January 27, 2006

Super Troopers

I don't know what it is about the State Police in Henry County, but I can't count the number of times I've read about traffic stops resulting in finding hundreds of pounds of pot or cocaine. It's almost bizarre. I wish I had the capability to find out just what the number of busts and amount of drug found by traffic stops along I-80, and always, it seems, in Henry County.

Why this is, I don't know, but the state troopers in that area seem to have an almost supernatural instinct for finding drug runners. They've found huge amounts of dope in motor homes, trucks, and cars and the number of these busts is remarkable. Henry County has only 27 miles of I-80, but it's got to be one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the country for dope smugglers.

Not surprisingly, they've done it again.
A complaint has been filed against Charles Ray McSwain, Winona McSwain and Justin Delvis Morgan, ages and addresses unavailable, in U.S. District Court, Rock Island for suspicion of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.

The Illinois State Police stopped a GMC Yukon at about 2 p.m. Tuesday on eastbound I-80 just outside Geneseo for having an object hanging in the rearview mirror.

While the trooper was writing Mr. Morgan a ticket for not having a driver's license, Mr. McSwain said there was “600 pounds of marijuana" inside the SUV, according to the complaint filed by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Officers found about 755 pounds of marijuana packaged in duffel bags and garbage bags, the complaint said.

Mr. McSwain told investigators he was supposed to pay Ms. McSwain and Mr. Morgan $1,400 for their help in transporting the drug across the country, the complaint states.
Two things jump out at me in this.

One is that the SUV was supposedly pulled over for having something hanging from the rear-view mirror? Wow! That seems like an awfully thin reason for a traffic stop. I didn't even realize that was illegal, and I certainly see hundreds of vehicles with stuff hanging from the mirror. This would suggest to me that these cops target certain vehicles for some reason and they wanted a reason to pull this one over.

Secondly, while one of the guys was getting ticketed for not having a driver's license, the other guy just casually tells the cop, "Oh, by the way, there's 600 lbs of pot in the truck." Sounds odd. But I'm sure the situation was a bit different. They probably were going to search the truck anyway and asked the guy if there was anything illegal inside and the guy figured the jig was up and told them about it.

I've always wondered, just how do the state cops manage this? It can't be just luck. They've got to be targetting certain vehicles or suspects it would seem. And why is it always in Henry County?

18 Comments:

At 1/27/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Dissenter said...

Police officer often use pretextual reasons to justify traffic stops. It would be interesting to determine whether there was some common identifier among those stopped in this manner and in this area.

During the course of a traffic stop, officers often inquire, "Do you mind of I search your vehicle?" and, if the occupant(s) decline, inquire, "If you don't have anything to hide, then why do you object to my search of your vehicle?" Very few drivers know how to handle this second question, but to me the answer is rather obvious: "Well you see, officer, the Fourth Amendment exists in every compartment and crevice of this vehicle. My fundamental right to remain free from unreasonable governmental intrusion is buried right there in my glove box. But since you don't seem to mind the invasion of these sacred rights, I was wondering if perhaps we might drive over to YOUR house so I can search through all of YOUR belongings. After all, you don't have anything to hide, now do you?" Certainly, this would not be the most prudent answer in the heat of the traffic stop. But it would be intellectually entertaining. Remaining silent is normally the wisest option.

 
At 1/27/2006 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason that the I.S.P. conduct the stops in Henry county and not Rock Island county is that Henry county is much stiffer in punishment. Rock Island county is a lot more laxed.

 
At 1/27/2006 7:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I assume the penalties are much the same as the same laws apply no matter where in the state you're charged.

Do all the judges that sit in Henry county ONLY sit in Henry county? Otherwise, how could it be said that the judges there somehow issue more drastic penalties for drug offenses?

And you're suggesting that State Troopers decide where to pull someone over based on the thinking that, hey, I MIGHT find some drugs, and the judges in Henry are more conservative and harsh than in Rock Island county, so I'll spend all my time pulling over people in Henry County?

I don't know if I can buy that, though it may be that sentences doled out in Henry County seem harsher than those in Rock Island, but you'd have to do a pretty exhaustive comparison to come to that conclusion.

Anyone else have any ideas as to why there are so many busts along I-80 in Henry county?

 
At 1/27/2006 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You liberal pinko wackos need to get a life. Whatever it takes to get the illegal drugs out of our schools and away from our young people is what we need to be doing. Have you had to work with a 14 year old meth addict yet? When you do you will do an about face concerning drugs. If this is the worst that ever happens to you be thankful.

 
At 1/28/2006 12:04 AM, Blogger tiz said...

