Uncle Sam is on the hunt for drug dealers.
And to catch them he’s chasing American icons in vans that cruise neighborhood streets that for the most part are dispensing legitimate goodies.
The federal war on drugs is now targeting your friendly United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery man. Plus the guys from FedEx.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is going after the two delivery firms on the premise that they have aided and abetted illegal drug sales from online pharmacies by delivering parcels for them.
Comparing UPS delivery drivers to drug mules would be a stretch for most, but not the DEA. The agency apparently has spent close to five years trying to make a case against UPS and FedEx.
News this week that the Justice Department is ready to bring charges against the two delivery services shows how Big Government is morphing into Stupid & Scary Big Government.
It is part of an ongoing strategy that has targeted retail pharmacies that sell legitimate drugs in exceptionally large quantities and Google for taking ads from online pharmacies when simple reading of federal statutes should have questioned their legitimate standing.
What the DEA is contending the parcel services have done is accept packages without questioning their contents. FedEx has noted they have no way of knowing exactly what is in the parcels they handle.
Uncle Sam doesn’t believe that is a legitimate stance in the age of Homeland Security. May we also assume the DEA and Justice Department are considering possible criminal charges against the United States Postal Service? Not only are the odds great that legal drugs are shipped through the mail for illegal use but the last time I checked neither UPS nor FedEx underwrote a bicycling, doped-up sports icon.
Making the DEA crackdown even more suspect are the agency’s repeated refusals of requests by FedEx to provide the firm with a list of pharmacies that allegedly ship legal drugs for illegal purposes. The refusal of the DEA to provide such a list means one of three things: They can’t make a case stick against said pharmacies and don’t want to risk producing a list that essentially would allow parcel services to blackball them, they are simply lazy, or they take great pleasure in throwing their weight around.
Providing such a list would allow parcel services to stop making deliveries. That of course would be too simple and obvious for an enforcement bureaucracy run amok.
Instead they would rather put the squeeze on a legitimate business.
The DEA is more worried about high-profile publicity and squeezing out big fines from legitimate businesses than doing anything of consequence to reduce the deaths of 15,000 Americans a year who overdose on the illegal use of legitimate drugs. The Centers for Disease Control report that the annual death toll from illegal use of legal drugs is more than that from heroin, cocaine, meth, and all other illegal drugs combined.
The DEA needs to produce a list and ask delivery organizations - including the Postal Service - to stop accepting packages from the pharmacies in question.
Of course that would open a Pandora’s Box of constitutional questions, as the DEA would essentially be acting as judge, jury, and executioner.
Apparently, it’s much better to go after legal operations and harass them into doing your dirty work than it is to go after the source of the abuse of legal drugs.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.