Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jun 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Eduardo D. Fierro
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)
Cited: (Friends of Justice)


The local media have publicized recent developments regarding the Tulia 
drug bust. Residents of the Panhandle, especially Amarillo, should pay 
close attention to what is occurring.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and many 
other residents are wanting criminal charges to be filed against undercover 
narcotics agent Tom Coleman, as it seems obvious he committed perjury and 
possibly other crimes. Civil lawsuits might follow.

The Panhandle Narcotics Trafficking Task Force is based in Amarillo. It 
supported Coleman, who has been caught in one lie after another. Is it 
possible that lawsuits originating in Tulia might drift into Amarillo, at 
taxpayers' expense?

The war on drugs was extremely popular for a long time; thus, drug task 
forces throughout the nation became powerful and aggressive. Unfortunately, 
their tactics and motives more closely resemble the criminal element than 
any law-enforcement agency. The almost $1 million in state funding the 
Panhandle task force was getting recently was slashed by nearly half. 
Hopefully the freed-up money will go to a DARE program or a school district 
in need of funds.

I and hundreds of others who are in prison on drug charges want to thank 
the Friends of Justice, and also Debra Cochrain, who refuses to give up. 
Now people like letter-writers Sally Shepherd, Calvin Lacy and Travis 
McBride have seen through the smoke screens. They realize there are better 
ways of dealing with the drug problem than making our huge prison system 
even bigger.

The politicians who called prisons "nonpollution factories" that stimulate 
local economies lied. Thousands of drug-users and small-time dealers 
eventually will be released. Most will be bitter, angry and feel that 
society did them an injustice. Now, that's pollution!

Eduardo D. Fierro

Clements Unit

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