The War on Drugs Part 2

Will the War on Drugs Continue?

The War on Drugs is not about drugs, it’s about money.

To understand the “War on Drugs” you have to understand that it’s not about drugs.  It’s about money. It may have begun as an attempt to enact complete prohibition but that has worked as well as the prohibition on alcohol.  Public enemy number one was the often-quoted phrase.  We haven’t been able arrest our way out the problem so the government changed course by trying to profit from it instead. And therein lies the problem.  The introduction of civil forfeiture laws signified a change in government policy from drug prohibition, taking drugs off the streets, to taking money from the dealers and criminal enterprises. At least that was the explanation cited for the practice.

Is there a winner in the War on Drugs?

Yes, there’s a reason that a 40-year war that has failed continues to be implemented and enhanced by our government. And the winners are…corporations and the government. There are billions of dollars to be made from the drug war. Those that have profited from it range from large banks, privately run prisons, private security contractors, the government and gun manufacturers.


Banks have been caught laundering money, millions of dollars, but no bank officer has ever gone to jail or will. Which is ridiculous when you think that a person has much more a chance of doing jail time for possession of a small amount of pot but you launder millions and there’s never a concern.  Why?  Because the government would rather levy massive fines on banks a far more profitable outcome than jailing some Branch Manager.

HSBC bank was fined $1.9 Billion for laundering money from drug cartels but no one was criminally prosecuted.

Wachovia was caught laundering drug money but never faced criminal prosecution because it paid out $160 Million.

Bank of America has admitted that it laundered $3 Billion in funds from drug cartels.

Cottage industry

In addition to the financial sector, there’s been a cottage industry built around enforcement and the increased incarceration rate.  This means a demand for more prisons, prison guards, privately run prisons, and private security contractors.

Gun Manufacturers: Don’t forget about U.S. gun manufacturers where 70 % of all weapons used by Mexican cartels between 2007-2011 were U.S. made (source U.S Dept. of Justice).  I don’t think any other constitutional right draws such strong opposition than gun rights.  It doesn’t matter how many people are killing children in schools or the use of U.S. guns across our borders, the lobbying groups have convinced too many that it’s okay for the government to take our homes, cars, and cash in civil forfeiture but try add stricter control on gun possession and all hell breaks loose.

2015 – A change in the Drug War Policy

In early January 2015 Eric Holder, Attorney General for the United States, released a statement that barred state and local police from using federal laws to seize cars, cash and cash equivalents without evidence of a crime occurring. This was my primary issue with the practice.  Holder’s decision allows limited exceptions, including illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography.

Does this mean the same change at the state level?

However, what about the practices at the state level?  Mr. Holder stated “This Order also does not affect the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws.”

Time will tell how the states will react to the federal policy.  But one thing is certain to change and is the funding to these local agencies from the federal government through their equitable sharing program.  If the states continue to implement civil forfeiture based on state laws it will most likely continue unless the same light is shun upon the practice like it was at the federal level.  Unfortunately, there is simply to much money to be made and too many jobs that depend on the practice to voluntarily see an end.  I mean after, whose going to voluntarily put there hand up and ask to have there job and benefits taken from them, that’s simply unrealistic.

Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for a drug crime call an experienced and trusted Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyer, call the Dale Savage Law Firm today for a free case evaluation (843) 530-7813.

Scroll to Top