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Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion is a 1998 book by journalist Gary Webb. The book is based on "Dark Alliance", Webb's three-part investigative series published in the San Jose Mercury News in August 1996. The original series claimed that, in order to help raise funds for efforts against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government, the CIA supported cocaine trafficking into the US by top members of Nicaraguan Contra Rebel organizations and allowed the subsequent crack epidemic to spread in Los Angeles. The book expands on the series and recounts media reaction to Webb's original newspaper exposé.
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Blandon, a cocaine smuggler who founded an FDN chapter in Los Angeles, was a major supplier for Freeway Ricky Ross. With access to cheap, pure cocaine and the idea to cook the cocaine into crack, Ross established a major drug network and fueled the popularity of crack. By 1983, Ross was purchasing 10 to 15 kilos of cocaine a week from CIA-backed Contra supporter Blandon - according to Blandon. All the while, Webb alleges, the CIA was supporting the Contras supplying him with the cocaine. Meanwhile, the US Justice Department and its agencies - who were aware of the Contra-linked drug trafficking operations of the FDN supporters - derailed local police investigations and blocked the prosecution of the Contra-linked cocaine traffickers.
The hate crime legislation enacted in 2009 directed the U.S. Sentencing Commission to submit a second report on federal mandatory minimums.28 The commission presented its second report in October 2011.29 A number of things had changed between the first and second Commission reports. Sentencing under the Guidelines had been in place for only a relatively short period of time when the first report was written. By the time of the second report, the number of defendants sentenced by federal courts had grown to almost three times the number sentenced under the Guidelines when the commission wrote its first report.30 The judicial landscape has changed as well. When the commission issued its first report, the Guidelines were considered binding upon sentencing judges.31 After the Supreme Court's Booker decision and its progeny, the Guidelines became but the first step in the sentencing process.32 In addition, the Fair Sentencing Act, passed in 2010, reduced the powder cocaine-crack cocaine ratio from 100 to 10 to roughly 18 to 1.33
The eight substances are heroin, powder cocaine, cocaine base (crack), PCP, LSD, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Criminal penalties related to each substance provide one set of mandatory minimums for trafficking in a very substantial amount listed in Section 841(b)(1)(A), and a second, lower set of mandatory minimums for trafficking in a lower but still substantial amount listed in Section 841(a)(1)(B). The first set (841(b)(1)(A) level) features the following thresholds:
At one time, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (cocaine base) was punished 100 times more severely than possession with intent to distribute cocaine in powdered form.294 Defendants claimed the distinction had a racially disparate impact. The claim was almost universally rejected.295
P.L. 111-220, 2(a), 124 Stat. 2372 (2010). Prior to enactment, 5000 grams of powder cocaine or 50 grams of crack cocaine triggered the Controlled Substances Act's 10-year mandatory minimum, 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(A)(ii) and (iii) (2006 ed.), and 500 grams of powder or 5 grams of crack triggered its 5-year mandatory minimum. Id. 841(b)(1)(B)(ii) and (iii) (2006 ed.). The FSA established a 5000 grams to 280 gram ratio for the 10-year mandatory minimum, 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(A)(ii) and (iii), and a 500 grams to 28 gram ratio for the 5-year mandatory minimum. Id. 841(b)(1)(B)(ii) and (iii).
Sandra Avery was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who served in the army and the army reserves, earned a college degree, overcame an addiction to crack, became a born-again Christian, and worked as an accountant. But in her early forties, her life spun out of control: she became addicted to crack cocaine again, lost her job, and started delivering and selling small amounts of crack for her husband, a crack dealer.
The government sought a sentence for Bowens within the guidelines range of about 19 to 24 years (235-293 months), a range predicated on a drug quantity of 1.5 kilograms of crack. Such a sentence would have greatly exceeded the sentences secured by defendants with similar roles in the conspiracy who pled guilty. The judge sentenced him to 15 years, a sentence subsequently reduced to 12 years following the retroactive changes in 2010 to the guidelines for crack cocaine offenses.
Midyett was 26 when arrested in 2007 after selling crack to an undercover police officer. He was indicted with others for conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack, a charge which under the still extant crack cocaine sentence laws carried a mandatory minimum term of 10-years imprisonment and a maximum of life. According to government evidence, Midyett was part of group that sold crack at different buildings in a public housing complex; the total amount sold during the conspiracy period was approximately 843 grams of crack. The judge found that Midyett could have foreseen and/or participated personally in the sale of 97 grams of crack.
In the case of Jumal George Jones, from Chicago, thegovernment obtained a three count indictment charging Jones with possessionwith intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine, with being a felonin possession of a firearm, and with possession of a firearm in furtherance ofa drug trafficking crime in violation of 924(c).
Jones had made five trips to sell 91 grams of crack(two-and-a-quarter ounces) of cocaine in Lansing, Michigan. He had a longemployment history and was gainfully working at the time of his offense, butsold crack to help finance a home outside the city for his family. He also hadprior convictions that made him eligible for an 851 enhancement. Jonespled guilty to the drugs and to the 924(c) violation. In exchange, thegovernment dismissed the second count in the indictment and agreed not to filean 851 information that would have led to a life sentence. He received 15years (10 for the drugs, 5 for the gun count).
In May 2007, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Hall, Martin, and 10 others. The original indictment charged Hall with a single count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack. It did not include charges for marijuana, any other drugs, or possession of the firearms.
In Edo state, a notorious drug dealer Beauty Dauda, 27, has been arrested with various quantities of Meth, heroin, cannabis and crack cocaine in a densely populated slum along Lagos bypass, Benin City.
SMITH: And this brings us to Freeway Ricky Ross. He started dealing cocaine in 1979. Then he moved into crack. Then he worked his way up to becoming one of the biggest crack dealers in LA. He was arrested in 1996 and given a life sentence. But in 2009, he was given parole and released.
Officer Charles Heller wrote in three Dec. 30 search warrant affidavits that a confidential informant had reported people selling crack cocaine from 2424 Elliott Ave. in the past 48 hours, and the driver of a vehicle stopped by police had reported people were also using 2605 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. for the drug sales.
Deputies swept Crews' cell after another inmate drew attention to the relationship in late March. Jose Arce, whose cell is across from Crews', told investigators that St. Rose was being set up as an unwitting "mule" to bring Crews drugs. One scheme involved her obtaining crack-cocaine-laced candy bars from Crews' sister, Arce said. But the plan never worked, he told investigators.
Considering only the 76 cases in which the STJ recognized small-time drug trafficking and applied paragraph 4, the amount of seized drugs was as follows: crack from 1.79 g18 to 500 g;19 cocaine from 1.90 g20 to 11.886 kg;21 marijuana from 0.85 g22 to 31 kg.23
Law enforcement from 25 countries, supported by Europol, Eurojust, INTERPOL and the European Banking Federation (EBF) have joined forces to crack down on one of the most important enablers of money laundering: money mules and their recruiters. 350c69d7ab