There's only like 5-10 miles, if that, of I-80 in Rock Island County. Colona is in Henry County, so there's only like 2 exits on i-80 (i88/old route 5 and Rapids City) that are really in RI county. My guess is there's more busts along I-80 in Henry County because there's a lot more of I-80 in Henry County.

Now as to why there seems to be more busts like this in Illinois than in Iowa I don't know.

 
At 1/28/2006 6:18 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

ANON 22:59

Sorry about you working with a 14yr old meth addict, but where in this post (or anywhere, for that matter) are you getting the message that anyone's "pro-drugs"?

Are you on drugs yourself?

 
At 1/28/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I know, it is all about the constitution and search and seizure, typical democrat nonsense that avoids the problem. For those of you living in Oz, we have a terrible drug epidemic going on in this country. If you have nothing to hide, why worry about a quick look in your vehicle? Of course I also think we should be doing random drug tests on traffic stops. Think of all the drugs we could confiscate there? Until we get serious about defeating the drug problem and quick whining about police officers that are trying to protect the majority of us, we will continue our slide. I don't know if you are pro drug or not, it causes me to wonder though, why would you be opposed to a simple two minute search of your vehicle? Our attorney general has said it is okay to bring on a drug dog on a simple traffic stop. That is one way we can make this quick and simple. Are you opposed to having Rin Tin Tin walk around your car while the officer chats you up? Thought so!

 
At 1/28/2006 12:47 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I can see it all now--- new skills required for all applicants as Police officer:

Must be able to administer drug tests at any location and be able to gather and draw specimens accurately on the spot. Must be able to hold malpractice insurance and license as health professional qualified to draw blood and collect urine.....

 
At 1/28/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

ANON 9:07

You've got a bit of a problem with reality.

Where did you read someone "complaining" about a search after a traffic stop?

Stop imagining stuff and you'll be much better off. The quote from Gore would seem to apply to you. You just distort things to fit your cherished stereotypes that have been pounded into your head by Rush Limbaugh or some similar fool.

I'd be a large amount you've never heard or have ever seen any liberal complaining about a legal search, yet you insist on spewing your goofy stereotypes and seeing some sort of defense or drugs or something when it's not even there.
You just make it up, since without that make believe, you'd have nothing to argue against!

And you're a dangerous fool if you are that willing to give police or government that much power. Your attitude of "if you've got nothing to hide, why would you object?" is a dangerous notion, and reminds me of what the Germans thought when the Nazis were rising to power.

Dissenter did a great job of explaining why no one should ever just capitulate to warrentless searches.

If you can't get it, then I'm sorry for you, as you are the type of citizen which would allow this country to truly become a police state much like China or other countrys, all along saying, "if you've got nothing to hide, what's the problem?"

Wait until they come to your house and bust your door down in the middle of the night and terrorize your family because someone "thought" there might be drugs or something in your house.

Then let's hear you whine about those who still care about constitutional rights.

And another thing. The so-called "War on Drugs" has been an umitigated disaster, vastly expensive, filling up our prisons with non-violent offenders, taken up enormous resources of law enforcement and the courts, cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and... most importantly, has been utterly ineffective.

It simply is NOT working. It's time to try a different approach, not call for more of the same failed methods.

 
At 1/28/2006 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insidedope-

No, I'm a realist type person and even a card carrying democrat who has never voted for a republican. I agree the drug treatment program we have is a failure. What we need to do is quit dancing around the issue here and get tough with people who have this habit. Lock them up and throw away the keys. True that costs a lot of money but what about the treatment to society and that cost? Take a meth addict for example. In 8-10 years they will need vital organ transplants to survive. Who pays for that? They cannot work, they are doled out SS disability payments so those of us who chose not to abuse drugs are going to pay for their treatment. We put them in prison, we treat them, counsel them, educate them, they get out of prison and they go right back after the meth/drugs again and we start the process all over. If I have to help pay for all this my thought is just keep them locked up and I'll gladly pay my share. At least they are not out of the street preying on our young people and getting the hooked. We need to be tougher in this country and spend less time worrying about someone's rights. By the way, the police are welcome at my house or my business any day or night. They can listen to my phone conversations, read my mail, check my email, whatever. My point is whatever it takes to catch a criminal, especially a dope dealer, we need to do. It is unfortunate that some will scream profiling but if the shoe fits, wear it. Police are trained to look for certain criminal actions/physical descriptions, yes even for vehicles that are painted or designed a certain way. Isn't it odd that when they stop someone that fits the description, 9 times out of 10 its bingo time? Criminals have a certain MO its called, police are trained to look for MO. If criminals are in the business long enough, they all begin to look and act a lot alike, they can't help it. I don't believe the police are picking on people for the most part, or trying to violate someone's rights. They have a job to do and a tough one I might add. If they don't do their job they are lazy donut eating slobs but if they do their job they are overzealous and trampling on our rights. YOU and like minded experts cannot have your cake and be able to eat it too. So when some meth head kicks the door down to your house or in a crazed state of mind robs you or your family, don't call the police, they might violate the dope heads rights. We unfortunately must treat these folks for what they are, a menace to society. Deal with it!

