Pubdate: Mon, 17 Feb 2003
Source: Battalion, The (TX Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Battalion
Author: Jon Apgar
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


The recent death of 14-year-old Ashley Villarreal in San Antonio at the
hands of the DEA is indeed a tragedy. It marks a disturbing trend that is
but one of the many unfortunate side effects of our government's failed War
on Drugs.

Too often, overzealous state and federal agents sidestep the Fourth
Amendment and conduct drug raids based on second-hand, unsubstantiated
information and without a proper search warrant. Many times these raids end
not only with a failure to find any drugs, but also with the commission of
gross Constitutional violations and, worst of all, the injury or death of
innocent civilians.

Tony Martinez, 19 and unarmed, was killed by drug taskforce officers during
a raid on a mobile home in Del Valle, Texas, in December of 2001. He was
sleeping on the couch and wasn't even the target of the raid. In Milwaukee,
based on an anonymous tip about "possible drug activity" in a house on her
block, police officers burst into the home of Jacqueline Paasch and shot
her, causing permanent debilitating injuries. Again, no drugs were found.
And Clayton Helriggle, 23, was shot dead as he came down his stairs after
police in riot gear raided his Ohio home. They recovered less than an ounce
of marijuana -- hardly a reason to shoot and kill an American citizen in his
own home.

Our government tells us that buying drugs causes the death of innocent men,
women, and children at the hands of terrorists and drug dealers. Lately,
however, DEA agents and narcotics officers seem to be the ones doing all the
killing. So while the government claims that buying drugs funds terrorism, I
guess I can claim that paying federal income taxes funds Constitutional
violations and senseless killing by the DEA.

Jon Apgar

Class of 1999
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