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Gingrich Proposes Death for Drug Smugglers

By RUSS BYNUM, 08/26/95, Associated Press

CANTON, Ga. (AP) -- Mandatory executions for convicted drug smugglers would kill so many of them that it would curb the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Saturday.

The automatic death sentence is part of a bill Gingrich said he will bring to the House next month. It's rare for the Republican speaker to introduce legislation.

"Do it one by one, it'll add up," Gingrich said. "If the word gets back that we're serious and we're actually implementing it, then it will have a very chilling effect on people bringing drugs into the U.S."

Currently, convicted drug smugglers involved in murder can be sentenced to death under a 1988 federal law. In March, a convicted drug kingpin won a delay nine days before he was to be executed. Five others have been sentenced to death.

The federal government has not executed any convicted prisoners since 1963.

Gingrich touted his bill while addressing about 1,500 children and parents attending a youth football and cheerleading festival in Canton, about 35 miles north of Atlanta.

Under his bill, people who smuggled large quantities of drugs would have just one appeal and 18 months to fight their convictions.

"They wouldn't have 10 years of playing games with the system," Gingrich said.

"We should say to them when you make the decision that you're going to get rich at the expense of our children, you are signing your own death warrant," he said.

Copyright, 1995. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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