Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.
Although those who speak publicly for LEAP are people from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities, a large number of their supporting members do not have such experience.
Tonight, Mike and Mark speak to Terry Nelson – law enforfcement veteran and Leap spokesperson – about LEAP’s efforts, and the failed war on drugs.
About the Guest:
Terry Nelson’s law-enforcement career spanned three decades. It included service in the US Border Patrol, the US Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, taking him beyond US borders into Mexico, Central America, and South America. In various capacities he acquired first-hand knowledge of the “War on Drugs,” being directly involved in counter-narcotics missions. He labored with distinction, even receiving special Congressional recognition for his work. “But,” he says, “as the ‘War on Drugs’ went on and on I never saw any visible progress – and only limited discussion about the lack of progress. Something was wrong with this picture.”
Terry came to understand drug prohibition was doing more harm than good and that the United States needed a major policy change.” For many years he had thought a lot about decriminalizing drugs but had not wanted to go so far as to legalize them. But the obvious lack of progress toward winning the war and the continued congratulatory backslapping unrelated to even incremental successes have made him conclude that enough is enough. Perpetuating the “War on Drugs” myth is dangerous to the well-being of the planet and lethal to future generations. Terry has decided the only solution is a policy of legalized regulation of all drugs. That decision led to his joining LEAP – the first group he has ever joined! “We must remove the criminal element from the drug trade, because it is destroying our society and crippling governments to the south of us. We must change the rules to win the real war.”
Terry retired in 2005 as a GS-14 Air/Marine Group Supervisor. He is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, having served as a communications specialist in Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. He served 9 years in the U.S. Border Patrol including a stint as Instructor and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, 3 years in marine operations in the Florida Keys, 1 year a Customs Inspector at DFW Airport, 7 years as an Air Interdiction Officer/Criminal Investigator, 2 years as Staff Officer to Director of Foreign Operations and 5 years on the staff of Field Director (SSB East) Surveillance Support Branch East. During this period SSBE team participated in the seizure of over 230,000 pounds of Cocaine and received the United States Interdiction Committee award for interdictions. “But to what avail – today drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier for our children to get than at the beginning of the war.”