04/06/14 Terry Nelson

Century of Lies

Terry Nelson of LEAP speaks at the first ever conference of Republican's Against Marijuana Prohibition

Audio file


Century of Lies April 6, 2014


DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


DEAN BECKER: Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. This week we are going to reach back again to the recent gathering of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.


ANNOUNCER: Our next speaker is going to be Terry Nelson with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Terry’s career in law enforcement stands three decades including service in the United States Border Patrol, in the US Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security taking him beyond the borders of the US into Mexico, Central America and South America but he says, “the War on Drugs has gone on and on and I never saw any visible progress only limited discussion about the lack of progress.”

This encouraged him to join up with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition which is also referred to as LEAP. This is the first group that he has ever joined. In 2005 Terry retired as a GS-14 Air Marine Group Supervisor. He’s a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He has served as a communication specialist in Viet Nam, Thailand and the Philippines.

Today Terry will be speaking about marijuana policy from the federal viewpoint. His specific topic will be “The strategy of federal drug enforcers – cost, no benefit.”

With that we’ll invite Mr. Nelson up.


TERRY NELSON: My name is Terry Nelson. I’m a 32-year veteran of federal service. I did the “king’s job - I cut the king’s corn.” I put a lot of people in jail for importation of cannabis into the United States.

Sir Robert Peel was the father of modern policing. He developed the roles and relationships of police and the public they served. He positioned that the ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent on public approval of police actions. We do not have public approval of police actions now for what they are doing in the marijuana wars and the way they are treating people.

I also served on the Warrant Entry Team for High-Risk Felons so I’ve kicked a few doors in and I never once saw a kid look at me and say, “Thank you, Mr. Policeman, for what you just did to my father.”

I always try to have the kids going to school but they wouldn’t always let me have my way.

We’re cops, judges, prosecutors, wardens, attorneys – about 150,000 members worldwide and supported in over 80 countries. Right now we are in Vienna. We are going to present a treaty to them to change all drugs and put them under health laws instead of criminal laws – to treat them as a health issue instead of a criminal issue.


We are not for drug use. Trust me, I have seen what drugs do to families. I have seen them break up homes. I have seen a lot of bad things but I’ve also seen a lot of bad things with the legal drug called alcohol. So let’s treat them all the same and deal with them the same way.

We believe in a regulated, controlled drug market – one where education and treatment is preferable to arrest and incarceration. To regulate and control anything it’s got to be legal so we believe in legalization and I mean all drugs for the same purpose. We got to control, regulate all of them. Don’t just do a partial thing on it.

I’m a policeman. I’m not a social scientist. I get to the “meat and potatoes” of stuff. I kind of talk blunt sometimes because I’m a blunt person but, damn it, it’s broken. We need to fix it.

Attorney General Holder - this was touched on earlier by the judge...We have over 2 million people behind bars. As a nation we are totally efficient in our incarceration efforts.

One in 28 children has a parent in prison - for African-Americans that’s one in 9.

In total 700,000 people are released from state and federal prisons every year. 9 to 10 million more cycle through local jails. 40% are former federal prisoners along with more than 6% of former state prisoners are rearrested or have their probation or parole revoked within 3 years. 63% of the people are arrested again. Damn it, the system is broken. We need to fix it.

This is the Attorney General saying this...he could do a lot to fix this. He hasn’t done as much as he could but he’s done a heck of a lot more than I thought he would.

Now, the Drug Czar...he stands up there and he lies every time he talks about policy. Why? How could he do this? You say, “Is this man stupid?”

Gil Kerlikowske is not a stupid man. “The director shall ensure that no federal funds are appropriated to the Office of the National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract related to the legalization for medical use or any other use of a substance listed under Schedule I.”

He cannot tell you the truth. Recently, in a hearing, one of the congressman caught him on this and now they’ve introduced legislation to take this away but it is not done yet.

This is what scares people from a public safety standpoint. You have a broken policy. It’s not working but it is working towards one thing – it puts a lot of people in jail and it gives them connections with a lot of people who are in jail so when they get out they got a different social group than when they went in.

