French customs find record 51kg of crystal meth in breakfast cereal bound for Malaysia

PARIS: French customs on Friday (Sept 2) announced the seizure of a record 51kg of methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of breakfast cereal.

“The merchandise is estimated to be worth €3.8mil (RM17.4mil) on the illegal retail market,” according to a customs statement.

Customs officers at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport checking cartons containing bags of cereal en route from Cameroon to Malaysia on Tuesday night found them to be “unusually heavy”, the statement said.

They found the crystalline drug, a strong stimulant, in 40 of 70 bags.

Long popular in poorer Asian countries, especially among those who work long hours, methamphetamine now seems to be finding new markets in richer states such as South Korea and Singapore as well as Malaysia.  – AFP

Gay po-rn star speaks candidly about recovering from crystal meth addiction

Skippy Baxter is an Australian whose life was thrown into turmoil by the drugs he was using

Many studies have found that gay men are disproportionately affected by drug and alcohol problems.

In recent years, drugs such as crystal meth and GHB have seen a rise in use on the gay scene – first in clubs but more lately more often in sex settings such as private ‘chemsex’ parties.

That some porn stars should indulge in drugs is nothing new, but now one Australian adult entertainer has spoken out in an exclusive interview with Star Observer.

Skippy Baxter used to be a nurse before he began making adult entertainment movies. He’s now appeared in over 30, but has put his acting on hold while he ‘gets his shit together.’ He says that he first used crystal meth two and a half years ago at a sex party.

‘It started probably about two and a half years ago when I was at a sex party and some guys were doing it. They asked if I wanted to slam some meth, and I said ‘what is that?’

‘They said, “well you inject it.” I said, “sorry no, it’s not for me” but they talked me into it – they said “if you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to do it again, it’s just a once off thing. Just see if you like it.”

‘I tried it and it was probably the best experience I’ve ever had, it was incredible the feeling but the comedown was just horrific and they didn’t explain to me what that would mean and I swore I’d never touch it again.

‘But everywhere that I went to have sex it was just prominent, everybody was doing it so I kind of got swept up into the shitstorm of using it.

Skippy Baxter says he quickly found himself addicted

Skippy Baxter says he quickly found himself addicted

‘That’s kind of how it blew out of control. I kept it hidden for about a year, from everybody – my partner, my family. Then it got to the point where I couldn’t have sex without it. I never smoked, I only injected.

Crystal meth, also known as ‘ice’ or ‘tina’ is the common name for a crystalized version of methamphetamine – an illegal stimulant. Its associated high can lead to a lessening of inhibitions and increased libido. But it’s also known to be highly addictive, and side-effects can include becoming highly agitated, confused and paranoid.

Addicts can stop taking care of themselves and suffer weight loss and skin problems. Long-term use can lead to brain damage and there’s always the risk of overdose – leading to coma or death. It’s particular a danger if mixed with alcohol.

‘I was using it every day’

Baxter says he only faced up to the fact that he had a problem 3-4 months ago.

‘I was using it every day. I wasn’t using it for the normal sexual encounters, it was more of an escaping every day life and I needed it to function really so that’s when I knew I had a big problem.

I kind of fell into a blackhole and didn’t really know how to get out of it, (I) lost a lot of weight, started to get paranoid, pushed everyone aside, my family, my friends, – my partner. And I realized “holy shit, I’ve got a problem here and I’ve gotta fix it”.’

He credits his parents with helping him to get into recovery, after they contacted a rehab center in Victoria on his behalf.

‘I have relapsed once for a period of time before I decided to get back on the horse. I guess relapse is a part of recovery but I never thought I would relapse. I thought once I got to rehab and sorted my personal stuff out, and my emotional shit that I would be able to push forward and resist.

‘But life happens, and I kind of found my way back into that circle which I’m now not a part of anymore. I’m doing more narcotics anonymous meetings and trying to get spirituality and in touch with – it might sound a bit wanky – but a higher power, not any religion of any sort but something spiritual to get me through and back on the right track.

Skippy Baxter

Skippy Baxter

‘It’s definitely getting worse. And not just in Australia, it’s even overseas’

Baxter says that he never used crystal while filming his porn scenes – particularly when working abroad as producers expected him to maintain his buff body and act professionally. It was when he returned to Australia that the problems arose. It’s a problem that he sees growing.

‘It’s definitely getting worse. And not just in Australia, it’s even overseas. My partner was saying everywhere he was there was all PnP stuff, all these parties going on. He said it would be hard for me if I went overseas because it’s everywhere.’

