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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-05 10:23 AM
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by Michael Ieikoff


White House speech-writers thought it was the perfect visual for President Bush's first prime-time address to the nation--a dramatic prop that would show how the drug trade had spread to the president's own neighborhood. "This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House .... It could easily have been heroin or PCP."

But obtaining the crack was no easy feat. To match the words crafted by the speechwriters. Drug Enforcement Administration agents lured a suspected District drug dealer to Lafayette Park four days before the speech so they could make what appears to have been the agency's first undercover crack buy in a park better known for its location across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House than for illegal drug activity, according to officials familiar with the case.

In fact, when first contacted by an undercover DEA agent posing as a drug buyer, the teenage suspect seemed baffled by the agent's reguest.

'Where the (expletive) is the White House?" he replied in a conversation that was secretly tape-recorded by the DEA.


DEA had planned to make an arrest this week, but the attempt fell through when the suspect failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with a DEA undercover agent. Another attempt will be made next week when a federal grand jury is expected to return indictments against him and possibly some of his confederates, said DEA spokesman Mario Perez.

Kevin Zeese, a defense lawyer who specializes in drug cases, said DEA's efforts to maneuvcr the suspect to the area around the White House may enable his lawyer to argue that he was a victim of "outrageous government conduct." This would not help his defense against the three earlier crack sales, Zeese said. Nevertheless, "I think it's disgusting," he said. "The situation is not bad enough that they have to create a false situation! It's the government creating a hoax so they can rev up the war effort."

Officials said that communications director David Demarest, who oversees the speech-writers, then asked Cabinet affairs secretary David Bates to contact the Justice Department about getting the drugs. Instructions to Justice were to find some crack that fit the description in the speech, not to go out and arrest someone just lor the speech, aides said.


"Any possibility of you moving it down to the White House?" Millford asked, according to McMullan. "Evidently, the president wants to show it could be bought anywhere." Millford did not return phone calls from a reporter. Frank Shults, chief public affairs spokesman at DEA headquarters, confirmed that Millford called McMullan and asked if there were any active cases near the White House. "The location of undercover buys are highly negotiable between the buyer and the seller," he said. "That vicinity was as logical as any other location."

At that point, the undercover DEA agent called the suspect and attempted to set up a meeting to buy crack in Lafayette Park. But making arrangements proved difficult. At first, the suspect seemed not to know what or where the White House was, McMullan said. When finally told it was the residence of the president, he replied. "0h, you mean where Reagan lives." The meeting came off as planned. At about 11:30 a.m. on Sept 1, the undercover agent met the suspect and purchased three ounces of crack from him for about $2,400 according to the DEA. Another DEA agent who was hiding nearby took color photographs of the transaction, McMullan said.

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