Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Prohibition produces corrupt cops

Shawn Verbeke would seem to be an unlikely candidate to become a drug dealer. The 30 year old former Marine and D.C. police officer who lives with his mother, was about to move to Kuwait to work for a contracting firm aiding the U.S. military. Yet in another glaring example of how prohibition not only fails to eliminate drugs but also corrupts those who would not otherwise have become involved in them, Shawn was instead arrested on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and methamphetamine and now faces a 20 year jail sentence.

Shawn was seduced by the obscene profits of the black market created by the prohibition and probably the cachet that comes from being a dealer among drug consumers. Eventually he began using the substances himself, even while in uniform. He was taken in and then taken down by an accomplice who was arrested and then rolled on him.

The trafficker, who is referred to only as "confidential source #1," said he and Verbeke had agreed that Verbeke would shake down other drug dealers in nightclubs and take their drugs, and that the trafficker would sell the drugs and give Verbeke a percentage of the profits.

Four other unnamed informants are quoted as saying that Verbeke ingested and purchased methamphetamine while in uniform at a District nightclub and sold drugs at other clubs in the District.

The US Attorney told the court, "He was entrusted by the people of Washington to serve and protect, but he turned that badge, he turned that gun, into a weapon to sell illicit drugs.''

One thinks if there wasn't an illicit market that creates such enormous tax-free dividends, he wouldn't have been tempted to risk his reputation and his career by dealing. And if the prohibition can't even stop law enforcement officers from using drugs, how can it be expected to eliminate use by ordinary and otherwise law-abiding citizens?

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