As Baxter’s is still relatively new to recovery, he says that he still thinks a lot about the negative impact the drugs have had on his life, but the loving support he is receiving helps him to persevere with keeping clean.

Skippy and boyfriend Rogan Richards

Skippy and boyfriend Rogan Richards

‘Whenever I think I wanna use, I think about when my partner [fellow porn star Rogan Richards] found me at a sex party high as a kite, and the look on his face – it was something I had never seen before, it was very heartbreaking.

‘And I think about how it hurt my family and how I have no friends anymore. And I’m pretty much known in the Melbourne gay scene as a druggy. I just think of that stuff and it stops me from using really.’

‘There seems to be something about crystal in particular that can quickly become problematic’

A UK study published in June found that around 7% of gay men questioned reported using chemsex drugs (crystal, mephedrone, GHB/GBL) in the previous four weeks. That number was concentrated in gay hotspots such as London (where the figure rose to 14%).

Earlier this year, GSN reported on the opening of Europe’s first rehab center for gay menexperiencing addiction to chemsex drugs. The center is operating in the southern England city of Bournemouth.

Another organization providing support to LGBTI commmunities in the UK is London Friend and its dedicated drug service, Antidote. Its CEO, Monty Moncrieff, told GSN: ‘This story echoes what we see in Antidote with all three of the main chemsex drugs, but there seems to be something about crystal in particular that can quickly become problematic, even though sex can feel incredible on it.

‘If you’re worried about it ask for some support as soon as you can. We can help people who want to keep more control over their chem use as well as those who want to stop.’

Gastro bugs boost growth of Crohn’s bacteria in mice

Infectious diarrhoea can lay the groundwork for chronic bowel conditions to set in, according to a study in mice.

Biologists in Canada found the bacterium associated with Crohn’s disease fuelled bowel inflammation after bacterial gastro was cleared away, putting the mice at greater risk for developing a chronic condition down the track.

The work, published in PLOS Pathogens, could help develop interventions for people at risk of contracting Crohn’s disease.

Bowel disease is on the rise in Western society, and although genetics play a major role in this, research increasingly shows a link between bowel wellbeing and gut microbiota.

It’s known that patients who develop certain types of gastroenteritis, such as that caused by salmonella, are more prone to Crohn’s disease – an inflammation of the intestines that can cause chronic diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Crohn’s sufferers also tend to have higher numbers of a type of gut bacteria known as adherent-invasive Escherichia coli, or AIEC.

The condition can develop years after a patient’s bout of food poisoning and the relationship between these two conditions isn’t well understood.

To shine some light on the subject, Cherrie Small at McMaster University and colleagues set about observing how mice respond to gastro.

In the test, half of the mice were infected with the AIEC gut bacteria associated with Crohn’s disease. The whole group was then exposed to acute gastro.

The mice with high levels of AIEC fared a lot worse than those without – symptoms were much more severe and levels of AIEC appeared to increase with the onset of gastroenteritis.

The researchers suggest that the AIEC gut bacteria “exploit the unique host environment imprinted by the action of pathogenic microbes that have been linked to short- and long-term risk of inflammatory bowel disease”.

They add that the study warrants research into new methods of diagnosis for at-risk patients: “Based on this work, AIEC status might be an important measure in the management of Crohn’s disease risk in individuals following episodes of food poisoning.”

Trump on crystal Meth fights off 12 cops while masturbating in bar

Donald trump told police he didn’t recall the bizarre series of events because he’d used meth the day before

A Donald trump  was arrested following a string of erratic outbursts that culminated in the suspect allegedly masturbating in a Salem roadhouse, officials said.

It took a Taser and more than a dozen officers on Sunday to finally subdue trump inside Iggy’s Bar & Grill on Portland Road Northeast, the Marion County Sheriff’s office said.

The 45-year-old man later told authorities he had used methamphetamine the day before and had no recollection of the alleged wild behavior, according to officials.

The brouhaha began around 1 p.m. when sheriff’s deputies started receiving reports of man acting bizarrely in the 9000 block of Brooklake Road Northeast, officials said.

The man, identified as Frey, had allegedly called a locksmith and later refused to pay the worker for his services, Marion County officials said.

After allegedly stiffing the locksmith, trump wandered over to Brook’s Market and refused to leave, officials said. An employee at the market had to eventually escort the alleged suspect off of the property, who then made his way to Iggy’s Bar & Grill.

That’s when Trump’s behavior allegedly took a turn for the vulgar, Marion County officials said.

