at a time — totaling $1.3 million from undercover bank accounts, but to this day there are no records to show where the money was spent. “In all my years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chief Overton said.

    ▪ Bal Harbour officials say they cannot find receipts for hundreds of thousands in expenses, including five-star hotel bookings, dinners that ran up to $1,000 and scores of purchases like laptops, iPads, electronic money counters, flower deliveries, and even iTunes downloads.

    ▪ While posing as launderers, police delivered nearly $20 million to storefront businesses in Miami-Dade to launder the money for drug groups — gathering critical evidence against the business owners — yet took no action against them. Years later, the businesses are still open, some still suspected by federal agents of laundering for the cartels.”

    Cash deposits to SunTrust Bank totaling $28 million do not appear anywhere in police records. It’s no coincidence that the operation was launched “at a time law enforcement agencies across Florida were looking to boost their budgets during one of the state’s toughest economic periods.”

    “We had to find a revenue stream,” said Duane Pottorff, chief of law enforcement for Glades. “It allowed us to have resources we wouldn’t normally have.”

    Federal authorities and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched probes into the Bal Harbour police, which will surely confirm the rampant abuses of power. However, the fact that these types of shady operations, carried out with the help of agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can occur at all is even more troubling.

    Government creates a black market of drugs and blood money through prohibition, then under the War on Drugs it grants itself the power to break the law and get involved in money laundering operations. While the professed goal is to “sting” the bad guys, government rakes in millions upon millions of dollars to further bolster its prohibition and war on drugs.

    The War on Drugs is the real scheme that should be investigated.

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  2. #2
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    Wow
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    Moderator Tri70's Avatar
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    Sounds like congress!!
    If we could follow 1 Commandment, 'Love Each Other!', it would be enough! -Apostle Paul

    21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

    "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day." —Thomas Jefferson (1807)

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    Spartan Elite bkt's Avatar
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    “We had to find a revenue stream,” said Duane Pottorff, chief of law enforcement for Glades. “It allowed us to have resources we wouldn’t normally have.”

    In other words, the cops found that by breaking the law they could get more money. Didn't anyone tell them about civil asset forfeiture? Or did they engage in that, too?
    Hey Claire, are we still at that awkward stage?

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    Reporter who quit on air to fight for pot legalization faces decades in prison

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/...D=ansmsnnews11

    Update | 29 September 2016: The most recent charges against Charlo Greene in her marijuana case include six more offenses than the original indictment, according to a spokeswoman for the Alaska attorney general’s office. Instead of eight counts for a total of 24 years in prison, she is facing 14 offenses for a possible 54 years.

    Reached by phone on Thursday, Greene said she was unaware that she was facing a sentence twice as harsh as the original indictment filed against her last year.

    Original | 28 September 2016 : Charlo Greene did not plan to curse on live television, but on 22 September 2014, the words came pouring out.

    Then a reporter for KTVA, a station in Alaska, Greene ended her segment on marijuana by revealing that she was a proponent of legalization – and was the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, the subject of her news report.

    “F*** it, I quit,” she said, before abruptly walking off camera. The 26-year-old’s stunt shocked her colleagues and made her a viral sensation overnight.

    Greene quickly became a full-time cannabis advocate, working to help Alaskans access pot after the state became the third in the US to legalize recreational pot in November 2014.

    But despite the voter-approved initiative, Alaska has not helped her start a legitimate marijuana operation. On the contrary, the state launched a series of undercover operations and raids at her club, ultimately charging her with eight serious criminal offenses of “misconduct involving a controlled substance”.

    If convicted, she could face 24 years behind bars.

    “It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it,” Greene said in an exclusive interview with the Guardian about her upcoming trial. “It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.”

    The 28-year-old’s case – which she has called a “modern day lynching” – has raised a number of questions about the ongoing war on drugs and could have broader law enforcement implications as more US states move to legalize cannabis and regulate it like alcohol.

    While reporters across the globe rushed to interview the activist after her comical on-air resignation, the Anchorage woman has struggled to get people to pay attention to her prosecution. Advocates say the charges against Greene, who is black, are particularly alarming given the government’s history of disproportionately targeting people of color for minor marijuana offenses with tough-on-crime policies that fueled mass incarceration.

    Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, said she first became interested in marijuana in college when she discovered that it was a much healthier alternative to alcohol. After working at news stations in Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, Greene returned to her hometown in Alaska to work for the CBS affiliate where she was assigned to cover crime and courts – and eventually marijuana.

