Here’s an answer hint to today’s above-posed blog headline query: It’s not the top-end principals in drug cartels or other highly placed figures of organized crime.
Rather, it’s what a recent in-depth online overview of U.S. drug probes and arrests terms “small fish.” It is a vast pool of minnows that generally gets ensnared in lieu of the truly big swimmers that run drug operations of real magnitude.
When it comes to addressing and combating illegal drugs, stresses the nonprofit website The Conversation, U.S. policy has proven to be both misguided and harmful. Legions of Americans regularly receive news that state and federal task forces, related enforcement bodies and prosecutors routinely focus on identifying and corralling big-scale drug offenders at the top of the food chain. Occasional stories spotlighting high-profile and celebrated drug busts/seizures reinforce that perceived reality.
Researchers from The Conversation would highlight that word “perceived” in the immediately preceding reality. Their findings culled from what they term “the most comprehensive study of drug arrest quantity undertaken to date” indicate that the commonly offered “truth” concerning who gets targeted and caught in drug investigations is bogus.
Candidly, there are scores of thousands of low-end offenders busted for every apprehension of an El Chapo-level offender.
And that spells misplaced enforcement efforts, misapplied taxpayer money, an inappropriate police focus and more, stresses The Conversation. Data examined from more than one million drug cases indicate that “about 40% of arrests for hard drugs are for trace amounts.” Moreover, more than 70% of American drug arrests are linked with marijuana charges.
The Conversation condemns the small-fish approach as ineffectual and unfair. Its researchers assert that it’s far better to focus on the sharks.