We don’t need no stinkin’ jurisdiction

At TalkLeft, Jeralyn has a fascinating post: Trial Starts Monday in “DEA African Adventures” Case

It discusses the extremely bizarre legal maneuverings that seem to all the DEA to enforce American laws using taxpayer money, anywhere in the universe.

I’ve been writing for over a year about what I call the DEA’s African Vacations. Shorter version: DEA agents go to Africa, set up an elaborate sting, whereby cocaine from South America is flown to Ghana or elsewhere in Africa, so that it can be transported to Europe, its final destination. Even though the cocaine isn’t headed to the U.S., the feds in the U.S. indict the participants, have them arrested/kidnapped in Africa and fly them to the U.S. to stand trial on charges ranging from conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit narco-terrorism, to conspiracy to distribute or import drugs.

If the Government is successful in the prosecutions, we will bear not only the cost of the overseas investigation, the cost of prosecution (and in many cases, the cost of defending those charged), and the cost of pre-trial detention, but also the cost of incarceration of those convicted for the next 10 or 20 years.

When you think about it, it’s a really bizarre notion. I wonder why we don’t send our federal agents to bars in France to arrest French citizens under 21 years old for drinking.

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24 Responses to We don’t need no stinkin’ jurisdiction

  1. kant says:

    So as surprising as it is that the judicial system is letting the DEA enforce American laws out side of the US, i’m actually more surprised that the international community is letting us get away with it.

  2. Chris says:

    Can we please just make congress pass a law to require these DEA agents to dig holes, and then fill them? Hell, they can do it in Florida for all I care, the plane trips will be cheaper.

  3. Chris says:

    Sometimes I wonder what movies and TV shows will do after drugs are legal. Plots centered around drugs are so pervasive in the media that I can’t even imagine what they will do once this is no longer an issue.

    For example, I was watching TV today. First movie, tropic thunder. One of the characters has a heroin addiction and goes through withdrawals during the movie. It ends with a shootout at a heroin processing plant in eastern asia. Robert Downey Jr. is no stranger to heroin either. The next movie that played was white chicks, which starts off with two FBI agents trying to catch some drug traffickers. And you have to love those movies where they catch the big drug kingpin at the end, knowing that the heroes accomplished absolutely nothing (2 Fast 2 Furious). I could list other examples, but there’s no need. “A drug kingpin is the bad guy” is right up there with “kids try to get beer underage, hilarity ensues”, “bad guy killed your {family member}” and “man falls in love with woman, tries to marry her”.

    It would be like how they took guns, violence, smoking or anything else out of cartoons. What’s left is so generic that you can only imagine what’s supposed to go there. For example, the cartoon bad guy is doing a deal with stolen merchandise instead of drugs because kids shouldn’t be exposed to drugs – how is anyone going to relate to that? Stolen goods don’t create the same foreign feeling that scary drugs do. You’re supposed to look at these drug dealers in movies and think “those are drugs, and those are drug dealers. I would never encounter either in reality”.

    And every time I hear Tim Allen speak I just think “this guy did two years in federal prison for cocaine trafficking”. And now he’s doing commercials telling us how great Michigan is. I guess he’s a model citizen.

  4. malcolm kyle says:

    It’s gonna be a long hot summer:
    It’s Time to Storm the Bastille

  5. Robert says:

    It’s like raiding a medical marijuana dispensary – easy target. FInding someone willing to accept the lure of easy money in an impoverished West African nation can’t be terribly hard. There are millions if not billions of people around the globe who would fall for a DEA “sting.” Putting them all in a cage is an expensive proposition for U.S. taxpayers. It’s not a crime to be poor, but it might as well be.

  6. This is not my America says:

    Hence the words “policeman of the world” and the government nmeans it. They will impose our laws in other countries if they can get by with it.How else are you supposed to dominate the world.

  7. Dante says:

    It’s because the DEA is no longer a drug interdiction agency. They have become an intelligence agency, but they use the War on Drugs to get entry to various places.

    The best part? Anybody who refuses to allow DEA access to their country is targeted by the awesome might of the US war machine (like Evo Morales).

    The War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Everything – It’s all a ruse to spy on people.

