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The Feds Were My Biggest Customer
December 31, 2011 9:02 AM   Subscribe

On October 22, 2011 I was arrested by the DEA for cultivation and distribution of psilocybin mushrooms.
posted by telstar (88 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
In the first story I'm reading this guy does literally everything wrong from going to the cops car, to lying to the cop instead of not answering as is his right and then letting him search voluntarily when the cop says "because you don't have anything to hide, right?"
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:15 AM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Haha.. I'm torn. This is REALLY fascinating stuff, but I keep thinking, "What a moron!!" I'm definitely subscribing to this blog.. whether this guy is a moron or enlightened, it looks like it'll be a great read.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:18 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it bad that I kind of like this guy? Even for all his ridiculous mistakes, he's eloquent enough, and I enjoy reading his posts. He's no Jesse Pinkman, is all I'm saying.

Thanks for the post Telstar.
posted by Askiba at 9:19 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if he has pending legal issues I am thinking he needs a lawyer, not a blog.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:19 AM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I had come to pitch the idea of a mutual beneficial business development effort: a Peruvian fusion bistro using innovative ingredients I was going to import from Peru.

A Peruvian fusion bistro in Salt Lake City? Dude has been using too much product me thinks.
posted by Big_B at 9:22 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The poor guy seems to think that his commitment to a "sacramental" approach to psychedelics, and his documented opposition to MDMA, coke, and "hard" drugs (as documented on the undercover tapes), as well as his generally good character, are going to help his legal situation. That's a delusion he can't afford, most likely.
posted by thelonius at 9:23 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: yeah, making a blog and basically admitting to everything isn't really smart. Judging by the fact that's he on house arrest, his main conviction was obviously passed down. But any further cases on different matters......
posted by Askiba at 9:27 AM on December 31, 2011


Folks just don’t abuse mushrooms by consuming mass quantities on a daily basis. Most people like to carefully choose the time and place, set and setting, of their mushroom experiences, and treat them with respect if not awe. This is a good thing, and even though I can no more tell folks how to use them as a sacrament, the mushrooms have a way of sitting people down themselves, with the most secular outcome being some hours of laughter. This altogether makes it a good medicine for our times, and for many people the mushrooms can provide a life-changing insight or vision, and serve as a teacher from another dimension, a dimension that lies within each of us. That’s why they call them entheogens. As I said to the federales as I drove with them to the FDC, and I believe it: Before prosecuting people they should each at least once try it for themselves so that they know experientially what they’re dealing with.

The DEA wouldn't survive the mass ego-loss of its agents. Mushrooms have a way of stripping a mind bare of tightly-grasped suppositions and neatly categorized moralities--which is why it's considered so dangerous to government itself. Can you imagine if the sacramental consumption of mushrooms were a rite of passage to adulthood?
posted by troll at 9:29 AM on December 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


The poor guy seems to think that his commitment to a "sacramental" approach to psychedelics, and his documented opposition to MDMA, coke, and "hard" drugs (as documented on the undercover tapes), as well as his generally good character, are going to help his legal situation. That's a delusion he can't afford, most likely.

True, but the you have to hand it to him; he's earnest and brave. We need more people like him, not less.
posted by troll at 9:31 AM on December 31, 2011 [20 favorites]


Earnest and brave is no defense before the Law.

Also, those qualities annoy the cops.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:32 AM on December 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I have to say after reading a few entries, I really love what he's doing and yes of course it's stupid when law enforcement will read it and make a big deal out of it, but it's also courageous and he sounds like a pretty smart guy that wasn't really harming anyone.
posted by mathowie at 9:33 AM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


As near as I can tell, he's writing the blog because of moral and ethical disagreements with the laws that make what he does criminal, not because he wants to/doesn't care about "getting away with it." He thinks "it" shouldn't be taboo or criminal to begin with. That's something I can respect.
posted by byanyothername at 9:34 AM on December 31, 2011 [16 favorites]


Can you imagine if the sacramental consumption of mushrooms were a rite of passage to adulthood?
posted by troll at 6:29 PM on December 31


Imagine.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:36 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I agree that he's likable, intelligent, and sincere. It may well be that I'm mistaken about what his expectations are. Hell, maybe the fact that he couldn't be enticed into MDMA distribution WILL help him, if he is sentenced. I certainly hope so.
posted by thelonius at 9:37 AM on December 31, 2011


Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting, telstar.
posted by Edogy at 9:41 AM on December 31, 2011


The police don't make the laws, and the police aren't supposed to pick and choose which laws they enforce. He's fighting the wrong battle with the wrong people.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:44 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, he's an old hippie. He's 61, or was at the time of his bust. Really, DEA?
posted by autoclavicle at 9:47 AM on December 31, 2011


He has a good writing style, it just blows my mind that someone engaged in illegal activities wouldn't know the ins and outs of the laws... but... that's actually really typical.

