Huge Amtrak drug smuggling bust

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by tommylicious, Oct 28, 2016.

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  1. Oct 28, 2016 #1

    tommylicious

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  2. Oct 28, 2016 #2

    Devil's Advocate

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    Wait, did I read that correctly? Amtrak employees were stealing drugs from their own trains in order to funnel them along their own distribution path? What a mess. Maybe it's time we admitted Nancy Regan's hopelessly simplistic war on practical solutions isn't working and reconsider legalizing recreational drugs instead. We could potentially save billions on criminal drug enforcement, collect billions more in additional tax revenue, and cut off the primary funding method and motivation for gang violence and collateral damage.
     
  3. Oct 28, 2016 #3

    FrensicPic

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    Just gotta post this link, sorry!

     
  4. Oct 28, 2016 #4

    SP&S

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    Oh come on now! That would make sense.
     
  5. Oct 28, 2016 #5

    Bob Dylan

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    Nixon's Phoney War on Drugs: Trillions!!!

    Effect on the Illegal and Legal Drug Trade: Zero!!!

    Just say Hell No!!!!
     
  6. Oct 28, 2016 #6

    PaulM

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    ???
     
  7. Oct 28, 2016 #7

    MikefromCrete

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    Get ready for more on-board searches like those in Reno.
     
  8. Oct 28, 2016 #8

    Devil's Advocate

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    Nixon's Controlled Substances Act started the ball rolling and the Regans helped start the move toward ever more invasive enforcement, routine prosecutions, and severe punishments. In some cases drug infractions are treated with higher priority and/or harsher punishment than physical violence, manslaughter, and even murder.
     
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  9. Oct 28, 2016 #9

    KmH

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    Amtrak Express is a shipping service:

    https://www.amtrak.com/express-shipping

    Amtrak Express items are carried in the baggage car.
     
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  10. Oct 28, 2016 #10

    KmH

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    Just 1 - "employee".

    But, no doubt, the War On Drugs is an long time ongoing, expensive, wasteful, ineffective, government farce.
     
  11. Oct 28, 2016 #11

    Palmland

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    Sorry for being a curmudgeon, but I disagree with the premise that started this thread. The crime reported was stealing cocaine. There is no doubt the war on drugs has not been as effective as we would like. But I was amazed by the support of the comment to 'reconsider legalizing recreational drugs instead'. Marajuana is one thing. But cocaine, really? I am involved with our church, homeless shelter, and drug rehab center. Everyday we see serious drug addicts trying to get help. I can think of no reason to legalize it unless we want more of the same. My local law enforcement guys, who do a great job, spend much of their time involved with assault and battery among the crack heads.

    I don't pretend to know the answer but legalizing cocaine and other addictive drugs isn't it. And good for Amtrak and other law enforcement people for trying to go after illegal activities. Last I checked, we are a nation of laws. We may not like them, but until they are overturned or modified, we'd better enforce them if we want some semblance of safety on our trains and our society in general. No doubt there are abuses of enforcement procedures, but let's not assume it's all bad because of a few misguided cops. Sorry for the rant.

    More on this story: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/feds-24-charged-with-bringing-drugs-from-la-to-chicago-on-amtrak/
     
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  12. Oct 28, 2016 #12

    Metra Electric Rider

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    Oh, how Cal City has fallen! So now the Blue Island Branch is going to be a blow pipeline - I actually ride one of the Blue Island trains in the morning.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2016 #13

    Karl1459

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    I tend to think that our strategy of stopping drugs at the source is not being effective. And leads to side effects of "random" searches on Amtrak in places like Reno. And rich drug lords, violence to protect markets, criminalization of inner city youth, etc, etc, etc. Then there is the issue of varying quality of drugs, I spent a good hour as a firefighter/emt trying to save a young man who had od'd on tar heroin that was stronger than he was used to. He died. And was a friend of the family.

    "Legalizing" won't work either. As a nation we will not stand aside as the various addicts self destruct. We will try to step in and "help".

    Changing to a strategy of a regulated availability of drugs, and focusing resources on the disease of addiction, including preventive education, treatment and maintenance seems a better path.
     
  14. Oct 28, 2016 #14

    Devil's Advocate

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    If prohibition didn't rid the country of widespread alcoholism or prevent mobsters from killing and maiming innocent bystanders then how can we expect it to work with something like heroine or cocaine? All my life we've resorted to the same failed solutions from the 1930's while expecting a different result. Year after year, decade after decade, billion after billion. Well I'm tired of inertia based policies and I'm ready to try something new.
     
  15. Oct 28, 2016 #15

    Ziv

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    I would agree that marijuana ought to be legalized and then taxed as much or more than cigarettes. And that hemp ought to be a legal crop, as well.

    But I lived in Miami in the 80's and I just don't think that cocaine is in the same league as marijuana. I had seen and occasionally used cocaine before I moved there, I thought I knew what cocaine was about. But cocaine was relatively cheap and easy to get back then, (the latter half of which is probably still true today). I lost more friends to cocaine than I can count. It just sucked them in, chewed them up and spit out the wasted remains. I have friends in the mid-West now, and they tell me that crystal meth is doing the same out there. I don't think cocaine and meth should be legal. I think marijuana should. Different drugs deserve different laws.

    Sorry to go off topic.

