Pubdate: Mon,  5 Apr 2004
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Amarillo Globe-News
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


It isn't exactly a surprise that Congress is looking into the controversial 
1999 Tulia drug sting. When the details of the botched sting and the 
illegitimacy of discredited undercover officer Tom Coleman came to light, 
it was only a matter of time before the federal government got involved.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced last week his support for 
hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.

Considering the scope and impact of what happened in Tulia, the federal 
government should get involved.

However, Uncle Sam seems more interested in funding for drug task forces 
than holding accountable those actually responsible for this gross 
miscarriage of justice.

Focus seems to be on federal money contained in the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse 
Act that pays for state anti-drug efforts, including the Panhandle Regional 
Narcotics Trafficking Task Force.

There is growing sentiment that these funds should be halted because of a 
lack of control and oversight among the drug task forces.

As we've said, we fail to see how requiring corroborating evidence such as 
audiotape or videotape in drug surveillance operations would not solve the 

It also does not make sense to yank $500 million in federal funds for law 
enforcement because of the illegal and inept actions of a handful of people.

The federal government needs to carefully review, research and scrutinize 
what happened in Tulia and not automatically jeopardize an entire national 
program based on one incident, no matter how egregious.
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