DRUG WAR BRIEFS:Torture, Death and Homelessness

February 16 - Associated Press reports - When Anthony Haynes said he wanted to leave a "tough love" boot camp for problem youngsters last summer, he was forced to eat mud and stand in 116-degree heat as punishment for being a quitter, authorities say. He died later that day in the camp's custody.

After an eight-month investigation, the director of the camp was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder in the 14-year-old's death.

Charles Long II, 56, also was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pulling a knife on a camper, and with marijuana possession, for a quarter-pound of the drug found in his bedroom closet.

Haynes died July 1 during a five-week boot camp near Phoenix operated by the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association.

The medical examiner's office said Haynes died of complications from dehydration and near-drowning -- dehydration after being made to stand in the sun for up to five hours, near-drowning from being left in a motel bathtub, where he had been taken to cool off.

Two other boot camp staffers also were arrested Friday. Ray Anderson, 39, was charged with child abuse for allegedly spanking, stomping, beating and whipping more than 14 children. He also was accused of denying them water or shade in the heat.

A 17-year-old counselor was charged with child abuse and was being held at a juvenile detention center. More arrests were expected, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. The camp, which Arpaio called "organized torture towards children," began operating in 2001 and was closed down by the sheriff's office the day after Haynes' death.

There have been at least five other deaths at youth boot camps in the past decade and numerous abuse allegations across the country.

February 18 -The Philippine Star reports: "Soon, You Can Die From Ecstasy."

Ecstasy, the drug of choice of scions of well-to-do families and habitues of chic bars, may soon be included in the list of illegal substances that merit the death penalty.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said over the weekend the Senate has been rushing the passage of an amended version of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 that would include in the list of banned drugs Ecstasy.

February 19 - The Christian Science Monitor reports: A grandmother who has lived in a public housing project in Oakland, California for 30 years is ordered evicted from her apartment. The action is taken not because the grandmother has done anything wrong.

Instead, she is losing her home because her grandson, unknown to her, smoked marijuana in the complex parking lot.

Barbara Hill is one of four public housing tenants in Oakland who were ordered out of their homes because of someone else's wrongdoing of which they had no knowledge.

Housing authority officials ordered the eviction of Ms. Hill and the others under a law passed by Congress to help fight the war on drugs. It says, in essence, that a tenant in public housing shall be evicted if the tenant, any member of the tenant's household, or any guest engages in drug-related criminal activity on or off the premises.

Today, the US Supreme Court will examine whether such evictions comply with the law as written by Congress, and whether the evictions in any way violate constitutional rights.

Of the four tenants, both Barbara Hill and Willie Lee, 71, were ordered evicted because their grandsons were caught smoking marijuana in the parking lot.

Herman Walker, a 75-year-old disabled man with a live-in caregiver, received his eviction notice because his caregiver and her guests were found with cocaine. Pearlie Rucker, 63, who has lived in public housing for 17 years, was ordered out because her daughter was found with cocaine three blocks from the housing complex.

The case, Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker, is expected to be decided by late June.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson kcnelson@premier1.net.

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