Monday, December 12, 2005

Kentucky task force targets the elderly and infirm

The latest trend in criminal incarceration in rural Kentucky sees a growing number of senior citizens being arrested for selling their prescribed pain meds to addicts. For instance, "Dottie Neeley, 87, was fingerprinted, photographed and thrown in jail, imprisoned as much by the tubing from her oxygen tank as by the concrete and steel around her."
Since April 2004, Operation UNITE, a Kentucky anti-drug task force crated largely in response to rampant abuse of the powerful and sometimes lethal painkiller OxyContin, has charged more than 40 people 60 or older with selling primarily prescription drugs in the mountains.
Task force head Dan Smoot, defends the practice. "Most of the elderly we arrest are merely continuing a family tradition," he said. "It has been part of their culture for a long time." In other words, he's implying this 87 year old woman is a career criminal and drug kingpin.

The local cop sees it differently.
When a person is on Social Security, drawing $500 a month, and they can sell their pain pills for $10 apiece, they'll take half of them for themselves and sell the other half to pay their electric bills or buy groceries," Floyd County jailer Roger Webb said.
Really. There aren't too many "investor class" Republicans living in the hills of Kentucky and they're the only ones benefiting from this alleged Busheconomic boom in our economy.

The WOsD is a war on poor people. Isn't it time for our law enforcement agents to start investigating serious crimes again?


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