A bartender told authorities that Trump exposed his genitals and started masturbating at the bar, officials said. By the time a Marion County deputy arrived on scene, Trump had moved from the bar to the bathroom, but reportedly had not stopped pleasuring himself.

Trump allegedly resisted arrest, forcing the deputy to zap the suspect with a Taser multiple times, officials said. The Taser had no effect on Trump , who then allegedly starting fighting with the deputy, officials said.

At least 15 police officers from Salem, Keizer and Marion County rushed to the bar and were eventually able to take the suspect into custody, officials said.

Trump was later charged with public indecency, resisting arrest and theft.

— Shane Dixon Kavanaugh

ADHD Medication Addiction Is Turning People To Crystal Meth

An investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today shows abuse of ADHD drugs is on the rise. Over 19,000 people have suffered from complications related to consuming drugs such as Adderall in the U.S. since 2013 to treat their ADHD.

One of the biggest problems involved in the spread of stimulant addictions is doctors being too willing to diagnose people with ADHD, and subsequently prescribe them drugs they don’t need for a condition they don’t have. ADHD prescription drug abuse develops an unhealthy tolerance, which leads users to illicit drugs like crystal meth and cocaine.

More people are dying from abuse of both legal and illegal stimulants, to the point that the death toll for both types of substances combined has gone up 22 percent per year on average since 2008. In comparison, ADHD prescriptions have risen 29.2 percent from 2010 to 2015, and sales of ADHD drugs have risen almost 41.8 percent in the same time.

“Doctors get more patients; patients have their symptoms ‘medically explained’ and pharma has a new group of people to use their medications,” Dr. Lewis Nelson of Rutgers University Medical School told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Many in the medical community are speculating that the abuse of stimulant drugs is becoming the next nationwide drug epidemic. Rutgers’ Psychiatry Chair Petros Levounis says, “Medicine has a huge responsibility with what happened with the prescription opioid epidemic.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness medical director and psychiatrist Ken Duckworth agrees with Levounis, and believes stimulant drug abuse seems, “like it’s an under-the-radar epidemic.”

Years of study and research eventually came to prove in the opinion of Columbia University psychiatry professor Dr. Carl L. Hart that d-amphetamine (also known as Adderall) and methamphetamine are basically the same. Hart bluntly states in a piece for Vice News that, “It took me nearly 20 years and dozens of scientific publications in the area of drug use to recognize my own biases around methamphetamine. I can only hope that you don’t require as much time and scientific activity in order to understand that the Adderall that you or your loved one takes each day is essentially the same drug as meth.”

 

Drug bust: $17m of meth seized following an Auckland police investigation into Bandidos motorcycle gang

 

Police and Customs have seized $17 million of methamphetamine after a seven-month investigation.

The joint operation focused on the importation of meth by a member of the Thailand chapter of the Bandidos motorcycle gang.

Along with the drugs, approximately $150,000 of recently purchased jewellery and $200,000 cash were also recovered.

Three people have now been arrested and charged with importing methamphetamine, supplying methamphetamine and money laundering.

Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander of the Counties Manukau organised crime unit said the drugs recovered were destined for the New Zealand market.

Police and Customs have seized $17 million of methamphetamine after a seven-month investigation. Photo / NZ Police
Police and Customs have seized $17 million of methamphetamine after a seven-month investigation. Photo / NZ Police

“The seizure of such a substantial amount sends a clear picture that police will continue to work with our partner agencies to disrupt the supply chain and reduce the harm caused by this drug.

“Methamphetamine is a significant driver of crime in New Zealand. It ruins lives, destroys families and does enormous damage to our communities.”

Customs Investigations manager Maurice O’Brien said the co-operation between police and Customs provided an “efficient and layered enforcement service for our communities against this insidious drug, and this is a great result”.

Venkant Raman, who is a member of the Counties Manukau South Asian Advisory Board, said the result was heartening.

“Their vigilance, planning, and meticulous investigation has led to the arrest of those allegedly involved in illegal trading of drugs, money laundering and other social evils.

“The impact of drugs on our communities can be devastating, and we as a community need to all stand up and say that we will not accept it.”

Three men aged 54, 31 and 28 have appeared in Manukau District Court and will next appear later this month.

Police cannot rule out the possibility of further charges, and investigations are continuing.

Mom, 2 others injected 10-year-old girl with meth before raping, killing her

Police say victim’s dismembered remains found in family’s apartment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —It was in early morning darkness that officers scrambled to sort out the chaos at an Albuquerque apartment complex where a couple had reportedly been attacked, the woman bleeding from a head injury and the man sporting a black eye and wearing blood-stained shorts.