Wow, he's an old hippie. He's 61, or was at the time of his bust. Really, DEA?

Welcome to the war on drugs. Do we still have mandatory minimums for crack instead of cocaine? I loved that bit of racism.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:52 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's kinda depressing to watch the steamroller grind on toward someone so brave and likeable only to know he's going to get steamrolled and afterward the steamroller won't even care.
posted by localroger at 9:55 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


> The police don't make the laws, and the police aren't supposed to pick and choose which laws they enforce.

Hahahahaha! takes a breath. hahahahahah!

Some random guy punched me in the face in front of about 30 people for basically nothing at all. I followed him till I found a cop - who told me that this wasn't against the law(!) and there was nothing she could do(!!)

This is the rule, not the exception, in New York City. If you are assaulted, they simply won't even take your complaint unless you were actually hospitalized. Go into any precinct and ask.

And let's not forget about the fact that vast quantities of laws have been broken by Wall Street and the military.

(By the way, this was during the Bush era, and the guy who punched me was an older, "distinguished-looking" guy in his 60s wearing a polo shirt with an elegant logo marked "White House Gym". My companion said, "I'll bet this is one of Them." And she was probably right.)

There's one law in this country for the rich and powerful, another for the rest of us. You can be absolutely sure that if they'd stopped, say, a Koch brother with all that money, nothing would have happened.

Please see this reference.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:56 AM on December 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Oh, and you can be absolutely sure that if I punched, say, Henry Kissinger in the face in New York City, I'd be charged and sentenced to the maximum penalty of the law. In fact, there was a group who was going to attempt a peaceful citizen's arrest of Kissinger for the outstanding international warrants for war crimes FFS, and all of them got arrested, on what were mostly trumped-up charges, before they ever got within a mile of him.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:01 AM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


He has a good writing style, it just blows my mind that someone engaged in illegal activities wouldn't know the ins and outs of the laws... but... that's actually really typical.

Most people know the ins. Only a few know the outs.
posted by srboisvert at 10:07 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


By doing this, could he submit the whole blog as evidence in his defense if it came to a jury trial?
posted by curious nu at 10:15 AM on December 31, 2011


The police don't make the laws, and the police aren't supposed to pick and choose which laws they enforce.

The police always pick & choose which laws they enforce. Sometimes it's with good intentions, sometimes bad. Sometimes it's a personal choice & sometimes it's policy set from above. But there's a constant process of choosing which laws to enforce going on.
posted by scalefree at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


The poor guy seems to think that his commitment to a "sacramental" approach to psychedelics, and his documented opposition to MDMA, coke, and "hard" drugs (as documented on the undercover tapes), as well as his generally good character, are going to help his legal situation. That's a delusion he can't afford, most likely.

I don't think that's the court he's hoping to influence. He's a true believer & hopes telling his story will have an impact on public opinion, in hopes of changing public policy & eventually the law. He's willing to be a martyr for the cause, in order to move Overton's Window in a positive direction.
posted by scalefree at 10:28 AM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another entertaining "police choosing to enforce the law" story from NYC. For years, the police would refuse to enforce noise restrictions on outdoor church services in Hispanic neighborhoods. The result was that these people would go until way past midnight, often on a week night, always with their amplifiers turned up to 11 so everything was distorted, and in our neighborhood at least, with very few actual worshippers involved.

This all changed suddenly. Probably part of it was people relentlessly phoning the cops - but the single event that precipitated it was that there were "shots fired" right into the speakers of one of these churches a mile or two away in Queens from someone in a building. When the police did the ballistics, it turned out there there were at least two and quite likely three different guns, firing from completely different spots.

I assume the police, like us, realized that one guy had just snapped and started firing and a couple of other people thought, "Good idea, I hate these fuckers," and started shooting too.