This is what we got out of that, folks. We have 1.4 million active street or motorcycle gangs and prison gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs operate in the United States and Puerto Rico. This will bite us in the butt big time 20, 30 years down the road if we don’t fix it.

Alright, a little bit of the “I love me” wall. That was in 1983 I received the Department of Justice Meritorious Award for Sustained Superior Performance. I told you I took “the king’s corn – I did the king’s business.” This my first marijuana seizure – got some bails coming out of the water. That’s 2,200 pounds marijuana and 15 pounds of hash in a 23-foot sailboat. They had it hidden real well.

I spent three years in Iraq as a police advisor to the Iraqi Department of Water Enforcement. So I’m kind of a sucker for going places that no one wants to go.

My law enforcement experience runs the basic gamut of border patrol, customs control investigator, inspector, criminal investigator, foreign operations officer. I worked out of Mexico City, the embassy, and then I was supposed to take over the job there as liaison officer. Instead they promoted me to the headquarters in I ran Mexico for one year. I also ran South America for one year.

They wanted to send me and my family (I have two daughters) to Washington, D.C. I didn’t want to go so I said, “I don’t want to go.” They asked what I wanted so I went down to Florida and opened a surveillance support center down there and we ran counter drug missions in and out of South America.

I’ve worked in every country in Central America except Nicaragua and 5 countries in South America. I’m here to tell you we are not going to arrest our way out of this drug war. We can’t do it.

In 2005 we spent 5.2 billion dollars in Plan Colombia. The following year the vice president of Colombia said coca production was up 25%. So we’re not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We need to figure out another way of getting out of it.

I got special recognition from Bill Nelson (no relation) – the Outstanding Officer Award for the state of Florida...yada, yada, yada...the Accommodation for Life Saving – I like that one probably best of all of them.

I bet you didn’t know that we spend more than 51 billion dollars a year on the War on Drugs. 1.55 million non-violent drug offenders in prison. 658,000 or 88% of them for possession alone. The cops will tell you they don’t make drug arrests for possession. They do. Why? The money machine.

A cop goes out and busts some kid this afternoon at 10 o’clock at night, shows up tomorrow for court – he and his buddy get 3 hours of overtime. It’s a money machine.

They seize property – asset seizure ( I call it theft by badge)...asset seizure is they take your property away from you without due process of law – damn it, that is theft by badge.

This number I don’t like – 200,000 kids lost their chance to get a college education because they have a drug arrest. There is only one company in the United States today that I know of that is no longer making you check the box to go to work for them. It’s Target out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. You don’t have to check the “I’ve been arrested” box. Finally, somebody did it.


DEAN BECKER: Alright, friends, you are listening to Century of Lies on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. We are tuned in to a recent conference of Republican Against Marijuana Prohibition. The speaker, my good friend, LEAP speaker, Mr. Terry Nelson.


TERRY NELSON: What I’m dealing here is I’m giving you the failures of the drug war and then I’m going to give you some solutions of what we think would work. You have to, I think, understand how we got there before we can get there to be successful.

We are a 501(c)(3) educational organization. I want to give you as much information as I can so you can carry on your argument to people you speak with.

One in 87 white kids, one in 12 black and one in 36 Hispanics...number of drug offenders – one in 8 whites and one in 3 blacks. Now we wonder...and you hear people talk every day and I’m a republican and a former board member at large of the Republican Liberty Caucus about these people who won’t get a job and just want welfare. Well for 40 years we arrested them and gave them criminal records where they can’t get a job. We are responsible for this behavior. I think we had a social reason for doing it. I’m not going to go there because it’s so hideous that we ought to shoot the people for doing that.

These last three people here are presidents of the United States of America. All three of them used drugs. One of them is so drunk he can’t remember. But they all three used drugs.

Now, if your kid or your grandkid gets arrested he’s never going to be president of the United States. Is this hypocrisy?! Yeah, it’s hypocrisy and I don’t like hypocritical people.

