Agent: Marijuana RICO Case “Possible” But “Unprecedented”

Jeff Sessions RICO-min
HUGH HEWITT: Will you be bringing such a [RICO] case? JEFF SESSIONS: We will... enforce federal law.

On today’s episode of The Russ Belville ShowFormer Special Agent David Long of the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General responded to suggestions by talk show host Hugh Hewitt that the Department of Justice could put an end to legalized marijuana through the use of RICO prosecutions, calling such a move “unprecedented,” but admitting that it would be “possible.”

Long, a speaker for the reform group Law Enforcement Action Partnership, served for nearly nine years as a Department of Labor special agent with the Inspector General’s Division of Labor Racketeering, working union corruption and related organized crime cases in Florida. Later, he was transferred to Los Angeles where he began investigating identity theft cases tied to the Mexican Mafia. He also sat on a joint task force investigating Asian organized crime and human trafficking..

“The suggestion that going after actors in states that have legalized marijuana,” Long said, “that would be an unprecedented use of the RICO statutes – an unintended use of the RICO statutes, I may add, as well.”

Long notes that Sessions is “quite opposed… to both medicinal and recreational marijuana.” He added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Sessions prosecuted state-legal marijuana, but he “might be surprised” if Sessions “used RICO to do it.”

The former RICO investigator wouldn’t put it past the Attorney General, though. “It’s possible, I guess, but it would certainly be unprecedented. But, we are living in times that are very unprecedented. Nothing is impossible.”

But would the Attorney General really be up for such a battle, given everything else on his plate? Long believes two factors argue against it; that the states would fight back and the feds don’t have the resources.

“In a state like California, where I am,” Long proposed, “the response of the state would be quite vigorous.”

Long argued that if they did attack state legalization, they’d “probably have to pick a case for deterrence, because the federal government really doesn’t have the resources to run around engaging in major RICO prosecutions in states that have legalized marijuana.”

Law Enforcement Action Partnership is a nonprofit organization composed of police, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals who use their expertise to advance drug policy and criminal justice reforms that improve public safety. With 150 speakers across the United States, LEAP representatives reach millions of Americans each year through educational programs and media interviews.

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Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.