Operation Meth Merchant in California?

September 6, 2006

Now, this operation seems to be targeting South Asian drug store owners in the Central Valley. Check out this report from back in June:

Six Store Employees Arrested in San Joaquin Meth Drug Sweep

Joaquin County officials are cracking down on stores and store employees selling illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in methampthetemine.

Federal indictments issued Friday resulted in the arrests of six people -- workers at two liquor stores in Manteca and Stockton where authorities said customers were able to buy excessive quantities of cold medications to extract the psuedoephedrine for use in meth manufacturing.

The indictments charged Manteca residents Anjinder Singh, 36; Jaswant Kaur, 53; Sucha Singh, 52; and Gurminder Singh, 24 with selling unlawful amounts of the cold medications at Manteca Liquor at 2189 E. Yosemite Avenue in Manteca. Also arrested were Paul Pannu, 38, and Navneet Judge, 31, in connection with sales at a Stockton Quik Stop as well as Delta Liquors, 519 W. Charter Way in Stockton.

"In one store, we bought 72 boxes," assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Grad said. "We went back and bought 12 boxes, then half an hour later, 11 more boxes. We had phone negotiations where they said they could get us what we wanted."

This case was a joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force.

Grad said clerks in nine other Stockton area stores were also accused of selling illegal amounts of the drug. Those suspects will be handled through civil proceedings because the amounts of pseudoephedrine sold were much smaller.

If convicted, the maximum penalty under federal law for each offense is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Odds are that some of the same targeting practices that the Feds used in Georgia are happening here. Stay tuned for more news on this developing case.




This case needs a superstar like Vanita Gupta, 32, who overturned 35 wrongful convictions in Tulia, Texas by proving the arrests were based on racial profiling.
The fact of the matter is that these people were doing something wrong - they were selling excess quantities of pseudoephedrine.Why do you look for a racial motive, first, rather than noting the bayesian prior probabilities? Given that a person is a convenience store owner in the bay area, the probability that a person is a south asian is higher than almost any individual other race. (To quantify P(South Asian | convenience store owner) > P( | convenience store owner), etc. I'm going off personal observation here (as a South Asian), but I'm sure there are ownership statistics to back me up here.
I thought the basis for the American economy was to sell as much as possible of whatever makes a profit without concern for who's buying it or what adverse effects it may have on that person, the people who they may resell it to later, or social fabric in general.Why don't they apply these laws to cars? "I'm sorry, you can't buy a new car until you've driven the one you have into the ground, especially considering that the 15 year old vehicle you own still gets more mpg and has a smaller physical and ecological footprint than this year's model which you're looking at."