Are Harsh Mandatory Minimum Sentences Making a Comeback?

BY SADIE GURMAN AND ERIC TUCKER

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Department officials have been weighing new guidance that would encourage prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious offenses they can prove, a reversal of Obama-era policies that aimed to reduce the federal prison population and show more leniency to lower-level drug offenders.

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DEA Breaks the Law with Special Prosecutors to Rekindle Drug War

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hopes to further capitalize on the modern day drug war by ramping up the prosecution of cases involving people who manufacture, traffic and use pharmaceutical substances outside of their medicinal function.

According to National Public Radio, Uncle Sam’s leading drug enforcement hammers quietly announced a plan last month to recruit a slew of new special prosecutors for the sole purpose of nailing drug offenders to the wall. The agency said its intention was to employee as many as 20 legal eagles, all of whom would be paid through funds provided by the pharmaceutical industry, that “would be permitted to represent the United States in criminal and civil proceedings before the courts and apply for various legal orders.”

This will be the first time in history that the DEA has assembled its own team of prosecutors, a group of untouchables, of sorts, specifically paid to put drug offenders behind bars.

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U.S. Military Steps Up Drug Testing for New Recruits

All branches of the United States military will soon hold applicants to same drug testing standards as active service members, according to a memo issued by the Department of Defense.

Starting next month, any person interested in being all they can be inside the trenches of the U.S military will be forced to undergo a rigorous 26-panel drug screen for substances ranging from prescription painkillers to synthetic cannabinoids. The DOD feels that with “the level of illicit and prescription medication abuse among civilians, as well as the increase in heroin and synthetic drug use within the civilian population,” it is now necessary to test recruits across the board.

Presently, military applicants are put through a modest drug test, which looks for traces of marijuana, cocaine and variations of amphetamine. However, on April 3, the test will be expanded in an effort to pinpoint those recruits with a lust for hard dope, including “heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and a number of synthetic cannabinoids and benzodiazepine sedatives,” explained Army Colonel Tom Martin, who serves as Director of the DOD’s Drug Reduction Program.

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