The NYPD's ability to not enforce laws, including drug laws, is legendary. For a couple of years, I lived next to a cocaine shop - the police would not only not close them down for playing ultra-loud music, selling cocaine and alcohol till 9 in the morning, they would flatly deny that the place existed, even though they would have to show up there at least once a week to deal with the inevitable fights.

After one particularly loud fight at 5AM I came out in my dressing gown and said to the cops, "Look, can't you close them down?" "They have a liquor license." "Look, I've searched and they have no liquor license. If they did have a liquor license, they'd have to display it, and they don't. Even if they did have a liquor license, it's 5AM, they would have had to close hours ago. And they sell cocaine over the bar!"

The cops wouldn't even look me in the eyes. They at least had the decency not to be threatening to me, but it was clear that nothing I could do would get them to act.

So please - don't tell me cops don't pick and choose what laws they enforce.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:40 AM on December 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


The police don't make the laws, and the police aren't supposed to pick and choose which laws they enforce.

The police effectively do make the laws, because they do pick and choose which laws they enforce.

But Police also clearly quite literally make the laws - they ask for a lot of law changes, and congress rubber stamps an awful lot of them.

Cases where it is difficult to prove a crime was committed become reasons to criminalize normal, legitimate behaviour, always with the assurance that police common sense and discretion means that the new law won't be used against regular people, just the bad guys, and it's the only way to stop them.

Is it still a felony to pick up a pencil and draw a naked child, if police want to arrest you? Probably, I can't keep track of this crap. Police have drafted laws with the purpose of ensuring everyone is guilty, so police can pick and choose who goes to jail.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:45 AM on December 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Payoffs? What could cause a situation like that to obtain?
posted by adamdschneider at 10:47 AM on December 31, 2011


and the police aren't supposed to pick and choose which laws they enforce

And yet, the cop in this story seems to only do "seize money from motorists". I guess he never sees any other problems when he is out on the highway.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:01 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine if the sacramental consumption of mushrooms were a rite of passage to adulthood?

See "Island" by Aldous Huxley.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:11 AM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's a bit where he explains why he's being so open—he knows that if it goes to trial, he'd lose and there's only plea-bargaining where he will be asked to inform on others, which he refuses to do. He's going to prison and he knows it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:12 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why Did The Feds Keep Buying Shrooms?

Basically the Feds kind of stumbled upon us, given up by Lance in his probably futile effort to save himself from some serious jail time. But why would they keep on buying consecutive Walmart Large Sport Duffels with 20 pounds in each?

There’s just not a huge market for them. They are not a drug of abuse, even though they seem to be pretty widely available and accepted (joked about on TV and in movies). And the wholesale value hasn’t changed for many years. So why would they buy the equivalent of over 20,000 doses when surely even 5000 would have demonstrated some sort of knowledgeable, “professional” operation if that’s what they were looking for? And, the other intriguing question: Had I not told Lance I was getting out of the business and that was the last transaction he could expect, how long would they have continued to buy?
Because law enforcement works on metrics. The more contraband you process, the better job you are perceived to be doing & the higher your performance rating will be. Higher performance ratings lead to larger budgets and higher salaries. In short, it was better for the business of policing so that's what they did. Simple economics.
posted by scalefree at 11:12 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because law enforcement works on metrics. The more contraband you process, the better job you are perceived to be doing & the higher your performance rating will be.

Fed: I'd like to buy bulk shrooms please [as evidence to arrest you]
Mushroom Man: You want TWENTY THOUSAND?!?! Uh, ok, I guess I could grow that many with enough lead time... I better go start growing...

[later]

Fed: We confiscated TWENTY THOUSAND doses! TWENTY THOUSAND!!! The drug ring is HUGE! The drug problem is MASSIVE!!!
Public: Twenty THOUSAND?!?! OMG! OMG! We need to get serious about this! HAVE MOAR BUDGET! MOAR! MOAR!

[result]

Fed1: I'd like to buy bulk shrooms please [as evidence to arrest you]
Man1: You want HOW MUCH?!! I'll need time to expand to produce that much!
Fed2: I'd like to buy bulk meth please [as evidence to arrest you]
Man2: You want HOW MUCH?!! I'll need time to expand to produce that much!
Fed3: I'd like to buy bulk coke please [as evidence to arrest you]
Man3: You want HOW MUCH?!! I'll need time to expand to produce that much!
Fed4: I'd like to buy bulk weed please [as evidence to arrest you]
Man4: You want HOW MUCH?!! I'll need time to expand to produce that much!