We can’t get rid of drugs. We can’t get rid of the drug dealer with their disease, theft and violence. I mentioned a little earlier that 76,000 people died in Mexico in the last 6 years fighting the drug war for us, the consumer. If 76,000 people had died on the streets of the United States of America it would not be acceptable.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mexico is not the only country losing people. All over Central America it’s the same thing. All over the Caribbean basin – 35, 40 per 100,000 deaths related to drugs.

Drugs corrupts everything it touches including police departments and I’ll show you that in a little bit.

Here’s what they look like. That’s your coca leaf. Hypocrisy again. At the American Embassy in India they drink coca tea every evening for High Tea. Try getting it in the United States.

Powder cocaine should be called the rich man’s play. In El Paso I’ve been in the Assistant Attorney’s house which had cocaine in a dish on the coffee table. It was in 1974. It wasn’t thought of to be a big deal.

Crack cocaine came along. A basketball player named Lynn Bias died of an overdose. All of the sudden they said crack cocaine is killing people. Crack cocaine didn’t kill anybody. People fighting for control of that street corner killed each other but the cocaine didn’t do it - not at the numbers that they were talking about.

That’s a meth lab – an old fashioned one. They were pretty successful in closing these down but they stink to high heaven and they will blow up. Don’t light a cigarette when you are doing a raid.

Now they have a cold process. They ride around in a car with stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart in the back seat of your car and make methamphetamine. But why should you do it because the Mexican cartels are furnishing it to us in about 8% pure form. But you can’t go in to a drug store and buy cold medicine without showing an ID card because they might buy all of it up and make meth with it.

Folks, that’s a sign of a desperate police force. They are so desperate to win that they just keep taking our rights away from us.

Heroin...balloons – swallow them, come to customs, go to a motel, defecate...if you ever wonder why your heroin smells a little funny that’s probably why.

How did we get here? 1914 they passed the Harrison Drug Act which made heroin illegal. Up to then you could buy it in drug stores – that’s why they were called drug stores. But what did we want to get rid of in 1914? Chinese immigrants chasing the dragon, opium dens. They didn’t go back to China they went to Mexico – really good Chinese restaurants in Mexico.

And, why? Because 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs – remember that number.

How did we get here? In 1936 in the House Committee on Ways and Means, the American Medical Association said they were against criminalizing cannabis. In 1936 they were against it but we had a guy named Harry Anslinger. You all know his name or you should. He was the first Drug Czar – might have been related to the Hearst newspaper fund and maybe some people from DOW Chemical. We’re not real sure because we all know that hemp oil is a better lubricant than petroleum oil.

Alright, we had 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the United States. Anyone want to guess how many we have today? 17 million regular users. This is a policy that is working? I don’t think so.

Here’s this testimony. I have to show you this because you can’t believe that this kind of testimony was ever put out there. There is nothing more racist than this. “100,000 pot smokers and most of them are Negros, Hispanics and Philippines ...satanic, jazz and swing results in marijuana use (pretty good music, I think). The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on degenerate races.”

Well, there’s a lot of people in this room today that are degenerates if that’s the case.

“If you smoke a joint you are likely to kill your brother.”

That one makes my brother really happy.

“Marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind.”

Only if you get between the guy and your Cheetos. Then you could be in trouble. I never had to fight one person for smoking marijuana – bunch of them on amphetamines and stuff like that. Ow, they get that six-pack courage and think they can take on a whole squad of cops.

Anyway...when Nixon came along and he says, “Alright, we’re going to have the Shafer Commission”

They said, “Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.”

Policemen should only be concerned with public safety. That’s our job. We’re not supposed to protect you from yourself. We’re supposed to protect you from each other. That’s supposed to be our job.

The Shafer Commission says no but Nixon declared the War on Drugs because 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. What was going on in 1971? Viet Nam and protesters were long-haired freaks and causing trouble. “I’ll put their butts in jail!’”

And he did – in big numbers. They would put you in jail for 2 to 3 years for a roach.

Has the War on Drugs worked? Absolutely not.

These questions all came out at the Hoover Institute in 1995. The chiefs of police all unanimously said the War on Drugs is a failure – stop doing it. Yet we continue to do it. Here’s why.

