Drug reform may go the way of the bong thanks to President Bush’s choice of Karen Tandy as the new chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The 49-year-old Texan has spent most of her career prosecuting drug cases. Her repertoire includes busting mail-order bong sellers, including comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame, in Operation Pipe Dreams, and those in the throes of California and Oregon’s state-approved medical-marijuana programs.
That’s not all. The Nation uncovered numerous instances of excessiveness while Tandy worked as a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, including a case in which she and two federal agents were prohibited from participating in the investigation of major marijuana traffickers Christopher and Robert Reckmeyer in the Eastern District of Virginia in 1984 because they read documents the court ruled were protected by attorney-client privilege. In the same case, a year later, the Washington Post reported that Tandy withheld 60,000 pages of documents until three days before the trial began.
The Nation also reported that Tandy, while negotiating a plea agreement in 1982 in Virginia with first-time offender Michael Harvey, altered the wording without the consent of Harvey, his attorney or the court, which set him up for another conviction in a South Carolina federal court. In 1987, Tandy failed to hand over exculpatory evidence in the cocaine-distribution case of Alfredo Arroyo, which resulted in an acquittal after the jury concluded he had been entrapped.
Last month, Tandy sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Next is the full Senate.