Following in the footsteps of so many people before him, Juan Pimentel saw opportunity in restrictive laws. It’s an old story; government officials tell people they can’t have what they want, and that prohibition creates a lucrative business opportunity for anybody willing to break the law to keep buyers happy. But when Pimentel was pulled over two weeks ago north of Tucson, Arizona with 150 pounds of forbidden cocaine destined for Chicago, there was something a little special about him: he was a U.S. Border Patrol agent—one of the people hired and trusted to enforce government officials’ will.
Sarah Furay‘s case is a little different, since she had no badge in her wallet when she was busted last month in College Station, Texas with commercial quantities of cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy, psychedelics, hash oil, and hydrocodone (one-stop shopping, indeed). But she is the daughter of Bill Furay, a Drug Enforcement Administration official with the U.S. embassy in Panama and the former head of the DEA office in Galveston, Texas. No doubt, she’s had ample opportunity to see the potential for profit in the laws her dear old dad enforces.
Worries about enforcers succumbing to the temptations of the things they’re supposed to control are so old that they’re most famously captured by a saying in a language that’s been effectively dead for centuries: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? Maybe the answer is the bartender. More recently than the long-gone days of ancient Rome, my great-grandfather served drinks to the…