[later]

Fed: WHOA! WE CONFISCATED... [and on it spirals]

Any macro-economics majors? There's a thesis for you :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:31 AM on December 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


See "Island" by Aldous Huxley.

Huxley is in my pantheon of great authors, having read The Doors of Perception, Heaven and Hell, and Brave New World. As an aspiring writer, he's a model of prose. I'll check out Island. Thanks for the recommendation.
posted by troll at 11:37 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because law enforcement works on metrics. The more contraband you process, the better job you are perceived to be doing & the higher your performance rating will be.

This also applies to terrorists. Witness the many prosecutions of failed terrorist plots produced by cooperative Confidential Informants persuading both individuals & groups into taking action against the US. It's entrapment if a law enforcement officer does it, but not if it's a CI. If your business is producing terrorist plots, it's much safer to create your own than catching them in the wild. Until you miss one, that is. But in the long run that's good for business too.
posted by scalefree at 11:47 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ability to say stuff like "...we confiscated 20,000 hits of 'mushrooms' with a street value of $20 million..." is probably why they let it go so far.

Actually, you know what? I don't even believe that. I think the reason they did it so frequently is probably that they were reselling some portion of it for personal/organizational profit.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:48 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, you're not kidding, -harlequin-. I'm trying to conceptualize what it would take to produce 200 lbs dry weight of Psilocybe. I've heard that one could produce maybe half a pound to a pound in a closet-sized space with a few months lead time. That sure seems to me like you would need either a small climate-controlled warehouse and a few months or else a decent-sized house or outbuilding and a year's lead time. But I guess he said this was a two-year investigation, so maybe that's reasonable. Still, clandestinely converting not just a closet but a building to industrial fungus production seems like quite a hassle. With the paranoia that would accompany the ownership of a "shroom shed" I suspect you would need some all-natural relaxation aids.

Anyway, the feds are not just taking away the rest of this fellow's life (with a prison sentence.) They clearly wasted two years of the productive capacity of a capable craftsman. Although I suppose this may have had a stimulating effect on the economy. Some portion of the feds' money must have gone to various sellers of industrial humidifiers, sterilization supplies, etc. Still, it seems like if the feds want to stimulate the economy by buying people's products and then destroying them, there's no need for them to arrest the craftsmen at the end.
posted by agentofselection at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Any macro-economics majors? "

Microeconomics majors, you mean.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:09 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also keep in mind that it's common for law enforcement agents to inflate drug bust yields using absurd metrics. For example, a single marijuana seed might be considered equivalent to a plant (because it could, in theory, be used to grow one), and such plants might have an average weight of 1 lbs each, so 200 seeds might be reported as 2000 lbs of marijuana.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:51 PM on December 31, 2011


Macronomic minors?
posted by brokkr at 12:51 PM on December 31, 2011


"shroom shed"

DIBS on the new band name!
posted by mikelieman at 1:02 PM on December 31, 2011


More like "Narcoeconimcs"
posted by delmoi at 1:23 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be myconomics in this case?
posted by Durhey at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's from 2003 but still a good read, when the law caught up with Robert McPherson aka Professor Fanaticus. I think this Mushroomman is following his example.
posted by peeedro at 1:33 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"As it turns out the Feds were far and away my best customer over a year and a half. (I wonder what they did with all that fine fruit? Maybe they could donate it to the Johns Hopkins University [http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press_releases/2006/07_11_06.html]"

Here's a recent piece by Maias about the research at John Hopkins: ‘Magic Mushrooms’ Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term
posted by homunculus at 1:42 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Meatbomb writes "And yet, the cop in this story seems to only do 'seize money from motorists'. I guess he never sees any other problems when he is out on the highway."

That's what amazes me, how does he spend all that time on the highway and not write at least a few speeding tickets? It must seem like bill gates picking up quarters on the side walk but you'd think he'd write a few just out of spite every once and a while.
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on December 31, 2011


Forget the shed - with enough startup money, you could buy a missile silo and use that.

