Archive for the ‘Drugs’
Take a look at this short Thursday article from the Chicago Sun-Times:
When I was on the Illinois House Prison Reform Committee, I asked every warden why he couldn’t keep drugs out of his prison.
“My constituents don’t understand why you can’t keep drugs out of a prison where you control all the access,” I would point out.
I never got a good answer.
And now, a Cook County Judge has given probation to a Cook County Jail guard for trying to smuggle marijuana into the complex.
With no jail time, you can probably figure out why the reward might outweigh the penalty for prison guards.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
CHICAGO POLICE SERGEANT AND OFFICER CHARGED WITH STEALING $5,200 FROM INDIVIDUAL THEY BELIEVED WAS TRANSPORTING DRUG PROCEEDS
CHICAGO — A Chicago police sergeant and a patrol officer were arrested last night on federal charges alleging that they stole $5,200 in government undercover funds from a cooperating individual who they believed was transporting the cash for drug dealers.
The sergeant, Ronald Watts, and the officer, Kallatt Mohammed, both assigned to a 2nd District tactical team, were each charged with one count of theft of government funds in a criminal complaint that was unsealed today in U.S. District Court.
The arrests and charges were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy of the Chicago Police Department. The police department’s Internal Affairs Division participated in the investigation.
Watts, 48, an 18-year police veteran, and Mohammed, 47, who joined the department 14 years ago, both of Chicago, were released on $10,000 unsecured bonds after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in Federal Court. A status hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Feb.21.
On Nov. 21, 2011, after a Cooperating Witness (CS5) — who unbeknownst to Watts and Mohammed was working with the FBI — told them that he/she was tasked by narcotics traffickers to transport drug proceeds from one location to another, the two officers took the money from CS5, according to the complaint affidavit.
Agents conducting surveillance video-recorded the alleged theft, which occurred when Mohammed, driving his personal auto, approached CS5 in the 2700 block of South Vernon and took a bag containing $5,200 from CS5.
Later, the officers paid CS5 $400 for allowing them to steal the drug proceeds, the charges allege.
Based on CS5’s prior dealings with Watts, including an instance when Watts and CS5 allegedly engaged in a similar transaction, the affidavit states that Watts had told CS5 in September 2011 that CS5 should call him or go to the station and ask for Watts or Mohammed to alert them whenever CS5 would be transporting money for drug dealers.
On Nov. 18, 2011, CS5 called Watts and told him in a recorded conversation that he/she had “one going on,” which would happen no later than Nov. 21.
On that day, CS5 called Watts and said that CS5 was going to pick up a bag from a car near the intersection of 26th Street and Martin Luther King Drive and walk it to another car on 29th Street.
Watts told CS5 that he would be in the area. Four minutes after receiving the call from CS5, phone records showed that Watts called a number belonging to Mohammed, allegedly to coordinate Mohammed’s participation in stealing the drug money purportedly being delivered by CS5, the affidavit states. Phone records also showed subsequent calls between Watts and Mohammed, it adds.
After Mohammed allegedly took the bag containing the money from CS5, did not give CS5 any money in return, and told CS5 to meet him near 30th and King Drive, CS5 then called Watts and discussed meeting Mohammed to obtain a portion of the money.
Minutes after that conversation, agents watched as Watts and Mohammed met in the area of 5700 and 5800 South Princeton.
About 20 minutes later, agents recovered the bag that Mohammed had taken from CS5 in an alley behind the 5900 block of South LaSalle Street, approximately a half-mile from the location where agents observed Watts and Mohammed meeting.
The bag was empty.
CS5 called Watts again a short time later and met him near 22nd and Canal streets, where, in a recorded conversation, Watts handed CS5 $400.
“Who always takes care of you?” Watts allegedly said to CS5. Phone records showed two additional calls between Watts and Mohammed within the next 15 minutes, according to the affidavit.
Theft of government funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must impose an reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The Government is being represented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin F. Langner and Margaret J. Schneider.
