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ISSUES 2017 02/19/17

Feb 16, 2017|

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett discusses illegal drugs, human trafficking, and police body cam evidence

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is it yours Tony 79 Steve Macintosh and against his Cedric county district attorney mark Bennett welcome. I took issue when he seventeen been awhile since we've talked perhaps yeah immigration is certainly a hot topic in the news but how does that immigration impact your office if at all that the district or. Not a lot immigration is something that's really handled federal level. We'll find out if somebody is is or is not a here legally. But ultimately doesn't have much effect on how we handle the case will process case through and if ice wants to deport them after the fact that I can proceed on that but if not. It's like again nations decided to veco fewer than originally quoted a news story concerning a growing problem with heroin into surgery can kind of surprised me. Just how big is this problem well compared to other parts of the country it's from a small. When you look at what's going on in the East Coast bless her early years however story yesterday the Louisville is now. And as her crisis. On on this issue and seems to be hitting. Heading west and so for instance in 2011 we had. For forensic science center where the coroner's office is located indicated they had four deaths confirmed attributed to heroin in 2011. And 2015 it was 21 deaths so it's still a small number compared to 550. Of our 40000 people who live in such accounting. But it is a market increase over the last 45 years and so it's it's a concern to us why is it the use an abuse of heroin increasingly it is hard to say a couple of couple suggestions have been made nationally at least one is. That the OBO which have become so prolific. Prescription medication more tabs and and for cassettes and things that. That people take for pain. I'm next time you go have a lower back pain doctors prescribe a fifty year hundred or taps or you know some like that to last year from what should last you for six months. But then people don't use them and their kids grandkids you know neighbor kid gets hold of it mr. Hughes and it. It's sold on the street and the people you know get addicted to it. The problem is it's usually prescription from a doctor to get it or give it from a pharmacy changes manufacture or tab in your basement. And so we need it that's no longer available at cheaper. Fix is is heroin and so it's certain to come back the other issue is that it's not apparently high quality and I don't know a lot about. The quality of Maryland but apparently talking to experts that tell me that the quality of this on the street now is not very good and so. With the with the people who who menu whom put it together and sell what do is they cut it for. Add to it. Now with the sudden typically things like ephedra well that is. You're chemist and you know how to dose out ephedrine that's one thing if you're just some drug dealer and you at a little extra. It's very easy to give me an amount that would cause an overdose and death because so much more powerful than. I think these folks realize there's even reported cases in the East Coast. I think it's called hyper ephedra and it's an elephant tranquilizers that's been added to this stuff take a little bit of that you're wrong. That's pretty dead so the moral lies we wanted to put out a news release. Let people know this this is going on sometimes sound the alarm and and epidemic level here but. We don't wanna get to that level they're facing some as he's gonna cities. Well they've grown up you know we heard about Caroline and it was a nasty sting was in. The only people who uses they had needles stuck him in their arms and they were in the back alleys in the darkest parts of the world. And it Bure and telling me that this is not necessarily the case today now the reason we had while the news car salesman. Didn't let timber or the doctor toxicologist sort of forensic science and in the most talkative person spoke was chief courtly. Properly done derby. He's the chief place in derby in his point was they've had in derby. And if it's happening in derby Kansas it's happening in the middle middle part of the country and that was the message not again epidemic levels but. He's had several of them and so it was concerning an afterthought it was worth getting the message out. The other thing we always heard is that it was it was imported came from Mexico or somewhere. Yeah I don't know where you know the plants it's something that's that has to be grown and then and to distilled down from the wrong word but that put together. And that's not grown around here takes a warmer climates it's coming from the south and I know there's talk that comes even from. SE well southeast Asia middle East Asia Afghanistan back Sampras like that I don't know that it's. Follow that the trailers all the way to which talk from Afghanistan. I was here we care are being brought up from Mexico so much what should we be telling our young people about this what you be careful about for four taken taking medication. If you know. Hi email like that you'd just take it from from sneak in and grandmas or tabs. Has consequence and you've got to get out of wholeness. And you know when it comes to heroin if you find yourself needing a fix so bad that you are willing to stick a needle in your arm inject drugs into your system. You've got a problem and you really do need to get get help and and if you find yourself. Thinking he might try to for the first time you've already got a problem if you are even considering it so it is that the point about that so troubling about heroin is. Which is stick you know if you wanna smoke some weird or drink something you can sort of monitor your suggestion rate. And the feeling you're getting after you spoke to few hits or you drink a few drinks. And you can control and stop when you feel the need it to level you want. Him there and maybe no good that comes from those things but at least it's something that the user can control when you stick a needle in your arm