Forefather of American Drug war dead at 87, thousands still dying as a result of his policies


Myles J. Ambrose, one of the paranoid forefathers of the American drug war, died earlier this month at the age of 87 in Leesburg, Virginia. Although, throughout the years, there was speculation that bookies were taking wagers on who would be the first to dance on Ambrose’s grave: a prominent Mafia family or a Mexican drug cartel, in the end it was a heart attack that led to his demise.

It was during the Nixon Administration when Ambrose was branded the first drug czar of the United States. While, at the time, very few people were certain exactly what it meant to put a man, who believed stoners were a scourge on civil society, in a position of overseeing the day-to-day operations of Nixon’s backbiting siege against illegal drugs, this dimwitted political hogwash is what ultimately spawned the filthy snout of American drug enforcement.
During his campaign for re-election in 1972, President Nixon announced that Ambrose would serve as head swine for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, which was essentially a love mutt between several federal agencies that ultimately manifested a ferocious beast that has continued to hump the legs off the American citizen for forty years. Everyone now knows this bad dog as the Drug Enforcement Administration.
At the time Ambrose was appointed to this newfound position, he already had wet feet in the world of tattle-tale nark tactics. Making his way early in life as an attorney in New York, Ambrose worked during the 1950s with the Treasury Department and then in the 1960s, he was put in charge of a New York City commission aimed at snuffing out organized crime.
One of his first anti-drug strategies was a Mexican border shakedown called Operation Intercept, in which authorities searched every motorist who crossed the border for illegal drugs. Although the operation was shutdown after only a month, it is said these efforts are what caused Mexican authorities to start taking drug trafficking in their country more seriously.
It was apparent from the very beginning that Ambrose was the perfect puppet for Nixon’s war on drugs, and many of his policing methods were condemned because, much like today’s drug enforcement officers, he was not concerned that his drug raids were sometimes responsible for cracking the heads of innocent bystanders. “Drug people are the very vermin of humanity. They are dangerous. Occasionally we must adopt their dress and tactics,” he once said in defense of the critics.
It was that rough neck mentality that led to Ambrose implementing a more hard-core approach to busting drug smugglers, which led to the implementation of aircraft, speed boats and dogs trained to sniff out heroin and marijuana, specifically. Overall, it was Ambrose’s ideas that became the foundation for how the drug war continues to be fought today, and it is for that very reason we would like to say, good riddance to you, sir.
However, it should be noted that just before President Nixon was about to appoint Ambrose as the first director of the newly formed Drug Enforcement Administration, he resigned from his work with the government and went on to support his family with a private law practice.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.