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White House Pot Baron

By Paul Wright

The March 9, 1993, edition of the Seattle Times reports that Arizona businessman Walter McCay made his fortune growing massive amounts of marijuana. What was interesting about McCay is that he is a prominent Republican businessman and banker who worked for several years as Ronald Reagan's advance man (smoothing travel, security and related things) when Reagan traveled.

In 1990 police in Yuma, Arizona, raided a pot growing operation in a house, seizing 450 pounds of pot. The grower confessed that McCay was the ownerof that and many other pot growing operations.

When confronted by police at one of his pot farms during a raid McCay confessed to a long list of drug crimes. This included growing large amounts of pot in Arizona and California, storing pot in his house, using chauffeured US embassy cars in Germany to go to Amsterdam to buy high quality pot seeds to bring back to his growing operations, laundering drug money through banks he was a director of and setting up front businesses to launder drug profits. During this period McCay was also a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy.

To quote the Seattle Times: "McCay was never arrested. He faces no federal charges, even though he exploited his positions at the White House, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and a Scottsdale Bank. Unlike a Hawaii couple that helped him run the operation, McCay will spend no time behind bars. And although McCay confessed to storing marijuana in his house - an action usually considered grounds for property forfeiture- prosecutors have not seized the house."

After confessing to the above crimes McCay turned snitch and, wearing a microphone, obtained incriminating statements from his underlings that he employed to work in his drug ring. Twenty-two people were indicted by federal prosecutors. One of the indicted committed suicide and charges were dropped against 2 others, including one who plead guilty to state drug charges. The threat of McCay's testimony and the evidence he had gathered was sufficient to induce many of his former employees to plead guilty and be sentenced to prison.

MCcay was never arrested. He was charged in Yuma county court and in October pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to produce and offering to sell marijuana. He was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation. None of his property or drug profits and money have been seized by state of federal officials and they claim no intent to do so.

A frequent theme in PLN is that there are two systems of justice in the United States and other capitalist countries: one for the poor and one for the rich. I, for one, think that this is a pretty obvious proposition and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Part of the system's charade though is in maintaining the fiction that "justice" is equal for everyone rather than admitting that people get as much justice as they can afford, or as one wit put it "we have the best justice system money can buy." Anyone who doubts this has only to read the mainstream media and note the disparities in how the rich are treated as opposed to how the poor are treated.

Bertolt Brecht asked "Which is the greater crime, to rob a bank or to own one?" The lesson of the savings and loan rip off where bank owners looted over 600 billion dollars from banks and financial institutions, is that you're not going to do anywhere near the prison time if you are caught looting a bank. Thousands of bank officials and directors, with the connivance of government regulators,accountants, etc., made the savings and loan debacle possible. To date only a few hundred have been charged with criminal violations. The average sentence of those who do go to prison is between 2 to 4 years in prison, and when I say "prison" I suspect these guys aren't going to Marion, Lompoc or the other penitentiaries.

Many of the S & L looters pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay substantial amounts of restitution in exchange for reduced prison sentences. A recent article by the Associated Press showed that, surprise, virtually none of the looters had paid a penny in restitution and in interviews claimed they wouldn't be able to due to financial problems. I contrast this with friends of mine who have up to 80 % of their meager prison wages of 38 cents an hour seized by the DOC as "restitution." Earning $50 a month isn't a "financial problem" to bar paying restitution, I suspect the S & L types are earning a bit more than this.

Any discussion of the criminal justice system (and that's exactly what is) has to start from the premise that without economic and social justice there will be no justice in the criminal area of law. These issues are inseparable, you can't have one without the other. As long as one class has the guns and money the other class is going to get the shaft and prison.

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