Senator Grassley of Ohio, yesterday, took to the Senate floor to strongly opposed S. 1410, Smarter Sentencing Act, whose chief sponsor is Richard Durbin of Illinois, the bill was written to focus limited Federal resources on the most serious offenders. Sen. Grassley noted, as he did in the past, that the bill would reduce penalties for importing and distributing heroin, a drug that is epidemic throughout the United States and has seen an increase in death from overdoses. He stated this is why many high-level officials in law-enforcement and United States Attorney General's are in opposition of this bill.
In 2006, Congress took up the issue of manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs that would benefit terrorist and/or terrorists organizations by making it a separate crime in the re-authorization of the Patriot Act. They created mandatory minimum sentences set at “not less than twice the minimum punishment;” this statute is also known as the narcoterrorism law. Sen. Grassley pointed out that the Smarter Sentencing Act would void Title 21, Section 841 of the Patriot Act by cutting in half the mandatory minimum sentences, not only for the local drug dealer, but for members of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or Hezbollah, who do drugs to fund their acts of terror.
S. 1410 would only put our national security at higher risk as stated by Derek Maltz, Director of the Special Operations Division at DEA, who called the Act a two-for-one deal for terrorists: “Poison gets distributed in the West, and they make millions in the process.” “Most people talk about the drug issue as a health issue, a parenting issue, an addiction issue. But the truth is, it’s really a national security issue.”
Sen. Grassley spoke out on how the Smarter Sentencing Act included the cutting the mandatory minimum sentences of importing illegal drugs into the United States as well, which would exacerbate drug trafficking; helping the terrorists in their war against the United States by poisoning our communities with their drugs. Sen. Grassley invoked that this is no time to weaken our defenses and that such a bill would only do more harm than good.