Sunday, September 04, 2005

DEA - compulsive liars

Scott at Grits for Breakfast checks in the latest in prohibition propaganda uncovering a ridiculous overvaluing of a drug bust. Usually this just occurs when the cops announce the bust, in order to make it look bigger, but in this case it was testimony at a trial that sent 2 low-level addicts to jail for life.

In Tyler last week, two newlyweds were sentenced to life in prison for possessing 255 grams of meth. A DEA agent testified at trial that 255 grams was enough to get 45,000 people "high" -- "If those people were lined up side by side, they would form a line from downtown Tyler to Bullard about 17 miles, he said."

Local media dutifully hyped the ridiculous claim. The lede in the local newspaper declared the couple was sentenced "for possessing enough Ice methamphetamine to get half of the population of Smith County high."

But is that true? That would mean that it only took .0056 of a gram -- or just over five one-thousandths of a gram -- for a person to get high on meth. By any measure, that's a big fat lie.
As Scott figures, at most, giving the DEA every benefit of the doubt, it would have allowed 1,275 people to get high once. Chances are the stuff would have actually been distributed among a couple of dozen people and actually consumed by less than 200. Hardly the picture the DEA painted.

One wonders why defense counsel didn't shred that myth at trial, but they probably couldn't afford a lawyer and had an overworked and ineffective public defender.

Justice is not served, nor are the interests of civil society, by spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to punish these two defendants for their addiction, when a few thousand in rehab services could have returned them to health and allowed them to become productive citizens who contribute to the tax base.


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