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Behold, Ouroboros!

On July 20, 2011, in Drug War, states, by John Payne

Ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail. It is meant to represent cyclicality or something that is self-perpetuating.

Asset forfeiture is the Ouroboros of the drug war. Drug prohibition makes drug dealing incredibly lucrative, and the police seize assets that they can use to continue enforcing the very laws that keep the profit margins in drug sales extraordinarily fat. Everybody wins…except for anyone who is neither a drug dealer or a cop.

No recent story illustrates the cyclical nature of the forfeiture racket more than this one from Texas:

Tactical equipment originally headed to Mexico to outfit members of drug trafficking organizations will now be used in the United States to fight crime.

Members of the San Juan Police Department received a new pair of tactical boots Thursday made by Original SWAT, a leading boot maker in the law enforcement industry. Each of the boots has a retail price of approximately $100. Members of the San Juan Police SWAT Team also received several Level 3-A ballistic helmets.

All of the items the police officers received were from asset forfeitures, San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Officers received 50 Original SWAT boots, and the 60 helmets were distributed between the police departments of San Juan, Edinburg, Weslaco and the Sheriff’s Department of Jim Wells County…

The items had been seized Jan. 16 during a traffic stop in the 2700 block of Fern St. in which San Juan Police, working with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, pulled over a pewter-colored vehicle that contained the helmets and boots. Soon after, San Juan, ICE and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched a house in the area. Inside authorities found more helmets, 659 round of ammunition and 26 high-capacity magazines.

The ammunition and the tactical gear were headed to Mexico to be used by drug-trafficking organizations who keep a close eye on the equipment used by law enforcement and try to get the same equipment and use similar tactics, the chief said.

It should come as no surprise that the drug cartels study the equipment and tactics used by the police. After all, they are flip sides of the same coin in the drug war, and they feed off each other just like a snake swallowing its own tail.

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