Letter to the Editor: Man Arrested With Drugs Could Be Victim — Chronicle Needs Better Reporting


On Wednesday, Nov. 2, The Chronicle reported that Centralia law enforcement officers arrested a man near mile marker 80 on Interstate 5. He was driving a vehicle loaded with some 100 pounds of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of cocaine and fentanyl powder and some 340,000 fentanyl pills.

This pro-law enforcement reporting wants you to think that Centralia police are heroes for getting these drugs off the streets. However, the mule, a "Mexican national," apparently drove all the way here from Mexico, and law enforcement knew he was coming.

The car wasn't reported as stopped for a traffic violation. This suggests someone inside the drug deal ratted on the delivery driver, the mule, the real criminals who may have held the mule’s wife or child hostage, threatening them with grievous bodily harm if the delivery went awry.

So the odds are the arrested person is a victim of the drug cartel that sent him, also making the suspect a convenient disposable prop to set up days before an election to turn a positive light on law enforcement and rouse some local conservative bigotry by announcing the suspect as a "Mexican national." Obvious fodder for quotidian xenophobic reporting rather than a deep journalistic evaluation of the situation and conditions, including no reasonable inquiry and discourse into the demand — which is at the end of the day, the only and the real story.

Why do so many U.S. citizens have substance use disorders? Who received the tip the drugs were coming? And why wasn't the bust made much further south? It is fair to question this lack of inquiry by The Chronicle editorial staff.

When I was a youth here in the 1970 and 1980s, many adults referred to The Chronicle as the “comical,” and not because the Sunday funnies was the bulk of the weekly content, but rather because of the reporting quality.

A scary story as big as the one The Chronicle has brokered with this article deserves better, deeper, clearer journalism, and not a tired, three-paragraph, pro-cop biased “rah-rah” that borders on xenophobic pandering.


Deston Denniston