Just don't try making LSD there.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:02 PM on December 31, 2011


I am repeating what has been said, but this can not be said enough. WHEN A COP ASKS YOU IF HE CAN SEARCH YOUR CAR, YOU CAN SAY NO. And you should if you have something in your car you shouldn't. I repeat this because my wife, who is a public defender, says that almost everyone consents to a search even when they have drugs in the car because they don't want to say no to a cop. Just say no! (Or, no thanks...you don't have a warrant do you? Ok, then, I'll just say no, I guess.
posted by kozad at 3:06 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, the consequences of refusing a voluntary search seem to be getting harsher and harsher. I've never been in the position myself, but anecdotally, it seems to result in an antagonistic situation, often involving requests for K9 sniffing dogs and significant additional hassle.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:03 PM on December 31, 2011


Wait, I can punch people in NYC? I'll brb
posted by blargerz at 4:11 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks to Jay Z everyone knows not to let the cops search your car.

"Liscense and registration and step out of the car"
"Are you carryin' a weapon on you I know a lot of you are"
I ain't steppin out of shit all my paper's legit
"Well, do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?"
Well my glove compartment is locked so are the trunk in the back
And I know my rights so you gon' need a warrant for that
"Aren't you sharp as a tack, you some type of lawyer or something'?"
"Or somebody important or somethin'?"
Nah, I ain't pass the bar but i know a little bit
Enough that you won't illegally search my shit
"We'll see how smart you are when the K9 come"
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one

See what he did there, bitch actually refers to the K9
posted by Ad hominem at 4:24 PM on December 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is a good case for jury nullification.
posted by mearls at 5:41 PM on December 31, 2011


Also keep in mind that it's common for law enforcement agents to inflate drug bust yields using absurd metrics.

A few years a friend of mine was busted with a few pot plants in her garden.
The cops took and weighed not only the plants, but also every other plant in or near her garden, including several small oak trees.
posted by St. Sorryass at 6:07 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


This guy admits to selling two hundred pounds of dried shrooms at a wholesale price to his buddy Lance a drug dealer. What did he think Lance was going to do with it?
posted by humanfont at 6:26 PM on December 31, 2011


Unfortunately, the consequences of refusing a voluntary search seem to be getting harsher and harsher. I've never been in the position myself, but anecdotally, it seems to result in an antagonistic situation, often involving requests for K9 sniffing dogs and significant additional hassle.

note that the cop in question actually had a dog with him. no word on whether or not the dog was trained to sniff out drugs but then does it make any difference? the cop could have walked the dog around the car and then said 'tank smells drugs in the area so i'm gonna search your car.'

as for the story in general--it seems to be the guy was pretty stupid on all accounts. if you're carrying that amount of cash on hand you generally learn to do what you need to do to protect it.
posted by lester at 7:15 PM on December 31, 2011


Microeconomics majors, you mean.

Macro-economics. As in, how much recession and unemployment is held at bay by covert government stimulus of drug-buying? How much national - and international - GDP is from companies kept in business by drug spending, and counter-drug spending? How far into the global economy does this spread? Mexico is obviously screwed by it a multiple levels in multiple ways, but... how screwed? Just how big an influence on the national and world economy is the war on drugs?
posted by -harlequin- at 7:17 PM on December 31, 2011


almost everyone consents to a search

What do you do when you were pulled over for doing, say, 41 in a 35mph zone, and you think he's probably right about that, but as the the officer runs your info, he hasn't indicated whether he's ticketing or warning you, then asks to search the car. You know there isn't anything in the car - if he's honest - and you have the impression that there is a good chance he might not jack your insurance rates if you're obedient?

I chose to let him search, but I wasn't happy about it, and I'm interested if people feel there was a potentially better way to handle this?
posted by -harlequin- at 7:34 PM on December 31, 2011


I chose to let him search, but I wasn't happy about it, and I'm interested if people feel there was a potentially better way to handle this?

Ossifer, I'd love to let you go through my stuff but I've got a lawyer who's helping me in another case and if I did something as stupid as consenting to a warrantless search he'd pull up his bags and find someone else to represent.
posted by localroger at 7:46 PM on December 31, 2011


Mushrooms have a way of stripping a mind bare of tightly-grasped suppositions

... aka rectal astringencies

'Stripping' is indeed the main concern. Decades of careful, systematic 'in-formation' can be undone in a fortnit. Next thing you know it's angel-headed hipsters all the way down.
posted by Twang at 10:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


the cop could have walked the dog around the car and then said 'tank smells drugs in the area so i'm gonna search your car.'

