John Baeza | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About John Baeza

John Baeza

"The premise for the 'War on Drugs' violates the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution"

John Baeza
To put it mildly, JOHN BAEZA has been around the block. In 1984 he began his 24-year career as a corrections officer at Sing Sing, and before retiring as a deputy sheriff in Florida he had seen duty as a regular beat cop and as a narcotics detective (including working undercover) in NYC - and so he has fought in the "War on Drugs" at just about every law-enforcement level. All of this was because, as he puts it, "I wanted to help people."

But the day came when he no longer felt that being a soldier for prohibition had anything to do with helping people. After an undercover assignment gone wrong, from which John had barely escaped with his life, the first thing his department chief wanted to know was whether the drug-buy money stolen from John at gunpoint had been recovered. "After this encounter, I never made another buy," John relates. "An epiphany, a life change - who knows? All I know is that this near-death incident changed everything about me. I no longer believed in the 'drug war.' I no longer felt the police should criminalize an individual for self-medicating himself while not infringing on the rights of others. I was a changed man." He immediately transferred out of narcotics, never to return.

Today John wants to share his experiences and insight, hoping to educate as many people as possible to the failure and harms of prohibition. "We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on this 'war,' and the desire for drugs does not decrease," he notes. "When we continually throw money at a program, and then that program continues to fail miserably every year, we are obviously doing something wrong. We are fighting a war that ends up criminalizing individuals who do no harm to others. These so called 'drug criminals' take up much-needed jail space that could be used for violent offenders such as murderers, rapists, and child abusers-and often these 'drug criminals' receive harsher sentences than the violent offenders."

West Central Florida

Retired Detective, NYPD

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