The Real News: AP is Clueless

 Posted on May 02, 2008 in Uncategorized

The Associate Press reports (H/T Judgment Day) that the feds prosecute more Hispanics than white people for powder cocaine trafficking. In a desperate bid to get more of a reaction than "Duh!", the writer, Laura Jakes Jordan, tries to draw a meaningful connection between the feds' prosecution statistics and the public perception that powder cocaine is a white man's drug; here's the lede:

They were indelible images of the cocaine world of the 1970s and '80s: Rich yuppies and white suburbanites partying down with a couple of lines of "blow." Stockbroker Charlie Sheen snorting up in the limo in "Wall Street." Woody Allen's sneeze in "Annie Hall."More than 30 years later, the image remains but the reality of coke in the United States has shifted significantly. Long portrayed as a white crime, Hispanics now make up the overwhelming majority – 60 percent – of federal offenders facing powder cocaine charges.

The federal offenders facing powder cocaine charges are, of course, not accused of "partying down with a couple of lines". They are almost invariably charged with trafficking. The feds don't bother a whole lot with simple possession cases and, moreover, shouldn't.

The story does not demonstrate the advertised "shift in the reality of cocaine in the United States". That the feds prosecute mostly Hispanics says nothing about who the users are. Powder cocaine is still a white person's drug; nothing in the story gives us reason to doubt it.

Yet cocaine trafficking is a business dominated by Hispanics.

Why? Because coca leaves are grown and cocaine is manufactured in Spanish-speaking countries, and cocaine can travel from supply to demand without leaving Spanish-speaking territory.


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