Drug War Profiteers

I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about the Sunrise police before, but this is an amazing investigative report in the Sun Sentinel:

Cops. Cash. Cocaine. How Sunrise police make millions selling drugs by Megan O’Matz and John Maines.

In most drug stings, the police attempt to buy drugs from dealers. But in Sunrise, the police sell the drugs. And instead of trying to bust people in their community, they lure people to Sunrise from all over the country to buy cocaine from the police, and then take their money and cars.

They have a network of informants who go out and find buyers and get them to come to Sunrise. Some of these informants are paid (usually a percent of the take), while others are victims of previous reverse stings and now are working to reduce their sentences. One paid informant has made over $800,000 in the past 5 years.

This investigative report has amazing detail, down to the individual amounts that informants have been paid and the incredible amount of overtime paid to police (from their profits, of course).

Kudos to the writers for bringing all this detail to light and showing just how much the drug war is a profit-driven business.

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24 Responses to Drug War Profiteers

  1. Daniel Williams says:

    I agree: kudos to the writers. Hope it has legs…

  2. Servetus says:

    A lot of the Sunrise stings resemble the 1982 John DeLorean cocaine arrest that was overturned by a jury as an entrapment. It’s doubtful many of the Sunrise defendants arrested under similar circumstances would have access to DeLorean’s legal defense capabilities, prestige, or skin color. Sunrise’s successful stings wouldn’t be so successful, otherwise.

    Many crimes remain uncommitted because the perpetrators, who may be mere dreamers, don’t have the financial, emotional or physical wherewithal to take the next step. The entrapment defense was designed to stop police officers from taking the next step on behalf of someone too ill-prepared to commit a crime by themselves, but the defense has become a human rights casualty of the drug war. It’s been replaced by an illusion of justice, one that creates what it claims to prevent, and one that actively prevents itself from being found out.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      One major part of Mr. DeLorean’s successful affirmative defense was that he wasn’t a cocaine dealer previous to his transaction with the undercover agents. Another part is that the police snitch used extraordinary tactics to talk Mr. DeLorean into participating. It didn’t hurt his defense that DeLorean Motors was in the process of going teats up. Anyway, it’s pretty cut and dried that it isn’t entrapment for an agent of the police to offer someone the opportunity to break the law. But it’s just not likely that anyone who is predisposed to violating a particular law could successfully use an entrapment defense. The police agent offered Mr. DeLorean both sides of the transaction. The snitch also threatened his family. How do we know that such threats were real rather than self serving? Because Mr. DeLorean sent his attorney an “only to be opened in the event of my death” letter detailing his fears and naming the people to investigate if they decided to murder him.

      Another difference is that in 1982 civil forfeiture wasn’t the ubiquitous tool of law enforcement that it is today. It was the Reagan administration that foisted that particular turd onto the United States of America. I’ll bet the local yokels from Sunrise would drop any questionable criminal charges since the object of these police actions is highway robbery and the criminal charges aren’t needed for them to keep their loot.

  3. Paul McClancy says:

    Wow, some of the prohibitionist’s comments on the article are absolutely terrifying. They actually believe the community is being helped and drugs are being taken “of the streets”.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I think we can take away a very valuable lesson from those sycophants’ comments; i.e. you just can’t fool a prohibitionist. Well, that is unless you dress up a fatherly, scientist looking guy in a labcoat and have him deliver the propaganda in a somber tone of authoritative gravitas. Then you can get them to fall for just about anything you can possibly imagine.

      • Paul McClancy says:

        Agreed. I was particularly intrigued by the exchange between Stephen Downing (a LEAP member) and Mike DeMarcus (a LEO). Mike basically said that Downing isn’t knowledgeable of current events because he’s been “out of the loop” for so long. I was shocked that downing didn’t respond to his comments.

        Anyways, I’ve noticed prohibs seem to have a fetish for studies that come out of New Zealand. What do you think?

        • Duncan20903 says:


          It’s not that they have a fetish for New Zealand “science” it’s because NZ produces a lot of “scientific” studies with the results they prefer. IMO of course.

          New Zealand, Great Britain, the United States and Australia are definitely in the elite levels of producing the most hysterical rhetoric posing as “scientific” study. IMO in that order but that’s arguable. But if it were a horse race it would be a 4 way photo finish and more than likely undulates.

          Oh, sometimes Canadian “scientists” act as if they want to join the club but it appears that taken as a whole the Canadians aren’t very comfortable in producing propaganda for prohibitionist parasites.

          I’ve been wondering about how that came about. I suppose that Great Britain is the chicken and the rest its eggs so there’s a genetic disposition.

    • Servetus says:

      We’re going to need a Cookie Czar.

    • Jose says:

      As addictive as cocaine? Dang, that is only schedule 2! Lets get cookies on the csa pronto, D.E.A.th raids on school lunchrooms everywhere.

      The cops in Sunrise are probably already eyeing lunch boxes for oreo confiscation.

    • Francis says:

      “Oreos May Be As Addictive As Cocaine”

      Putting aside for the moment the problems with reaching that conclusion based on this study, the way that these kinds of claims are inevitably phrased is interesting. Saying that something is “as addictive as cocaine” does not provide a useful frame of reference for most people. Why? Because most people have no personal experience with cocaine and thus have no real sense for how “addictive” it is. They just think they know, thanks to decades of drug war propaganda, that it’s “super-crazy-so-much-worse-than-booze-try-it-once-and-you’re-hooked” addictive. On the other hand, most people have enjoyed “America’s favorite cookie.” So wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to title the headline “Cocaine may be no more addictive than Oreos”? (It would have been at least equally accurate, no?)

