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Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Smiling Faces - The Undisputed Truth

Friday, September 28, 2012

Drug War Failure: The Case of James Martin Malone

While researching in PACER last night I decided to download numerous documents in the James Martin Malone case. Malone was a fugitive for 22 years and lived in Ecuador until his arrest earlier this year. He originally went to trial in the case, but fled before the trial was over and the jury acquitted him on one count and convicted him on the other. On 26 September 2012, he was sentenced to 262 months (almost 22 years) in federal prison.

Here is a man that lived a productive and peaceful life in Ecuador for almost 22 years while a fugitive only to be brought back to the US at great expense to be incarcerated for the next 20+ years at an even greater expense. I am curious how much money was spent to arrest and extradite Malone to the US. There should be an accounting of expenditures for all of those involved. If you read Drug War Profiteers not the usual suspects, then you'll have an idea where all of the money ended-up.

James Martin Malone had a relatively minor role in a case sensationalized to support a government agenda. In short, he was a part of a set-up by a DEA confidential informant (CI). To understand his actual part, refer to pages 5-6 in this document:


If you have read the relevant two pages, you're now aware that Malone did not actually import the cocaine and had no part in the importation. His co-defendant in the case and the CI were the importers and Malone just picked-up his co-defendant at the marina, some of the cocaine was loaded into his trunk, and then they drove to the co-defendant's home. He was arrested the following day. Basically, Malone was just a driver that transported the co-defendant and his drugs to a residence.

Somehow the government managed to justify charging Malone with conspiracy to import cocaine. If actually importing the cocaine there is a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence. The statute reads 20 to life for the particular count of importing cocaine, but Malone was acquitted in trial on that. The jury verdict never attributed a specific amount of cocaine to Malone and that alone should eliminate the 20 year sentence. It is possible that the sentence will be overturned on appeal, but if it is not, it's probable that Malone will die in a US prison.

I have seen far too many of these mandatory minimum drug conspiracy cases to remain silent and have been a supporter of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) since its inception in the early 1990s. Often it is the low-level participant that ends-up with the most serious sentence. Participants at higher levels usually have enough information and assistance to exchange for much better deals.

In this case, there is little doubt that the CI was caught-up in his own serious charges and turned informant, setting-up an unknown number of people for the agents. There is no CI named in any of the documents and never will be; however, the entire scenario fits a CI that I used to know. All of the elements are there: the year of 1989; Moore's Island in the Bahamas; transported to a Miami marina.

The CI that I used to know (long story) was working for the DEA in Miami and setting-up people to import cocaine from Moore's Island area in the Bahamas to Miami via cigarette boats. Remember those? He had been busted in the Bahamas in a messy case involving a freighter commissioned by a group of Colombians and faced a life sentence when he began working with the DEA. Of course he took everyone down with him, and a couple are serving life sentences. In the end and as a result of his substantial assistance, he served just under 10 years in a US prison under an alias.

So anyway, here is James Martin Malone living a peaceful life in Montanita, Ecuador with his wife and now adult child when he was arrested. There are numerous letters in support for Malone in the case file and he was a family man, entrepreneurial business owner, contractor, and often helped the indigenous people in the area. The man was a peaceful surfer. Now he is remanded into custody to live the rest of his life in a US prison, unless the sentence is overturned on appeal, but even then there's little doubt that he would face at least 10 years.

This case elicits various emotions including sadness and anger. Malone is far from alone. The US War on Drugs has, undoubtedly, sucked more lives down the proverbial drain than there are deaths as a result of using those drugs. The so-called cure is far worse than the problem.

Updated on 9 November 2012 @3am:  Mr. Malone (Martin) has contacted me. He has a blog set-up by his family with his contact information for friends that wish to contact him: James Martin Malone

Martin is currently in a federal facility in downtown Miami, but expects to be transferred in the next week or two to a Central Florida facility. If you want to contact him via snail mail, it is best to wait until the transfer is complete. I will update this post and I'm sure the information will be posted on Martin's blog as well.