War on Drugs

Throughout history drugs have been nothing but a social problem, a burden per say. From Edgar Allen Poe smoking opium in an attempt to make his poetry more creative, to Vietnam soldiers coming back from the war addicted to heroin. Narcotics was not a serious issue at the time, only a small hand full of people were actually doing the drugs, and they were just simply looked down upon. It was not until the late nineteen sixties when recreational drug use became fashionable among young, white, middle class American citizens, that the United States Government put its foot down. (pbs. m)

They started slowly ,developing agencies like the (BNDD) Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, which was founded in 1968 by the Linden Johnson administration. Congress also started passing laws like the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in 1970. It was not until June 17, 1971 when the war on drugs truly began. At a press conference in the White House, President Richard J. Nixon officially declared war on drugs. He stated, drug abuse is public enemy, number one in the United States. He also announced the creation of (SAODAP) Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention.

Three years later on August 9, 1974, President Nixon resigns, but not before founding one the greatest assets for the war on drugs, the (DEA) Drug Enforcement Agency. Established in July of 1973, this super agency (pbs. com) consisted of agents from the CIA, Customs and ODALE. This agency was designed to handle all aspects of the drug problem in America and would be headed Myles Ambrose. Throughout the first years of the program the DEA was established their main focus was to stop the flow of marijuana from Mexico to America.

Around the mid seventies the enemy face began to change, the enemy was now cocaine and it was coming from the country of Colombia. On November 22, 1975 the Colombian police seized over 600 kilos of cocaine from a small plane at the Cali Airport. The plane was believed to be headed to Miami, Florida. The amount of cocaine that was seized that day was the largest cocaine bust to date. The DEA, along with other agencies, are still fighting cocaine and many other drugs to this day. One of the reasons the war on drugs is lasting so long is because of the cost; the war on drugs is a very expense war.

In the past, the government has spent around 10 billion dollars a years, this year alone (2002) the United States is excepted to spend over 19 billion on law enforcement for the war on drugs along, thats $ 609 per second. The reason the cost is so high is because there are so many different agencies and programs that need financial aid. Programs such as D. A. R. E, and the Just Say No Anti-drug campaign. The Just Say No campaign was founded by Nancy Reagan in 1984, it focused on white, middle class children and was the centerpiece of the Reagan

Administrations anti-drug campaign. The campaign mainly consisted of TV commercials and public advertisement, to keep kids from trying drugs. When the war on drugs first began to take shape in the early seventies, the government wanted to know where the illicit substances were coming from. At first the answer was simply Mexico, they had previously imported in all of the marijuana in the sixties. The simple mom and pop cartels (warondrugs. com) (small businesses) would grow the marijuana in their own backyard and smuggle it over the border into southern Texas.

This and much larger operations are known as the Trafficking of drugs. After a few years of smuggling the government caught on, so customs started cracking down on the border. This made the smuggler go to the air, they began using airplanes to get over the border. The Mexican smuggling business began to slow down though, due to stricter regulations on customs and border patrol. The lack of business was also due to another factor; Americas drug of choice had changed. America now had a taste for cocaine and it was coming from the country of Colombia.

Cocaine which is an extract of the cocoa bean, is grown all over the country of Colombia. The country of Colombia is a nation made of poverty and corruption. Its main cash crop is coffee, but in reality its cocaine. It is speculated that in Colombia alone, there is over 150,000 hectares of coco plantations. Colombia depends on cocaine; it is estimated 300,000 people are directly dependent on the cocaine economy. (icdc. com) Thousands of people are assassinated and kidnapped every year in Columbia, do to political violence.

In 1989, three of the five Colombian presidential candidates were murdered; the Medellin drug cartel was mainly reasonable for these violent atrocities. Medellin is one of Colombias biggest cities; it is located in central Columbia. Throughout the early seventies to the early nineties, Medellin was the cocaine capital of the world. In fact anyone using cocaine between the late seventies, early eighties theres an 85 percent chance that the cocaine the person was using came from the Medellin Cartel. They invented the market for cocaine; they were the first people to ever be that successful in selling dope.

The Medellin Cartel consisted of many people but, there was one man who controlled it all, the key figure on the other end of the war on drugs, the kingpin himself Pablo Escobar El Doctor. (qtd. in Bowden 5) Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was born December 1, 1949, to Hermilda and Senor Pablo Escobar, in Medellin, Columbia. He grew up with the cruelty and the terror alive in the hills around his native Medillin. (qtd. in bowden 14) Pablo was born in the must violent of times in Columbia, La Violenica a time of civil war in Columbia.

Around 1965 when Pablo was just 17, he dropped out of school, then began selling cocaine, by 1976 he was arrested, but this did not stop him. By 1982 Pablo had become so powerful that he was elected congressman on the Columbian Parliament. He also purchased one of Columbias popular professional soccer teams. By this time in Colombia, Pablo was looked at as a sort of Robin Hood (pbs. com) buying mass apartment complexes for the poor to live in, the poor loved him. He was unstoppable, that was until 1989, Pablo helped coordinate a terrorist campaign that shot down an Avianca airliner out of the sky.