Has the War on Drugs worked? Well, studies show that drug law enforcement was associated with increased levels of drug market violence. So it’s not the drugs that are killing people. It’s the prohibition of these drugs and the fighting for control over the zones.

So arresting Shorty Guzman is not going to make a damn bit of difference. Drug law enforcement may have the unintended effect of increasing levels of violence. If you arrest a guy down on the street corner in south Houston someone is out there the next morning taking his place. Well, the other guy might not want him to have that place and they got to have a little disagreement.

They don’t go to court like Coors and Budweiser do. They settle it on the street corner with guns and violence. Kids get shot in the spray of bullets.

That’s just a slide of Mexico. About 50 people a day – never happening here, no way it would happen.


DEAN BECKER: Just a reminder you are listening to Century of Lies on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. The speaker is Mr. Terry Nelson, 33 years serving the US government as a customs/border and air interdiction office and a fine speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The venue – the recent gathering of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.


TERRY NELSON: ...with alcohol – didn’t work with that. I’ll even go back a little further than that. During Genesis two people, Adam and Eve, and one policeman, God...didn’t work, did it?


Prohibition just doesn’t work.


It does do this. The flask....women didn’t even drink until prohibition. They started drinking alcohol big time during prohibition because it was the risky thing to do. It was cool. Tell a kid, “Don’t stick your finger in that light socket.” He’s going to stick his finger in the light socket. Prohibition doesn’t work.

I’ll quickly run over this – the numbers the federal government gives us. They are telling us that we had great success in Colombia in reducing the amount of coca growth. They claim that we’ve reduced coca growth by 65%. This is true? What they don’t tell you in this slide is they’ve increased the yield of the plant by three times.

So, actually, up in Peru and up in Bolivia where Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, took the DEA out for spying on his wife. I don’t know what he was spying on her for but look at this. We still have 368,000 acres under cultivation which could produce about 2 million pounds of coca. That’s what it has been for about the past 15 years.

To make this relevant – a gram of cocaine is about the size of a thimble full. 2 million pounds is about 3 grams for every man, woman and child in America. That’s a lot of blow. Even if you get 16 to 20% of it...my team in 25 years got 240,000 pounds of cocaine. My biggest bust was 14 metric tons. That’s 30,000 pounds and it didn’t change the price in the street in Miami or L.A. so is a cop going out and busting a gram in an alley, risking his life is not going to make a damn bit of difference? No, it is not. It’s ridiculous. Anyway, that’s a lot of blow.

So we just wipe it out down there. We come home, have a parade and stop...wait a minute. Coca will grow in Africa. The DEA is already moving offices into Equatorial Africa to try keep it from happening. If you think Mexico is corrupt try to Central Africa.

So it’s a balloon. No matter where you squeeze it it’s just going to pop up some place else. We got to do it different. We’ve got to change the way we are doing it.

Afghanistan...When we came back from Viet Nam we had a heroin problem because we couldn’t smoke cannabis because it stunk so much but everybody was doing heroin...not everybody but a lot of people were.

What’s happening in Afghanistan? Raw opium, folks. They can get it inside the bases in Afghanistan. Our kids are going to come back with new habits and we occupy the damn country – military occupation. Potential production grew by over 49% or 5,500 tons. That’s more than the global demand from a country we occupy.

Look at this. Heroin use has doubled between 2007 to 12. This is a failed policy. Nothing it is touching is working. It’s ruining lives left and right but it is not fixing anything.

30 million people are HIV positive. 4% have access to treatment. We got to regulate and tax this stuff and make treatment centers available, make people well and get them back on the street. Let them start contributing instead of being a drain.

1.96 million kids have a parent or other close relative in jail. 5 million have parents who have been incarcerated. According to a new 2006 study 25% live in a foster home or institution.

It cost about 25 to 35,000 dollars a year to put someone in prison. If you take their kid away from them it cost about 5,000 a month to keep that kid in a foster home or institution. That’s for each one. This is not a good game and I think a bad parent is better than no parent at all. I would never tell my father that when he was alive.

