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Scenes from the “War on Drugs” in Texas: Twelve Years for Cough Syrup, Criminal Charges for Ibuprofen

Posted on 03 July 2012 by george

Houston resident Eddie Darnell Bassett has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for possession of cough syrup found in his vehicle during a traffic stop. Lexington, Texas resident James Anderson, whose car was searched during a traffic stop for an expired registration tag, was more fortunate: A gratuitous charge of “possession of a dangerous substance” – in his case, a bottle of ibuprofen – was dismissed by a judge.

Bassett, who was stopped for speeding, made the mistake of telling a Texas State Trooper that he had been smoking marijuana earlier in the day, thereby providing “probable cause” for a search. Although no evidence of marijuana use was found in the vehicle, the officer spotted a plastic Coke bottle containing a red, viscous residue, which he “believed to be codeine cough syrup,” reports the Palestine Herald.

Although Bassett initially described the substance as dishwashing liquid, a forensic analysis revealed that it was indeed cough syrup. Bassett was convicted of illegally possessing cough syrup without a prescription – and received an enhanced sentence because of a prior felony involving “essentially the same thing,” explained the assistant district attorney.

Anderson, who was stopped by a police officer in tiny Manor, Texas, was told to exit the car in order to fill out paperwork – a familiar gambit by revenue-obsessed enforcement officers seeking an opportunity to search a vehicle.

“As I stepped out of the vehicle I said, `I do not consent to a search,’ because I know my constitutional rights, and he had no reason to search me,” Anderson explained to ABC affiliate KVUE. “I had nothing to hide; I was just exercising my rights.”

Manor PD spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Phipps insists that “at a certain point within an investigation, you do not have the right to refuse a search” – and that this “point” was reached when a drug-sniffing dog supposedly “alerted” to something in Anderson’s vehicle. Given that narcotics dogs are trained and prompted to “alert” at anything, and that their handlers are trained to fabricate “probable cause” during every traffic stop, the standard Phipps describes effectively nullifies the Fourth Amendment.

Anderson, who suffered knee and back injuries while serving in the Army, had two bottles of ibuprofen, one of which had “the prescription label scraped off” –which was described as a violation of Texas law. The search also turned up a concealed weapon for which Anderson had a valid permit.

“That is where this drug became a dangerous drug without a prescription,” Phipps maintained. “Then the weapon was found, and that all ties together. You can operate a vehicle with a weapon in the car, but the second you are in violation of a crime or another criminal offense other than traffic, then that makes the possession or transporting of that weapon illegal.”

Anderson was handcuffed and stuffed into the unventilated and practically airless back seat of a squad car, where he passed out from heat prostration. While he was detained and unconscious, one of the arresting officers stole $150 from his wallet. After the contrived charges against him were dismissed, Anderson filed an official complaint with the Manor Police Department.

Read more here – and here.


10 Comments For This Post

  1. bill Says:

    These animals with badges and costumes sincerely believe they’re there to keep the general public in line. I once asked a cop if he was looking forward to the holidays. “People get crazy,” he told me. Yeah, the cops get crazy too. Many of them get into this line of work to be state-sanctioned criminals who can inflict violence with impunity.

    Americans need now more than ever to carry firearms everywhere they go. It would be beautiful if 250+ million Americans were openly carrying or concealed carrying. We deserve to protect ourselves. They don’t have the right to invade our privacy and waste taxpayers money while genuine crime is occurring.

  2. willb Says:

    “their handlers are trained to fabricate “probable cause” during every
    traffic stop”

    “Probable Cause” is old school. It was an objective standard that
    carried a burden of proof in court. Not so anymore.

    Today we have “Reasonable Suspicion” as a purely subjective standard
    that requires no “showing” of cause but merely a “thinking” of cause.

    Imagine a jealous girlfriend who is accusing her boyfriend of betraying
    her merely because she caught him talking to her arch rival in the
    school cafeteria.

    Legally, her suspicion is “reasonable” and she is now entitled to
    search his pockets and jack his cell phone.

    America is turning into a hen house.

  3. Anon Says:

    Middle of nowhere Texas, two similar drug cases, one is let go the other is sentenced to 12 years for a tiny amount of coedine and ibproufin?

    Id bet my left nut the one who was locked up is black.

  4. William Grigg Says:

    Anon, you’d win that bet.

  5. Victor dlG Says:

    That’s life in Rick Perry’s Texas.

  6. Obama 2012 Says:

    This is insane. Leave people like this guy the hell alone and go after real criminals.

    It drives me nuts that people aren’t up in arms about this… it’s really scary to me. This is the slippery slope, isn’t it? When people don’t have basic empathy for injustices done to their neighbors.

  7. Scott Kuehne Says:

    RE: black comments and no one up in arms.

    Tyranny is first used against an unpopular minority in society, in Hitler’s Germany it was the communists. In the United States it’s the Negros AND communists, but eventually the tyranny spreads to everyone. By then of course it’s too late to resist it, as the other people who would have done so have already been carted off to slave labor camps or killed. It’s funny that for decades this shit has been going on in the black community but no one cared. However now that it’s happening to white men it’s a travesty. The problem in a nutshell is no one gives a damn until it hits home. They have been fucking me over since I was 14 in the mid nineties so I am acutely aware of this phenomenon. Luckily I am white or I am sure I would have done even more time.

  8. John Says:

    Looks like the system is working as intended. Anderson’s charges were dropped and he will probably be suing Manor’s PD. Bassett on the other hand, was caught red handed with a controlled substance (for the second time).

    If we don’t agree with the schedule of controlled substances in this country we can write a letter to our representatives or donate to reform oriented lobbyists. Unfortunately, that will require more effort than blaming “the man” on the internet.

  9. William Grigg Says:

    If we don’t agree with the schedule of controlled substances in this country we can write a letter to our representatives or donate to reform oriented lobbyists

    … thereby safely directing our outrage into channels where it can be safely ignored. The War on Drugs is a multi-trillion-dollar enterprise in which huge fortunes are being made — so we’re supposed to write letters, donate money to Beltway lobbyists, and then meekly submit to the criminal violence committed in the service of prohibition. After all, that’s how the “System” is supposed to work.

    Right now, the only effective counter-measure at our disposal is jury nullification, which requires that people understand this principle: No government has the legal, moral, or constitutional authority to regulate what people choose to consume.

  10. John Says:

    “thereby safely directing our outrage into channels where it can be safely ignored”

    If I’m not mistaken there have been instances of public reform pressures affecting local and state drug laws/policies. For instance, there was enough pressure in California to legalize medical marijuana. The federal government can still charge people, but state and local authorities won’t as long as they are licensed and paying taxes. Also, Seattle has allowed a “needle exchange” for something like 20 years. Not only will a junkie not be prosecuted for shooting up or smoking crack in designated areas, they can receive free needles, crack pipes, and other paraphernalia. On the other hand, I don’t think jury nullification is a reliable way to avoid prison time. Maybe a jury will ignore the laws to protect a teenager with a clean record, but I doubt they will have much sympathy for a repeat offender like Bassett.

3 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. "Victories" in the Drug War: Criminal Charges for Ibuprofen, Twelve Years in Prison for Cough Syrup « Blog Says:

    [...] from here.) Bookmark/Share | Suggest a Link « Previous: Dietary Supplement Scaremongering | LRC [...]

  2. Freedoms Almanac » Blog Archive » News Pile Says:

    [...] Texas Drug War- 12 years for cough syrup [...]

  3. Periodical Political Post *114 « milkboys – The Boys Blog Says:

    [...] America’s War on Drugs: 12 years for cough syrup, charges for Ibuprofen [...]

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