Cops Worry Parents’ Drug Arrests Mean Kids Without Support System

Cops Worry Parents’ Drug Arrests Mean Kids Without Support System

In May 2006, more than 200 officers finished a 15-month undercover operation called “Operation Fish Bowl” with a massive drug raid. It resulted in the arrests of 41 people on federal drug distribution charges and the seizure of an estimated $1-million worth of drugs and 25 guns.

The fact that struck one narcotics officer the most forcefully, however, was that the massive drug raid left 104 children without one or both of their parents. “Overall, kind of the whole gist of the operation was to salvage that neighborhood from the violence that was going on,” he says. Yet he was left with the dismaying realization that these kids are basically screwed as far as a support system and everything else.”

While he doesn’t think the kids would necessarily be better off if their parents hadn’t been arrested, he still finds the consequences troubling. He could see it laid out before him like a diagram: boys growing up without fathers, searching for some kind of family, and finding it in the seemingly glamorous life and fancy cars of drug gangs.

H.O.P.E. Farm.

He decided he had to take some kind of action. He wrote a book about the raid, “Life in the Fish Bowl,” and committing to donate the profits — $2,500 so far — to an area charity called H.O.P.E. Farm.

H.O.P.E. Farm was founded in 1989 by former police officer, also from Fort Worth, who saw the same, predictable cycle in the War on Drugs. Walking through the notorious Clements prison in Amarillo, he could see another part of the pattern. While African Americans make up only 12 percent of the population in Texas, they account for 80 percent of inmates there, many on drug distribution charges.

He was moved to help boys made fatherless for whatever reason find role models outside of gangs, and to help their moms reinforce positive values at home.

Some affected by Operation Fish Bowl may be unhappy with the book’s publication, but the author firmly believes even the most committed gangsters will come around eventually.

“Those guys might like the lifestyle,” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “but I know they don’t like being incarcerated. They certainly don’t wish that on their children.”

Texas and the federal government must find a better way to enforce our laws. How can a War on Drugs ever claim victory if it hundreds of children without parents?

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Undercover cop uses book to help children left behind, Deanna Boyd, Nov. 7, 2013