Dec 1, 2010

The failure of Whack-a-Mole: Cartel arrests did not curb drug trade

The AP does a detailed investigation into the actual results of a DEA drug bust in 2009, Operation Xcellerator, about which acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, declared at the time, "Today we have dealt the Sinaloa drug cartel a crushing blow." Pesented with the results of the AP study, DEA Deputy Director David Gaddas insists the federal strategy works, saying "It's not like Whack-a-Mole." Take out the "not." 


The article reveals that the government's Whack-a-Mole strategy doesn't even get the real 'moles.'  The AP finds that,"most of those arrested were underlings who had little connection to the cartel and were swiftly replaced."

The Associated Press: AP IMPACT: Cartel arrests did not curb drug trade: "This is one in an occasional series of reports by The Associated Press examining why — four decades and $1 trillion after Richard Nixon declared war on drugs — the U.S. and Mexico continue to fight a losing battle.

The government is quick to boast about large arrests or drug seizures, but many of its most-publicized efforts result in little, if any, slowdown in the drug trade.

"These big sweeps are going to have an impact for a little bit at the local level. It's going to be a blip. If you're a drug user, you're going to have a hard time getting your fix for a while," said Eric Sevigney, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina who researches what happens to drug dealers after they are arrested. "But over a short period of time, the market is going to correct itself. And over the long-term period, there's really little effect in these types of seizures."

(Attorney General) Holder vowed to keep up the fight. "These cartels will be destroyed," he said. Other top officials at the Justice Department and the DEA made similar statements at least six times in 2 ½ years. But neither agency tracked the outcomes of each arrest in the sweep." Dec. 1, 2010

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