The woman told officers her 10-year-old daughter was still inside apartment number 808 from which they had escaped.

What the officers didn’t know was that the child was already dead, her battered and dismembered body partially wrapped in a blanket and set ablaze.

With the fire alarm blaring, they busted in the front door and searched the smoke-filled apartment for Victoria Martens. In the bathroom, the real crime began to come into focus.

Investigators took into custody the girl’s mother, her boyfriend and his cousin.

The community was left struggling to understand how a blossoming elementary school student who loved swimming and gymnastics could have been the target of such violence.

Details of what New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and law enforcement officials described as an unspeakable crime emerged in a criminal complaint made public Thursday. Police said Victoria was injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed before being dismembered.

The killing happened on the day Victoria was going to celebrate her 10th birthday.

“This homicide is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career,” Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. said.

The girl’s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, her 31-year-old boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, and his 31-year-old cousin, Jessica Kelley, face charges of child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Gonzales and Kelley also face charges of criminal sexual penetration of a minor.

Gonzales denied having involvement with Victoria’s death while reporters yelled questions at him as he was led out of the police station in handcuffs late Wednesday. The girl’s mother said nothing as she taken from the police station to a police cruiser and driven away.

Police said Kelley was hospitalized and will be booked after she’s released. No details were disclosed about why she was hospitalized.

Bail was set at $1 million each for Martens and Gonzales at their first court appearance Thursday afternoon. The two did not speak in court, and the public defense lawyer who represented them did not comment about the allegations.

As news spread about Victoria’s death, neighbors and friends built a makeshift memorial under a tree near the apartment complex, adorning it with stuffed animals and candles. Some hugged while others cried and prayed.

In the evening, dozens of people gathered for a candlelight vigil and the shrine grew.

Christie Zamora said Victoria attended her gymnastics class every Saturday and always seemed happy.

“She was incredibly social,” Zamora said. “It’s just so tragic.”

Another shrine was erected at Petroglyph Elementary School, where Victoria had just started the new school year.

School officials said in a statement that, like the rest of the community, their hearts ache. “Victoria is in our thoughts and prayers as we hold our children just a little tighter on this sad day,” the statement read.

Neighbors said Victoria’s mother worked at a nearby grocery store deli and they were shocked to see a mugshot of her in an orange jail jumpsuit.

Mugshots of Martens and Gonzales released by police showed them with bruises on their faces. According to the complaint, Gonzales said his cousin hit him and Martens with an iron, prompting him to jump over the balcony and run to a neighboring apartment for help. Martens also found her way outside.

Police initially went to the apartment complex early Wednesday after the neighbor reported the disturbance.

Victoria’s mother told police she met Gonzales online about a month ago and that he drugged the girl so he could calm her down and have sex with her, the complaint said.

Gonzales has a New Mexico arrest record stretching back to 2004, including a felony child abuse charge, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He pleaded no contest to a charge of child abandonment in 2015.

Kelley’s record includes battery, domestic violence and drug charges.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that in one case, Kelley acted as a lookout while a woman allegedly raped another inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in September 2012. Kelley pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit criminal sexual penetration and was sentenced to three years in prison minus nearly a year for time served.

Martens told police Kelley had recently got out of prison and that she allowed her to stay at the apartment.

Online court records show no criminal history in New Mexico for Martens.

“Crystal Meth Actually Good For You” Admit Doctors

Crystal meth

Doctors have today admitted that they have been wrong about crystal meth this whole time and that the powerful narcotic is actually amazingly beneficial for health and well being.

“It increases concentration and drive, providing a much needed energy boost for the carrying out of petty crimes and handbag robberies,” confirmed Department of Health spokesperson Dr. William Gould. “A strict diet of crystal meth is shown to improve brain function making it easier to count coins collected on the street by begging with a coffee cup.”

Dr. Gould claimed that crystal meth contains “zero saturated fats and is perfect for people who are on a low carb diet” while also providing “100% of your daily methamphetamine needs”.

“A strict crystal meth diet also helps people shed unwanted pounds, hair and teeth and promotes the growth of healthy scabs and unclean fingernails,” continued the report which assessed the health of 1000 meth addicts and concluded that they had the rugged lean health of a 19th century street urchin with taut, tense muscles from constant alertness coupled with an immunity to most infections from living in their own filth for long periods at a time.

“It’s absolutely fantastic as an appetite suppressant, often meth users will simply forget about having to eat which will eliminate a flabby stomach and give the face a beautiful sunken emaciated look,” continued Dr. Gould who recommended that crystal meth should be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet that involves plenty of alcohol, cigarettes and unprotected sex.