 
At 1/28/2006 9:17 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You make no sense. Sorry. We tried this crap during prohibition. That was a big sucess.

Good luck arguing for an impossible and doomed way to approach drug addiction.

I'm sorry you're so emotionally involved in your views, because they're just wrong and uninformed.

For one thing, cops aren't just letting dope violators go, last time I checked.

Secondly, everyone has basic rights, even drug users.

If you want to live in a police state where the law can just throw away the rules for whatever class of person they see fit at the moment, such as drug dealers, etc. (Some asian countries come to mind), then perhaps you'd be much happier in some country where that's the case.

Heck, why no follow your views to their logical conclusion. Theft is wrong, it's a big problem and cause great harm. So why not just chop off the hands of people accused of theft as they do in some middle-eastern countrys (Or maybe they've stopped that practice by now)??

You sound like you're pineing for the good old days of the middle ages, bring back the rack and the iron maiden, eh? Kill 'em all, throw away the key.

You sound more in line with some strict Islamic counties than the liberal democracy that the U.S. has always been.

People like you always scream for blood until a loved one gets off track and gets popped for a fraction of a gram of crack or some pot. I wonder if you'd be in court ranting to throw them in jail and throw away the key then?

Maybe you would. But I'd hope that you'd see the human factors behind it and hope they'd get some help. Tossing them in prison at a cost of tens of thousands a year and releasing them as cold, damaged people who have in effect just gone through higher education in the art of crime, is just stupid and, as has been proven, unproductive in any sense of the word.

 
At 1/28/2006 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got me all wrong again-been there done that with close family members busted for drugs-they all got what they deserved-long sentences and no sympathy from me. Nobody forced them into that life, it was their choice. Do the crime-do the time! I have no problem giving people a break, maybe even two, its the three time losers I am talking about. My views are just that and I thought that was what a blog was all about. I read your worthless drivel every day, but that is my choice. I find it amusing and who on earth are you to say my views are wrong and uninformed? Perhaps I am right and you are wrong and uninformed! Wouldn't that be a hoot? Talk about emotionally involved, have you checked the mirror lately? Anyhow, we all have opinions like other things we all have and that makes life in America great. I'll keep thinking like I think and you do likewise. I do enjoy this blog and many others and their points of view, but chill out a bit if you can, things will be okay!

 
At 1/28/2006 11:09 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Okey-dokey.

 
At 1/29/2006 10:04 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Isn't Henry county the same place where they used to put mothers of kids in prison for murder because the mom didn't keep their violent live in boyfriends from killing their kids because they should've been able to know in advance that the scumbags would kill their kid?? I don't think mind reading is a skill any of us have last time I checked the sane world. Former States atty Vendersnick - now a judge got all his convictions overturned at the supreme court level on that. Shame on him....for an abuse of power - and then of course we promoted him to judge....how sad.

Perhaps Vandersnick was reading the Karl Rove handbook way before any of us knew who the heck Karl was?? Hmmmm perhaps there may be a bit of profiling going on in Henry County by the state police? Well- call me cyncical but it just seems to smell out in Henry County and it's not just the hogs I think.

 
At 1/29/2006 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I like this blog. Even I do have something I would like to add to this as my response.

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement: "The so-called "War on Drugs" has been an unmitigated disaster, vastly expensive, filling up our prisons with non-violent offenders, taken up enormous resources of law enforcement and the courts, cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and... most importantly, has been utterly ineffective."

And on the other side of the argument - locking offenders up and throwing away the key will resolve nothing if programs are not in place to help these offenders. There are good people that many times are affected by drug users and addicts – without ever having taken a drug in their life. One example of that is family. I speak from experience when I say that no matter what good I have done in my life, I can feel only extreme remorse for the family members I have that have either dealt or taken drugs. It's like watching someone inject poison into the entire family - Children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. and it never just stops there - everyone is affected in some negative way.

I believe that the laws regarding addictions to illegal substances need to be restructured in order to provide a benefit not only for the offenders but for society in general. Just locking someone up for a set amount of time and then releasing them with absolutely no treatment program in place is futile. The offender does just what we all predict they would do when they are finally released - goes right back to taking the same damn
drug and repeating the same damn offenses while on that drug. I know - because I watched this happen to my brother on meth.

