Friday, September 2, 2011

Smurf Kills

This morning I got to sit in a room and listen to representatives from five different branches of law enforcement talk about the meth problem in San Diego and what is being done to solve it. I have no idea if blood can in fact boil inside your body, but if so then I’m sure mine was close. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that police and other LEOs (that’s law enforcement officer – I learned that from NCIS) shouldn’t be out doing what they are paid to do – protecting and serving. It was just really difficult to sit and listen to people epitomize the saying, “If all you have is a hammer, then every problem is a nail.”

I’m going to try not to be too long-winded with this rant, but I’m not even going to bother denying that it’s a rant.

Before I rant, however, I have to say that as a recovering addict it was very titillating to sit and watch a power point presentation with pictures that looked like icebergs and stalactites. I momentarily thought about a career at the DEA. On every crime show I watch, undercover narcs always have the best drugs. My personal experience in NYC was that Trannies and drag queens always had the best drugs. Undercover cops might want to consider going under as female impersonators. Hmmm.

Oooh. An idea I like even more than that is some sort of reality show pitting the Trannies and drag queens against LEOs in sort of an Amazing Race meets Antique Road Show format. Send them all out to find the best drugs they can and then have a team of junkie experts rate the quality. Sorry. As usual, my digressions are ridiculous and incredibly complicated.

Back to our regularly scheduled diatribe. The first presenter started off by calling CVS a corporate drug dealer for its lack of restraint in selling pseudoephedrine. I’m pretty sure if he had his way, the entire boards of directors of CVS and other retail pharmacies would be in prison right now. This really is just funny to me because SOME (I’m only talking about SOME) LEOs are such a contradictory blend of Republican and Democrat. On the one hand, they have no real use for rehabilitation or social programs in their battle against drugs, but on the other they are extremely frustrated by the inability to make any real inroads because of corporate influence on politics. I can almost envision them in Birkenstocks and headbands when they bemoan “BIG PHARMA” keeping them from being able to stop the production of meth.

And the “victories” he was claiming were less than inspiring (to me at least). One of the big things he talked about was how now that Mexico banned the sale of pseudoephedrine, the bulk of the meth coming out of there is of the less potent DL type rather than the much stronger D type that is still made in the US because people here can still buy decongestants over the counter. Hold on. So, it’s not any thanks to anyone in our country that the meth is weaker and, based on what you’re saying, it’s still getting over the border in mass quantities. Good work.

In droning on about discussing seizure of meth along the border, he claimed a big success in recovering (I guess it’s not really recovering if they didn’t own it to begin with but whatever) 40 pounds of meth and $100,000. Now that absolutely sounds like a big deal, right?

Here’s the thing. They seized it from a drug mule (and even though it was the Mexican border, I’m pretty sure we’re talking person and not donkey here), which means that they didn’t get the people making it or controlling the distribution because by design mules almost never know anything about where the drugs came from or where they are ultimately going to end up. So essentially it is a loss that the people in charge absorb and have probably already planned for. Someone else will be on his / her way across the border with a replacement in a few hours.

Further, just by me being sober for the last 48 months I’ve eliminated about the same amount from being carried across the country. And your tax dollars aren’t paying for hundreds or thousands of man hours to accomplish that.

And what about those mules. This gentleman was quite adamant that mules come in all shapes and sizes. You can never tell just by looking at them. Some of them once had $200K jobs but lost it all to their addictions and now were forced to carry drugs across the border to get their next fix. I really need that eye roll emoticon right now.

But just recently they arrested this young man that was transporting meth and he wasn’t even doing it for the drugs. I’m sure I’m wrong when I say that he almost sounded delighted to tell us that he arrested someone who was smuggling drugs across the border “just to feed and clothe his kids.” Well, I’m glad you got HIM off the street. Can you imagine what would happen if those kids actually got a decent meal and some new shoes?! Well, thankfully we’ll never have to find out.

It went on just like this for more almost 90 minutes. At one point, a presenter complained of a lack of cooperation between social workers and LEOs but said things were getting better, because these social workers were finally starting to see that arresting drug addicts was the right thing to do. Now, regardless of whether you think people should be arrested for possession or not, I don’t know how you can think it’s cooperation when only one party is changing their opinion.

Then there was a whole lot of talk about superlabs – where they cook enormous amounts of meth – and Beavis and Butthead labs – mostly people cooking for their personal use. This next part just was kind of funny to me. The presenter was showing pictures of a B&B lab, with all the metal in the apartment completely corroded. He mused about what the internal organs and lungs of the cooker must look like because “he slept there 24/7.” Ummm. I’m not sure you really get what methamphetamine is if you think he slept at all, let alone 24/7. Maybe he meant he slept 24 times in 7 years. That’s actually realistic.

Finally, just to explain the picture and title that accompany this post, which was part of one of the power point presentations. I kid you not. I didn’t even know this term until today. From Wikipedia:

In relation to the production of methamphetamine, smurfing refers to a person or persons going to various stores to acquire the pseudoephedrine that is one ingredient of meth. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in legal pharmaceuticals, but concern over its use in producing methamphetamine has led to laws which limit buyers to a small number of packages per visit. An individual or team who is smurfing will travel to multiple stores, buying the legal limit at each one in order to amass a large supply of pseudoephedrine. The name reportedly comes from the blue color of some pseudoephedrine pills.

C’mon you’re smurfing me. 

Nope, I wouldn’t smurf you; you’re too big a smurf.


  1. First, I'm not sure about blood boiling, either. But, physiologically (or, actually, just physically - according to the universal laws of physics, that is), any liquid will boil at a specific temperature, but the temperature at which it boils changes with the amount of pressure put on it. The water near hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Ocean reaches 900 degrees and doesn't boil because of the pressure. Water in the cold vacuum of space will boil at absolute zero. So, I'd love to learn more about this supposed boiling of blood and what it means. My guess is that is a term that is used for users who slam and get air bubbles in their veins (which can cause, among other things, heart attack and death).

    I am at the point where I think it's probably best for certain kinds of addicts to belong in jail. Being the liberal I am, though, I'm afraid to put specific boundaries on who would fit the bill. At one time or another, I'm sure I belonged in jail. (And to contradict myself, I'm sure that, if I did end up in jail, I'd either be dead or still using.) What do you think about that?

    Pseudo ephedrine is an important drug. It does a lot of things for a lot of conditions and alleviates a lot of discomfort for people who aren't addicts. The Patriot Act already made it pretty difficult to buy in huge quantities, so, I think taking things out on the large pharmacy chains or pharmaceutical makers is a little crazy. It's like wagging the dog.

    Nice rant, by the way.

  2. I meant to add that the only instance of blood "boiling" about which I am aware is as a result of decompression sickness, which is when a SCUBA diver comes up too fast. (This fits in with my explanation in my last comment.) I don't think that your body temperature could ever get so high that your blood would boil, but it might do the opposite and thicken, but... again... I think it'd require slamming.