Dope File: Pot tacos

By Joel Miller

Would you like fire sauce or pot with that?

In a different twist on Montezuma’s Revenge, a restaurant worker in Minnesota has been busted for allegedly slipping marijuana into a policeman’s taco, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Before scarfing down his lunch, Officer Joe Spark caught an eyeful of something that wasn’t lettuce and took a whiff. Spark’s assessment: It “looked and smelled like marijuana.”

To get confirmation, the “doobious” victual, purchased at a place called Taco John’s in Little Canada, was taken to the police lab and tested. Bingo for bud! The results came back pot positive.

As policemen are not typically enamored of getting a mouthful of muggles, the 19-year-old taco peddler was arrested and faces charges of selling a controlled substance in the fifth degree. But will that wash?

I spoke to some lawyers and legal experts to see what they thought and all sized up the case as difficult. “It doesn’t look like the guy’s selling from a technically legal point of view,” said one law prof I talked with. Technically, after all, the officer didn’t buy marijuana; he bought a taco. Likewise, the kid didn’t sell marijuana; he sold a taco.

You could argue, it was pointed out to me, that the officer bought the constituent parts of the taco, thus actually purchasing the marijuana. But that’s not really good enough, as becomes clear if you switch the pot with another foreign object.

If you substituted the marijuana for a mouse, the argument falls apart. If the officer had ground rodent instead of reefer in his taco, he’d surely protest that he had purchased ground beef with his lunch, not mouse. The officer wouldn’t have purchased the foreign object; thus, no sale of pot.

What about casting it as a drug buy, like the cop solicited the pot and the guy sold it? Nope. The officer didn’t solicit the pot, so it’s not technically a sale of pot. It’s a transfer, it’s possession, it’s all sorts of things – including probably the stupidest thing, if he did it, the suspect has done to date – but it’s not a sale of marijuana. (Should the suspect prevail and like to pay me for my profoundly unprofessional opinion, he can mail me a check c/o WND.)

Montezuma’s Revenge reversed?

People cheering the bust of suspected Tijuana drug lord Benjamin Arellano Felix and death of his brother Ram?n should put away the noisemakers and party hats if they think it means anything substantial to the effort to combat the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S.

Control of the Tijuana cartel’s share of the business, thought to be 25 percent of the cocaine entering the American Southwest, is now up for grabs – which doesn’t mean victory for anyone, just more bloodshed.

Indeed, a suspected lawyer for the Felix brothers – Rodolfo Carrillo, known as “the amparo (injunction) king” – was found dead outside his apartment Monday, according to TheNewsMexico.com. Authorities said a single shot to the head did the trick.

Turmoil in Tijuana has everyone saying two words: Turf war.

“There is no question about that. Look at what Baja California offers these people – it’s a great launching pad for drugs,” said DEA special agent Donald Thornhill. “We’ve seen cartels come and go and we’re staying very focused on what’s happening in Tijuana.”

Apparently it never occurred to Thornhill to ask why he keeps seeing them come and not just go. If he did, he might realize that this fight – as it now stands – is perpetual and the word “win” is the punch line to an increasingly deadly joke.

Jail-house rock

Fifty inmates of Prathum Thani, a prison in Bangkok, Thailand, have formed a choral group and are about to Britney Spears their way into national stardom as they kick off a country-wide concert tour this Friday singing anti-drug ditties. Members of the group, each of whom is jailed for drug offenses, will be unshackled while on stage and get to wear civilian clothes.

“Prison director Sorasit Jongchareon says the musical revue, ‘Songs For Life To Fight Drugs,’ will feature songs written by the inmates themselves and a Christian group,” according to yesterday’s Ananova.com. “All the songs discourage drug use among young people.”

In addition to playing parks and schools, the group will play at several of Thailand’s notoriously overcrowded prisons; “there are around 270,000 prisoners crammed into jails designed for 90,000 inmates, most of whom have drug convictions,” reports Ananova.

Most involved are hoping the revue will not feature any solos of “Oops, I did it Again.”

Wise words

P.J. O’Rourke: “No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power” (“Give War a Chance,” p. 110).

St. John Chrysostom: “What? Did the wine, O man, produce this evil? Not the wine, O man, but the intemperance of such as take an evil delight in it. Say then, ‘Would there were no drunkenness …,’ but if thou say ‘Would there were no wine,’ thou wilt say, going on by degrees, ‘Would there were no steel, because of the murderers; no night, because of the thieves; no light, because of the informers; no women, because of the adulteries;’ and, in a word, thou wilt destroy all” (Homilies 57:5).


More Straight Dope columns:

Treating drugs with death

Stiff joints

Kill a druggie, sell a kidney

Druggies worse than killers?

Vandalizing the 4th Amendment

Lookout for Big Narc

Dispatches from the drug war

Plus, see Joel Miller’s entire drug-war archive, 50-plus articles and growing.


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