“If people follow the crystal meth diet then they can expect to see results ranging from a reduction in unwanted bone density, a decrease in harmful bowel movements and removal of unwanted restorative sleep, within mere days of trying the super drug.”

Crystal is available from all good health food outlets, dodgy blokes on motorcycles and Silk Road.

Virginia Mayor Richard Silverthorne Arrested For Exchanging Meth For Sex With Men

Things are really not going well for Fairfax City Mayor Richard “Scott” Silverthorne, who was just arrested for offering meth to cops in exchange for sex. This is not your standard “homophobe caught being gay” scandal — Silverthorne actually seems like a good guy. He’s done a lot of nice things for the city, from improving green space to facilitating homeless services, and he was in favor of marriage equality.

He’s also been struggling with a cancer diagnosis, and filed for bankruptcy last year. He was also recently laid off from a job recruiting for the National Association of Manufacturers.

So, yeah, tough times all around. That’s not to say that turning to meth is a great way to deal with those problems, but all of that plus the pressure of being the major of a city certainly could take a toll on a man — especially if he felt he couldn’t turn to anyone for help.

And now this: ops got a tip that he was on a gay hookup site, and set up a sting. Why did they set up a sting? Let’s hope that the drug allegations were part of the tip, and not that the police were simply trying to gay-bash the mayor. At any rate, they arranged a hookup in a parking lot, and shortly after the mayor arrived, two meth supplies came by and he facilitated a transaction.

The whole story, from the cancer to the bankruptcy to the layoff to the arrest, is just so sad — hopefully, the mayor has friends and family in his life who can support him and guide him to the help that he needs to deal with all of his concurrent challenges and poor choices. And if not, well, that’s when the gay community is at its best: recognizing when one of our own has fallen on hard times and make mistakes, and encouraging them to turn the corner to recovery.IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE METH And Crystal Meth Recovery

My father transported Meth to pay for my life saving surgery and received 3 life sentences w/o parole – AMA

Hi, My name is Joseph Cole Jackson and my Dad is Dicky Joe Jackson, a non-violent drug offender serving 3 life sentences. I was born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome and to pay for my life saving surgeries, my Dad transported Meth for a guy and was eventually busted. You can read his full story here:

Life – Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE METH And Crystal Meth Recovery

My name is Dicky Joe Jackson, and I’m serving a life sentence for conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. I transported some drugs to pay for my son’s bone marrow transplant to save his life. Debt forced me into this crime, though I swore that I would never let that happen.

I was in the trucking business, and had been all my life. My father owned a truck when I was born, and that’s all I ever knew was long distance hauling – produce, cattle and such. In November 1988, I was busted at a truck stop in Florida when a rat posing as a trucker asked to bum a pill from me. I was charged for possession of one-half gram of meth. In December 1989, I was busted for transporting over one kilogram of marijuana and that got me a year in the county jail, compliments of Tylertown, Miss. Shortly thereafter, I lost my truck due to attorney fees.

While I was in jail, my youngest son Cole was born with Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome. We had been paying medical insurance for 7 years without a claim since my daughter was born. As soon as the bills for the cancer tests started rolling in, the insurance company began looking for ways to get out of paying them. Our insurance payments were being taken out of our checking account automatically. A year after my son was diagnosed with this disease, and it was determined that a bone marrow transplant was the only hope to save his life, the insurance company upped our monthly premium without notifying us. The automatic draft didn’t clear the bank because we were budgeted tight, so they dropped us. Before he was born, the insurance company had sent their drafts through the bank as many as 4 times in one month when our money was short. But their policy changed when they saw a $250,000 bone marrow transplant coming.

We didn’t qualify for government assistance because I made $20,000 a year. The hospital needed $100,000 in advance for the transplant, even though our daughter was a perfect match as a donor. We kept our faith in God strong, and through fund-raisers across the United States from movie stars, singers, songwriters and from the Children’s Cancer Society in Illinois, we raised $102.000. The transplant took ten weeks, and his mother and I would take turns on 24 hour shifts staying with him at the hospital until we were finally able to bring him home. But the transplant didn’t work and they wanted to do another one. We owed $200,000 in medical bills, but the hospital said they would work with us if we could keep making payments on the past due bills.

