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Hunter Biden's drug abuse and arrest in 1980s was hidden even as Joe Biden was leading a war on drugs, reveals report

Hunter was arrested on drug charges in 1988, the time when Joe, as the senator from Delaware, sought harsh punishment for drug users and even worked on a number of legislations on the same.

Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, was arrested on drug charges in 1988 and his record was removed at a time when his father was striving for jailing drug offenders drawn from the minority groups disproportionately. According to a report in Washington Examiner, congressional records have revealed that Hunter was arrested in Stone Harbor in New Jersey where the Biden family has gone for holidaying often. 

The arrest of Hunter, who was 18 then and had just graduated from the prestigious Archmere Academy prep school, was not reported earlier. The Republicans, who are busy defending President Donald Trump in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, have gone after Hunter’s drug abuse and asked why the case was not highlighted when he got appointed to a plum post in a Ukrainian oil company and Joe was the vice president of the US and the Obama administration’s leading man in the East European nation.

A year after Hunter’s arrest, Joe said in a speech attacking the then president George H W Bush that the federal government required to “hold every drug user accountable” for he felt “if there were no drug users, there would be no appetite for drugs, there would be no market for them”. 

Joe, who was the senator from Delaware then, was also one of the leading advocates of the federal government’s war on drugs. 

Joe, who has been a weighty politician in US politics, had also made the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that had called for harsher sentences for possessing crack cocaine and according to the critics, this only widened racial disparity in the prisons. In fact, between 1984 and 1990, Biden had introduced several pieces of legislation on drug enforcement.

But when it came to his own house, Biden was not known to be as vigilant on the drug issue. He had voted for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 that made crack cocaine, often used by the black poor, as the only drug inviting a mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession as the first offense. While many minorities were jailed for drug offenses, even if minor ones, Hunter was allowed to take part in a state diversionary program called pretial intervention. Under the program, the first offenders could “avoid a trial and having the stigma accompanying a guilty verdict,” according to Rubinstein Law Firm, New Jersey.

The program aimed to give the offenders another opportunity to correct their behavior though critics said that it could be seen as a way to let the offenders off the hook by removing the offense from his record. In the case of Hunter, he was not reformed and continued to be a substance abuser and addict. 

“In June 1988, I was cited for possession of a controlled substance in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. There was a pretrial intervention, and the record was expunged,” Hunter had acknowledged during a 2006 hearing before the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation on his nomination though he did not mention the controlled substance.

The Stone Harbor Police Department told the Examiner that it could not locate Hunter’s arrest report even though it has maintained records from that time onwards. The 1988 arrest appears to be over the same drug-related incident for which Hunter got a waiver at the time of joining the US Navy Reserve in 2013. 

Joe’s daughter Ashley, now 38, was also arrested for marijuana possession at the age of 17 though the charges were dropped later.