Archive for Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trend worries D.A.

Robbers target casual drug dealers

Douglas County's top prosecutor says drug dealers are fueling a serious crime problems in Lawrence and are becoming targets in dangerous situations.

November 23, 2008


The criminals are betting their victims won’t call police.

And that’s creating some dangerous situations, according to Douglas County’s top prosecutor.

Recently, robbers have been targeting casual drug dealers in hopes of stealing drugs and money — all without much fear that the dealers will snitch.

“We have a real problem,” said District Attorney Charles Branson.

Branson said last summer’s double homicide during a botched robbery in east Lawrence is a prime example.

Prosecutors said Kellam Jones, 17, and Gage Hauk, 18, went to a home to rob 20-year-old Baker University student Roland Klundt of drugs and money. Klundt shot and killed Hauk during the June 7 incident, and then Jones shot and killed Klundt.

“Unfortunately, these cases aren’t that uncommon,” Branson said Nov. 13, after Jones pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

“We have these home invasion robberies where people come in and say, ‘Hey, this guy’s got some money, this guy’s got some drugs and we can go rob him and he won’t tell anybody because he’s doing something illegal,’” Branson said.

In another recent case, five people were ordered to empty their pockets and forced into a central Lawrence apartment bathroom by a machete-wielding man who invaded their home.

The district attorney said similar situations are happening across Douglas County.

“These are usually folks who are not serious dealers but are dealing to support their own habits and, in some cases, college students looking for some weekend money,” said Branson. “They get robbed by friends or people that hear that they are dealing.”

Laura Green, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas, said similar crimes are occurring across the country. She sees legalization of marijuana as one solution.

“A system of taxing and regulating marijuana … would get it out of private homes, out of neighborhoods and put it behind lock and key where it belongs,” said Green, who said she’s been studying drug policy for more than 15 years. “Our law enforcement agencies have been unable to stop the use of drugs and to stop the selling of drugs, and it really looks like it’s time that we may be starting to think about some other approaches to controlling drugs in our society.”

Lawrence police are addressing the drug crime issue, said Sgt. Bill Cory, police spokesman. The Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit — comprised of officers from the Lawrence Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office — plays a big role in investigating drug dealers and users, Cory said.

But the public also can help. There are some tell-tale signs for neighbors to look for and then call police. Probably the most obvious: People frequently coming and going from a house and only staying for a short time. Callers can make anonymous tips to police on the Crimestoppers hotline, 843-TIPS.

“We encourage the public that if they see things or suspect that illegal drug activity is taking place in and around where they live to call the police department,” said Cory.


igby 9 years, 6 months ago

Branson's office needs to protect these drug dealers! Lol.His office only finds them after they're killed or robbed! Lol.The Law enforcement hasn't gone after them because Branson and his old cronies, Douglas County Trial Lawyers Association and all their dope smoking buddies of the pro drug left have lobbied for lax enforcement and has had the police going soft and limbo because of their liberal stance on drugs and now the dealers are so plentiful here in Lawrence, Kansas, they make good targets.Look at all the county tax dollars we blow on DECCA and their 474 employee staff and all the drug treatment programs that are not even in Douglas County. Not any impatient treatment is done here. Their caught fined and released or put on probation with out any treatment whatsoever, no wonder they keep coming back for more. The system here keeps helping them increase their habit.They go to Kansas City and make their buys and bring their drugs to Lawrence and double and triple their money.If you look at what Holland just did regarding closing all the coffee houses with in 250 yards of any school you can clearly see that the Holland government has come the the realization that legalization of the sale of pot in coffee houses for tax revenue has bread millions of un-empolyed and unemployable slackers who spent their days in the coffee houses when skipping class. It so easy to just ditch class and go get high with your friends when it's so readily available and cheep and just right around the corner. These coffee houses have the Smack and Coke dealers hanging out there to sell the harder drugs and free needles are paid for by the tax payers.

igby 9 years, 6 months ago

Laura Green's:"lock and key"!Ha,ha, ha!She and her supporters are the very reason Lawrence, is infested with small time dealers and no law enforcement busting them.

igby 9 years, 6 months ago

But who really cares about your kids nowadays if you don't!Who cares how much dope they smoke and their soon to develop hard drug habits! Go ahead and spend all your saving sending them to school and college. I feel real sorry for this generation of young people who will have a slim to none job market to go to with all the layoffs and the businesses closings. All you liberals like Laura Green, should just go ahead and try to legalize all the drugs so you can tax their a$$ off and revel in the making and the breaking of the youth in America. While your at it, take pleasure in their desolate addictions. Take pleasure in their homelessness and their prison time some will do for violent crimes from their addictions.Weight the cost to society of your twisted thought of freeing drugs and taxing the legal sale of drugs to help fund your already broken system of salvation of desolate and addicted people and their cost to society. Laura Green's not anyone's friend!This is good for your job security and as a result of your drug policy of legal and taxable dope you can fund the despair of their failing home life and pay to raise several generation of their children from generation to generation.

jway 9 years, 6 months ago

She does have a point though, if marijuana were controlled by the same laws as alcohol there would be no dealers at all.