      Side note: Is anyone else alarmed by the rapidly-increasing potency of Oreos that we’ve witnessed in recent years? Today’s Oreos have double–or even triple–the “stuf” (the cookies’ principal addictive ingredient) compared to the Oreos that were encountered by previous generations. These are not your father’s Oreos.

    • primus says:

      What I want to know is whether the mice preferred Oreos to cocaine.

      • “Just as the rats preferred the chamber where they were given cocaine and morphine, they preferred the chamber where they were given Oreos. Yes, they ate the cream first.”

      • darkcycle says:

        That depends, what they were doing before? If the rats were out late clubbing, I would expect them to choose the cocaine over the Oreos. On the other hand, if said rats were just sitting around doing B.T.’s on Pete’s Couch, Oreos would certainly be passed around, rather than a mirror with lines.
        Don’t those researchers know ANYTHING about rodent behavior?

    • DdC says:

      TransformDrugPolicy ‏@TransformDrugs
      Mind Hacks on ridiculous ‘Oreos as addictive as cocaine’ story picked up by 209 outlets so far

  4. claygooding says:

    When you make the police a funding source for any city or state they will always chase the funding just like we always chase a better paying job. Police should be a necessary evil,,not a source of income.

    • Windy says:

      clay, I question if the police are even a NECESSARY evil, I think we could do quite well without the number and kinds of cops we have in this country.

  5. It seems to be a popular sport in America

    Schmiedings forfeit home, land in pot farm case

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    I’d like to give a tip of the pin to the Arizona Courts. Apparently they have a deep seated respect for the laws. Even more remarkable: in Arpaio County for crying out loud. This isn’t the first time the Arizona Courts have told local and State officials to pound sand in a controversy over the medicinal cannabis patient protection law:

    Judge overturns zoning law on medical marijuana

    Tue Oct 15, 2013

    PHOENIX — A judge has overturned Maricopa County’s zoning ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries, ruling that the ordinance appeared to be a “transparent attempt” to keep the businesses out of unincorporated areas of the county.

    Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon on Monday granted a pretrial verdict in favor of White Mountain Health Center, which plans a dispensary for Sun City, and rejected a similar request on behalf of the county.

    Gordon said the ordinance was written so dispensaries wouldn’t be allowed because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. He also noted there is no available property in Sun City with the zoning category required by the county.

    It’s simply astonishing how many people believe that these laws are preempted by Federal law. It’s been 17 flipping years with nary a one struck down. Don’t these people ever review what they “know” to be true?

  7. DdC says:

    StoptheDrugWar.org ‏@stopthedrugwar
    Jerry Brown Vetoes California “Defelonization” Bill [FEATURE]:… #drugwarchronicle

    California Governor Proposes Massive Prison Expansion
    To Avoid Freeing Inmates

    Forfeiture $quads

    Money Grubbing Dung Worriers

    Policing for Profit

    Russ Belville ‏@RadicalRuss
    Reminder: The marijuana movement and the marijuana business are two different things.

  8. ShelbiCummin says:

    Email sent by Stephen Downing of LEAP to Paul Chabot –

    Dear Mr. Chabot;

    The Supreme Court case in Brady V. Maryland holds that prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official (including reserve officers) involved in their case has a sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity. Brady evidence also includes evidence material to credibility of a civilian witness, such as evidence of false statements by the witness or evidence that a witness was paid to act as an informant. Brady evidence also includes evidence material to the credibility of those who receive state and federal grants and those involved with the administration and expenditures related to such grants – – –

    A recent jury decision has placed you in the category of now being known as a “Brady Cop. ” Thus, you now have a responsibility to notify the appropriate authorities of your new status as it affects your credibility in all future official and public acts, appearances, speeches, testimony and administration/spending of taxpayer funds. I sincerely hope that you accommodate that responsibility in full rather than suffer the added embarrassment of others doing it for you.

    I recall the day last year when you publicly demeaned my character in a television interview by stating: “My good friend Chief Downing has lost his way.” It is always a good practice to look inward prior to labeling others with the kind of shallow integrity that best describes themselves.

    You will be known as a “Brady Cop” for the rest of your life. That, my friend, is losing your way.

    Stephen Downing


    • Duncan20903 says:


      I may never figure out why gratuitously insulting prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants is so darn enjoyable. That includes treating it as a spectator sport. The post above reminded me of a classic insult of Paul Chabot’s (lack of) character by Mr. Downing about 1 1/2 years ago. This one is from the “now that’s just plain funny” category:

      California’s DUI laws all-inclusive
      By Stephen Downing 03/31/12

      Paul Chabot’s tortured guest commentary about why Assemblywoman Norma Torres’s zero-tolerance THC driving-under-the-influence bill (AB 2552) is good legislation is typical Chabot.

      Give this guy a rubber duck and he will seize it by the neck like the butt of a pistol and shout “bang” every time.

      But I’m still a bit puzzled; doesn’t everyone who has had the misfortune of knowing Mr. Chabot for more than 15 minutes know that he’s a bald faced liar with an excremental brain? Isn’t this kind of like a court ruling that if you have a rock in your hand and let go of it that it will fall down rather than up?

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