Federal Crackdown Hits Lewisville Smoke Shop 

Federal Crackdown Hits Lewisville Smoke Shop 
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2003 at 14:20:52 PT
By Brent Flynn, Staff Writer 
Source: Lewisville Leader 
A local smoke shop was shut down and its owner was arrested on Monday as part of a nationwide crackdown on businesses that sell drug paraphernalia. Puffer's Paradise owner Donald Kelley Reece of Fort Worth was arrested and charged with conspiracy to sell and offering for sale drug paraphernalia specifically prohibited by federal statute.
Officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. marshal's office and U.S. postal inspector's office executed a search warrant on Monday at the shop located at 1302 State Highway 121 Business as part of Operation Pipe Dreams and Headhunters.The operation was unveiled on Monday during a news conference conducted by Attorney General John Ashcroft."With the advent of the Internet, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has exploded," Ashcroft said. "The drug paraphernalia business is now accessible in anyone's home with a computer and Internet access. And in homes across America we know that children and young adults are the fastest growing Internet users. Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge. This illegal billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement."According to a news release from the secretary to the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Texas, Operation Pipe Dreams has resulted in the indictment of 27 people in western Pennsylvania for illegally selling and distributing products to drug paraphernalia businesses, more commonly known as "head shops." Operation Headhunter resulted in the indictment of nine individuals on similar charges in southern Iowa. In addition to the indictment and arrest of Reece, the DEA has also executed several search warrants in the Dallas area to close down "head shops" operating in violation of the law.In Lewisville, federal law-enforcement officials removed several boxes filled with water, acrylic, metal, wooden, chamber, electric and air-driven pipes. Other items confiscated during the warrant were roach clips (objects used to hold burning material such as marijuana cigarettes), bongs and wired cigarette papers. The store remained closed as of press time.The confiscated items, which can also be used legally to smoke tobacco, have been sold at tobacco shops for decades. Federal prosecutor Tracy Batson said businesses targeted in Operation Pipe Dreams are suspected of knowingly selling the products to be used to ingest illegal substances. "Sometimes they do have legitimate uses," she said. "But in many cases, we know they are selling them for illegitimate purposes. There are some legitimate uses for the items. If so, that is not against federal law."DEA acting administrator John B. Brown gave a more direct explanation for the sweep. "People selling drug paraphernalia are in essence no different than drug dealers," he said. "They are as much a part of drug trafficking as silencers are a part of criminal homicide." But Keith Stroup, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), said the operation will have little effect on the drug trade and will actually detract from more serious law-enforcement concerns."I'm really sort of amused about it," Stroup said. "It's almost as if the attorney general thinks that if he clamps down on bongs and pipes, he can cut down on use. People will just use rolling papers like they have for decades. On the one hand, we have the national terror alert at code orange and at the same time we are spending tens of millions of dollars going after people selling pipes and papers. It's an incredibly wasteful use of scarce law enforcement resources."The writing was on the wall in November after Scott Burns of the Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a open letter to prosecutors in which he stated that "no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana.""That type of statement undermines the credibility of the government when they try to talk about more serious drugs," Stroup said. "It undermines any serious effort to warn about truly dangerous drugs."U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Orwig disagreed with Stroup's assessment. "The DEA should be praised for their efforts at making the community safer for our children," he said. Source: Lewisville Leader (TX)Author: Brent Flynn, Staff WriterPublished: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 Copyright: 2003 Lewisville Leader Contact: flynnb dfwcn.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Sites:NORML NORML Pipe Dreams Is a Nightmare Take WoD's To Higher Level of Absurdity Makers Free On Own Recognizance
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on February 26, 2003 at 18:07:56 PT
Drug crazy Feds
The Feds have gone totally "drug crazy" and are out of control. They are a danger to themselves and to the country. 
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Comment #1 posted by billos on February 26, 2003 at 16:44:53 PT
I just can't believe it's come to this.
Jesus must be packing His bags for the second coming. Maybe He's just waiting for after the attack on Iraq before He arrives. The feds are truly lost. How can We possibly take back our government???
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