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Tulia, Texas Two?

Via Scott at Grits for Breakfast is what appears to be another Tulia-style outrage, foisted upon us by the ever-corrupt drug task force process.
Following a two year investigation by local, state, and federal law enforcement, there has been a massive bust in Anderson County, Texas netting 72 defendents (56 in state court and 16 in federal) arrested on Wednesday. The charges involve building a crack cocaine distribution ring in Anderson County, and all defendents are residents of the county.
Are you wondering why you haven’t heard of Anderson County? After all, with such a large crack cocaine conspiracy network, it must be huge, right?
Anderson County, Texas is a rural county (about 1,000 square miles) featuring agriculture, grazing land and a timber industry. The largest towns are Palestine, Elkhart and Frankston. The entire population of Anderson County, Texas is 55,109.
Now, according to the government’s national data, approximately .3% of the population uses crack. The number goes up to .4% in the south, but down to .2% in rural counties, so let’s use the .3% figure. That means we can expect that there might be 165 crack users in Anderson County. So a 72 person crack cocaine distribution network? Boy, now that’s service!
Imagine only having to share your crack dealer with one or two others! Sort of like your own personal crack assistant. Not sure how they do that with a median household income in the county of $31,000, though.
So now with the arrest of 72 people, what can we expect? Well, in addition to the costs of a two year investigation and all of the costs to prosecute them, there’s incarceration. Most of the defendants are facing 40 years to life. Assuming the minimum, that’s over $60 million to jail them (which would also pay for 4 years of college for every teenager in the county).
Oh, and people will still use drugs.
Scott really hits the nail on the head when he describes how these stings work.

These long-term “investigations” follow a pattern — the undercover operative befriends non-dealers in the black community and after a while asks for assistance purchasing drugs. Most people netted never profited from any drug sale, but either referred or acted as a go-between for someone they thought was a friend. That doesn’t matter to the drug warriors, though.

Of course, that scenario assumes some of the cases aren’t utterly trumped up to begin with. In Tulia and Floresville, TX, drug task force undercover cops actually set up innocent people. In the most famous of the Tulia scenarios, a young woman was able to prove she was cashing a check in Oklahoma City at the time the officer claimed she sold him drugs in Tulia.

Drug Task Forces – a blight on our communities.

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