The money fueling the opioid epidemic is staggering.
All it’s essential do is flip via court docket paperwork tied to Vincent “Fatz” Caruso, 27, and his fentanyl soiled dealings north of Boston. He had cash stuffed in all places and bragged about it on social media. He was sentenced to 20-plus years this previous week.
We’re in a warfare and Massachusetts is dropping due to pushers like Fatz!
Opioid-related overdose deaths within the Bay State spiked to an all-time excessive final yr. More on that later as a result of it begs the query: Why is the state Senate taking the sting out of the civil asset forfeiture regulation?
The regulation permits district attorneys and police to grab private property tied to the drug commerce. That contains wads of money police can use for undercover buys. You’ve bought to combat hearth with hearth and with out that cash, brave regulation enforcers gained’t have a key lure.
DAs and police additionally use all they seize on a lot good — together with funding for facilities to assist sexually abused children.
Yet Senators, in a 31-9 vote, voted this week to make it harder for DAs and police to get their fingers on any private property from convicted drug sellers. The House ought to bury this invoice as far down a gap as they’ll dig.
This concept is one other instance of the state Legislature going delicate on criminals.
The invoice would additionally prohibit forfeiture by the legal professional common or a district legal professional of something value greater than $250, present a proper to counsel for sure folks at hearings on petitions to order forfeiture, and would prohibit regulation enforcement businesses from the “official use” of forfeited gadgets, State House News reported.
Giving drug sellers entry to an legal professional “is an insult to taxpayers,” mentioned Carrie Kimball, director of communications on the Essex District Attorney’s Office.
DA Jonathan Blodgett’s district contains Salem — the place “Fatz” and his mother dealt fentanyl.
Kimball advised the Herald: “Make no mistake, the vast majority of the individuals whose assets are seized and found to be connected to criminal activity are drug dealers. They do not file legitimate tax returns or honestly report their income from their ill-gotten gains. To add insult to injury, this commonwealth does not provide a public attorney to an indigent victim of domestic violence seeking a restraining order — also a civil procedure.”
So our state Senate cares extra about drug pushers than home violence victims?
Someone must get the senators to learn state well being studies. We do.
There have been 2,290 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in 2021, the state Department of Public Health reported June 8. That is a document excessive for one yr in Massachusetts, shattering the earlier peak of two,110 deaths in 2016.
The fee of opioid-related overdose deaths jumped 8.8% final yr — with an estimated 185 extra deaths in 2021 than in 2020.
Fentanyl is the bullet that’s killing these customers. That’s in line with state well being officers. They add fentanyl was current at a fee of 93% when a toxicology report was obtainable on somebody who OD’d.
What are we lacking?
The state Senate is making an attempt as exhausting as they’ll to offer the enemy a bonus. This is not any approach to win a warfare. Just ask “Fatz.”
“Caruso and his associates orchestrated numerous shootings and armed robberies … and then took to social media to brag,” the feds mentioned.
The state Senate must get again to the enterprise of working for the individuals who obey the legal guidelines.