NewsBriefs BUTTONS


November 1996

Cincinnati, Ohio - Saundretta Anderson, 50, learned on October 7 that she must vacate her apartment because of her 15-year-old son's alleged drug activity. Magistrate Peter Outcalt ordered Anderson, who says she is clinically blind, a diabetic, and a kidney transplant recipient, to leave within ten days. Anderson says an employee of F&H Services, which manages the apartment building, testified that he saw her son working as a "lookout" for drug dealers, a charge that Anderson denies. Councilman Charles Winburn, a supporter of FACT (Fighting Against Drug Trafficking), which tries to force drug traffickers from the Mount Auburn neighborhood where Anderson lives, said he supports the action. FACT anti-drug marches, financed in part by Procter & Gamble Company, targeted Anderson's son in one of their demonstrations. Anderson says she supports FACT too, but added "they should get their facts right" (William A. Weathers, "Family evicted from apartment over son's alleged drug link," Cincinnati Enquirer, October 8, 1996, p. B2; Tom O'Neill, "Anti-drug marches have doubters," Cincinnati Enquirer, October 22, 1996, p. B5).

Baltimore, Maryland - According to the Baltimore Sun, drug users are using ground beef, steak and other meat products as currency in the illicit drug market. Drug users report that they shoplift meat from area supermarkets and give it to low-level drug dealers in exchange for drugs. The use of perishable items, police say, is another sign of the speed and depth of the drug trade. "Meat is more expensive than most groceries, and so you can move it pretty quickly if you're a [drug] user," says Southern District Lieutenant Barry Baker. Police say that bartering is not new in the drug trade, and that local dealers accept everything from food stamps to electronics (Joe Mathews, "Need a fix? Bring some hamburger," Baltimore Sun, September 22, 1996, p. 10A). [And drug dealers know that forfeiture of hamburger after it has been consumed is a big mess for law enforcement. -- EES]

Nashville, Tennessee - Donald Cherry, who claimed on October 18 that his son was fatally shot in a traffic dispute, admitted on October 23 that his child was killed while he was buying drugs. Cherry admitted bringing his two toddlers along with him on a drug buy, where a gunman shot into his car on a dead-end street. "Either the suspect attempted to rob him, or the drugs weren't right," said detective Larry Flair at a news conference. Cherry's son D.J., 2, was shot in the head and killed, and his other son, 1-year-old Matthew, was unhurt. Cherry initially said that a group of black teenagers pulled out in front of him on the highway, and that, after pulling around them and making an impolite gesture, the teenagers shot into his car. Black leaders expressed outrage over the fictitious accusation and the public's willingness to believe it (Associated Press, "Tenn. Man Admits Fabricating Tale Of Traffic Dispute in Son's Death," Washington Post, October 24, 1996, p. A7).

Chicago, Illinois - Cook County Narcotics Court judge Frank D. Edwards, who pleaded guilty in Belize to a marijuana possession charge while vacationing in June, withdrew from the November election for a court vacancy, election officials said. Edwards was placed on leave from his job after the Chicago Daily Defender reported in July his June 24 arrest and confession at the Belize airport for possession of 4.9 grams of marijuana. He paid a $500 fine. Edwards asserts that he is actually innocent, and said that security guards planted the drugs to shake him down for a bribe, but he continued his vacation without contacting the U.S. Embassy in Belize to protest. He has asked the Judicial Inquiry Board to investigate (Mark Brown, "Judge withdraws from race after drug conviction," Chicago Sun-Times, October 2, 1996, p. 12).

Stillwater, Oklahoma - Oklahoma State University's Homecoming Executive Committee denied the application by the campus chapter of NORML to enter their float in the University's homecoming parade on October 18. The float was an 11-foot replica of marijuana cigarette, complete with smoke machine. Traci Bixler, the 1996 Homecoming executive director, said the committee had to cut five entries to reach its goal of 150 entries. She added that NORML's entry did not meet the criteria for entertainment value and homecoming theme, which is "Bringing Dreams to Life." Bixler said, "We did not feel it would promote positive feelings for a number of the alumni." Kevin Page, director of OSU's NORML chapter, denied that the float was not entertaining, saying, "you can laugh at a big, fat joint going down the street." He added, "We have an equal right to say as much as the Hispanic Club or the Education Student Council" (Anne Tallent Maase, "OSU Parade Snubs Drug Group," Daily Oklahoma, October 12, 1996, p. 12).

Booneville, Missouri - On October 1, drug charges against Larry and Ruth Sheldon of Greenville, Kentucky were dropped because the handlers of a drug-sniffing dog did not have a search warrant or the Sheldon's consent when the dog jumped into a car in May 1995. The Missouri state police dog discovered 105 pounds of marijuana after police pulled the Sheldon's car over for a broken taillight. A Booneville judge ruled the marijuana inadmissible ("Crime Dog Blows Bust," USA Today, October 3, 1996, p. 3A).

Ford Heights, Illinois - On October 10, federal prosecutors charged four police officers and two former officers in Ford Heights with accepting bribes from drug dealers. According to the indictments, one or more of the officers allowed bribe paying dealers to operate without interference, forced out rival drug dealers who did not offer bribes, leaked information about anti-drug police activities to drug dealers, and fixed criminal cases for several drug dealers. The indictments left the impoverished community with only three full-time officers. "The situation is particularly troubling because of the sparse resources that are available to this small community," said Jack Daulton, the FBI's assistant special agent-in-charge in Chicago. Cook County police and the Illinois State Police stepped in to bolster police protection. The salary for police officers in Ford Heights starts at $6 an hour and tops out at $20,000 a year (Matt O'Connor and Pamela Cytrynbaum, "U.S. probe nearly wipes out police in Ford Heights," Chicago Tribune, October 11, 1996, s. 1, p. 1; "Police Officers Arrested," Washington Post, October 12, 1996, p. A2).