To Wall or Not To Wall?

Brad Molnar
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

The meeting room of the American Family Restaurant overflowed with people eager to hear three genuine experts on sex, drugs, and illegal immigration. The three experts were Scott Twito serving eight years as Yellowstone County Attorney, Stacey Zinn-Brittain 18 years with the DEA, currently stationed in Montana, and Henry Jones, 20 years with U.S. Customs and Border Security (Ret). The forum was hosted by the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee with the public invited.


Scott Twito

Twito stated the economics of crystal meth are why it is such a challenge to Yellowstone County. Most of the high quality meth is smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican crime cartels. Meth delivered to Spokane will “wholesale” for $7,500 per pound and retail in Billings for $14,000 per pound. Twito recounted how various drug courts and treatment programs had high levels of success with breaking addictions to cocaine, heroin and Oxycontin, but almost no success with meth addiction.  

County Attorney Twito pointed out child abuse filings have doubled since 2011 and 79 percent of removed children have at least one parent on drugs. Sixty-four percent of those are on meth as compared to 12 percent being addicted to opiates. Felony filings also doubled during the same time frame with much of that meth/alcohol related. “Yellowstone County prosecutes 25percent of all felonies in Montana and absorbs all associated costs.” 


Stacey Zinn-Brittain

Stacey laughed recounting that when reassigned from South America to Montana she was not aware Montana had a drug problem. Now she laments dangerous drugs are in every community and on every reservation. While “high quality” meth from Mexican cartels contains pseudoephedrine (an ingredient banned in the United States) home brew meth can contain battery acid, brake fluid and Drano. 

Stacey said a pound of cocaine sells in Peru for up to $1,500 and sells in Montana for $54,000. She said cocaine is making a comeback and “Molly” (slang for Ecstasy) is being smuggled out of the Netherlands, through Canada, to the U.S. market. Zinn-Brittain said most people think  Afghanistan and China produce America’s heroin but the majority actually comes up from Peru and Mexico. 

Agent Brittain said drug users “chase the dragon” meaning as the euphoria they first experienced diminishes they take larger doses or try new drugs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid rated at 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is often smuggled from China then cut into heroin and meth to return the “highs” addicts are chasing. Heroin mixed with Fentanyl is sold as cheap Oxycontin.

Lastly Stacy warned marijuana is, despite declarations to the contrary, a gateway drug and baby boomers may confuse the three percent THC levels in the marijuana they knew in college with the 33 percent THC level in today’s pot. She warned these levels can cause permanent damage to brain receptors.


Henry Jones

Henry Jones is more cowboy than many I have ridden with. Massive hours in anything that flies, feeling underappreciated for the risks he has taken, and a life time of witnessing unchallenged graft made him an animated speaker. He opened with, “The media has orchestrated a mis-conception about the situation on the border.” 

Henry likened our unfenced border to the legal term “attractive nuisance” as in a swimming pool without a backyard fence. He then recounted a Mexican mother that had given the last of her water to her children. She was dead and her children had hours to live when they were found. He said the unfenced border was just too good to pass up and the desert was just too brutal for her to succeed.

One of his last “busts” turned out to be a family. The children were carrying 40-pound packs and the adults 60 pound packs of marijuana, no padded straps, just ropes. They were averaging three miles per hour in the desert, when interceded. Inside the bales of marijuana were packages of heroin. They did not know they were smuggling heroin. 

Jealous that marine-based agents could shoot the boat motors of suspected smugglers, Agent Jones satisfied himself with denting the roofs of vehicles driven by suspected smugglers with the wheels of his plane to make them easier to spot if they got lost in traffic.

Stating “the wall” would not stop all drugs, human trafficking or people without legal standing from entering for work, Jones felt it would help with problems associated with an open border. He cautioned the wall would not deter those making billion dollar profits and told of watching the Mexican Army unloading four tons of narcotics from a cargo plane.

Billings Attorney Jack Sands asked, “Why are crime and drugs exploding in Yellowstone County when many communities and states, such as Texas, are reducing crime, closing prisons, and saving billions of dollars in the process?” None could answer. Great meeting.  

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check for more info. Find them on Facebook . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Monday, September 2, 2019
• Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.


How many days a week do you cook a meal from scratch?

The Laurel Outlook


Click Here to Check Out Our Latest Ads

We use Google cookies to determine our demographic of visitors to our site. You can opt out here.

We also use Twitter Analytics to track clicks from our twitter feed. 

You can find all the City Council documents that we have received here.