Steve Jacob 9 years, 6 months ago

No such thing as a "casual" drug dealer. But you know what they are implying? The white guy selling pot over the minority selling coke. They are the same in my eyes. You know the risk of the job.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 6 months ago

Abolish crime. Legalize everything.( waitaminute.... )

jayhawkbarrister 9 years, 6 months ago

Igby,There is no such thing as the Douglas County Trial Lawyers Association.Your use of a McCarthyite tactic -- creating a phony boogieman and then blaming all sorts of perceived ills - real or fantasy - on it, is deplorable. Even more scary is that in the Igby school of justice, it appears that you approve of the penalty for Roland Klundt's possession of drugs, summary execution without trial? It must give you such warm fuzzies to be so convinced you are right. Remember William Shakespeare laid out a blueprint for a revolution in Part Two of Henry VI. For a revolution to succeed the first thing you do is kill all the lawyers.

Sharon Aikins 9 years, 6 months ago

Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down....oops, did I just feel the earth fall off its axis? I just found enjoyment today in reading about "impatient treatment" and the bird-brained kids in Holland buying "cheep" drugs. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm hanging tight here to the middle of the road. Heck, I don't even have all the answers.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 6 months ago

The USA spends almost $100 billion annually and is nowhere near under control. USA is the largest illicit drug market in the world according to radio news this past week. Decriminalizing reefer and allowing locals to grow their own makes the most sense. Keeps billions and billions of USA dollars from going abroad. Think about it, wouldn't it be best to focus on terrorists and USA white collar criminals who steal our money instead of poor Columbian farmers?Treating others who find themselves addicited is the other way to best spend money....better than spending big bucks on corporate prison special interests. Get them free of this habit. Privatizing prison systems is one of the dumbest moves. Taxpayers are getting screwed daily because of these special interests that Dick Cheney has a rather large investment. Lock up violent offenders.

jonas_opines 9 years, 6 months ago

"Even more scary is that in the Igby school of justice, it appears that you approve of the penalty for Roland Klundt's possession of drugs."I'm still waiting for the proof that Roland was in possession of drugs, as the proof from the police was that there were no drugs in the house, and the only thing saying he did is the word of the kid who broke in on why he did it.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 6 months ago

Did you know that half of the $100billion for the "war on drugs" goes to privatized prisons who pay lobbyists big bucks to create said boogie-men?The privatized prison industry NEEDS small time dealers and users.A sober addict is worthless to the industry.A scared citizen is a generous citizen and fear-based lobby for your fear dollars is at stake.Do you think that corporate prison CEOs want these dealers off the street and out of business?They NEED them in your neighborhood and near your children.They WANT them breaking into your homes and stealing your hard-earned belongings.Because it all adds to to Mo'moneyMo'moneyMo'money!!A sober addict is not good for the fear-based economy.A scared and fearful citizen is a generous citizen.The fight for your fearbased tax dollars is on.

SMe 9 years, 6 months ago

“We have a real problem,” said District Attorney Charles Branson.Yes we do. We have seen the problem and it is you!You're worried the small time drug dealer won't report he was ripped off but you do nothing, and I do mean nothing, to prosecute, no plea bargaining does not count, in any reasonable form those people responsible for carnage on the County's roads and highways - except the one that was handed to you. And I wouldn't be surprised to see a mistrial there.

somebodynew 9 years, 6 months ago

jonas_opines - I understand what you are saying, but how do you know the police did NOT find drugs. I don't recall the evidence sheets being printed in the paper. Since there was no trail, there was no public display of evidence collected. Unless you have some inside knowledge of what the police found, I think you probably have to take the word of the DA who did have access to that information.

jonas_opines 9 years, 6 months ago

somebodynew: I know because Roland was my wife's cousin, and the police told his family. Not to mention my wife has sat in on part of the trial and the sentencing. The DA said drugs we're involved solely because that is what Jones says motivated them to break in. But again, FACT, there was no stash of drugs at the house.

