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Kingpin capitulation

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Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Longwood) announced yet another bill last week "to put the drug lords who prey on our kids out of business." Called "The Drug Kingpin Bankruptcy Act of 1999," the bill would extend the power of a 1995 presidential order allowing the U.S. to seize the assets of Colombia's Cali cartel. Any American business trading with a drug-related entity would be subject to fines up to $500,000 per violation and up to 10 years in prison.

Money laundering is the lifeblood of the narcotics trade, but determining who or which businesses are wittingly involved can be difficult. McCollum referred to a "dirty dozen" list of kingpins and credited the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Treasury Department for creating that list. Yet his actual bill says the list will include input from the CIA -- which in the past has enlisted drug dealers in its many wars against "communists," who often take the form of labor unionists, human-rights workers and Catholic bishops.

For example, absent from McCollum's list is Carlos Castana, founder of a Colombian death squad called AUC, which controls poppy cultivation in northwest Colombia. The death squad in turn works with the Colombian armed forces -- which, with McCollum's help, are supplied with U.S. weapons.


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