I am opposed to all chemical drugs and our laws are not structured effectively enough to deal with the problem. Not only should traffickers face extreme penalties as they do now, but intense therapy and rehabilitation programs need to be put in place for addicts. More propaganda needs to be created and implemented. Society must become more involved. The problem does not just stop with the seizure of drugs and imprisonment of offenders. Other steps must be taken. And, unfortunately, for whatever reason (economy, law, society, etc.) we're not taking those steps.

As far as marijuana is concerned - I could care less about how much or how little is in this country. I don't smoke it out of choice. And, ironically, I can guarantee you I have never personally picked up the newspaper and read about someone beating their kids or someone who enters a public place and murders multiple victims because they were under the influence of pot. And I'll go even further to say I cannot recall the last time I ever read about someone who overdosed on marijuana. So, I have questions regarding why marijuana, even though not the best choice for what ever it's used for - is labeled illegal while hard liquor is legal.

If it were up to me, I'd replace every damn bottle of hard liquor on the shelves with a joint. I have witnessed individuals who have become extremely violent or perverse under the influence of alcohol. Some say, they should know how to drink it, but the fact is they obviously don't, and the alcohol is still there. And I do read about people who die from alcohol poisoning, or someone who shot their wife and kids under the influence but what's been done about it? Isolated events - isolated measures. Baby steps and still not enough.

So - big deal - marijuana was seized and the country is just a little bit safer from the perils of marijuana and pot smokers. Meanwhile, the sex offender or meth trafficker probably drove right by that traffic stop and probably even made their destination unfortunately.

So, that's my say on all of that, and the person that thinks that addicts, traffickers, or anyone else should just be locked up and forgotten - I'm guessing doesn't have a damn member of their family who may have been addicted to something. And if they have, they haven't thought deeper enough about that individual and the loved ones that are affected by it. You can't control what others do, but you damn sure still love 'em, even if you're in denial - you still love 'em.

 
At 1/29/2006 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon:

Yep, I have had my share of heartache from family members hooked on drugs and despite repeated incarneration and extensive both voluntary and court ordered treatments, they still went back to their old ways which leads me to say lock them up and throw away the key. I'm all for treatment but unless the addict recognizes a need to change their life, I cannot do it for them and neither can society. I've also had family members destroyed by alcohol and friends killed by drunk drivers and I'm just as hard nosed about drunk drivers as I am repeat drug offenders. Lock them up for a long time and let them think about the lives they have destroyed. You are just as dead being killed by a drunk driver as you are being shot by a gun, the end result is the same. My family has bent over backwards to help wayward members of our own on drugs only to see that promise broken time after time. Sure we still love that person but we understand that being incarcerated is the only way they are going to remain free from the substance they abuse. Either way it is a tremendous cost to society. In my case the family member was so doped up he could not work so he was on disability. We, taxpayers are having to foot the bill for his existence anyhow so just keep him locked up where he is safe from drugs and cannot ruin anyone else's life by exposing them. I am not in denial, I fully realize what my family member is doing, he is the one in denial. I did not reach this point in a haphazard manner, it is after many attempts to save the person from drugs have failed. It would be grand if we could rehabilitate drug abusers and make usefull citizens of them but I'm about the decide some people are just beyond help.

 
At 2/02/2006 11:44 AM, Anonymous reporter of facts said...

Anonymous is obviously not a racial minority nor does he drive a car with southwestern/rental plates. The police DO profile certain groups out on I-80. The police are looking for drugs and illegal aliens being transported down the interstate. The traffic stops are being made for sometimes dubious reasons(Air fresheners hanging from the rear view window, failure to signal lane changes ,etc). Yes, they do make stops which result in large drug seizures and illegal immigrants being found. But, the problem is how many honest, innocent people are being pulled over, questioned, searched, and harassed with nothing being found? Since these people are generally 1000+ miles from home they have no ability to do what we would do- file a complaint or even consider filing a lawsuit. If people(like anon)think its ok to stop and search every vehicle then we, as a society, are in trouble. Our basic freedom to be free of unreasonable search and seizure are slowly being eroded by court decisions and state/federal law. We read about the 1 stop on I-80 that results in a large drug bust. We don't read about the stop of the other 100 people being stopped/searched and harassed with nothing being found.

 
At 2/03/2006 1:21 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Wow - next time I start to pick out that new air freshner to hang in my rear view window, I will think twice if that means I get pulled over? What??

 

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