When a government continues an antiquated, failed war on substances – despite overwhelming evidence that the opposite should happen – even their own ilk are subject to illegal black-market activity and the like. Sometimes the illegal activity is relatively harmless; other times, it can be downright deadly. Recently, the latter was the case for a 31-year-old Texas man.
A jury in Brownsville, Texas acquitted former Border Patrol agent Joel Luna of murder charges. However, the jury found Luna guilty of aiding an organized crime ring. Luna had been involved in a drug-related case since 2015 in which a man was decapitated. Prosecutors contend that Luna used his position as a Border Patrolman to help a Mexican cartel move illegal weapons and ammunition south of the border and drugs to the north, into Texas and perhaps other states. A Cameron County jury found Luna guilty of two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Even though Luna was acquitted of the most serious charge of murder, he still faces 20 years in prison. The Brownsville Herald reports prosecutors and Luna’s attorneys agreed on a 20-year sentence in exchange for no appeals. Joel’s brother, 26-year-old Eduardo Luna, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of capital murder and engaging in organized criminal activity.
This is yet another example of the endless hypocrisy of the drug war on display. How many otherwise law-abiding citizens did Luna arrest for simple drug possession during his career as a Border Patrolman? It would be interesting to find that exact number out. If I had to guess, it’s more than the years he’s spending in prison.
Ending the war on drugs certainly would not get rid of crime syndicates and drug cartels entirely. But any time there is a prohibition against a relatively harmless service or substance, a black market will emerge that offers that service or substance. When you reduce the incentives for criminal gangs and drug cartels to smuggle products, you vastly reduce the violence, theft and other crimes that come with that territory. States like Colorado are a great example of this. Their legal cannabis model is not perfect, but it seems to have at least helped to decrease gang activity overall.
We like to hear what our readers have to say. What should have happened to Luna? Was the 20-year prison sentence he got long enough, or should he be doing more time? Let us know in the comments below.