  8. warren says:

    On a smaller level these agents are having a blast.Free coke [immunity from arrest]at the same time keeping the price up for THEIR personal gain at home.[rember Iran Contra].Only in America. sniff. sniff.

  9. don’t give them any ideas pete ;^)

  10. Voltear says:

    This article linked to a NYT story that’s a little more comprehensive and worth a read if time permits: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/world/26wikidrugs.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=world . A search of “matador wiretapping” yielded some interesting shinola.

    I have been disgusted by the “gun investigations, that have no drug ties, on which the DEA is now embarking. It seems like this agency is on the make like never before.

  11. Ed Dunkle says:

    “So as surprising as it is that the judicial system is letting the DEA enforce American laws out side of the US, i’m actually more surprised that the international community is letting us get away with it.”

    We are the bullies in the neighborhood. If you don’t do as we say, we screw you over in the WTO or make it harder for emmigrants or some such shit. About the only country that doesn’t do our bidding is China.

  12. Chris says:


    FP: You’ve made your views on legalization very clear in the past. How do you respond to the growing number of former Latin American leaders — former Mexican President Vicente Fox, most recently — who have come out in favor of legalization or at least a radical overhaul of the current policy?

    GK: Isn’t if funny how people who no longer have responsibility for anyone’s safety or security suddenly see the light? I think it’s not a lot different from what we’ve heard in recent years in the United States, which is: We’ve had a war on drugs for 40 years and we don’t see success. If we have a kid in high school, they can still get drugs or there’s drugs on the street corner. So legalization must be an answer.

    What we in government fail to do is to show that there really are quite successful, cost-effective programs we can use, so we don’t have to go from the “war on drugs has failed” to “let’s legalize.”

    By the way, I’ve never seen any of the legalization arguments that say, here’s how it will work and here’s how we’ll regulate it. Heaven knows, we’re not very successful with alcohol. We don’t collect much in tax money to cover the costs. We certainly can’t keep it out of the hands of teenagers or people who get behind the wheel. Why in heavens name do we think that if we legalize marijuana, we’d have a system where we could collect enough tax revenue to cover the increased health-care costs? I haven’t seen that grand plan.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      The “taxes don’t cover the costs of drinking alcohol consumptions is one of the most despicable lies that the Know Nothings like to use. If the former accountants of Enron aren’t green with envy for the hideous twisting of numbers that lead to that “conclusion” it can only be because they were hired to do it.

      Health costs incurred by drinking alcohol abuse aren’t covered by public resources except at the low end of the fiscal spectrum. Lindsey Lohan doesn’t cost the taxpayers a penny, she’s got enough money to cover her cost.

      Gotta love the fantasy of “lost productivity”. Let’s just pretend that if someone weren’t an alcoholic that they’d be producing whatever it is that they’re supposedly not producing. No one is entitled to the productivity of another. Back in the days of the USSR we’d often hear about people sent to the gulag for “not producing” thereby cheating the state of what it deserved. This particular whopper is assumption built on a platform of assumptions which themselves depend on a complete set of fictional assumptions to get to the non-cash “cost” of “lost productivity”. Simply eliminating this accounting fantasy lowers the total “cost” of drinking alcohol abuse to where the gov’t is pocketing money after paying for the true costs. If I want to live in an inoperative van down by the river while in a constant state of inebriation it’s my goddamn right to do so.

      Thanks for letting me vent.

  13. paul says:

    Gil hasn’t seen the grand plan because he is PAID not to see it. Lots of plans are out there, and some of them seem quite sensible and workable to me.

  14. divadab says:

    The DEA sees the writing on the wall (legalization tipping point reached re. cannabis) and is frantically seeking new ways to justify its existence. IMHO the hidden message in this post.

    Relax your outrage – they’ll be the first cuts after the bankruptcy and debt default. Have to find productive work, they will, while we free grow our own food and watch the dominionist fuckers beg. Let them live in the jails they built.

  15. vicky vampire says:

    The problem with these DEA folks there used to big pay checks job security and for what interfering with what people ingest and spying on folks and using excuse it’s all for terrorism and helping children, they have forgotten what it’s like to have a real job like maybe work in construction yeah till your back hurts so much you need a little relief from Cannabis and maybe Nursing or Social work or volunteering and bathing and helping folks with AIDS no the real world is hard instead they feel sainted for causing more destruction in their path in their DEA IVORY TOWERS.