     
  16. Oct 28, 2016 #16

    Devil's Advocate

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    As you said yourself people are already being chewed up and spit out today under our current solution. Millions of them. If someone wants cocaine or meth or heroine they're going to be able to get it. Nothing we've done so far has managed to seriously interrupt the drug trade. So what are we gaining by treating one addiction differently from another? It's not that I think these drugs are no more harmful that pot. I simply fail to see the benefit of keeping them illegal. It costs us a lot of money to catch, prosecute, and punish these people and we lose a lot more money in untaxed commerce. If we made it legal and taxed it then some would continue to waste away and die while others would be able to attend free drug treatment programs paid for by the money we saved from reducing our enforcement costs and the money we collected from addiction taxes. Seems like a reasonable compromise and a win-win situation to me.
     
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  17. Oct 29, 2016 #17

    KmH

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    The crime reported in the both links posted was transporting cocaine on Amtrak trains from LA to CHI.

    "SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Twenty-four people have been charged by federal authorities with using Amtrak trains to transport drugs from Los Angeles to Chicago."

    But in the process of the investigation it was discovered an Amtrak employee in Chicago had stolen a bag of cocaine and he and an accomplise were charged with "theft of goods from a railroad car and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance".
     
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  18. Oct 30, 2016 #18

    Ziv

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    DA, drugs are a numbers game. Crystal meth destroys 70-80% of the people that use it, cocaine destroys half the people that use it and marijuana seldom destroys users, it just slows them down a bit.

    If we legalize the harder drugs like meth and cocaine, more people will end up using it and more will be destroyed. The drug war is no huge success but that doesn't mean that it hasn't had any positive impact. The illegality of hard drugs has made it harder to get them, and dissuaded many to not try them at all. The "legalize all drugs" crowd doesn't recognize the fact that there would be many more people destroyed by drugs if we legalize them.

    I have seen the argument that we should simply accept that a significant minority of the population will commit slow suicide with legal drugs but I don't buy it. What I would like to see is a different punishment for drug users, i.e. don't jail them with 'real criminals', but in drug treatment campuses instead. Have vo-tech classes or college credit classes offered. Don't make it pleasant but make it less likely to breed recidivism.

     
  19. Oct 30, 2016 #19

    Bob Dylan

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    Definition of Insanity:

    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    The fact is that there are more drug addicts hooked on legal prescription drugs than illegal criminal enriching substances!

    Pain pill addiction is a National Scandal added and abetted by crooked Doctors and the Pharm Industry!
     
  20. Oct 30, 2016 #20

    jis

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    I thought that was the definition of stupidity. But yeah insanity too I guess
     
  21. Oct 30, 2016 #21

    Ryan

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    Nope.
     
  22. Oct 30, 2016 #22

    crabby_appleton1950

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    "The drugs were sometimes concealed in automobile parts and pool filters"

    And this was on Amtrak trains?
     
  23. Oct 30, 2016 #23

    FrensicPic

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  24. Oct 31, 2016 #24

    neroden

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    Actually, the "war on drugs" and prohibition have created very powerful and rich crime lords... who wouldn't have existed if the drugs were legal.

    Remember, Al Capone couldn't have gotten rich without prohibition. Same principle.

    So the war on drugs has had an effect on the drug trade: it's made it into a very lucrative trade for gangster types. Legalize it and the gangsters will lose billions. (This is why the big marijuana growers in Oregon *opposed* legalization...)

    ---

    With respect to crystal meth, it's a horrible drug for the users, but *much worse* than the drug itself is the toxic waste zones created by "home cooking" of it. Legalize it, and it'll be produced safely by legitimate companies rather than creating EPA Superfund sites at rural farmhouses nationwide. Personally I think that would be an improvement.

    Prohibition has just been an unmitigated disaster... unless you're a crime lord. What seems to work to discourage drug use is to make drugs legal but *uncool*. This means strict regulations on *advertising* of drugs -- none of this heavy promotional stuff the alcohol and cigarette companies are allowed to do -- but keeping them legal. If they're illegal they become "cool". Unfortunately some of our recent US Supreme Courts have claimed that the First Amendment gives cigarette companies the right to spew dishonest advertising at children, but that is weak precedent (given that the *same* courts have ruled against allowing advertising "promoting" illegal drug use) so it can probably be overturned.
     
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  25. Oct 31, 2016 #25

    neroden

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    Yeah, legalize it. Coca's been used safely in South America for thousands of years. Cocaine, being highly concentrated, does make people behave really stupidly and recklessly, but we don't seem to be able to stop Wall Streeters from using cocaine regardless of whether it's legal or not (and Wall Street cocaine users are the ones who cause the most damage to society), so we might as well legalize it.

    The basic problem with drug prohibition is that it doesn't work. If I had been alive in the 1870s, back before we'd *tried* prohibition, I totally would have joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union and campaigned to prohibit alcohol, because alcohol is *awful*. It's one of the worst drugs out there. Alcohol addicts are usually far more messed up than mere cocaine addicts. Alcohol is one of the few drugs known for making otherwise-non-violent people violent, and is responsible for the addicts killing *other* people on a regular basis (via drunk driving, for instance), which is quite uncommon with most drugs. But we tried prohibiting alcohol. And it simply didn't work. So it's time to learn the lesson from that experience and legalize all recreational drugs... while trying *something else* to discourage people from abusing them.

    I think the lesson from cigarettes is an important one. Cigarettes are, by most evidence, the most addictive drug out there. They're very very nasty with horrendous health consequences and lead to gruesome deaths for most users. They actually poison *bystanders*. Would banning them work? Sadly, probably not.

    However, putting more and more restrictions on where and when cigarettes can be used (particularly to protect bystanders from secondhand smoke)... while putting in high taxes... while making cigarettes "uncool" with social pressure.... that's having a major, and successful, effect on reducing the WORST drug scourge in the US.

    Copy a model which works.
     
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