Tandy Quits Drugs

After four years at the helm, Drug Enforcement Administration head Karen Tandy announced Oct. 22 that she is leaving the agency

After four years at the helm, Drug Enforcement Administration head Karen Tandy announced Oct. 22 that she is leaving the agency to take a senior vice president job at Motorola. Tandy, who was confirmed to the post in July 2003, is the first woman to head up the agency, which employs 11,000 people, including 4,600 narco agents.

Under Tandy, the agency began its international opium and heroin trafficking crackdown, sending agents to Afghanistan to ferret out and bust heroin traffickers accused of financing the Taliban (part of the feds’ drugs-equals-terrorism strategy – helped along in part by Motorola, which sponsors the DEA’s traveling exhibit “Target America,” about the link between drug use and international terrorism). The DEA has reportedly claimed that opium and heroin seizures have increased by 700% since the program’s inception. However, a United Nations report this year forecast that Afghanistan would produce 9,000 tons of opium this year – enough for 880 tons of heroin – up 34% over 2006, reports the Associated Press.

Under Tandy the DEA also ramped up its morally and ethically questionable practice of targeting and raiding sick medi-pot patients and medi-mari dispensaries; in 2005, Tandy penned a rhetorically nauseating agency white paper (published in the March 2005 issue of Police Chief Magazine, published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police) titled “Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us,” in which she wrote that we simply need to “put to rest the thought that there is such a thing as a lone drug user, a person whose habits affect only himself or herself.” Drug use – and that includes pot smoking, she wrote – is not a “victimless” crime. Rather, she wrote, “marijuana kills innocents.” Are you kidding me? Phlu-ease; buh-bye Tandy!

Of course, saying adios to Tandy doesn’t mean the agency is in for any great changes – like, disbanding, or honing its enforcement focus on major narco traffickers instead of hammering away at sick people, so don’t go getting any wild-ass ideas. So far, no replacement has been named, although the AP reports that Tandy’s second-in-command, Michele Leonhart, is a possible successor.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Drug War, Karen Tandy, DEA, marijuana

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