His men shot down the plane in attempt to kill the only presidential candidate in the Columbian election. After this incident the U. S. government makes Pablo a military target, and begins a so-called war with Pablo. By June 19, 1991 Pablo surrenders, having negotiated an unbelievable deal with the Colombian government. He would be confined to a luxurious mountain prison where will be protected by his own bodyguards. (qtd. in Bowden 149)

One year later, Pablo walked out of the prison that he had built for himself, reaking terms of his 1991 surrender. qtd. in Bowden 149) Two years later, a vigilante death squad known only has the Los Pepes secretly composed of the Columbian Search Bloc, Ex Medellin cartel members, and American DEA agents, announces they intend to attack family members, friends, associates and assets of Pablo Escobar until he is found. On March 4, 1993 the Los Pepes kill Escobars attorney Raoul Zapata. Two days later the Los Pepes kill two more of Pablos attorneys, by this time the Los Pepes are brutally killing five to six people a day.

Finally on April 16, 1993 the president of Columbia, Presidente Gaviria instructs for the Los Pepes killing to stop. The next day, the Los Pepes announce that they are disbanding, but the killing continue. On July 14, 1993 Col. Hugo Martinez, head of Search Bloc, meets with U. S. Army Col. John Alexander and agrees to allow a ground-based U. S. listening post in Medellin(qtd in Bowden 205) Finally on December 2, 1993, Colonel Martinez and his men track Pablo phoning his family in Frankfurt, Germany, they track him down to his three million-dollar estate.

As the Search Bloc goes in to arrest him, Escobar runs out on the roof the police are forced to gun him down. He died the day after his birthday at the age of 44. This was the deathblow to the Medellin cartel, business would never be the same in Medellin. Another key figure in the Medellin drug cartel was a man named George Jung, an American from Wimor, Massachusetts. George Jung was responsible for the 85% of Americas cocaine getting to the United States; he was the real drug trafficker not Pablo. George Jung was born in August 18, 1950 in Wimor, Massachusetts.

He was the son of a plummer, and lived in a middle class neighborhood. George started out as a small time marijuana dealer, when he and a friend moved to Manhattan Beach, California, in 1968. His business gradually got bigger, so he started dealing back in the Massachusetts area, after a friend of his convinced him that it would be good money. In 1974, he was arrested in Chicago for transporting 660 pounds of marijuana. He was sentenced to one year at The Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut.

Danbury wasnt a prison, it was a crime school, I came in with bachelors in marijuana, and left with a major in cocaine. (qtd. in porter 63) Danbury was where he first got into to the cocaine; it was where he met Carlos Lehder, an associate and good friend of Pablo Escobar. Carlos Lehder was locked up for stealing cars; he was Georges bunkmate. Carlos taught George everything he needed to know about smuggling cocaine. In return George was Carloss way to transport cocaine out of Columbia and in to America, It was like a marriage made in heaven, or hell in the end. (qtd. Porter 23)

As soon as they got out of jail they went straight to work, George went to Cartagena, Colombia to meet up with Carlos ounce again. They started transporting cocaine from West Colombia to West Hollywood building a partner ship together. Pablo Escobar was so impressed with George that he had George flown from California to Medellin, just to simply talk to him. Over the few days that I was there, an individual was brought to the ranch in a Chevy Blazer and he was taken out by two of Pablos bodyguards and we were sitting at a table on the patio in the back and he simply said, Excuse me.

He walked over and executed the man and then he came back to the table. He simply looked at me he said, He betrayed me. They took him away and then he asked what Id like for dinner that night. George Jung Thats when George realized that the cocaine business was much more dangerous than the marijuana business. He did not stop after this though he kept making his millions, until the DEA raided his house, then he was arrested and put in the Otisville Penatentry for 60 years he is still in there to this day.

Another country that is highly involved in drug trafficking in America is the country of Mexico. In the past, Mexico was primarily responsible for marijuana, today Mexico is responsible for many illicit substances coming into the United States, but mainly cocaine and marijuana. Today their are many drug cartels in Mexico but, the Arellano- Felix Organization is by far the strongest. The Arellano-Felix Organization is North Americas most violent drug trafficking cartel. Based out of Tijuana, Mexico, for over a decade they shipped tons of cocaine, heroin and met amphetamines into the U. S. every year. Annual revenues are in the hundreds of millions. (dea. com)

The cartels strategy is to recruiting Juniors young educated upper class men with families living on both sides of the San Diego border, Tijuana border, using them as their drug runners and hit men. They have single handedly killed hundreds of innocent people including the cardinal of a church in Mexico. They were on the FBIs ten most wanted list three years ago, but they are still on the loose. At the other end of the war on drugs there is treatment, treatment for the addiction to drugs.

Treatment is always the end of the spectrum overlooked, only one time in the history on the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement. That was when President Nixon announced the creation of (SAODAP) the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention. Addiction is one the most serious parts of the war on drugs, its the aftermath of having fun. (pbs. com) The Vietnam soldiers were some of the very first people to suffer from heroin addiction.

Psychiatrist Dr. Robert DuPont is a pioneer doctor in drug abuse treatment, he perfumed studies in Washington D. C. in 1969 of heroin addicts, and then convinced the mayor to allow him to provide methadone to the heroin addicts this resulted in the citys crime rate dropping. The cost of addiction can be devastating to the person and the persons family. People trade in their cars; clothing and shelter just to get a fix for their addiction. The cost of rehabilitation is outrageous, unless you are attending a free one it can cost up to 1000 dollars a weak.

There are many programs out in the public today for soul purpose of keeping people clean, off drugs. Programs such as Betty Ford, D. A. R. E, and many more are set up to keep people from drug abuse. In the end the war on drugs is not a war to be won or lost, its with in the people, rather if they want to do drugs or not. The importation of illicit substances into the United States is an impossibility. Theres over 2,000 miles of border along the Mexican border and the coastal areas, thousands of miles; there is no possible way to stop the importation of drugs into this country.

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