Tuesday, January 25, 2011

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Fired for Drug Legalization Views (Press Release)

Agent Sues to Defend First Amendment Rights

EL PASO, TX -- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents, is standing in support of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who was fired for saying in a casual conversation that legalizing and regulating drugs would help stop cartel violence along the southern border with Mexico.  After sharing his views with a colleague, the fired agent, Bryan Gonzalez, received a letter of termination stating that his comments are "contrary to the core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication, and espirit de corps."  Last week, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, Gonzalez filed a lawsuit seeking damages.

"There's no doubt that the so-called 'war on drugs' is a gigantic failure and that it causes violence, hurts our economy and forces dedicated law enforcers to risk their lives in the line of fire for a lost cause," said Terry Nelson, a former U.S. border patrol agent who is now a board member for LEAP. "But whether you think we should legalize drugs or not, you have to support the right of brave law enforcers like Bryan Gonzalez to exercise the First Amendment and share their views on policies that impact them on a daily basis."

Gonzalez, the fired agent, specifically mentioned LEAP and its website - http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com - as a part of the conversation that led to his being fired.

To read Gonzalez's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, visit: http://aclu-nm.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GONZALEZ_COMPLAINT_FILED.pdf

Previously, in a separate case, one of LEAP's pro-legalization police speakers, Jonathan Wender, sued the Mountlake Terrace, Washington police department after having been fired for expressing his views on the failure of the "war on drugs." In January 2009, the department settled, reinstating Wender and giving him back pay and full benefits.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

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CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or media//at//leap//dot//cc


  1. I support your cause. Thank you for your dedication to free speech and sensible drug policy.

  2. This action by Customs smacks of the McCarthy era when people were persecuted because they were believed to be "communists" (like Charlie Chaplin). This is a violation of free speech, but also tells us, once again, that the many of defenders of "drug-free morality" are irrational and dogmatic.

  3. as a former drug addict, i have seen the effects of people focused on acquiring something that is illegal.
    as a result, i believe that legalization and regulation may be a preferable course of action.

    as a former soldier, i took an oath "...to defend the constitution against all enemies both foreign AND domestic...".
    the action taken against this border patrol agent (and many others of similar circumstance) is a DIRECT violation of the first ammendment right that all service members agree to risk their lives to ensure for the sake of ALL americans.

    the ideals of democracy are alive and well, but the execution of these ideals has, at some point, gone completely off the rails and left us with the current dysfunctional system of government.

    our founding fathers are weeping blood at the sight of the manner in which their dream has been perverted.

  4. It obviously threatens the "market" for law enforcement for views like Gonzalez's to get about. If it were a religious matter (which it is, in very real ways), Gonzalez, as a Border Patrol officer, would be said to be "apostate."

  5. I have to agree with the above commenters.

    Hopefully we'll be hearing more of this before too long. But considering how opposite the THEM government is compared to our Founding Documents (ahem speedy trial), I guess it could take years and years and years.


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