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698 BCE -  Travelers on the Susa–Babylon highway (under Ashurbanipal's regime), are required to pay road usage fees, now called "Tolls."

1953 – 68% of all American TV sets tune in to "I Love Lucy" to watch Lucy give birth.


The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder.
Richard J. Daley

You wanna get rid of drug crime in this country? Fine, let's just get rid of all the drug laws.
Ron Paul  

For whom the Roads Toll
A strange tail by Hemming Earnestway.

A few years ago, Chicago sold its soul, its parking meter income, and its Skyway (an overpriced, poorly designed,  elephantine tollroad and shortcut from Chicago to lush vacation lands of Gary, Indiana). Luckily, Illinois managed to maintain ownership of its other tollroads. Lucky that it did. Kane County's version of the NKVD  is telling a tale about a tail. Something just does not add up here.

Two West Coast men are facing drug trafficking charges after they were pulled over for failing to pay a toll and police found 60 pounds of high-quality marijuana in their car.

Kane County sheriff’s deputies Friday morning stopped a Chevy Impala after the driver failed to signal a lane change and didn’t pay the 60-cent toll at the exit off Interstate 88 at Illinois 31 in North Aurora.

Million dollar pot bust due to unpaid toll.

A million bucks of pot in the trunk. An unpaid toll. And a bust?

Something is wrong with this picture. First of all, all tollbooths in Illinois now are armed with flashes and computerized cameras. If your iPass is too low on funds, or if you fail to pay a toll, two things happen.

a) The system takes your picture, and sends you an automated bill, plus penalties.
The pictures are of a very high quality, considering.

b) The system allows you to pay the missing toll online, forgoing any penalty if you pay within a couple of days' time.

If you have out of state plates, the Illinois Secretary of State sends the data to your state's secretary of state, who will force you to pay the penalty and toll. The system is pretty effective. Failure to pay the fines, fees and tolls means you lose your license. Over time.

Because the system is so automated, the Illinois Tollway department has saved hundreds of millions.  It also improved its collection and retention of funds beyond belief.

That last point is no laughing matter. Before his recent conviction, one of  Chicago's most infamous rehires was John "Quarters" Boyle. While working for the Toll Authority, he walked away with $4 million in quarters that he stole from his employer. AFTER he was convicted, he was hired by the City of Chicago, with the lame excuse being that he knew how the city worked. Despite being ordered to pay millions in restitution, he paid only $720 (not in quarters), and began fleecing and graft in the Chicago Hired Truck scam. Finally, Quarters will be spending the next seven years as an honored guest of the Federal Prison system.

But back to the pot bust. Every sheriff's department, including Kane County's, is stretched extremely thin. Most are trying to save money anyway they can, including  by cutting down on routine patrols. Simply put, NO COUNTY SHERIFFS WILL STOP A TOLL VIOLATOR. Not only will the automated system do their work for them, they make more money on speeding stops.

So let's review what we do know.

Two California guys drive from the left coast to Aurora, Illinois, carrying over 60 lbs of high quality pot.
They presumably drove a car with California plates.
The Pot was stashed out of sight in the trunk. (This point is important, because all the two had to do was to object to any search and seizure by the Kane County Sheriffs, and they would have been let go with ticket in hand.)
They forget to pay a toll, on an extremely busy tollway exit, which they could have paid online within the next 48 hours without a penalty.
They, alone of other toll violators,  (the state estimated that 8% of traffic fails to pay tolls, including a substantial bit of out of state traffic who may not be familiar with our system,  and which means a nice boost in revenue through penalties) managed to  pick the one car carrying 60 LBs of high octane pot?

In an unrelated story, the National Security Agency began warrantless spying on Americans shortly after the passage on the original Patriot Act.  In 2004, General Ashcroft advised congress of his intentions to treat drugs, including marijuana,  as a national security issue. By 2007, with the exception of Qwest Communication, the entire telecommunications industry was cooperating with NSA to spy on every single American domestically.

In 2008, the Bush administration pretended that domestic spying had stopped. However, when FOIA requests were made, and when subpoenas of ATT and other US companies were objected to on the basis of national scrutiny and "State's Secrets," the ACLU was convinced that the program was still in force.

In January of 2009, the Obama administration adopted the identical positions on all outstanding litigation against NSA, Bush, Ashcroft and Gonzales, as well as defending the immunity of all telecommunications companies for cooperating with the NSA. In 2010, the Obama Justice Department stated that it would continue prosecuting federal laws on marijuana, and ignore state medical marijuana protections.

Informed sources believe that nothing has changed in how NSA operates since 2004.

- - - -

Anyway, isn't it strange that the only time Kane County Sheriffs pull over a car for one unpaid toll is when that car is carrying 60 lbs of pot? Do you think that arranging the transport and delivery of so much pot might have involved some communications between California and Illinois?

Having dug into the story even more, it turns out that multiple officers were involved in the stop. Sheriffs in Illinois drive alone. One per squad. Especially with budget problems.  When you have several officers making a traffic stop for one unpaid toll, hmmm.

Originally posted to agnostic on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 10:49 AM PST.


Paranoia? or proof of domestic surveillance?

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