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Bizarro: The Surreal Saga of America’s Secret War on Synthetic Drugs and the Florida Kingpins It Captured

Bizarro: The Surreal Saga of America’s Secret War on Synthetic Drugs and the Florida Kingpins It Captured

Current price: $27.95
Publication Date: April 18th, 2023
Publisher:
University of California Press
ISBN:
9780520387959
Pages:
278
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Description

Inside a drug war so screwy that people don’t know what’s illegal—until it’s too late.
 
Bizarro is a page-turning tale of the unprecedented prosecution of Burton Ritchie and Ben Galecki, the Florida-based founders of a sprawling “spice” (synthetic cannabinoid) operation. With this book, journalist and former New York City narcotics prosecutor Jordan S. Rubin exposes a Reagan-era law called the Analogue Act, which targets dealers selling drugs that are “substantially similar” to controlled substances—an unwieldy law that produces erratic results in court.
 
Rubin brings readers deep inside the synthetic war, exploring how Ritchie and Galecki landed in its crosshairs and why one of the DEA’s own chemists may have been their best chance at freedom, until he was arrested too. This stranger-than-fiction narrative is backed by thousands of pages of court records and exclusive interviews with defendants, lawyers, law enforcement, celebrities, and more. Bizarro reveals the world of underground chemists making drugs faster than the government can ban them, dealers making millions in a gray market, and a justice system run amok.

About the Author

Jordan S. Rubin is a journalist and a former prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he was assigned to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

Praise for Bizarro: The Surreal Saga of America’s Secret War on Synthetic Drugs and the Florida Kingpins It Captured

“Colorful and distressing. . . . A fascinating case study of America’s drug laws.”
— Publishers Weekly

"Rubin, a former narcotics prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, has written a period-defining study of federal drug prosecutions at the beginning of the synthetics boom. . . . His play-by-play of the legal battle that followed Ritchie and Galecki's indictment is meticulously annotated and chilling."
— Reason

“A fascinating and terrifying account of two businessmen who tried to achieve the American dream, dutifully testing their product against potential illegality but still getting snared by murky legal applications. Engrossing.”
— The Culture Buzz

"Bizarro shines a spotlight on the surrealistic story of the original Analogues Act and provides the reader with some inkling of what the supercharged version being contemplated now could deliver. It is a brisk and thoughtful addition to the literature of drug policy."
— Drug War Chronicle