President Trump raised some eyebrows last month in a speech where he discussed how to tackle the nation's opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids have killed more than 500,000 people since 2000. Part of Trump's proposed plan, which he laid out before a supportive crowd, involves making high-volume drug traffickers subject to the death penalty. He referred to "big pushers, the ones who are really killing people."
When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at the beginning of the year that he was directing federal prosecutors to use their own discretion in dealing with marijuana users, people throughout Maryland and other states who legally use marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes were understandably concerned.
Just days after his father was arrested for alleged drug trafficking, his teenage son was also arrested. The two men are both from Salisbury.
Sometimes the people who get caught up in criminal investigations and end up facing charges are those whose duty it is to enforce the law. That's the case with members of a Baltimore police unit who have been accused of stealing drugs from dealers and others over the course of several years. They've also been accused of stealing other items during searches.
-The Obama administration, as most of our readers know, sought to minimize the incarceration rates and the severity of penalties for people convicted only of minor drug crimes --- particularly those involving marijuana.
Officials in Baltimore County say they hope that a 40-year prison sentence handed down to a Maryland man will send a "strong message to others who deal large amounts of drugs.
Last year, Maryland lawmakers passed and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Justice Reinvestment Act. The intent of the law, which received bipartisan support, was to lessen the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes and redirect funds to providing treatment for those convicted of these crimes.
Sometimes family conflicts lead to much more severe legal consequences than anyone may anticipate. That was the case here in Salisbury earlier this month.
The Pew Research Center just released a very interesting analysis of recent trends in federal prosecutions. Specifically, the respected nonpartisan fact tank found that Department of Justice activity peaked in 2011 but then began to drop. Today, the Justice Department is prosecuting drug charges, property offenses, immigration violations and other crimes at the lowest level in 20 years -- while at the same time, crime itself is at the lowest rate since 2006.
One the signature promises of the Trump Campaign was the construction of a border wall along the southern border with Mexico. The details on the wall were noticeably sparse however it appears the Administration is taking concrete steps to secure the southern border. The Administration is allocating funds for border security and increasing the number of border agents. But, it appears that the wall overlooks critical sources of illegal immigration and may not slow the flow of drug trafficking over the border.