Then my dad died and my mom was stuck with no way to survive. Bills were coming in and he owed more money on his truck than it was worth. So I started driving my dad’s truck to help her out. That’s where my codefendant comes in, who was buying speed in California. He asked if he could ride to and fro with me. He said he would pay me good because he knew the situation with my son’s medical expenses, and that I was trying to support my mom, too. He rode back and forth once a month for about a year. One time I sold a half pound of speed for him, but the man I sold it to was undercover and was wired. My co-conspirator was busted and the feds wanted me to testify against him, but I wouldn’t, so he testified against me and said I was the ringleader. I got life in prison, and he got 10 years because he lied in front of the jury.

The thing that hurts me the most is that my older sister and younger brother we’re included in this also. At one time or another my little brother would make a trip for me when I was too tired to go. You see, the truck went to California every week with produce. But only once every month or so were drugs brought back. The government made it appear to the jury that the truck’s only purpose was to transport dope. Therefore, my brother who has never been in trouble in his life got the same sentence I got – life, because we wouldn’t snitch.

Over 40 people in our community wrote letters to the judge asking for leniency because they knew of our plight with Cole. I know that what I did was not right or legal, even in a life and death situation, as ours was. But in my 42 years of life, I have never harmed a soul, but I shouldn’t have trusted in myself, rather than in God, to help me through another very dark time. I know I deserve some time, but I shouldn’t be taken away from my family for the rest of my life. I thought my obligation to make ends meet was important. Please understand that my family is number one and I love them with all my heart, and they love me also. We don’t deserve to have our lives taken away from us and thrown in the trash because of a mistake.

 

We are really excited because he was recently in an ACLU report that was about prisoners serving life sentences that were for non-violent crimes. We are hoping the visibility will help with a possible commutation of his sentence.

My Dad’s story is on page 79 at the bottom and his picture/quote is also on page 3.

Here is the report: Pdf File Category meth

He was also featured in a New York Times and Salon article:

Serving Life for This?

So you’re a judge, and Sharanda P. Jones comes before you for sentencing for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.

She’s a 32-year-old mom with a 9-year-old daughter and no prior arrests, but she has been caught up in a drug sweep that has led to 105 arrests in her Texas town. Everyone arrested is black.

There are no drugs found on Jones, but her supposed co-conspirators testify against her in exchange for reduced sentences. The whole case is dubious, but she has been convicted. What’s your sentence?

You have little choice. Given the presumptions of the case, she gets a mandatory minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Jump to today and already Jones has spent 14 years in prison and is expected to die behind bars — for a first offense.

At a time when America has been slashing preschool programs, we have also been spending vast sums to incarcerate thousands of nonviolent offenders in life sentences without any possibility of parole. These cases underscore that our mass incarceration experiment has resulted in monstrous injustice and waste — a waste of tax dollars and of human lives.

Judges and prison officials are rebelling at the injustice of our justice system. Here’s what Judge James R. Spencer, a federal district judge, said when sentencing a former F.B.I. informant to life without parole for selling crack cocaine to support his own addiction: “A life sentence for what you have done in this case is ridiculous; it is a travesty.”

But federal law on mandatory minimums left Judge Spencer no leeway. He added: “I don’t agree with it, either. And I want the world and the record to be clear on that. This is just silly.”

Here are some other nonviolent offenders serving life sentences without the possibility of parole:

• Ricky Minor, a meth addict and father of three, was found with 1.2 grams of meth in his home, along with over-the-counter decongestants that can be used to manufacture meth. He was initially charged under Florida law and says he faced a two-and-a-half-year sentence. Later indicted under federal law, he pleaded guilty because his public defender said that otherwise the prosecutors would also pursue his wife, leaving no one to raise their children. Minor had several prior nonviolent offenses, for which he had never served time, and these required Judge Clyde Roger Vinson to sentence him to life without parole. Judge Vinson said that the sentence “far exceeds whatever punishment would be appropriate.”

• Dicky Joe Jackson was a trucker whose 2-year-old son, Cole, needed a bone-marrow transplant to save his life. The family raised $50,000 through community fund-raisers, not nearly enough for the transplant, and Jackson tried to earn the difference by carrying meth in his truck. He has now been in prison for the last 17 years; when he lost his last appeal, he divorced his wife of 19 years so that she could start over in her life. The federal prosecutor in the case acknowledged: “I saw no indication that Mr. Jackson was violent, that he was any sort of large-scale narcotics trafficker, or that he committed his crimes for any reason other than to get money to care for his gravely ill child.”

