DRUG WAR BRIEFS: Who's Policing the Police?

July 1- The Washington Times reports: In a state long associated with crooked politicians, a current investigation into judicial misconduct may shake the very foundations of the legal system.

The Washington Times has learned that the arrest of a Jefferson Parish judge last month is part of an FBI investigation targeting judges, bail bondsmen, deputy sheriffs and lawyers.

The first public break in the long-rumored probe came three weeks ago when a tough-on-crime state judge, Ronald D. Bodenheimer, was arrested and accused of arranging to have illegal drugs planted in the vehicle of a man who had complained about what he said was the judge's illegal operation of a marina in eastern New Orleans.

Judge Bodenheimer, 49, and Curley Joseph Chewning, 57, of Chalmette, La., were charged with illegally possessing and distributing the prescription drug OxyContin.

July 3- Winston-Salem Journal reports: Authorities in North Carolina have seized $1.4 million worth of narcotics and have convicted more than 80 Marines and sailors of using or distributing designer drugs, officials said yesterday.

It was one of the biggest drug investigations involving the military in recent years. Although narcotics cases in the military are not rare, they usually involve smaller numbers of people. A recent drug scandal at the Air Force Academy, for example, implicated 38 cadets.

Officials said that a two-year investigation, code-named Operation Xterminator, was conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service office at Camp Lejeune, N.C., outside of Jacksonville, along with state and local authorities.

The drugs involved were Ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine, Marine Corps officials said.

July 4- The New York Times reports: President Bush is expected to approve the resumption of a program to force down or shoot down airplanes suspected of ferrying drugs in Latin America, a year after the program was halted by the mistaken downing of a plane carrying American missionaries in Peru, American officials say.

Once the president gives final approval, the State Department would take over the program from the Central Intelligence Agency. American officials said air interdiction operations could begin in Colombia as early as this fall and would likely be expanded to Peru later.

The program calls for the United States to identify and locate suspected drug planes and for Colombian and Peruvian air force planes to shoot them down if they do not respond to calls to land.

July 7- The Scotland on Sunday reports: A Wheelchair-using multiple sclerosis sufferer is facing a year in prison following allegations she baked cannabis-laced chocolates and sent them to fellow MS patients.

Biz Ivol, 54, whose condition has left her house-bound in her Orkney home, has been charged with supplying cannabis. If found guilty, she could face up to 12 months in jail.

Ivol's friends say she is extremely distressed by the police move, which has been condemned by politicians and cannabis campaigners.

Ivol's friend, Andrew Caldwell, said: "I find it disgusting to say the least that she's being persecuted like this. I am not normally lost for words, but I think it is itself criminal that people should be victimised in this way."

Hundreds of people with MS claim cannabis relieves their symptoms, which can include debilitating pain in the joints and muscles.

July 10- Reuters reports: Britain is expected to brush aside a storm of protest Wednesday and relax its laws on cannabis in the face of a dramatic rise in use of the drug.

Home Secretary David Blunkett is due to make a statement later Wednesday to announce a downgrade of cannabis to a low risk category C drug, making possessing small amounts or smoking it in private a non-arrestable offense.

A report published late last year showed cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the European Union, with at least one in 10 adults in the 15-nation group having used it.

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

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