D.A. Gonzales’ New Drug Testing Memo

Da Gonzales 2

El Conservador has obtained a memo from Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales’ office regarding the “Lab Report Policy for Drug Cases” that outlines a new policy for testing illegal drug cases. While illicit drugs are harming communities across the nation, Gonzales is using a backlog of cases at the Bexar County Crime Lab (BCCL) as an excuse to implement his liberal policies and not prosecute drug cases.

Late last year, a retiring employee at the BCCL wrote a scathing memo to certain Bexar County officials, exposing the lab’s backlog of cases and criticizing the employees’ work habits. As a result, a meeting was held between the D.A.’s office, the San Antonio Police Department drug unit, and BCCL staff. At the meeting, BCCL leadership announced they would no longer accept certain cases because of their enormous backlog.

In effect, BCCL arbitrarily established what would and would not be a crime. The police expressed their concerns, and so did D.A. Gonzales. While Gonzales reacted by clarifying guidelines for testing drugs in the BCCL and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) lab, those guidelines provide unacceptable loopholes for criminals.

Property crimes are tied to drug abusers because they are the ones who steal and rob to get money for their drug addiction. San Antonio and Bexar County already have a high property crime problem, which will only get worse if D.A. Gonzales is allowed not to prosecute (which, in essence, is to decriminalize) certain drug use.

How can this happen?

The memo indicates BCCL will not test misdemeanor amounts of drugs unless they are attached to an “underlying offense,” but the memo does not specify or explain which offenses. The D.A. already dismisses misdemeanors if a felony is involved. Suppose the D.A. follows the BCCL leader and does not prosecute any narcotics cases of less than four grams unless they are tied to an underlying offense. In that case, he will de facto decriminalize narcotics.

Another issue is that for police to test the drugs and book the suspect into the magistrates on the day they were found, police first must get a letter from the D.A.’s office saying it will prosecute the case. This “pre-authorization” is a problem for officers acting fast to make arrests. This pre-authorization letter does nothing to help the prosecutorial process but creates more bureaucracy and delays.

Also, the memo says BCCL will not test misdemeanor “prescription” pills. This means fentanyl-laced pills that are flooding into Bexar County from Mexico will not be tested and detected. It also allows local fentanyl dealers to escape arrest because police will not know if the pills are laced.

Multiple problems are apparent to even the casual observer who does not follow the inner workings of the County government. First, the BCCL failed to manage its critical role “to support public safety and further the goals of justice” (its Vision statement). One might also consider it an integrity issue because it refuses to address the backlog of cases. They are additionally stepping outside their role of scientific analysis by setting their standards and limits for processing drug cases, which redefines the law and impedes and frustrates justice.

But there is a second major issue here. Blaming the BCCL backlog also benefits Gonzales, serving as an excuse to drag his feet in investigations and prosecutions and circumvent current laws. It is a creative solution: eliminate backlogs, give lab workers and prosecutors a clean slate, set potential criminals free, and reduce crime stats—a “win” for everyone, except perhaps law-abiding citizens who seek a just community.

Gonzales and his liberal/leftist political supporters are sympathetic to drug users and low-level dealers. They claim the current laws impact minorities disproportionally and, therefore, the implementation of drug laws is racist. They want to limit testing and thus limit prosecution in the name of “social justice.”  They want to decriminalize felony drug possession of all drugs in the name of “social justice” and “police reform.

If this policy goes unchallenged, it will create more drug-related crime on the streets because more drug addicts will be free. We have seen how the liberal state of Oregon has reversed its decriminalization of drug laws because crime and drug abuse skyrocketed. Other cities and states are following suit. San Antonio and Bexar County must not go down the rat trap of decriminalizing drugs and creating more crime. https://www.npr.org/2024/03/05/1236075494/why-oregon-is-recriminalizing-even-small-amounts-of-illicit-drugs

The D.A. should call out the BCCL for their mismanagement and ask for additional resources to prosecute all cases. Bexar County’s public safety, not social justice or any liberal/leftist political agenda, should be the priority.