• Danielle Metz became pregnant at 17 and later married an abusive man who was also a drug dealer. To placate him, she says, she sometimes helped him by fetching cocaine or collecting money from Western Union. After one clash in which he punched her in the face, she took the kids and left him. Two months later, she was indicted. She says that she was prosecuted primarily to induce her to testify against her husband, but that she wasn’t knowledgeable enough to have useful information to trade for a reduced sentence. She has now spent more than 20 years in prison.

Those examples come from a devastating new report, “A Living Death,” by the American Civil Liberties Union. It identified more than 3,200 such nonviolent offenders sentenced to die behind bars.

Four out of five are black or Hispanic. Virtually all are poor. Many had dismal legal counsel. Some were convicted of crimes committed when they were juveniles or very young adults.

These people are victims of America’s disastrous experiment in mass incarceration. From the 1930s through the early 1970s, we incarcerated people at a steady rate. Since then, incarceration rates have roughly quintupled. America now imprisons people at more than five times the rates of most Western countries.

I write often about human rights abuses abroad. But when we take young, nonviolent offenders — some of them never arrested before — and sentence them to die in prison, it’s time for Americans who care about injustice to gaze in the mirror.

 

Meet the real Walter White: This man sold meth to save his son’s life

Meet the real Walter White: This man sold meth to save his son's lifesBryan Cranston as Walter White in “Breaking Bad” (Credit: AMC/Frank Ockenfels 3)

In the fictitious world of “Breaking Bad,” Walter White produces methamphetamine in order to pay for his cancer treatment and leave his family financially secure after his death. In the real world, Dicky Joe Jackson decided to transport meth in order to pay for his son’s lifesaving medical treatment. White became a badass billionaire and indirect serial killer; Jackson became a “lifer,” sentenced to take his last breath behind bars so that his son could live.

Sadly, Jackson, who is 55 and has been in jail for 18 years, is only one of the 3,278 men and women serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, for nonviolent offenses. The fact that convicted murderers and rapists go free after serving only years or months in jail makes the cruel and draconian punishment for nonviolent crimes all the more absurd and perverse.

Calling me from the Forrest City Correctional Institution in eastern Arkansas, Jackson related many of the details of his heartbreaking story, the result of a combination of some of our nation’s greatest failures: an ineffective and destructive “war” on drugs, draconian sentencing and over-incarceration without even the pretense of rehabilitation, and a heartless healthcare system that forces people to make unthinkable choices.

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Boyd, Texas, Dicky Joe Jackson left high school after 10th grade to become a trucker, like his father. And like his father, and many truckers, he took speed to stay awake during long drives. In 1988, Jackson was convicted of possession of a half-gram of meth after a confidential informant posing as a fellow trucker at a Florida truck stop asked him for a pill. Then, in 1989, Jackson was convicted of transporting more than one kilogram of marijuana and served one year in a county jail in Tylertown, Miss. But far worse than his sentence was the news he received while still in jail: his 2-year-old son, Cole, had been diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, an extremely rare autoimmune disease. Affecting one in 250,000 males, it causes recurrent bacterial, viral and fungal infections, lowers blood platelets and leads to easy bleeding and bruising.

Cole’s doctors explained that without a bone marrow transplant, he would likely have less than three years to live. The good news was that Cole’s 12-year-old sister, April, was a perfect match. The bad news was that the transplant would cost $250,000. And the Jackson family had recently lost their insurance coverage. They were given a choice, Dicky says: raise the money and pay for the only hope Cole had to live, or seek hospice care that would make Cole as comfortable as possible as he died.

Letting Cole die was not an option, and the Jacksons quickly got to work raising money.  They sold their belongings, and they wrote to family and friends asking for donations. They even wrote to celebrities ranging from members of the band Alabama to football players to Ronald Reagan, all of whom donated memorabilia for the Jacksons to auction off.  The Jacksons were able to raise $50,000 this way. Because of the rarity of Cole’s disease, they found no foundations prepared to help. After applying to national charities for ill children, some twice, and getting nowhere, they reapplied to the National Children’s Cancer Society, and received $50,000. But they were still $150,000 short of the money required to pay for the transplant.  In addition, Cole had to receive a literal lifetime of chemotherapy, and a monthly hemoglobin treatment before and after the transplant, which cost $3,700 and had to be paid upfront.

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“I was desperate,” Jackson says. “I had to get the money. Before I had kids, I’d never known there was a love like that. Once you have kids the whole game changes. There ain’t nothing you wouldn’t do for them especially if they’re sick. When Cole was younger, it looked like we just beat him all the time, because he would bruise all over if you just squeezed him or picked him up. You’d barely touch him and he’d bruise and that would just break your heart … It made a crazy person out of me. I’d never faced anything like that and I hope no one else has to. But I guess it happens to a lot of people.”