Unless he then planted drugs so he could 'find' them, anything found in the search would then be inadmisable, I think (IANAL).


Ossifer, I'd love to let you go through my stuff but I've got a lawyer who's helping me in another case and if I did something as stupid as consenting to a warrantless search he'd pull up his bags and find someone else to represent.

I think there's too much information in that statement. Instead, try "My lawyer has told me to never consent to a search. I do not consent to a search. Am I being charged with a crime? Am I free to go?"

The less you say to cops the better.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:32 AM on January 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Good point, Kirth Gerson.
posted by localroger at 6:46 AM on January 1, 2012


Unless he then planted drugs so he could 'find' them, anything found in the search would then be inadmisable, I think (IANAL).

Wait, there's a chance a cop *won't* plant drugs on your ass? I've never considered that.
posted by mikelieman at 7:28 AM on January 1, 2012



Unless he then planted drugs so he could 'find' them, anything found in the search would then be inadmisable, I think (IANAL).


probably. then he just gets a drug conviction tossed. but the cash, now ... that's an civil action. the method of search is a lot less important then.
posted by lester at 7:46 AM on January 1, 2012


I was assuming there were no drugs, so unless the LEO planted some, there wouldn't be a drug arrest. Since the search was predicated on the dog supposedly detecting drugs, finding no drugs ought to make anything else found inadmissible (in my non-lawyer opinion). And if the cop did plant drugs, I would think the dog who'd been riding around all day in the same car with them would be less than excited by their presence in another car.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:01 AM on January 1, 2012


Wait, there's a chance a cop *won't* plant drugs on your ass? I've never considered that.

According to an old neighbor who was a state trooper for 12 years, most of the honest ones wash out by 5 years because if you're not getting something out of the job on the side it's a really unpleasant, dangerous, low-paying, crappy way to make a living. My neighbor stayed in because his Christian faith taught him that it was his duty to be where he could make the world a better place, and even he washed out 8 years sooner than he intended. (While I am generally allergic to religion, I have to admit DM was one of the finest Christians I have ever known, and if every Christian lived the way he did I'd be much more impressed.)

He made it very clear to me that it's the experienced career cops you need to be most wary of. If you get one of the freshly minted idealists who joined up to save the world, you might actually have a shot at getting some justice.
posted by localroger at 4:07 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am repeating what has been said, but this can not be said enough. WHEN A COP ASKS YOU IF HE CAN SEARCH YOUR CAR, YOU CAN SAY NO. And you should if you have something in your car you shouldn't. I repeat this because my wife, who is a public defender, says that almost everyone consents to a search even when they have drugs in the car because they don't want to say no to a cop. Just say no! (Or, no thanks...you don't have a warrant do you? Ok, then, I'll just say no, I guess.
In that story, though he didn't have anything illegal in the car, just cash. So the cop asked him if he had any drugs, bla bla bla, or over $10k in cash. Kind of a messed up question. If he says "no" he's lying, which the cop used an excuse to seize the money. He (apparently) claims he didn't have anything to fear.
See what he did there, bitch actually refers to the K9
Pretty sure the K9 was one of the problems.
posted by delmoi at 5:37 PM on January 1, 2012


That line is an allusion to the fact that of course, Jay Z would never be so stupid to have anything illegal in his car, so if they want to call the K9, it's not his problem.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:13 PM on January 1, 2012


Hmm, that's an interesting interpretation.

Except earlier in the song he says his "Trunk is Raw", and he "Got a few dollars, I can fight the case". Maybe he's saying, in that line, the K9 won't be a problem for him.
posted by delmoi at 6:24 PM on January 1, 2012


(god is there an HD version of that video that's not censored? All I can find is either censored HD or uncensored low res)
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on January 1, 2012


I feel like such a cliche debating the meaning of hip hop lyrics.

I have to admit that I'm not sure about the "raw" bit. It could change the meaning. I mostly base my interpretation off of his larger persona of being the kind of guy who wouldn't get caught doing something so stupid. For all I know 99 problems could be an allusion to some 99 year mandatory minimum sentence or something, which now that I think about it does kind of make sense.

