Gangs and drugs so terrorize some parts of Wichita that many people will shrug off the article in Tuesdayâ€™s Eagle about the apparent local use of the USA Patriot Act â€” which is supposed to target terrorism â€” to do a secret search of the house of a man accused of being a cocaine supplier to the Crips gang, a search that happened 90 days before the man was notified of it. To obtain the search warrant, authorities said the secret search would protect evidence and prevent suspects from fleeing or intimidating witnesses. The courts will sort out whether the evidence was legally obtained in this case. But such use of the Patriot Act certainly raises questions, including about whether it reflects Congressâ€™ intent in passing the law post-Sept. 11. In a 2005 Eagle commentary, U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren assured the public that the Patriot Act â€œhas been used to disrupt terrorist cells and espionage, as well as assist in solving horrific domestic crimes.â€ Does this alleged criminal activity count?
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