  16. allan420 says:

    and there are none so blind as those who refuse to see…

    Reyes: Take out cartel heads
    Rep thinks drone missile strikes possible

    No comments so far but it could use some…

    Last week, the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management conducted a hearing on Homeland Security’s role in the Mexican war against drug cartels.

    Subcommittee chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, opened the hearing saying the Zetas’ Feb. 15 attack in Mexico on two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that killed one and severely wounded the other was “a game changer which alters the landscape if the United States’ involvement in Mexico’s war against the drug cartels.”

    Didn’t anyone tell them it was ATF guns?

  17. Servetus says:

    The DEA cases are all about self aggrandizement. Bureaucratic narcissism. Drug agents think they’re movie heroes, like James Bond or Bruce Willis characters. Here’s the latest pitch:

    The intrepid DEA heroes strike deep in darkest Africa to save the little American children from evil cocaine smuggled from South America through Africa, to Europe, and ultimately to America by Aunt Margaret who scored in Hamburg. Dowdy old Aunt Margaret leaves her coke in obvious places instead of putting it in the locking medicine cabinet because she wants to hide it ….blah, blah.

    Clearly there’s some turkey sitting at a DEA desk coming up with this orchestrated B-movie garbage. If the DEA were effective they would be out of show business.

  18. DdC says:

    Marc Emery Moving Day 04/04/11
    On Friday, April 1st, Marc was informed that he will be shipped out to a new prison on Monday, April 4th. Federal inmates can be shipped anywhere in the USA, and are never told where they are going. Marc will not be able to write newsletters while being transferred, or until he is settled into his new prison and able to get commissary funds for buying stamps to send out mail. There is still a Newsletter #10 to be posted, and two more significant articles by Marc.

    Please stay tuned to his progress here and at http://www.Facebook.com/PrinceOfPot and http://www.Facebook.com/JodieEmery where updates are posted right away.

    Discussion about Marc Emery in US Federal Prison after being extradited by the Conservative Government of Canada in May 2010. Marc Emery is serving 5 years for political activism and financing drug law reform worldwide through the sale of marijuana seeds.

    A Drug Warmongers Toll on Americans
    DEA Release Admits Marc Emery Extradition Politically Motivated
    The US Drug Enforcement Administration admitted on the day of Marc Emery’s arrest that his investigation and extradition were politically motivated, designed to target the Marijuana Legalization organization that Emery spearheaded and ran for over a decade in Canada.

    “Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement. … Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada.”
    ~ Karen Tandy,
    head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
    Tandy’s office has declined to comment about the statement, but locally, federal prosecutors have distanced themselves from her remarks.

  19. kaptinemo says:

    Empire’s reach is only as long as the bank loans allow it to be.

    The legislators still haven’t tumbled to the fact yet that this nation is flat busted broke. We’re still acting as if the money spigot hasn’t been turned off, that there’ll always be money for imperialist adventures in foreign countries any time we like. And if anything smacks of imperialism it’s our extending our DrugWar into foreign countries as if they were our satraps.

    But…comes the day when it will become very clear indeed that we can’t afford to play this game, anymore. When people start asking why we have money to spend on these foreign adventures when there’s none for social safety nets, and that question is asked with anger, not pleading, watch out. I wouldn’t want to be in the respondent’s shoes.

    • denmark says:

      With the jobs that Mic donald has promised it’ll slow this eventual death. It will make Bambi look good for one or more reasons too and this is one of the reasons it was done. Gawd, who would have thunk that the gment would approach them and ask them to Temporarily save the economy.
      Hanging by a string we are and this string is not strong enough.

      Yes, the anger will be immense.

  20. Duncan20903 says:

    Kind of off topic but still resulting in cognitive dissonance. The Florida Republicans are trying to criminalize bestiality. The goat farmer’s have bill boards all up and down I-95 that simply say, “What about the kids?” But the thing I find most remarkable is that this is the 4th year in a row that the Florida GOP has tried to get this law passed.

    You know, for a long time I’ve entertained the baseless speculation that a lot of the nutcake things that lawmakers vote for is because certain special interests are in possession of photos/video of certain key politicians in compromising positions with farm animals. This certainly does not dissuade me from believing that.

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