somebodynew 9 years, 6 months ago

jonas I won't debate with you since it is a personal situation for you and very tragic. Just let me say that I have good contacts with law enforcement in this community and that is where I get the perspective I come from. Not trying to make judgements on anyone, and no one deserves to die for those kind of choices, but I personally believe what the DA has said can be backed up with the investigation.Again, sorry for your loss, and it should not have happend.

sourpuss 9 years, 6 months ago

Painting all "drug" users as down-and-out junkies is the same as saying everyone who has a drink is an abject, lying-in-the-gutter alcoholic. Personally, I don't care if someone lights up after work, snorts cocaine on the weekends, has a few drinks at a bar, and I certainly don't care about their sexual preferences. Why don't we all pay a little less attention to what other people are doing and work a little harder to not being ignorant jerks?Besides, we could use the tax revenue from the marijuana sales.

jonas_opines 9 years, 6 months ago

somebodynew: Don't fret for me. It's a hard situation, but my interest is in the truth of the situation, not just defending my inlaws. As I said in the last thread this was brought up, I will concede the possibility that Roland was a casual drug dealer, though I remain skeptical, but it is simple fact that the drugs that Jones said he was going after simply weren't there. I'm not particularly doubting the D.A. either. As far as I can tell, he has simply said that this robbery was about money and drugs. As near as I can tell, he said that because Jones said that they were there for money and drugs. If I'm wrong in either of those, feel free to bring it to my attention. I will posit, however, the possibility that just because Jones thought there were drugs there to take, doesn't mean that there were.

milehighhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

When I read comments like "if u support legalization you condone homelessness and addiction," I can't decide if I should laugh or cry at how simple-minded some people can be.Your inability to make a distinction between a college kid puffin' some grass and a down-and-out, severely addicted heroin junkie is the EXACT REASON WHY no one can take crap like the DARE program seriously. We need to have a serious discussion about taxing the hell out of marijuana and regulating it. The argument "drugs are bad, mmmkay" just doesn't cut it anymore.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 6 months ago

I had a period in my life during which I had a 'privileged' point of observation in the US cannabis economy. Of course, this was in California, but the nation's drug laws were the direct cause of the booming--and I do mean very prolific--cannabis industry, especially in California. On an average day at the gardening supply store where I worked, $8000 daily tills were the norm. $17,000 daily tills were not unheard of, and in fact, transactions in the $8000 range would also not unheard of. An entire day's business could be wrapped up in only a couple $1000+ transactions. Combine that with nearly the same income from three other stores that the company owned, and you're looking at some serious cash being spend on producing the product. And then you have to take into consideration that there were at least five other privately-owned hydro shops doing just as much business as the company I worked for in an area with a population under 100,000.Even with the relatively high price of growing equipment and supplies, the returns on only one crop are enough to more than pay for the initial investment in equipment and the continued purchasing of supplies--and enough to have a significant 'head stash' left over.That area of California was once dominated by the timber industry. When that went belly-up, people switched to the cannabis industry. In Mendocino County, CA, alone, the county board of supervisors estimate that the cannabis industry in their county was in the billions of dollars. If the government decided to really crack down on this industry, that part of California would be in some pretty dire economic straits. Of course, it is the illicit status of cannabis that allows this market to thrive. Legalize it, and most of the profit from smaller operations will be negated. It will no longer be a lucrative source of income for folks.It is my belief that if you want to smoke pot, you should be allowed to provide it for yourself. That, in my opinion, is the best way to inflict a mortal wound in the side of the beast that is the cannabis economy in this country.

Calliope877 9 years, 6 months ago

Legalizing marijauna would solve a lot of problems, both locally and nationally.

leadstone 9 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like pink sock needts to take a train to LA. Hollywood and Western would be a good place to get off. Then just continue west down the Boulevard. If it's after 5pm you'll more than likely run into 3 guys asking about weed and about 150 asking about ice or hydro. Studio Cafe is a good place to run into both and don't get me started on Club World. I've run into more problems there due to amped up or crashing meth-heads than I care for. I'd like to know what neighborhood you're in, for if I ever move back it would be good to know where NOT to live. But drugs are everywhere, some just choose not to see, or care.