The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
RETIRED CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER AND FOUR OTHERS CONVICTED OF DRUG DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY AFTER TWO-MONTH TRIAL ALLEGING MURDERS, KIDNAPPINGS, ROBBERIES AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
CHICAGO — A retired Chicago police officer was taken into federal custody today immediately after a jury convicted him and four co-defendants of conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine, following a two-month trial in U.S. District Court.
Glenn Lewellen, a Chicago police officer from 1986 to 2002, was released on bond after he was arrested in November 2010 and now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The jury did not reach a verdict on whether Lewellen also participated in a racketeering (RICO) conspiracy that included kidnappings, robberies, and drug-trafficking spanning a decade from 1998 to 2009.
The partial verdicts against Lewellen, 55, formerly of Chicago and Las Vegas and most recently of south suburban Frankfort, and five trial co-defendants were rendered after two weeks of deliberations, following a two-month trial that began in November in Federal Court.
U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall also ordered co-defendants
- Tony Sparkman , 25, and
- Robert Cardena, 32,
both of Chicago, who were also free on bond, taken into federal custody after they were also convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and related charges.
Sparkman and brothers
- Hector Uriarte, 33, formerly of Bur Ridge, and
- Jorge Uriarte, 31, formerly of Oak Forest,
both of whom remain in custody, were each convicted of the RICO conspiracy count and other charges.
The jury was also deadlocked on the RICO conspiracy count against another brother, Manuel Uriarte, 34, formerly of Chicago and Watsonville, Calif., but found him not guilty of two counts of murder in aid of racketeering. Manuel Uriarte also remains in custody pending further proceedings.
A status hearing was scheduled for Feb. 15.
Lewellen, together with Hector and Jorge Uriarte, Sparkman, and Cardena, were convicted of participating in the drug conspiracy with certain members and associates of a criminal organization directed by Saul Rodriguez, 36, formerly of Countryside.
Lewellen provided information to his cohorts about ongoing federal criminal investigations into their activities.
Rodriguez and three co-defendants pleaded guilty and testified as government witnesses at the trial.
The case began when Rodriguez and others were arrested in April 2009 after they conspired to steal hundreds of kilograms of purported cocaine from a warehouse in southwest suburban Channahon as part of an undercover sting operation.
A total of 11 defendants were eventually indicted in the case.
“We are pleased with the guilty verdicts that were returned today in a very significant case,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He was joined by Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
The officials had no immediate comment on the whether the deadlocked counts would be re-tried. The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
In addition to Rodriguez, other co-defendants who pleaded guilty and testified were Fares Umar, 38; Andres Flores, 29; and Jorge Lopez, 37, all of Chicago. Rodriguez is facing a sentence of 40 years in prison under the terms of his plea agreement.
The narcotics distribution conspiracy count against Lewellen, Hector and Jorge Uriarte, Sparkman, and Cardena carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $4 million fine.
As a result of also being convicted of kidnapping and firearms offenses, Hector and Jorge Uriarte and Sparkman each face mandatory minimum sentences totaling 42 years. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terra Reynolds, Steven Block and Tiffany Tracy.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
TWENTY DEFENDANTS, INCLUDING FIVE ALLEGEDLY TIED TO THE ZETAS CARTEL, INDICTED ON FEDERAL NARCOTICS CHARGES
CHICAGO — Twenty defendants are facing federal narcotics charges here, including five alleged members of a Chicago-based cell of the Zetas Mexican drug cartel who were responsible for transporting millions of dollars in drug proceeds between Chicago and Mexico, federal law enforcement officials announced today.
A joint investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation resulted in the charges, as well as accumulated seizures during 2010 of more than $12.4 million cash and approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine in the Chicago area.
An additional $480,000 cash and two kilograms of heroin were seized yesterday.
Federal agents yesterday executed simultaneous arrests in the Chicago area and in Laredo, Tex., of defendants stemming from the multi-jurisdiction investigation of drug-trafficking and the flow of its narcotics proceeds.
Twelve of the 20 defendants indicted in Chicago were arrested in Chicago and a 13th in Laredo.
The 20 Chicago defendants were charged in five separate indictments that were returned by a federal grand jury on Nov. 2 and unsealed following the arrests.
