By his own count, during his years as an addict Casimiro Steven Torres piled up 67 arrests for a variety of petty and not-so-petty crimes.
While drug reformers see drug courts as preferable to prison, the courts do have critics. It remains to be seen if the drug courts’ capacity and criteria can handle what the Rockefeller reforms are about to throw at them.
City Limits estimates that the yearly cost to government for investigation, contraband seizures, arrests, judicial processing, incarceration, parole hearings and probation services for all those arrested in drug cases in New York City could run somewhere between $825 million and $1.7 billion.
On Feb. 26, 1988, members of a drug gang murdered a 22-year-old rookie police of?cer named Edward Byrne, who was sitting guard in a patrol car outside the home of a witness who had been threatened by the dealers’ boys. After that, things were different.
Sometime in 1975, Colombian drug dealers, who were already well established in the world’s marijuana market with their high-grade Colombian Gold, wrested control of the cocaine importation business from Cuban crime organizations operating in Florida and New York.
Just because the drug trade and the law enforcement crusade against it aren’t as obvious as they were in the past doesn’t mean drugs and the war against them have disappeared from New York.