While we are on the topic of clemency recommendations, I thought I would throw my two cents into the pot regarding Alice Johnson. I am a retired narcotics investigator, who worked in San Antonio, Texas. Had she committed her crime in San Antonio, Texas and been charged in the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division the outcome would have been far different.
Here are some things I know about dope dealing that you probably don’t. Dope organizations are controlled by males. The whole atmosphere is chauvinistic. Women are in the organization to provide blow jobs, all women, all the time. They are also handy for renting cars, apartments, buying cell phones and conducting any business where the illegal business surfaces to touch the straight world. They are not decision makers, their input is not solicited. Characterization-Alice-Johnson’s-crimes-wrong-deserved-punishment.
Look at the counts of the indictment, “allowed her residence front yard to be used for drug delivery 11 times”, “met drug courier at her residence,” “accepted millions in cash from drug courier”, “rented apartment for drug use,”” discussed drug transactions with other members of the organization.”
There are some terms I find missing in her indictment, “leader organizer,” “manager,” “directed,” and “ordered”. The ideal drug organization is a closed system where the members of the organization don’t have to interact with outsiders. The problem with a closed system is that nothing ever gets sold. Even extreme vetting does not keep the occasional undercover officer or informant form gaining entry into the organization. When that happens chances are it will be at the point of sale or at the handover from transport to wholesale.
Alice Johnson was the public face of the leader-organizer. Chances are the leader organizer was a boyfriend, relative, or longtime associate. Alice was trustworthy enough to get the job done, but expendable enough should the police show up. Make no mistake Alice was a crook, she just wasn’t the crook she was made out to be. The problem with the Alice’s of the dope world is that they are loyal. I would be willing to bet she was one of the people engaged in the dope conspiracy that either refused to testify or agreed to testify late in the proceedings. By that time, it was too late, nobody wanted to hear what she had to say, it had already been said.
Had Alice done her crime in San Antonio, she would probably have been charged with keeping a dope house (11-12 counts,) conspiracy trafficking, and money laundering. With a reduction for accepting responsibility and cooperation, she would have been out in less than fifteen.