The 12 Chicago defendants arrested here yesterday appeared in U.S. District Court and remain in federal custody pending detention hearings.
Five defendants remain fugitives; one was already in federal custody and another is hospitalized.
Yesterday’s seizures of cash and heroin occurred during the arrests and execution of search warrants at the residence of one defendant in Bellwood and another defendant’s residence in Bolingbrook, as well as a safe deposit box.
All 20 Chicago defendants were charged with various narcotics offenses, including
- conspiracy to possess and distribute quantities of cocaine and
- using a telephone to facilitate narcotics trafficking.
The five alleged members of the money transportation cell were also charged with conspiracy to transfer narcotics proceeds outside the United States.
If convicted, 12 defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine, while the remaining eight defendants face a mandatory minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.
The money transportation conspiracy carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and fine of twice the value of the money involved. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
“One indictment in this group signals the first federal prosecution in Chicago of defendants allegedly tied to the Zetas drug-trafficking cartel, and the seizures of cash represented a significant blow to the operation of this alleged money transportation cell,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He praised the dedication and teamwork of the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Chicago that worked tirelessly to disrupt these alleged drug-trafficking conspiracies.
Mr. Fitzgerald announced the charges together with Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police
“DEA’s commitment to hitting alleged drug trafficking organizations from all angles is especially evident when you consider the impact of the seizure of over $12 million in suspected drug proceeds.
In the specific indictment that alleges affiliation of some of the defendants with the Zetas, the influence of Mexican criminal organizations in the wholesale Chicago drug market is apparent. The severing of those ties is of the upmost importance to the DEA,” Mr. Riley said.
Mr. Grant said: “The extensive cash seizures made during the course of this investigation illustrates how lucrative the illicit drug trade can be. Combined with the apparent presence of the Zetas in the Chicago area, the charges announced today should serve as a wake-up call to law enforcement throughout the state.”
The prosecutions were coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, and federal prosecutors in the Western District of Texas also assisted in the investigation.
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office conducted a separate but related investigation that resulted in the arrest of eight defendants on state narcotics charges last week in Galesburg, Ill. The federal investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the Chicago High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA).
One indictment alleges that defendant Eduardo Trevino, a fugitive believed to reside in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, directed a money transportation network for the Zetas from Nuevo Laredo, and that this network coordinated the transfer of money from places such as Chicago to Laredo, and then from Laredo to Mexico.
At the direction of the Zetas, defendant Salvador Estrada allegedly collected, processed and concealed cash from the sale of drugs so that the narcotics proceeds could be transported by truck drivers, including defendants Miguel Arredondo and Vicente Casares, from Chicago to Laredo, knowing that the proceeds would be transported to the Zetas in Mexico.
Defendant Juan Aguirre allegedly worked with the others to coordinate the delivery of cash proceeds to truck drivers.
Estrada allegedly identified and maintained safe houses where drug proceeds were secretly collected, packaged and concealed, such as 1241 South Wenonah Ave., Berwyn, and 3800 West 24th St., Chicago.
According to the indictment, the following seizures, totaling $12,452,685, were made during the course of the investigation:
- $9,428,950, from the 24th Street stash house on April 30, 2010;
- $2,000,010, also on April 30, 2010;
- $999,310, on May 27, 2010; and
- $24,415, on Dec. 18, 2010, along with a Mosberg 100 ATR .308 rifle and a Colt .22 semi-automatic handgun.
The 14-count indictment against Trevino and the five alleged Chicago cell members seeks forfeiture of approximately $13 million, including the $12.45 million seized previously.
Five of the six (named above) were charged with conspiracy to transport narcotics proceeds outside the United States. Together with defendant, Aureliano Montoya-Pena, all six were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and various other narcotics offenses.
The other four indictments charge the remaining 14 defendants with various narcotics distribution offenses.
The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys William Ridgway, Gregory Deis and Heather McShain.
The public is reminded that indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
A list of the federal defendants follows (with best known ages and residences in Chicago unless noted otherwise):
An idea I first heard in the fall of 2007 from Democratic Party candidate for County Coroner David Bachmann is taking over big time under the DEA’s leadership. I first noticed the DEA program in New Jersey in September, 2010..