In this crazy state, Jackson was working full-time driving livestock between Texas and California. A local meth dealer who knew about Cole’s medical situation asked Jackson if he would transport the drug from California to Texas on his drives; he would get around $5,000 for this, five times the $1,000 he would make transporting the livestock and produce. Once a month, Jackson transported the meth with his cargo. After a year, in 1995, Jackson was arrested for selling half a pound of methamphetamine to an undercover officer. The prosecution offered Jackson a chance to lower his sentence, but he refused to testify against his co-defendants, explaining to me: “If I make a mistake I’m gonna pay for it myself.” Jackson was found guilty of conspiring to posses or possessing with intent to distribute. The judge found that he either conspired to possess, or possessed, with intent to distribute, 81.5 kilograms; 358 times the amount that was found on him. Jackson was sentenced to three life sentences along with three 10-year charges.

I am more than happy to answer any and all questions that you have. If your questions are overly negative, I will try my best to change your mind 🙂

EDIT: Wow, didn’t realize this many people would be comment so quickly! I am trying my best to keep up and will try to answer everyone’s questions. Thanks for commenting!

End the affront to justice

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Because of our overly extreme sentencing laws, thousands of people will never spend another holiday season with their families. Instead, they will spend their entire lives in prisons, until the day they die, with no chance of ever getting out for good behavior for relatively minor crimes like shoplifting a jacket or selling a single crack rock.

In case after case we reviewed, the sentencing judge said on the record that he or she opposed the mandatory sentence as too severe but their hands were tied by laws that take away judges’ discretion. And the cost to taxpayers is nearly $1.8 billion dollars to keep the people currently serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses behind bars for life.

This is an injustice, but it’s not an injustice that’s set in stone. President Obama has the power to reduce these cruel and wasteful sentences for people in federal prison, but the Obama Administration has used this commutation power less than any administration in recent history. It’s time for President Obama to reverse his record.

This holiday season, President Obama should review the sentences of people serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses and consider commuting them. Sign the petition asking him to review the cases of the over 2,000 individuals sentenced to life without parole in federal prisons – a step towards restoring justice.

EDIT 3: I have been trying to keep up and I realize a lot of people are saying that I am somehow misrepresenting my dad or saying things that are not true and I just wanted to say I am sorry if I mixed anything up and that I am giving you the information that has been giving to me from the court documents and the various other documents that my family has. I will try to post these documents in the coming days to try to clear some stuff up. Here is a (slightly revised and extended) reply I posted to someone concerning the insurance situation and also all of this information is available in the links provided, i was never trying to “hide” anything:

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“I am sorry if you feel I have “misrepresented” anything as I have been trying answer all questions accurately and promptly with the information I have. Please reply with what you feel I misrepresented and I can try to answer it directly to you as opposed to you getting information to one question from 5 different comments as I feel like that can lead to things being taken out of context… I won’t lie, I was 2 years old when this all went down with the insurance company and I know my mom has a letter from the company somewhere saying that they cancelled our policy. If I can find it I will post it but I can’t promise anything because it has been a very long time and my mom doesn’t exactly like dredging up stuff from back then. Again my apologies to anyone that thinks I was trying to falsely make my dad out to be someone he isn’t. He broke the law, he transported meth, and probably hurt a lot of people indirectly by doing those actions. Was he a meth dealer? No. Did he take some from a shipment and sell it to a childhood friend who was wearing a wire and made up a sob story to get himself out of a sticky situation. Yes. So just to clarify technically yes my dad distributed meth on one occasion that I know of and the only one ever mentioned in all of the court documents we have but it was not an ongoing thing as far as I know or as far as the court was concerned. Just wanted to clarify for people because I know there have been a lot of comments saying that I am lying and honestly if you read some of my posts, you would know I have nothing to hide and I am not making my dad out to be a hero. He did what he thought was right by his family and although a lot of people having varying views on what his actions are to be seen as, I have never said this was a victimless crime or that he didn’t deserve some jail time for his actions. I love my father dearly but he did do something horrible in order to save me so he did deserve to be incarcerated, I just don’t feel like it should be a life sentence and that 19 years away from society, your family and freedom is sufficient payment for his crimes. — Thanks for your post.” —- If anyone has any questions that they would really like answered and aren’t here just to post rude comments without proper context then please PM me and I will try to answer your questions. Thank you for reading my dad’s story and thank you for signing the petition. It means a hell of a lot to me and my family.

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