Anyway, weird derail there.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:37 PM on January 1, 2012


Kind of a messed up question. If he says "no" he's lying, which the cop used an excuse to seize the money.

In case anyone doesn't know it yet, cops are pretty much free to lie to you. If you lie to them, though - that's illegal. There is usually no way to tell which of their questions are "messed up," so the safest course is to not answer any of them beyond identifying yourself.

When they start asking things like "do you mind (me looking in the trunk / getting in my cruiser / whatever)", it's definitely time to start making reference to your lawyer and asking if you're being charged. He's fishing. Don't get hooked.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:14 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Duly note and appreciated all your comments on my blog and my situation, folks. I just joined this (metafilter) community and welcome further conversation. One of the underlying issues, although my particular case is not likely the one to point at it, is DEA Schedule I itself, and the collection of plant and other psychomedicines thrown into the same dark bucket. It's time for a Schedule I re-evaluation. Let's see what beneficial use we might find or already know of, for which research has been hampered by being in that "unsanctioned" category. This is an approach the State of Washington is looking at regarding marijuana. Since we are talking drugs, why not bring the Food and Drug Administration into the picture. It may be a little early politically, but really it's a couple of decades late, to take a rational look at better ways to address the drug problems of our country, and indeed to use drugs. And although I understand that there is a good case to made for cynicism (there pretty much always is), I will use my blog as way for whoever might read it to at some level participate in a social discussion of our shared social situation, no matter where we might find ourselves on the spectrum. Trusting in Truth and its application, called Satyagraha by Gandhi, may seem weak in the face of the "steamroller" but what else do we have to work with? More to follow on my blog http://www.mushroomman.org
posted by mushroomman at 9:50 AM on January 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


Welcome, mushroomman, good to have you here.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:05 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, welcome to MetaFilter, mushroomman, but in keeping with our longstanding traditions and inside jokes (longstanding by Internet time), you may be required to switch to Portobellos.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:17 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jay-Z explains the song, and his take on the ongoing interplay with the cops, in a lot of detail in this "Fresh Air" interview. (Here's the transcript).

In short, yes, he had illegal goods in the trunk, and the bitch is the K9.
posted by argonauta at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Welcome indeed, mushroomman. And good luck.
posted by Splunge at 2:52 PM on January 4, 2012


I'm really glad to see you join us, mushroomman. I greatly admire your courage and idealism; especially so, because I'm a hopeless cynic.

You're speaking the language of a citizen—a democratic participant—but the truth is that our representative government and rule of law have been subverted by moneyed interests. The media, the prison-industrial complex, the drug war—they are insurmountable. You won't be heard because they don't want you to be heard; and they will never reschedule marijuana or psilocybin mushrooms because it's profitable to keep the penalties high.

There is no mechanism within the system to change this. The government will not be petitioned. The industries will not be out-lobbied. The enforcers will not revolt. America imprisons more people—per capita and absolute—than any nation on the planet. I'm sorry, my friend, but you are merely fuel for its grinding gears and turning wheels, and no amount of reason can break its inertia.

That is not to say I think you should cease speaking out. Your story is a testament to one of the great hypocrisies of our "land of the free," and history will look upon you with kindness and sympathy. In my book, you're a goddamn hero.
posted by troll at 3:01 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


welcome mushroomman, and I salute you for your brave efforts. I hope you prove that my rather depressing previously stated take on your situation wrong in all kinds of ways.
posted by localroger at 3:08 PM on January 4, 2012


What troll wrote. And good luck to you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:33 PM on January 4, 2012


Tangentially related: law school student cites the Drug War as reason behind his leaving law school with only one semester to go and no problem paying for it. Quote: The profession feeds off of the Drug war and the for profit prision system and is equally based off of ambulance chasing. These are the areas that the "lucky" graduates will get to enter into. They will feel empty and wonder where all the hope of improving the world went.
posted by telstar at 4:14 PM on January 4, 2012