MarkEntry 9 years, 5 months ago

Cannabis prohibition is a counter productive failure and a self fulfilling disaster. Every year brings news proclaiming record seizures and arrests, as though this indicates the success of prohibition. Law enforcement agencies will acknowledge that only 5-10% of all cannabis is ever interdicted. The amount of cannabis out there is overwhelming law enforcement. We can't arrest our way our of this. Prohibition has created demand for the 'forbidden fruit'. Cannabis use has gone up 4000% since Nixon's time. This demand has made it extremely profitable to grow and sell cannabis. Prohibition prospers cops, and criminals. Our kids say they can easily get cannabis within one hour. They find it harder to get alcohol or tobacco. This is rather strange when we consider that alcohol and tobacco combined kill 600,000+ Americans yearly. While cannabis has never been proven to kill anyone. Prohibition does not protect our kids and creates wealthy, powerful and deadly drug cartels. Every evil that alcohol prohibition spawned has been duplicated with cannabis prohibition. Our goverment needed to give out of work alcohol agents something to do. So, cannabis was demonized by distortion and lies in 1937. This pattern has been followed ever since. But, you can only cry wolf so many times. Now, only 11.2% of Americans believe the 'War on Drugs' is working (Sept 2008 Zogby Poll). 87.3% of 280,000 responders to the current TIME Poll favor the legalization of Marijuana. The American people are ready for our government to take back the control of cannabis from criminals. The only way to control cannabis is to regulate it just like alcohol and tobacco. I do not use alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis and I'm not going to use them if they are legal. There won't be anything rebellious or exciting about cannabis when it's legalized. Where cannabis use is permitted it's use has declined. With legalization Organized crime will be weakened. The link between cannabis seekers and dealers pushing hard core drugs will be broken when it can be purchased from licensed merchants. It costs 1/10th as much to treat the 2.5% of Americans who are addicts as it does to incarcerate them. The recidivism rate for convicted addicts is almost 100%. Treated addicts have a far greater chance of staying clean. The price (including tax) of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis must be kept low enough as to remove the profit margin for criminals to traffic in these drugs. We must not allow the advertizing of these drugs. Like, "got a little Captain in you?" We must employ calm, rational and factual drug education. Not scare tactics propaganda like "marijuana will kill you or make you kill your brother". With workable controls we can make legalization work to the benefit of our society. Please, contact your elected officials and politely explain that prohibition itself causes far more harm to our nation than cannabis use does. Tell them you want to regulate cannabis via legalization.

igby 9 years, 5 months ago

Markentry:In your explanation of pro-legalization, you have stated just why it should not be legalized.Suppose it was legal and the stores were selling it. Each time someone buys a package of pot, stores will have to sell it under strict regulations which means compliance records must be kept and made available to law enforcement. Inventory tracking will be strict and fines and prison would be much more sever for violations. Each buyer must be made of record and their ID on file as to how much their buying because they could turn around and sell it to minors for a profit. Legalization would only expound the black markets like tobacco but to a greater degree of profit. Addiction to pot is a fact. Most say it's not addictive but all users will tell you If they have it they smoke it and that's a fact. The black markets would thrive on minors. Also, smokers jobs could fall into scrutiny if their productivity is under investigation. Anyone that buy it will be subject to suspected of illegal re-distribution to minors even if they posses it at home and their child gets it and takes it to school or re-distributes it. It sounds simple enough but controlling the possession of the substance would be no different than it is done today. It would be much worse and require 100% compliance in making buys by ID and the government would know just how much your using or re-distributing. Straw buyers, being someone that buys for someone else could fall under suspected re-distributing laws and this would eventually erode our civil rights yielding to big brothers strict compliance laws. What a nightmare in the making.It will still be a large black market even greater than we now have. Does anyone even see this coming?

jonas_opines 9 years, 5 months ago

"Does anyone even see this coming?"No. Don't get me wrong, you have a few valid points in there, the fundamentals are all largely correct, but blown way, way out of proportion. The idea that the black market will be much greater than now is pretty foolish, really. There might be more people at the end points, but the actual illegal production and trade itself will become much smaller. The most you can say is that you'll have many people with one person who occasionally buys it for them from a legitimate dealer.Basically, your post itself shows a simple and rather unfounded fear of the destabilizing effect of the drug. Personally, I don't see how it would be any different than alcohol in our society. It is also fact that there is at least one society that has it freely legalized, under reasonable restrictions, and that society is doing all right, at least in terms of pot consumptions.

jway 9 years, 5 months ago

I care about my kids. I'm like millions of other non-smoking parents, I don't want my kids going to schools frequented by drug dealers.We don't have bootleggers trying to sell alcohol to our kids and we don't have tobacco dealers trying to sell tobacco to our kids. So why do we accept having drug dealers trying to sell marijuana to our kids?It must be so apparent to all of us by now that marijuana should be controlled by the same laws as alcohol. While the prohibition does an exceptional job at getting rid of legal marijuana suppliers it does little to reduce the demand for the stuff. And that's a problem for ALL of us. This unmet demand encourages criminals to come into our neighborhoods selling weed. They bring with them violence and easy access to pot by minors.Non-smoking parents shouldn't have to put up with this. We don't have this problem with alcohol or tobacco so why should we tolerate it with marijuana?We need to end the federal marijuana prohibition and control marijuana with the same laws we use for alcohol. Ask your legislators about this, why are we controlling marijuana with the very policy that failed for alcohol???

