Over 400 Arrested for Drugs on Capitol Grounds Since 2010 | The Fix
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Over 400 Arrested for Drugs on Capitol Grounds Since 2010

The seat of our nation may be one of the most patrolled and secured places in the country, but that doesn't stop users from bringing their drugs.


It doesn't matter who's watching.

By Bryan Le


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Despite NSA-levels of surveillance and being one of the most policed areas in the U.S., Washington D.C. has seen over 400 people arrested for drug possession since 2010.

U.S. Capitol Police have arrested tourists, congressional staff, and pedestrians for a variety of drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and PCP, as well as drug paraphernalia. In fact, one in 10 arrests made by U.S. Capitol Police involves some form of drug possession, including a visitor who was arrested attempting to enter the U.S. Senate chamber and a senator's aide who was caught for possession.

“USCP officers are strategically deployed throughout the Capitol complex to provide a safe environment for the legislative business of Capitol Hill to continue without interruption,” said Capitol Police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider. “Some of our robust security measures are visible to the public while others are not.”

Maryland drug counselor Mike Gimbel believes drug users are emboldened by paraphernalia that are disguised as lipsticks, flashlights, soda cans, and permanent markers. And for some reason, users are willing to carry their drugs anywhere, including federal buildings.

“When you’ve got people addicted, they’re going to try to do anything,” Gimbel said. “Their drug is more important than their jobs and their family.”

Capitol Police have said that they use a combination of strategic patrols and invisible technological security measures to ensure a secure environment.

But with recent government furloughs due to congressional budget restraints, Capitol Police may have their work cut out for them. "With an increased workload and drugs being found on the grounds of the Capitol, they have fewer men and women to do anything about it,” said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

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