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The Progressive Describes Crack-Making by Santa Ana Police


May 1995

In an article for The Progressive, Bobbie Stein describes the Santa Ana, California police practice of cooking powder cocaine into crack for sale in "reverse-sting" operations on the street (Bobbie Stein, "Cops Make Crack in California," The Progressive, April 1995, p. 22-25). The program has been under fire since it was first publicized by the Los Angeles Times in October 1994 (see "Santa Ana Police Make Crack to Use in Busts," NewsBriefs, Nov. 1994). Although the program has been temporarily discontinued (the force ran out of seized cocaine), it netted 400 arrests, with all but four defendants pleading guilty or being referred to drug counseling. Santa Ana police maintain that the program is effective in getting crack users off the street, but police officials from other areas worry about the public health issues of police introducing drugs into communities.