This one is hard to believe: The US Forest Service issued a warning last week to beware of campers in national forests who eat tortillas, play Spanish music, and drink ‘Tecate’ beer because they might be armed and dangerous marijuana growers.
Michael Skinner, a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, said warning signs of possible drug trafficking include “tortilla packaging, beer cans, Spam, Tuna, Tecate beer cans,” and campers who play Spanish music. He said the warning includes people speaking Spanish.
The warning signs were included in a slide presentation put together for drug agents in Colorado and the public.
Skinner said this may or may not represent criminal activity, but are indicators and he urged any campers who encounter long-term campers meeting the profile to “hike out quickly” and call police.
Though we rarely see such blatant racism coming from today’s public-relations-savvy government bodies, the prohibition of marijuana has long been used an an excuse to round up Mexicans and other visible minorities. One needs only to look at prison population statistics in the US to see that the VAST majority of people put in jail for drugs are African-American and Mexican.
The Forest service quickly retracted the statement after the media picked up the story, but these kinds of slip-ups help to expose the racist mentality of many prohibitionists in government.
Marvink Correa, a spokesman for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, half-jokingly pointed out how absurd the warning was by showing how easy it would be for growers to avoid.
“When I go camping, I’ll be sure to play nothing but Bruce Springsteen,” he said.