jonas_opines 9 years, 5 months ago

"Ask your legislators about this, why are we controlling marijuana with the very policy that failed for alcohol???"Cynically, the only lesson you can learn from history is that we never learn from history.

brandx 9 years, 5 months ago

What is a "casual" dealer? Are they treated more leniently than a "real" dealer? I don't think so, under the laws as they are written. So, what does this distinction mean?

webmocker 9 years, 5 months ago

Those trying to fight the War on Drugs are increasingly coming to the conclusion that legalization is part of the solution. Law Enforcement Against

MarkEntry 9 years, 5 months ago

When was the last time any adult was placed on some kind of registry for purchasing alcohol or tobacco? Some commenters are very creative at ignoring valid solutions. Instead, they fabricate fear mongering diversions that have kept prohibition going on since 1937. I've noticed a commenter who exhibits OCD with sociopathic tendencies. These people know to say that which plays on the emotions of uninformed people. But, in this case, they offer no solutions other than pushing the 72 year old failure of prohibition. They obviously feel no guilt for pushing what they know is the deception of prohibtion. Sociopaths don't feel guilty for commiting antisocial acts. They only feel guilt for being stupid enough to be caught lying. They're just control freaks. People like these brought about prohibtion in the first place. It's not about protecting society from cannabis as far as these kind are concerned. They think they're the only one smart enough to make decisions for everyone. They like to invade the privacy of others and take away their rights. Like, the freedom to chose that which one does with their own body. But, prohibtion itself does far more harm to society than cannabis use does. OCD personalities can not accept that their is anything wrong with them. That's why psychiatrists say OCD is the only mental illness they can't treat. I don't use alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis. I bought into prohibtion for 33 years of my adult life. But, year after year cannabis use just goes up inspite of prohibition. I came to understand that prohibtion greatly increased the use of cannabis by making it the 'forbidden fruit'. The illegal status of cannabis makes it extremely profitable for criminals to grow and sell it. Naturally, drug cartels became wealthy, powerful, corruptive and deadly. Our nation's history with alcohol prohibtion and it's repeal speaks for itself. Many of the 10-13% of Americans who still believe in prohibition earn an income by keeping cannabis illegal. Neither cops or criminals want cannabis legalized. They both make their living off prohibition. I seems some of the most voiciferous commenters pushing prohibtion actually traffic in cannabis. Legalization is what cannabis traffickers fear the most. How does a regulated/licensed market benefit or prosper illegal cannabis operations? It doesn't. It put's criminals out of business, just like the repeal of alcohol prohibition got rid of bootleggers. Inflammatory statements are just diversions meant to discredit a regulated market. There is hope for those who have been deluded into believing that prohibition works. Currently, 280,000+ people have responded to the TIME Poll and 87.3% favor the legalization of cannabis. It's obvious that the great majority of Americans have turned their backs on the lies, distortion, diversion and deception of prohibition. They know that cannabis prohibition will never work. It's time to regulate cannabis, just like alcohol and tobacco.

Calliope877 9 years, 5 months ago

"We encourage the public that if they see things or suspect that illegal drug activity is taking place in and around where they live to call the police department,” said Cory."If you think your neighbor is a meth head, coke head, or a heroin junkie, then by all means call the police. People who do such drugs can be dangerous, especially when coming down from their high. But if you smell pot coming from your neighbors apt, and if that neighbor isn't disrupting your life in any way with loud parties or lots of friends over that keep you awake at night, then just leave them alone. Most pot-heads are relatively harmless.

jway 9 years, 5 months ago

Nice people don't think about drugs.Normal people don't read articles like this or write to their legislators asking questions about the prohibition. Nor do they think about the 4,000 violent deaths that have occurred in Mexico so far this year at the hands of the drug cartels. Or the beheadings, dismemberments, maimings and tortures that occur every day in order for the cartels to protect their supply routes and market shares. But they should. Until now the drug violence has largely occurred south of the border but now the cartels are moving north, sending their men into our neighborhoods. Now the violence is coming home and we ALL have to care about it.Mr. John Walters supports decriminalizing all drugs in Mexico but refuses to consider decriminalizing marijuana here. For us it's complete prohibition along with 2,000 marijuana-related arrests every day. Only when their children get stabbed or beaten or arrested will parents realize that nice people DO think about drugs.

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