Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The drug war is toxic

Lamar has an interview out this week with Ethan Brown about last year's Murder In the Bayou. They don't talk about the Boustany thing which is a good decision because, while I do still wonder why nobody decided to follow up on that, it isn't the central issue in the book where there are plenty more enticing threads to pull on.
That milieu, the psychology of that place is rife with, as Brown puts it, “institutionalized corruption.”

Jennings is situated directly off of Interstate 10, in between Houston and New Orleans and in the center of one of the biggest drug corridors in the country.“This specific area is sort of a drug tunnel. It’s a major trafficking route,” Brown said. “That creates a big problem in and of itself. The second thing is: The drug war is so inherently corrupt that it leads to (this).”

It also helps to explain why all of these murders remain unsolved.

“It seems like there’s a feeling that this thing is an impossible mess. You can’t trust anyone. The witnesses are crap. There’s a lack of physical evidence,” Brown said. “On the other hand, you start looking at this, and it leads to power. It leads to people in the Sheriff’s office, people who are prominent in the community.”

And this drug interdiction gambit as a proverbial "aorta of corruption" is not unique to Jeff Davis Parish.  It happens all over the place.
The FBI raided the offices of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office and the Hammond Police Department on Thursday, seizing computers, cellphones and case files in simultaneous searches stemming from a broadening U.S. Justice Department investigation of a federal drug task force.

The daylong raids closed down two government buildings in Hammond as agents conducted interviews and carried out at least two search warrants related to a nearly year-old inquiry into a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force accused of stealing cash from drug dealers, selling confiscated narcotics and tampering with witnesses.

Two former members of the New Orleans-based task force — both of whom worked for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office — are facing federal charges, and one pleaded guilty earlier this year to state drug conspiracy charges.
I do still hope there is follow-up with regard to the Boustany allegations. But it also seems like there's a lot more to be uncovered that goes well beyond just that matter. 

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