Here is a press release detailing which McHeny County Police Departments will have boxes for pharmaceuticals you no longer need:
Medication Take-Back Event
Saturday, April 30 – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) encourages residents to take advantage of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) program “National Take-Back Initiative” on Saturday, April 30. The one-day event is from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, at participating law enforcement sites. A joint collaborative of public health and law enforcement departments, this initiative will provide a safe way for the public to dispose of their expired, unused and unwanted medication at no cost.
Residents can bring prescription and over-the-counter, solid dose (tablets, capsules) medications in clear, sealed plastic bags for disposal. Items not accepted include liquids, intravenous (IV) bags/solutions, injectables, needles, lancets and sharps.
Prescription labels should be removed (or personal information blocked out with a permanent marker) from plastic bottles before tossing into weekly curbside recycling containers. Participating drop-off sites include:
- Algonquin Police Dept., 2200 Harnish Drive-Algonquin
- Crystal Lake Police Department, 100 W Woodstock St-Crystal Lake
- Harvard Police Department, 201 W. Front St.-Harvard
- Huntley Police Department, 10911 Main Street-Huntley
- Johnsburg Police Department, 3611 N. Chapel Hill Road-Johnsburg
- Lakewood Police Department, 2500 Lake Ave.-Lakewood
- Spring Grove Police Department, 7401 Meyer Road-Spring Grove
- Woodstock Police Department, 656 Lake Ave-Woodstock
According to the DEA, rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at an alarming rate, as are accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
Many Americans toss their unused medicines into the toilet or throw them in the trash – both potential safety and health hazards. U.S. Geological Survey studies have found traces of prescription drugs in water samples from 30 states which have been linked to ecological harm to fish and freshwater supplies.
To find collection sites near you, visit the DEA’s web page. Check often as new sites will be added daily.Additional information is available from your participating local law enforcement agency, on the MCDH webpage www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or by calling Kristy Hecke, MCDH’s Solid Waste Manager at 815-334-4585.
Dave Bachmann Tells How His Excess Prescription Drug Collection Idea Got Noticed by the DEA and How Jack Franks Dropped the Ball
Yesterday I posted a story about the Huntley Police Department’s participating in in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s prescription drug collection program. Crystal Lake is, too. Maybe there are other local police departments who have signed on as drop off points that I don’t know about.
In the Huntley article, I noted that the first place I heard of the idea was from David Bachmann in his first email to McHenry Count Blog on his coroner’s candidacy.
Then, the idea popped up in New Jersey under the sponsorship of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
What I find most interesting is that when Bachmann took his idea to Democratic State Rep. Jack Franks, Franks did nothing with it.
Considering his constant need to have publicity, it is rather amazing to me that Franks did not jump on this idea.
Instead, he told Bachmann to draft a bill. As a former legislator of sixteen years, may I suggest that is a disingenuous kiss off. The minimum Franks should have done was to point Bachmann to the Legislative Reference Bureau, which drafts bills for legislators.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s the email to Bachmann:
Friday, June 27, 2008, 1:44 PM
Dear Mr. Bachmann
I have researched your legislation proposal about requiring police officers to dispose of unused prescription drugs when they respond to a death call.
State Rep. Franks urges you to draft a bill for consideration on this important issue. No legislator has submitted a bill like this in the 95th General Assembly. If you have any further questions, please call me.
And, here is the final contact from Franks’ office to Bachmann on the subject:
To: “david bachmann”
Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 1:50 PM
Jack let me know today that he would like to see a draft of a bill so I sent off a request today to have the legislation drafted. Our office should be taking care of it. Sorry if there was any confusion.
Under yesterday’s article Bachmann has left the following comments.
09/15/2010 at 3:52 pm (Edit)
Today’s decision by many McHenry County Law Enforcement Entities to help safely ‘Dispose’ of these dangerous medications, is an outstanding moment for all ‘In Home’ health care workers, and, for our school system.
I’ve always believed that the ‘Hospice’ workers needed protection from any possible claims of wrong doing as it may relate to narcotic pain medication disposal and the like.
