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Whether from the city or suburbs, all drug dealers should face the same punishment

Updated: March 8, 2012 8:16AM



I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I couldn’t care less about what happens to drug dealers.

After all, the illicit drug trade has turned quiet neighborhoods into hellholes.

But should an alleged drug dealer from Chicago’s West Side be treated any differently than an alleged drug dealer from DuPage County?

Of course not.

But that appears to be the case with respect to two drug cases involving a troubled apartment complex in Carol Stream.

Last July, prosecutors charged Malcolm Brown, a 23-year-old black man from the West Side of Chicago, with supplying the heroin that killed 38-year-old Stephen Briston.

Brown allegedly sold the heroin to Richard Brown (no relation). Richard Brown is the person who found the overdose victim. He is also the “confidential informant” who fingered Malcolm Brown, according to sources familiar with this case.

Apparently, in an attempt to save his own hide, Richard Brown ordered up more drugs from his supplier. When Malcolm Brown arrived at the Holiday Inn to drop off the drugs, police officers arrested him.

Police allegedly found 38 packets of heroin “marked with a black spade” that matched other packets found in the apartment where the drug user died.

Robert Berlin, DuPage County State’s Attorney, declined to discuss this case on Monday. A spokesman for that office cited confidentiality concerns.

Despite Richard Brown’s personal involvement in the events that led up to Briston’s death, he was charged only with possession.

Meanwhile, bond for Malcolm Brown was set at $5 million. He is still locked up in a DuPage County jail cell. His next hearing is Feb. 21.

But before you say... And? Consider this:

Four months after Briston overdosed, Jennifer Andolfi died from a drug overdose in the same apartment complex in Carol Stream.

The Daily Herald reported that Edward Kliest, 43, and Tiffany Vanderbusch, 22, of Wheaton, tried to cover up the death by putting bleach on and around the dead woman’s body.

It was also reported that Kliest “sold heroin” to Andolfi “shortly before she was found dead.”

At that time, Audrey Anderson, an assistant state’s attorney, said “police searched the couple’s home and recovered heroin packets and drug paraphernalia, and that Kliest also made incriminating statements to investigators.”

The DuPage State’s Attorney declined to comment on this drug prosecution as well.

But Kliest was not charged with drug-induced homicide. Rather, he was charged with delivery and possession of a controlled substance.

It doesn’t seem to matter that Kliest has a long string of arrests stretching back to the 1980s, including driving under the influence of drugs, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license suspended, retail theft, possession of hypodermic syringe or needle, and possession of a controlled substance.

Additionally, the Daily Herald reported that a third person, Divie A. Moore, was arrested in the Andolfi case and charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, marijuana possession and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to the Herald, Moore admitted he sold heroin to the man accused of selling it to Andolfi. Wouldn’t that be like Malcolm Brown admitting he sold heroin to Richard Brown, who sold it to the man who died.

But Moore isn’t facing drug-induced homicide charges either.

Like I said, I have no use for drug dealers.

I can also understand why DuPage County officials would aggressively prosecute drug cases.

But a West Side drug dealer is no better or worse than the drug dealers who live, use, and sell narcotics in the ’burbs.

When drug dealers are charged, there should be no question that they face the same punishment.



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