Friday, August 21, 2009

Is Fitzgerald biting off too much with involvement in Mexico drug indictments?

Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby. Judith Miller. George Ryan. Someday (possibly) Rod Blagojevich.

These are just a few of the people who have managed to come under fire from Chicago’s very own U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald. With these prosecutorial scalps, Fitzgeraold has amassed a record of high profile – higher than a Chicago-based federal prosecutor usually gets.

IT’S BECAUSE OF his willingness to get involved in the big national investigations that require him to put in time elsewhere, rather than becoming overly parochial like many of our city’s public officials.

So could it be that he’s bored these days, and uses that boredom to justify his latest target – Mexican narcotics traffickers?

Could it be that Fitzgerald’s 21st Century take on Eliot Ness thinks he can fight drugs the same way Ness allegedly (if not fully in reality) took on alcohol?

Will Chicago’s G-men take on the influx of narcotics that are flowing up from Mexico and Latin American nations?

YES. I WILL be the first to admit I’m laying the hyperbole on rather thick here – to the point of being ridiculous.

Because that is what I think of the indictments that were handed down Thursday in federal courts in Chicago and New York, and announced publicly in the District of Columbia, with Attorney General Eric Holder at Fitzgerald’s side in making the announcement.

These acts are pointless if they are to be judged on their realistic potential to actually stop the flow of drugs into the Chicago area, let alone the rest of the nation.

The reporter-type person in me has dealt with many drug busts throughout the years whose significance was exaggerated by law enforcement types who were eager to make themselves look significant in the “War on Drugs!”

BUT FITZGERALD MAY have topped them all with this week’s announcement that some 43 people, including some Mexican citizens currently living in Mexico, now have criminal charges pending against them in the United States.

It’s almost as ridiculous an act as when then Chicago-based federal judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis tried to have Kaiser Wilhelm II extradited to the United States so he could be hauled into his courtroom to allow Landis to punish him for the sinking of the Luisitania – the act that drew the United States into World War I.

I just don’t see the practical effect such a prosecution would have. You might as well just go ahead and issue the indictment against Osama bin Laden.

It is true that some lower-level people in the United States are now busted and likely will wind up doing their time in prison. It will cause some confusion for a few days in terms of the flow of drugs into this country.

THERE MAY BE someone who is not able to make their usual illicit drug purchase for a few days.

But it is too likely that for every person who spends some time in jail, someone else will rise up in the ranks and become significant. In short, they will be replaced. The order of things by which these narcotics get into this country will be restored, even if it is with different people.

It really doesn’t matter who is providing the drugs, so long as the demand for the “product” is there. Someone will always be desperate or determined enough to take the legal risks to try to fill the desire.

If anything, all these indictments did was little more than open up a few jobs – which can be a plus in today’s times of economic struggles. Someone else is about to get a job as a drug dealer.

AS FOR THE Mexicans at the top who are getting rich off the misery caused by narcotics (so rich that at least one of them is among the wealthiest people on the face of Planet Earth)?

This indictment merely makes it a little more difficult for those dealers to bring their bimbos to “los Estados Unidos” for a weekend of pleasure in Las Vegas or at some other luxury spot that most real people in this country can’t think of enjoying (it costs too much).

Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton was correct a few months ago when she said the United States had an obligation to assist Mexico with trying to stop the flow of narcotics into this country.

There wouldn’t be so many Mexicans getting rich off narcotics sales if it weren’t for Anglo idiots being willing to spend what little money they have on a “quick fix.”

IF IT MEANS we have to focus our efforts on trying to get people weaned away from wanting to resort to such drugs, rather than think the “Law and Order” approach is primary, then so be it.

Because a part of me wonders if all that is going to happen from these new indictments is that some people, particularly those of a nativist ideological bent, will think the problem is solved now that somebody’s cracking down on Mexican drug dealers.

When in reality, the problems caused by narcotics use will remain with us, even if a few more people wind up crowding our nation’s prison systems.

And Patrick Fitzgerald could go back to doing his job of keeping us Chicago-area residents safe from the likes of Rod Blagojevich.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Reports of the indictment of various people, including high-ranking Mexican drug dealers, cracked me up (,0,4228031.story) with their references of drugs being slipped into the country “by submarine.” Could it be that those subs are going up the Mississippi River, across the state via the Illinois River, then coming into the city via the Chicago River? Nah!

For those who wonder why Mexico doesn’t just extradite the 10 of their citizens who are now indicted ( in the United States on drug charges, think of how many of them would feel if the U.S. willingly turned over its citizens because a foreign country filed some charges.

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