I’ve strongly believed that our children should not have clear access to these medications which are visibly showing up within the walls of our schools.
I am a chronic pain suffer myself due to many, many surgeries. Although I carefully and faithfully remain under the care of professional ‘Pain Management’ medical teams, I constantly tell my children that narcotic pain medications have no place outside the direct supervision of licensed physicians who specialize in ‘Pain Management’ Medical Care.
To be sure, when properly utilized, these medications are a blessing and help those who might otherwise be bedridden for life, find comfort from debilitating pain. I am such a blessed person.
What I have never spoken about prior to this moment, is that I had in fact, taken the Video that can be found on YouTube, that was made during my campaign, and sent it to Federal Authorities.
I also met an “Author” named Alan Jacobson who has been most helpful in my own quest to publish my first book. Alan has direct connections to the DEA and FBI powers that be. You can see why by visiting Alan’s web site.
From there, things grew and grew. First in Newark, NJ, then on and on.
Now, finally home to McHenry County.
The most interesting part of my journey regarding this important program, was that I literally dropped it upon the lap of Democratic State Representative Jack Franks. My emails to Jack Franks office affirm my assertion.
Additionally, I have email correspondence from Jack Franks office stating that NEVER BEFORE, is Illinois Legislative history, has ANYBODY introduced such a bill before.
I thought from that email, Jack would have taken the many, many hours of time I gave to his office explaining the details of such a program.
Sadly, it never happened.
This program well could have become Illinois Law some time ago and McHenry County could have been the first in the entire nation to adopt such a “Bill” and implement such a vital program.
I’ve learned many things through this political process.
First, is that I do not like politics.
When I depended upon a State Representative to help me, I got nowhere.
I sought the help of people I’d had never met before who had no Political advantage in helping me, and we see what has come full circle.
Thank you to all in McHenry County Law Enforcement who are working hard and putting in extra duty to protect our kids and our health care workers!
“Sometimes,” just “Sometimes,” a guy with a big mouth wins. Today is a victory for “We, The People!”
Later, he added the following comments about Marlene Lantz, the Republican woman who beat him in the fall election:
09/15/2010 at 5:24 pm (Edit)
Quickly, then I will be still………
I want to thank McHenry County Coroner Marlene Lantz. I know Coroner Lantz has been dedicated to this cause and I’m certain she has been working hard with the home health care workers she and her staff work so closely with each and everyday.
It takes a team to get things done. Sometimes ‘teams’ stand on opposite sides of the field. We all seek “Victory!”
Thanks Coroner Lantz for your dedication and service on this “Mission.”
Earlier this afternoon, I posted an article announcing the Huntley Police Department’s providing a drop off point for the DEA’s “National Take-Back Day”.
Now, a press release has been received from the Crystal Lake Police Department giving details for its collection. It has a bit more detail, so I shall share it with you.
On September 25, 2010, the Crystal Lake Police Department in conjunction with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will coordinate a one-day collaborative effort to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s homes. The “National Take-Back” initiative will provide a unified opportunity for the public to surrender pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction.
The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates there are 6.2 million current non-medical users of psychotherapeutic drugs in the United States.
The NSDUH survey further indicates there are more Americans abusing psychotherapeutics than the number of cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogen abusers combined.
Expired, unused, or unwanted controlled substances in our homes are a potential source of supply that fuel this abuse and are an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.
Also most people tend to dispose of these medications by discarding them into the trash or down the drain.
Either of these options provides a contamination of the waterways and wastewater treatment plants. This provides a direct impact on the environment, but also directly affects the ability for the City to provide suitable water.
Collection activities are planned from 10:00 am through 2:00 pm on September 25, 2010 at the Crystal Lake Police Department, 100 W. Woodstock Street, Crystal Lake. Residents are encouraged to bring all unused or expired medications during this time. Controlled, non-controlled, and over the counter substances may be collected.
Liquid medications will not be accepted. Intravenous solutions, injectables and/or syringes will not be accepted due to potential hazard posed by blood borne pathogens. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative and should not be placed in collection containers.
