A reverse buy bust appears to be in the works for the Albuquerque Police Department, but the details of how they plan to go about catching low-level drug users — by becoming crack cocaine manufacturers — signifies everything inherently corrupt about the U.S.’ war on drugs.
Burque Mediaexclusively revealed APD’s intentions to become temporary crack manufacturers, after a confidential source shared the affidavit about the impending bust.
“Powdered cocaine may be taken into APD’s Criminalistics Unit to be made into crack cocaine,” reads the Affidavit and Motion to Release Evidence, dated February 25, 2016, and signed by a District Court Judge. In addition to the police-manufactured crack, APD is also permitted to use methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin from its cataloged evidence stores to become drug dealers in order to catch individuals who use those illegal substances.
“Once the transaction is completed,” the document continues, “the individual purchasing the drugs will be arrested and charged with Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. The detectives will attempt to immediately retrieve the drugs sold.”
While high-level, volume-transporting, and sometimes violent drug dealers — created by the illegality of such substances in the State’s failed drug war — won’t be the target of this bust, small-time users will be entrapped by police con-artists and have their lives upended with serious charges. Police, in such a dual operation, become perpetrators of the very problem they claim to be combating — to catch individuals whose only harm is to their own person.
According to Burque Media’s source, police initiated the reverse sting operation, which will run through the end of 2016, pursuant to complaints from area businesses and residents.
“The business[es], residents, and patrons have complained about drug dealing throughout the City of Albuquerque,” claims the affidavit. “Citizens have contacted Detectives complaining about being asked, by people walking/driving through the City of Albuquerque, if they wanted to purchase drugs.”
As the anonymous source noted, APD’s bust likely targets the city’s most precariously situated and vulnerable residents: homeless drug addicts.
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“Law enforcement has tried many methods and has been unable to effectively stop the supply of drugs to the street dealers and users in these areas,” the document states. “These methods include but are not limited too [sic] successfully purchasing drugs from drug dealers in the area [...]
“It is believed that taking enforcement action against the purchasers of drugs in these areas, if well known, would reduce the demand for drugs in the City of Albuquerque.”
Obviously, Albuquerque isn’t looking to Portugal, where all drugs have been decriminalized to enormous success — including across-the-board drops in both usage and addiction rates — for a model to combat, ironically, issues stemming from America’s drug war. When an open and legal market exists for those who choose to use, and includes ease of obtaining help from treatment centers when necessary, residents and businesses wouldn’t be pestered by addicts on the street.
In fact, APD’s plans are troubling, even for insiders.
“This is a practice I have frowned upon because of the use of seized drugs already tagged into evidence, and I have not seen it for some time,” explained Pete Dinelli, former Chief Deputy District Attorney and former Chief Public Safety Officer, who doubted the veracity of the APD’s plans until the affidavit was filed in court. “It’s downright dangerous to be using drugs seized in other drug busts because of chain-of-custody issues and the risk associated with not being able to track what happens. The city could also be exposed to liability for using tainted drugs that they lose track of.”
Dinelli’s concerns may be justified. As if supplementing the use of logged drug evidence with police-made crack weren’t bad enough, the affidavit points to awareness the APD likely will lose some of its product over the course of the sting.
“Any drugs not used in this operation will be returned to the Albuquerque Police Department’s Evidence Unit,” the document concludes.
As Dinelli summarized of the whole operation, “This is a very poor law enforcement practice.”
When even the cops are manufacturing crack, you know the war on drugs is nothing short of a farce.