One of the first big tragic stories I covered in the War on Marijuana was the story of Rachel Hoffman. This 23-year-old college student was caught by cops with marijuana and Ecstacy, so the cops made her an offer she couldn't refuse: go undercover and buy 1,500 pills of ecstasy, 2 ounces of cocaine and a gun from two men who were known to be violent drug dealers with lengthy arrest records. Don't worry, the police told her, we'll have an eye on you at all times and once you help us bring down the "big fish", you'll get off with probation.
They lost sight of Rachel when she got into a car with the dealers. Thirty-six hours later, she was found shot, execution-style, at the end of some country road.
Forcing a college kid to do an undercover cop's work with no training and large amounts of drugs and a weapon for the "crime" of being a college kid who likes smoking pot and the occasional Ecstasy rave is an abhorrent perversion of criminal justice. But if that doesn't anger you, how about a similar scenario that just happened in Texas, where a woman was forced to buy large quantities of methamphetamine to get out of punishment for traffic infractions!
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous because she fears retribution from dealers, was pulled over for making an illegal lane change in the town Friendswood on Aug. 22, her attorney Dane Johnson told ABC News. The officer who pulled her over found a glass pipe and the prescription medication Suboxone, which Johnson says she has a prescription for. She was given tickets for an out of date registration and for not having proof of insurance with her, records show.
She was then arrested, taken to the police station and strip searched, her attorney alleges.
"The police seemed to think she was a drug dealer, and threatened to call Child Protective Services if she didn't cooperate," Johnson said. "This is a single mother with no criminal record, and they wouldn't let her call anyone to go look after her child for the four hours she was at the station."
While being held police offered her a deal: perform three controlled drug buys instead of paying the fines, the lawyer said. Her attorney told ABC News she had never bought drugs before, but agreed to do it to get out of the citations.
This is not some aberation; using criminal charges to pressure people into serving as criminal informants is standard operating procedure in police stations all across the country. The marijuana user is just a "druggie", a criminal enemy who's everywhere and must be brought down with force and coercion and lies. A "little fish" to be used as bait to catch the "big fish".
The woman in this case had made the controlled buy of $100 in meth, where she went in alone with no training or support from meth-using dealers who were packing at least one handgun she saw. With two more buys planned for her by the police, she tried to get out of the deal, only to be threatened by the department and the police chief that she'd be charged for buying the meth in the first buy if she didn't go through with the next two.