This program is anonymous and all efforts will be made to protect the anonymity of individuals disposing of medications. No questions or requests for identification will be made.
Participants may dispose of medication in its original container or by removing the medication from its container and disposing of it directly into the disposal box. If an original container is submitted, the individual(s) will be encouraged to remove any identifying information from the prescription label.
If you should have any questions regarding this event, please contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at (815) 356-3620.
The first I heard of some public entity wanting to collect unused drugs was in David Bachmann’s unsuccessful campaign for McHenry County Coroner.
That was on October 21, 2007, when Bachmann was introducing what he wanted to do, if elected to replace Republican incumbent Marlene Lantz.
Then, this January, I saw that the Drug Enforcement Administration was doing essentially what Bachmann proposed, but on a broader scale, and getting a lot of publicity for its efforts.
Now Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore brings to my attention the Huntley Police Department’s Drug Take Back Program on Saturday, September 25, 2010.
So, mark the calendar if you are in the Huntley, western Lake in the Hills area.
And drop your unneeded drugs off at the Huntley Police Department 10-2.
Then you have to be willing to submit to random drug testing.
The school is not just talking student athletes.
It’s everyone in extracurricular activities.
(See end of article for effective date recommended by the administration.)
I remember attending a meeting in the library of Crystal Lake Community High School in 1969 when my little sister was a senior.
Someone asked the superintendent if there were drugs in school.
He said there weren’t.
On the way home I asked my sister about what percentage of the kids used drugs.
“About 10-15%,” I think she replied.
Fast forward forty years and finally a school board has decided to do something that might actually discourage drug use.
How many Huntley High School students do you think will decide that maybe extracurricular activities aren’t for them this coming year?
That would be 5-7% of the “good kids.”
Administrators tried to kill the program–approved last February–with arguments about
- how costly it would be
- how costly it would be to run all year
- how athletes who reach the state finals will be subject to testing anyway (State Rep. Jack Franks’ House Bill 272, signed and effective today, requires random “performance-enhancing substance” drug testing of at least 1,000 high school athletes in 25% of the state’s high schools.)
- how procedures had not been written yet
How ironic that school administrators would want their school board members to get into the minutia of writing procedures.
The mantra I’ve always heard is that school boards are supposed to deal with policy an leave the details to staff.
Six months after policy was set, staff seemed to be still fighting the policy.
It is easy to see that bring a pioneer in high school drug testing will being all sorts of consequences.
Think of big Johnny not being able to be on the football team.
Think of senior Suzy’s parents trying to find out the real reason she doesn’t want to be in the club s in which she has been a member for the last three years.
In any event, the administrators’ excuses and arguments didn’t work.
The board turned around the discussion and said it’s not the board’s job to write the procedure, that’s what administrators should do.
Who’s going to be affected?
All athletic teams, plus
- Scholastic Bowl
- Marching Band
- Color Guard
- Community Service Club
- Dance Club
- Drama and Group Interpretation
- Math Team
- National Honor Society
- Student Council
If you interested in the details of the program, as outlined in a District 158 memo, click here. On the left hand side of the page near the top, you can find the memo.
You’ll see that smokers and drinkers of alcohol may get kicked out of extracurricular activities, not just illicit drug users.
A maximum of 10% of students in extracurricular activities up to 12 test times per year, Monday through Saturday. (Strangely, it seems administrators are thinking about testing during summer vacation.)
Breath alcohol and urinalysis tests are proposed.
Students found to be cheating will be banned from extracurricular activities for the rest of the year.
At their own cost, parents may have a second verification test taken. The cost mentioned at the meeting was $150.
But, not to worry about this fall.
It seems the administrators’ belief that waiting six months to “get the word out about testing” meets the boards’ direction to “implement” the plan.
They haven’t even created a data base of high school students, as if that would be difficult.
According to the memo from Terry Awrey that won’t be completed until November.
No testing is contemplated until December, as nearly as I can determine.
Ignoring drug testing for this fall’s football season appears a deliberate part of the administration’s part.
Regular people may think “implement drug testing” means actually start doing drug testing.
Maybe nine months after the school board directed its implementation.