Einstein said keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is insane. 40 more years of insanity is not going to fix this problem. We got to fix it.

435,000 die from tobacco. Speaking of tobacco...legal substance. It kills 400,000 people per year. We reduced cigarette smoking by 50% in the last 20 years and we didn’t put anybody in jail. We did it through credible education and offering treatment. We can do the same thing with other drugs that aren’t nearly as dangerous as nicotine. Nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man, by the way.

Poor diet and lack of exercise – back away from that donut, cop.

Alcohol – 85,000 and I ain’t giving it up. Forget it. That’s my drug of choice.

Prescription drugs – 32,000. That’s the biggest killer today. We give our kids with ADHD...we don’t have a problem giving them Ritalin and Ritalin is pretty damn close to meth – just a couple little things different. So, you’re teaching the kids to take drugs at a very early age. We take a pill and it will fix everything.

Before 1980 we didn’t advertise so much for drugs and we should not advertise for these drugs once we legalize them. We don’t want people using. The object is not to but if you use it we don’t want you criminalized for your behavior. Stupidity should not be against the law which is obvious because we have several congressmen up there that would be in violation.

The risk of fatal overdose in the last fifteen years is startling. In 2010 the according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there were 38,000 fatal drug overdoses in the United States. That’s a lot more people than were dying from cancer.

I talked a little earlier about the purpose of police. Our job is public safety. We are only clearing 64% of our murders in America. 25 years ago that was about 80/85%. We’re only clearing 43% of our rapes. There’s 5,000 rape cases in the state of Texas that have not been processed but we can process marijuana cases all day long. A friend of mine got busted for one-tenth of a gram of cannabis in a pipe.

Robbery – 28%, aggravated assault – 50%. From a police perspective these are dismal. The police chief ought to be ashamed to put this up.

But here’s the bad one. Burglary – 12.4% of our burglars are ever caught. Car theft – 11.8%. That’s costing 5 billion dollars per year in additional premiums. Why aren’t they working these crimes against people? Have you noticed that drugs aren’t anywhere on this crime sheet? And they’re not on any in the United States of America called a crime. Now why would that be?

When you go to your city council and say, “Look, 60% approval rating in clearance rate on these cases.” A drug arrest doesn’t even have a case number until it’s happened so it’s 100%. So just break it down to even numbers. You got 100. A 50% clearance rate and you arrest 100 more kids you just brought your 50% clearance rate up to about 68% and it looks better to the city council and the county commissioners. It’s a numbers game.

It looks like about 1.3% of people have addictive behavior whether it’s going to be religion, porn, alcohol....whatever. They are just going to be addicted so we might as well ...I never heard of that one before – porn. I knew I’d get you on that one.

Follow the money and you’ll find the crime.

Government agencies – 20 billion dollars for the drug war budget. Last year ONDCP asked for 25.2 billion. I don’t know if they got it but they asked for it. An organization that can’t get anything right and they want 25 more billion dollars?!

Prison industry – fastest growing industry in America although in Texas we have closed 3 prisons in the past three years. I really like some of the things they are doing. I don’t like drug courts. Sorry, I don’t like them. They shouldn’t even be there because you’re still going to have your arrest. You are still tying up police assets for a non-violent offense.


DEAN BECKER: Well that’s about all we’ll have time for during this program. Once again that was Mr. Terry Nelson speaking to the gathering of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (http://www.rampgop.org )

We’ll have more from Terry this week on the 4:20 Drug War News Reports.

This week Eric Holder was doing battle with congress over the administration’s lessening of the penalties and perspectives with regards to marijuana. The head of the DEA came out kind of saying she’s not going to follow the orders of her boss, Eric Holder.

It’s a good thing Mr. Holder sent his copy of my book, “To End the War On Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public” to the DEA to elucidate them to the truth of what’s coming, hopefully, on the very near horizon.

We did pick up four more retailers selling the book. You can learn more if you go to http://endthedrugwar.us. Locally the books are available at Brazos Books and at River Oaks Bookstore.

Prohibido istac evilesco!


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org