inject something it's in your system and you can't. Get rid of it until it processes through your body. And I NH lethal dose or even a dose that simply causes an overdose which. Is bad enough in itself there's going do about that unless he gets medical attention they can give some are cannon and and and that we view it. The effects and the thing that you're putting in here saying you don't even know what's in store who put it together even a word came from know that for right now a solid. Eight. We've been doing some stories. On the growing use of a drug called fentanyl. Can you talk about that you know in the about it and again just is still feel it yeah I was the same kind of thing here and and and it's. Again I could. I can only parent what I heard from the talks colleges. They talk about levels. Toxicity or levels. Purity. And sentinel thing that's concerning about things like that is that it gets it has hired. And they measured and in in smaller amounts smarmy I'll have the same effect as large amounts of of the kinds of drugs or. And so you say just a little bit of value added to other types of drugs to get to come up boost the high. It's very easy overdosed because it doesn't take much of that stuff generally have an effect and so again it's. You don't know what you guys don't or is coming from you don't know who added it certainly. Because it's an illegal drug it was a main and a pharmacy by some who knows with there with the idea. Is anybody tracking the number of overdoses locally you etc. yeah a word the difference excited senator tests Erskine attracts certainly deaths that come through it or. We're we're in the process of trying to pass a week long force me generals in the process of trying to link up with. Get better information coming in from and what it if I talked Johnson got to just turning last week about this. You get a group. Core name EMS and get according to hospitals to get me some to come an overdose state and they're being treated elsewhere. And lived along of course our callers liked the fact are are we uniformly tracking that. And that's something that we're working on now to try to make sure we do have a good handle on the real numbers that are that are being effective get a lot of different sources of information fair enough yes we don't get it to a corner here and accord that would. Efforts strokes to get a good a good picture of what's next is it being arrested on news or and we have people. You know the bigger concern is if you. By people who overdosed and they need to know our candidates as it was just such an anecdote. You know they still have evidence the drug on the emperor. In their possession I should say than you've got. Potential charges there. But yet we're you know law enforcement making concerted effort to get the stuff off streets. You know and I think justice is a quote opinion that to dissuade it. We're treating marijuana these days. Some states have legalized at some attitude no incentive for medicinal purposes. To talk about marijuana is that a big. Drug problem here in our communal on the it's. It's still an issue because it's illegal I mean the big problem with marijuana is. We need to uniform approach to this nationally if if it's legal in Colorado but lately going Kansas but it's illegal under the federal statutes everywhere. It's sort of haphazardly approach to it really strikes me that the feds can start with a massive Fresno is not referring to the FBI or the US attorneys around the country on there with congress. There's ever a robust and and and open discussion about this some people can come in and give their two cents on what we. You know what the policy the United States is with respect to customer on a bit. It's a very. It's difficult for Kansas distract from Toronto or Colorado at bottom line is if if budget mr. sessions the new attorney general. President trump decides. Becoming an issue needed to caller SE get ten days to cease and desist l.'s all these dispensaries or a community of our rosters and the woman. He started it because it is still illegal under the federal system. And that seems mean that that's my problem when that is we need a uniform approach to that. Had comfortably and conversation to where years ago with a person who used to work in your building is being judged the New Jersey attorney general's. And I don't know if you go to don't talk about Bob's death character that he suffered through cancer needy people and and he basically told me I think they out of legally some sort of medicinal use of this stuff does it helps people there's. And the economy and how not to be thought to be content playing in the weeds on this issue are granular level may as a better way to put. Because there's so when you wanna have some in this more than if DC gets involved and you've got to show also today I mean bottom line is. If it's a policy question more than a question for DA's and and the cops tell us what the laws are more foursome but. We've got did you know it's it's legal in one municipality it's illegal the next counting its legal in the state it's illegal in the next day. It makes for very disjointed. Approach for law enforcement Obama as opposed to marijuana right now in Kansas is coming from Colorado. Not coming from Mexico anymore so. That's the situation but we still have this totally legal. My big concern with that is it is still an illegal enterprise and so winning check exchanges hands and exchanged hands rather when many changes transfer from marijuana. Just to the risk of miles people still come to drip don't deals and they Robbie each other people shop all the time and and just. Bad dope deals. And that's where my real concern lies more than than somebody wants to smoke a joint you know so. You're listening to issues Tony seventeen on the Entercom radio stations and I guess is. Cedric county district attorney mark Bennett that human trafficking. Has been making headlines as well. Can do anything you do it you can tell us about that coming from your office and then what you're doing to ensure the well this thing on mentioned personals attorney general is his. And I would say he's certain mr. Schmidt and general Schmidt. Makes from a concerted