Pubdate: Thu, 24 Aug 2006
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2006 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Joe Martin


Now that the notorious drug trafficker Francisco Javier Arellano 
Felix is under lock and key, I can't help but think of Al Capone, a 
monster who rose out of the warped designs of Prohibition. If 
Prohibition had never been legislated, Capone's criminal legacy would 
likely have been relegated to Chicago. But the Volstead Act was made 
law, and the price of booze went sky high; and arrogant scofflaws 
like Capone came into their murderous and lucrative heyday.

Hard to believe that at one time there was a constitutional amendment 
- - the 18th, to be exact - banning the sale of booze in these United 
States - the only constitutional amendment ever to be repealed.

Which gives the lie to the shallow "Big fish caught, offshore Mexico" 
[editorial, Aug. 21]. The Times asserts that "any disruption is a 
major development." While Arellano Felix's arrest may indeed cause a 
bit of a problem for his drug-pushing cartel, it will likely be a 
temporary one.

According to the United Nations, illegal drugs are a billion-dollar 
business on par with the profits made in the oil industry, and thus a 
major contributing force to the global economy. "Other crime bosses 
may step in to fill the void," states The Times. That is the 
understatement of the year.

Until there is a substantial re-evaluation of our drug policies and 
laws, the wildly lucrative trade in illicit drugs will thrive and 
dangerous criminals like Arellano Felix will risk everything to make 
gobs of money in the proliferation of addiction.

- - Joe Martin, Seattle
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