“Biggest Massachusetts Drug Bust” – Just Part of Failure of ‘War on Drugs’

Attorney General Maura Healey announced yesterday that a massive statewide fentanyl bust on Thursday, yielding 77 pounds of other drugs, including heroin, cocaine and opiate tablets, as well as $300,000 in cash. Law enforcement officials claimed that enough fentanyl was seized to possibly kill every person in Massachusetts. A dramatic description, for certain.

The six-month wiretap operation, conducted by a joint task force of federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, the Massachusetts AG’s office, Boston police and other law enforcement agencies, resulted in the seizure of the drugs and the arrest of 37 separate suspects, including the alleged local kingpin, Robert Contreras of Roxbury. Contreras has been ordered held on $1 million bail on felony drug charges. The Boston Herald, quoting prosecutors, reported that evidence indicates that Contreras’ organization would receive the drugs from a much larger wholesaler, Mexico’s brutal Sinaloa cartel, them distribute them to lieutenants throughout the region, who would then supply lower-level dealers to addicts.

Making the bust even more newsworthy, was the fact that fentanyl is an opioid, and within a state and country that is struggling with so many opioid deaths and overdoses, this always makes for good news copy. Attorney General Healey also accurately described these drug cartels as “Sophisticated criminal business enterprises, making boatloads of money by exploiting addiction in our communities – it’s outrageous. So we’re going to do everything we can to continue go after that. These are sophisticated criminal enterprises. It’s as simple as that.”

Well, yes and no. She is quite right that the gangs that distribute these drugs are “sophisticated criminal business enterprises ,making boatloads of money by exploiting addiction in our communities.” On that point, she and others who make that observation, are 100% correct. What these persons don’t say is that we – specifically the federal and state politicians who have made these drugs illegal – have created these criminals. WE gave them their occupations. WE gave them their riches. WE gave them the ability to addict people, and live off this misery of those victims. We are even responsible for the deaths resulting from law enforcement operations to chase down these people and fight them with manpower, gunpower, tax money, and countless government resources.  Yes, I’ll restate that: Our elected representatives – from the state level, to Congress, to whoever may occupy the White House every four years – are responsible for the carnage that results from the miserably failed “War on Drugs,” that has been waged now for over 70 years.

I know this all too well from my many years as a Massachusetts drug charges defense lawyer, defending clients charged with a variety of drug offenses.  I’ll explain why our federal and state legislators have created and fuel this miserable failure of the “War on Drugs,” in my next post on this important topic.