Saturday, March 04, 2006

War in Perpetuity

This is how the war on some drugs compromises the public safety.
They cased homes containing drugs, money and weapons like suspects in any other robbery ring, prosecutors say.

But instead of donning ski masks and stealing through windows in the dead of night, the robbers allegedly wore police uniforms and badges as they carried out raids that authorities say were intended to appear like official law enforcement searches. Five of the suspects were sworn officers at the time.

Nineteen people have been charged in the ring, led by then-Los Angeles police Officer Ruben Palomares, prosecutors said Thursday in announcing the results of a four-year investigation.

Palomares and his associates are accused of targeting locations where people were suspected of selling drugs, then gaining access by saying they were conducting a legitimate police search before stealing valuables, prosecutors said. [...]

Stolen property included 600 pounds of marijuana, TVs, jewelry, money and rifles from Los Angeles County sites.
Instead of solving crimes, these officers were seduced by black market profits into commiting them. Then there's the honest cops who are seduced into easy busts for profit on the legalized robbery side. Thanks to forfeiture laws, the police have no incentive to solve the drug problem. They're making a lot of money by seizing property on marginal busts. They don't have to prove anything to take the property. A lot of people don't claim it. Often costs more than its worth to get it back through the courts. Instant funding for as Radley puts it, your local Mayberry's SWAT team equipment.

Meanwhile these small time busts clog the system allowing violent criminals to get out because the courts are overloaded with penny ante possession "with intent" cases and the prisons are overloaded with non-violent offenders sentenced under mandatory minimums. It's a system designed to fail and thus assure its continued relevance. What a racket.


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