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October 2003
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What a Profitable War!

In today’s Tampa Tribune: Sarasota Cashes In On Forfeitures By Luring Drug Dealers To Area
A picture named bait.jpg

SARASOTA – Dealers from as far away as England, Venezuela and Panama are being lured to Sarasota to buy illegal drugs from undercover detectives posing as dealers.
Police arrest the dealers and seize the cash and vehicles left behind.
Since 2001, more than $1.3 million has flowed into the department under federal and state forfeiture laws that allow police to keep money and valuables seized from suspected dealers….
In addition to spending about $450,000 on conferences and informants, the department has spent $160,000 to lease expensive cars, $45,000 on cell phone bills and $35,000 on lawyers who handle forfeiture proceedings.

That’s right, the drug war is so profitable to law enforcement, that they are importing criminals from other countries.
So what happens when the boring routine business of protecting and serving their citizens gets in the way of the department’s lucrative sting operation? (The forfeiture money can be used for fancy cars, but not normal operating costs.) Let’s see:

When the city commission asked Police Chief Peter Abbott earlier this year to cut his department’s budget, he elected to maintain the drug program and suggested that two community policing programs be eliminated. In the face of a public outcry, he decided to continue the community programs.

Nice to know there was at least a public outcry.
This story is just one more indication of a corrupt war on drugs, kept going by profits to the drug dealers and the drug warriors, but paid for by you and me.
Update: Vice Squad has some additional thoughts on this story. While you’re there, check out Vice Squad’s very interesting discussion about Rush Limbaugh and addiction.

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