Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jan 2004
Source: St. Cloud Times (MN)
Copyright: 2004 St. Cloud Times
Author: Elizabeth Schroden, St. Cloud


I am writing in response to the Jan. 17 news report "Officials arrest drug 
suspect outside school." The arrest could have gone bad and bullets could 
have gone flying. Did the Gang Strike Force not ever think of the kids who 
could have got caught in the crossfire if something did go wrong? Police 
could've easily set up the buy/bust at a safer location than across from an 
elementary school.

So the question is why would the Gang Strike Force conduct a controlled buy 
and a possibly dangerous arrest outside of an elementary school that has 
hundreds of innocent children in it?

After researching the issue I have come to this conclusion: They wanted to 
enhance the charges against a man who possessed/sold a small amount of drugs.

I don't know the exact amount of drugs that was sold, but I can narrow the 
amount from 3 to 5.99 grams, as the man was charged with a third-degree 
felony. This amount is equivalent to a single sugar packet.

What is accomplished by setting up a buy in a school zone is the ability to 
enhance the sale of a controlled substance charge to a first-degree felony 
and a second-degree possession. The enhancement to a first-degree allows 
for a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

This again is for the sale of a sugar packet amount of drugs.

The Gang Strike Force's desire to enhance the charges in this case 
endangered the lives of hundreds of children who were attending school. 
This type of irresponsible and dangerous action by law enforcement needs to 
be looked into and corrected so it does not happen again, with possibly a 
much worse outcome.

Elizabeth Schroden, St. Cloud
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