    After meeting activists in Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, Greene became passionate about its medicinal value.

    “It was something I had been taking for granted – that this could literally be changing these people’s lives.”

    Alaska has a complicated history of confusing and contradictory marijuana rules. The state was the first to legalize cannabis for in-home use in the 1970s and passed a formal medical law in 1998. Officials, however, never created a system for licensing medical dispensaries, meaning users had few legal options.

    “No one could ever agree on what the state of the law in Alaska actually was,” said Robert MacCoun, a Stanford law professor.

    But once weed became legal, Greene grew determined. She was particularly moved after meeting an older woman with a neurological disorder who was forced to buy marijuana on the streets – at one point leading her to be robbed at gunpoint.

    The reporter organized a private patients’ association, which soon became more than just a hobby. Eventually, she decided to use her media job to unveil her cannabis club.

    “I just spoke from my heart for the first time,” Greene recalled, noting that the infamous “f*** it” line was unplanned.

    The 2014 measure – which legalized the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana – went into effect in February 2015. The state, however, had not yet finalized its regulations for retail operations and in the interim, the Alaska Cannabis Club allowed people to purchase “memberships” – supplying marijuana when members made “donations”.

    Detectives immediately targeted the operation, with six undercover purchases and two raids in a five-month period, records show.

    “The fact that they were watching us for so long, I kind of felt violated,” said Jennifer Egbe, Greene’s 26-year-old sister, who helped out at the club. “I was really just heartbroken. I never assumed it would go this far.”

    The raids, which brought armed officers to their property, were especially stressful for Greene, who was worried police might shoot one of her four siblings at the club.

    “I saw all my siblings ... with these guns that my tax dollars paid for pointed at them for what was now legal.”

    Court records show that Greene was not directly involved in any of the undercover transactions, but state prosecutors solely charged her, noting that the club was registered under her name.

    Greene pleaded not guilty, and a trial is expected in the coming months.

    The state attorney general’s office declined to comment.

    Cynthia Franklin, director of the state’s alcohol and marijuana control office, said that Greene’s club and two other businesses are facing consequences for launching before regulations were in place.

    “These people got ahead and said, ‘We’re not going to wait.’”

    Alaska’s weed industry is only getting off the ground now. The state has approved a total of 83 licenses – only 17 of which are for retail businesses, and they haven’t yet opened, Franklin said.

    Greene doesn’t have a lot of vocal supporters in Alaska, even among pro-marijuana activists.

    Tim Hinterberger, who chaired the 2014 legalization campaign, said, “The vast majority of people who are interested in growing or selling … have followed all of the timelines and have been waiting patiently.”

    But even if Greene’s club was premature, critics said she should’ve been issued a fine or citation in line with the punishment for selling alcohol without a liquor license.

    “This is a substance that we’ve decided can be safely consumed by adults,” said Tamar Todd, director of the office of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

    While experts say it’s very unlikely Green will ultimately face decades in prison, the activist struggles not to worry about how incarceration could destroy her life.

    “It casts a cloud over every laugh and every triumph and everything that I’m building and looking forward to.”
    This is what happens when you have too much gov't ...
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    The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

    https://www.politico.eu/article/obam...-off-the-hook/

    PART I
    A GLOBAL THREAT EMERGES

    How Hezbollah turned to trafficking cocaine and laundering money through used cars to finance its expansion.

    In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

    The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

    Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

    They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

    But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

    They followed cocaine shipments, tracked a river of dirty cash, and traced what they believed to be the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

    The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

    “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

    The untold story of Project Cassandra illustrates the immense difficulty in mapping and countering illicit networks in an age where global terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime have merged, but also the extent to which competing agendas among government agencies — and shifting priorities at the highest levels — can set back years of progress.
    when you realize that your own gov't is involved then the failure of the War on Drugs makes perfect sense
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    No surprises for me there, it's on a much grander scale in this case, but I have always felt that if our government wanted to stop drug trafficking into our country they could. Too much money changing hands to turn off the tap.....

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    Moderator Tri70's Avatar
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    Drugs are a problem from global cartels to big pharma! Slick Willy and oher politicians are on the the payroll.
    If we could follow 1 Commandment, 'Love Each Other!', it would be enough! -Apostle Paul

    21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

    "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day." —Thomas Jefferson (1807)

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