effort every few years go back and and tweaked stat sheet and see what needs to be. Addressed to us to address this are real time issues we're facing and in the prosecution of these cases in enforcing these laws. So again this year he's proposed bill with a with a few minor again fairly granular level. Tweaks or Ingraham just fine it's conferees. Explain it to the senate committee I believe it's from the senate judiciary. And and talk about some of these things we're still continuing to prosecute these cases investigate these cases I think there's there were. Or lessons that passed that law in 06 over the last eleven years we have reached a few. Crossroads in two or three different times about how we approach is the first one was that we approach him at all. Which was a you know and a change and then later the late in all of 200920102011. There was an effort made to recognize that people who Rory practicing and Hirsch brother who are caught up in this I should say. Are really victims Obama talk with a hamstrung government primarily the girls who are the ones being sold and to treat them as such and so the statement. Real shift in terms of the word prostitution for instance at this point does not exist in Kansas law. It's been removed its sale of human abstinence sale sexual relations as the name of the crime now. And maybe it's a little bit of a minor point but it that that it was an effort made to. Change the perception in the way we view these these girls and women. There's also much more of an effort put into law two to offer them services rather than treat them as suspects of crime. What's always you know worked worked fairly well. The the problem remains with the younger girls when they're picked up what to do with them literally what to do with him in the moment. Where it takes them for the longest time we had that we. State gave us three beds for the entire state to Kansas now luckily for us at Wichita. Children Selma we had three that we can put these girls and was no walk in the door because they haven't committed but I treat him as you know like a book it was criminals it. Restricts them is liberty locking him in a room with him now been charged with a crime and so they're free to come and go and so it. Commission very difficult for any therapy they need help. They're running what they run from in the first place what terrible switch where where they and a home because of their under the streets in the first place before they became victims of human trafficking. And I would say there's not there's a a uniformity of opinion in terms of we need to do more for these girls there's not a uniform and in terms of how to make it happen. The court system has is limited all what is this position alternatives are with the judges can actually do. And the states some of our reach resource right at the moment and so that's kind of the new. Flash point I would say for for this issue we don't disagree as much as we just. What are all the same page about how to make it happen and turned off and help that the easy especially the younger younger girls those girls get involved. You know it's everyone's got an order of stroke dumpster divers are certain commonalities most of it is they run they run from something they've got abusive home situation a chaotic home situation they. They leave that go to the streets and from there they're picked up and and typically buys them and then. Start nearly sold and this in this. You know the first commercial day and they they begin that process. Interrupt you for just certain that you thought something here in the when I think most people have this impression of criminals cities. Rough hewn from people who you are backward and went in the intervals these people a lot of them. Our fairy charming people are de Chile that debt yeah this to the pimps are dealt with or are fairly. Charming maybe a bit strange bit we'll personable person yes there ago I mean they come as some yet they don't come and you know I. Have heard of anecdotes nationally over some program Berger Austria again and you know from literally by force and threatened her kidnapping. The most admits it's a death of a thousand cats it's hey how you do on its. And you know a day later two days later she finds herself in a situation ever dream should be. If she is seen in common you know the guy cameraman said when he was about and certainly she never would have done so. No you're right it and the same can be said for most most criminals that there's a certain polish there's a certain. Way that they you know bring it to their victims in and involved I mean scam artists when we talk with this all the time with the elderly with. I just gave a speech yesterday to an older group citizens and and you know how often people get scammed by some guy comes the door and when he's you know he's there to trim your trees and next thing you know you're an interest 15100 bucks for working every day itself. And these if that happens I hate to what's the latest on consumer fraud. We're. Working on consumer fraud we've got. If you see here I think at some statistics from last year. Yeah we're close we've they went through 217 cases were four processor in the office last year. We see here recovered about 271000. Dollars for consumers. The court collected another 131000. And so. You know just were four guys case all the time you notice probably in the in the press releases that there were served several consent decrees that we're shooting in certain companies one was. Several men to do with work not done there was some. There was a guy was advertising cars on on Craig's list and saying essentially holding them out as if you were there his personal car that's what's so mind my old clunker I've driven it's still runs well. You know six grants when Mike Allen Craig's list. What he didn't tell people is that he was he sold 200 Carson creek sister of the last three years and he's not just some guys on personal ride he's. The dealer army goes there and he goes to the to the car sales and advise him and fix them supplement salesman. And you know if people know what it what he is always do and that's one thing if he's misleading them that says violation of this