Federal prosecutors in Chicago have quietly dropped narcotics conspiracy charges against more than two dozen defendants accused of ripping off drug stash houses as part of controversial undercover stings that have sparked allegations across the country of entrapment and racial profiling.
The decade-old strategy is also under fire because federal authorities, as part of a ruse, led targets to think large quantities of cocaine were often stashed in the hideouts, ensuring long prison terms upon conviction because of how federal sentencing laws work. […]
The stings, led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have been highly criticized for targeting mostly minority suspects, many of whom were drawn into the bogus rip-offs by informants who promised easy money at vulnerable points in their lives.
The cases are built on an elaborate ruse concocted by the ATF. Everything about the stash house is fictitious and follows a familiar script, from supposedly armed guards that need to be dealt with to the quantity of drugs purportedly stashed there. By pretending the house contains a large amount of narcotics, authorities can vastly escalate the potential prison time defendants face, including up to life sentences.
I’m pretty sure I already told you that a former uncle of mine by marriage was caught up in a sting very similar to this. He thought he was unloading a plane that was chock full of cocaine, but the cocaine was actually just drywall paste and the plane was owned by the feds. He was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for conspiracy.
He was hanging out with some very bad people back then, so it was probably only a matter of time before he was busted for something. He has since totally turned his life around.
But ten years for drywall paste seemed a bit much.