Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Charlie Brown used to run a fortified crack house in South Providence. Surveillance cameras kept an eye out for cops and a steel-reinforced door was built to keep them out. Brown had been dealing drugs for at least nine years. He had two previous drug convictions dating back to his twenties. His drug money was used to buy real estate, renovating and renting out the houses that he wasn’t using to sell drugs.
Despite all that, Brown’s lawyers tried to suggest that he lacked the “mental capacity” to understand his criminal case and suffered from lead poisoning. Mental capacity, often blamed on lead poisoning, is to modern criminal defense attorneys what phony claims of insanity used to be decades earlier.
But it didn’t work. Brown stayed in jail. Until Obama commuted his sentence.
Providence police Lt. Thomas Verdi had said, “These three defendants are notorious in Providence. This sends a message -- that these individuals who are dealing drugs and involved in violent crimes will be apprehended and face serious, serious prison sentences -- not locally, but in the federal system.”
He would have had better luck locally because Brown will be out next year. And he’ll be far from alone.
Artrez Nyroby Seymour was part of The Organization, a group of crack dealers in Chicago Heights that modeled their operation after the movie New Jack City. The Organization operated outside an elementary school whose children were never allowed out to play out of fear of its drug dealers.
Leonard Mason was part of a drug trafficking network across multiple states which “used violence and intimidation to advance its cocaine business”. It sold drugs outside a school playground, three shootings were linked to the network and local residents described hearing gunshots and being afraid to take their children out to play.
"It makes a difference that they are off the street," Rose Jones, a local resident, commented.
But not for long. That was in 2008. Operation Bankshot was a 2 year investigation. Mason was recorded on the phone discussing drug deals and setting a price of $22,000 for a kilogram of cocaine. Mason was caught with three kilograms of cocaine. In 2011, he was finally sentenced to 20 years in prison.
But Obama has decided to let him go in 2016.
Gerardo Rivera was busted smuggling $1.7 million worth of meth from Mexico by the border patrol. Despite being so obsessed with meth that he made it impossible to buy cough syrup without an ID, Obama decided to cut Rivera’s sentence in half. While law-abiding citizens can’t treat their cold without documentation, the man behind it all treats smuggling millions in meth like a minor offense.
Other beneficiaries of Obama’s pro-crime commutation policies include Steven Bernard Boyd, an associate of one of Augusta’s major drug suppliers, Timothy "Tim Tim" Augustus, busted in the breakup of a Hampton cocaine ring, Donald Brooks, who was arrested when a drug ring operating across Georgia and Alabama was shut down, and Corey Howard, an associate of notorious Indianapolis cocaine kingpin Prentice Greer. George Jones was part of a large cocaine distribution network in Raleigh moving two to three kilograms of crack every month. The organization’s drug dealers were armed. Kenneth W. Kemp was the co-leader of a conspiracy to move 15 kilograms of cocaine a week around Norfolk.
Wade Cutchen had been part of a major drug ring operating for over a decade out of Newport News that had sold millions in heroin and cocaine a year and even lined up customers outside a methadone clinic.
These arrests were part of major busts of local drug trafficking operations in these towns and cities.
While Obama describes the criminals he is freeing as mere “drug offenders”, they were members of dangerous and destructive drug rings.
Vernon Copeland was a major Atlanta drug figure who helped move cocaine and laundered the money through his night clubs. The DEA spent a year and a half investigating the drug ring. When they busted him, they found four guns and six figures worth of cocaine. The drug ring was charged with moving hundreds of kilograms and millions of dollars worth of drugs.
Copeland is a far cry from the image of the small-time drug offender used to champion the pro-crime agenda known euphemistically as “sentencing reform”. But he’s the ugly truth behind all the lies about “innocent youth” who are so deprived that they have “no choice” but to sell drugs.
Roy Geer was part of a plot to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into the United States. Prior to that Geer had been indicted for working with a major drug ring moving tons of marijuana into the country from Colombia.
Obama cut his sentence nearly in half.
Even the “small time dealers” whom Obama stepped in to help like Jamal Hanson were moving tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs. But most of them were not small time dealers. They were more likely, like Maurice Matthews, mid-level drug dealers who used small time dealers as distributors.
Obama is a vehement opponent of gun ownership by law-abiding citizens. But he’s generous to drug dealers and couriers who were found with guns in an industry where they are only used for one thing.
Efrem Rahoman Douglas was arrested with thousands of dollars of crack cocaine. Aside from the other drugs in the vehicle, police found a gun. Dwayne Berman Cooper was arrested with a gun in the glove apartment of his rental car. Fatty Watty aka Marion Clarence Cooper had multiple prior drug arrests before he was caught with large amounts of crack cocaine. Police found large amounts of cocaine and guns when they searched the home of Twaine Jones. Kenneth Kemp purchased thirteen firearms.
Obama claims that he cares about the plight of black neighborhoods. Thomas Farmer was turned in by neighborhood locals who were tired of the crack dealing in their neighborhood.
Obama however thinks their neighborhood needs its crack dealer back.
These are only some of the 58 drug dealers and smugglers whose sentences were commuted by Obama.
In defending his pro-criminal policy, Obama wrote that, “It just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison... An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.”
Does freeing members of major drug rings make us safer? Are armed drug dealers somehow non-violent? And is involvement in major drug operations now a mere non-violent drug offender?
Falling crime rates show beyond a shadow of a doubt that locking up criminals works.
Sentencing reform was sold by claiming that “kids” who had merely once smoked pot were being sentenced to twenty years in jail. The reality behind the propaganda is that the men serving those sentences for drug charges are serious drug dealers and smugglers. And they are the ones being let go.
Among the various drug dealers and smugglers favored by Obama was Abbas Kareem. Kareem was sentenced in 2008, the same year that the cocaine user currently sitting in the White House won his first election. But Kareem also had a long string of arrests in Florida beginning in September 2001.
Kareem had been in and out of prison until finally he was sentenced to twenty years in prison for cocaine distribution. But Obama decided to commute his sentence after only ten years.
On Kareem’s arm was a tattoo reading, “Only God Can Judge Me.” But Obama appears to think that he is a god.