advertising rules related consumer protection. Now we investigated and found that he violated and he admitted it and was consent decree was issued made it made public so that. He have to the correct his ways and that and examples things things like that and what we're doing fairly aggressive. You know we talked to a banquet Wendell Wichita police officers got a body cameras you concerned that possible mountain of video evidence. Might have to be process and who's gonna do it and remember I think even went on commissions and warm there could be a problem. Has that problem and interior lines our area. Yeah we've we've. From previous the other day it was a lot of these people look at me and they see the video and justly. But there on Thursday. Two different issues to be an issue so I think from the law enforcement perspective when someone calls and says I'm I'm angry about the way it was handled. Right treated bylaw enforcement on the street usury to me he was you know on professional. So would bring him down shown the video of the actual encounter and then the person as far as I know. Everyone thus far has said okay. Looking at from their perspective ride and don't complain anymore I think that's what probably offers preferring to. In terms of cases to bring or Summers might emails not working side the number I was hopeful that it is in the built him a bit. Were already six weeks into just this year alone into the thousands. Video clips sentence several thousand troops already. And so you know if we filed 3600 cases on average criminal cases. In the course of the year nearly everyone of those Namibia few offender registration and guy you know. Like a guy who walks away from work release or something those kind of terms of them being a lot of camps but. For your average situation where some calls law enforcement law enforcement response. There's going to be officer there with which focused firm with a lot of camera. In some of smaller jurisdictions and such a canister where money cameras and so it has actually been a ton of information coming in now. We were diligently over the last year to manage that. Luckily the police department's contract. Providers. Vendor they choose. Offers a online platform. Cloud based this I hate that term but it's. Makes it seems so lose but yeah but it is a secured platform that allows us to access and information or working on that with. Police department and then the final loop is the final step it make sure it's available accessible by the defense bar. Because of the ones who showed declines so yeah it's been but a lot of work and there's more incumbent were were management and the commission his you know give me some extra resources trying to. Handle this. You know influx of huge amount of information but the point I'd make is you know. Surveillance cameras are just ubiquitous are everywhere you know every times more picture appear on camera. Others. Old town on the city's ups but pull cameras and all ten there you know everything and all that's great but every bit of that if it's part of a case I have to have access to that make it accessible to the defense so. A management more than then than anything else just managing them those a little bit about to dealing with computer related crime and you do it. Well you start off with an expert has say you don't ask me you're gonna go seminoles allied computer works or better than I do. We actually very lucky and says McKenna we have an I can think it's cold in the next Internet crimes against children. That's their main focus but they also work on any kind of computer related crime. Law for sponsorship and all sorts of specific training. And so they were from these cases so and we also have the ability issuing positions during the the invest your case as an investigative stage I signed those you know every day. MS but this plaza is allows us to issue subpoenas to defenders to the Verizon's. He'll Packard's you know whoever may be and asked him for information. Related to the and the crime or were investigating. And you know a lot of expertise required. To make those cases. I'd drill computers are everywhere and you if you better figure revealed it is now. So hell it's a job mean you've been at for a while. Obviously. You don't look like you're looking any or you don't president's going to look young and and usually think about that it's like they're old that's right and like you are doing pretty good. I'm doing all right you know I I knew what I was in for when I must sign on worked and this is my twentieth year in the office. Fifty years district attorney's side fifteen years in house before it took over night you know I wasn't surprised by. The nature of the work I would say that administrators and issues your car. Take a lot more my time and Chara had a before when I was just a trial attorney and you know folks to my cases. As such you know so many more things two so no more plates to spin and the course of today. But I enjoy the work in and to make a difference and trying to make up front as official response helps to have a good crew. Absolutely it's write yourself good people and and give our way. Individuals. Stay with the for a while little back into private practice illegal lot of money here. A goal of mine Parcells did that I you know I like what I'm doing we'll see I haven't. You know made in my mind that I'll do this for X number of years specific member of just. Each each turmoil take a look at NCC whereas here if did a good enough job. And Sandra work. He never you'll regret regrets about no regrets that to do you think you're going in the right direction. Got a good crew got to give her and you're going to be around for a marvelous week thank you for sharing some information with us this morning about the human trafficking is a lot about drugs this morning. And a lot of information that I did know about and that's what we do that shows that we can have people like you on that in lightness and and brings up this afternoon from the issues that answer very good thank you our guest for this edition of issues Tony seventeenth century county district attorney. Mark that we will be back next week. Thank you for listening I'm Steve back in so much.