Thank you all, whomever and wherever you are. Thanks to telstar for ringing me up. We can tell from our side of the screen that lots of folks read and participate in Metafilter. Today for me was a hearing in Tacoma for revocation of my home detention for bending the rules. It was also the first chance to have decent eye to eye contact with the judge, prosecutor, and my federal defense attorney all at once. Instead of beating up on me, the prosecutor readily agreed that I didn't deserve to be thrown back in the clink, and that a little email that I innocently sent to the guy who narked me off: "Wow. So much for friendship. Ciao." which could be technically considered as witness tampering (I learned) was not threatening in intent, tone, or interpretation. The judge went further and talked a bit about the sometimes overzealous application of this gps home monitoring, and how he thought it was overkill in my case, but since I had transgressed I would need to be a good boy for a while to get a little longer leash. I'm ok with that; it's interesting how we human can get used to the damnedest things. A couple of good things are in my favor: mandatory minimums of the Reagan era have been changed to discriminatory guidelines, and this is the 9th Circuit, known as about the most liberal of the federal courts. Bottom line, we are all human beings here, and actually most of us-from our respective positions- are trying to see our best collective semblance of justice done. Now doesn't that just warm the cockles of yer cynical hearts?!
posted by mushroomman at 9:09 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, it does and I hope this continues to be true. I've been certain they'd want to present you as some major drug dealer and use your prosecution for various see-how-important-our-jobs-are purposes, but it's good to be reminded that these are all actual human beings and are capable of seeing the difference between a true Bad Guy and, well, you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:22 PM on January 4, 2012


You're welcome, Mr. Maki. Good luck on your case. I hope you keep writing on your blog and hanging out here. You speak in a clear voice within an overall situation that is anything but clear, and I appreciate your honesty.
posted by telstar at 12:02 PM on January 6, 2012


Hi All- Tell me if this little memoir is too big for this venue, ok? It was 42 years ago, on my 18th birthday, April 4, 1968 that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. I was a senior in high school, having just cut my hair to go "Clean for Gene" McCarthy in his end-the-war-in-Vietnam bid for the presidency. With the primaries in California and Oregon coming right up, and a tight race with Bobby Kennedy before us, a small group of us from my high school joined many others and drove to Portland and canvassed door-to-door in the blue collar sections of the city. I'll always recall looking through the open front doors and screen doors into the living rooms of both working class white and black folks and seeing the pictures of the democratic triumvirate of Jesus, FDR, and JFK, often with photos of living or maybe dead relatives in uniform, arranged altar-like, on a special wall. These men figured in the personal and social mythos of America with dedicated leadership, each in his own way, that people might live lives of liberty and dignity. I added Gandhi to my personal pantheon at that time, to stand beside MLK Jr. as men who gave their all for peace and justice. RFK was assassinated a few weeks later.

That now long-ago era was also the time of my initiation into psychedelics, sharing my first hit of acid with a schoolmate on our way out of graduation commencement exercises. A self-guided rite of passage followed at the Class of '68 all-night party, where I saw into the games that we all played and were taught to play. I also received through the months ahead deep insights into the sources of peace and of human conflict and also potential, and vowed to be a personal force and witness to the power of peace. This despite the violent years ahead as the war in Vietnam dragged on, and our generation faced with vociferous indignation the injustice of our times. The Medicine helped me through the outrage and committed me to a path I follow today, which Gandhi called Satyagraha, or truth power. I don't capitalize truth here, because my truth and yours may not be completely congruent, but can provide the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation as fellow Americans, positive action to follow.

And I do know this: Psychedelics have helped many people in inestimable ways, and that my recent arrest for distribution of Psilocybin mushrooms is an opportunity for me and a larger kindred community to speak truth to power. I have benefitted in many ways over the years from the teachings of the plants and of the community of wisdom that grows around them. It is now time to open up the dungeon of DEA Schedule I and re-evaluate the assortment of drugs that have been placed beyond the pale of even research. It time to bring the light of modern science into the cell where these drugs have languished for over 40 years. As we as a society reconsider marijuana, it is time to see what other, perhaps even more beneficial uses may be found for psilocybin, iboga, ayahuasca, MDMA, LSD, and others. We know a lot more now about these remarkable substances, including that neither prohibition or wide-open legalization are going to serve the best social purpose in this momentous re-examination (this is my small "t" truth talking here). But we have barely scratched the surface for devising beneficial uses or emptying the over-crowded prisons of non-violent drug law offenders. I will be going into all this in more depth from my own perspective, and I will be inviting your viewpoint as well in my blog http://www.mushroomman.org.
posted by mushroomman at 7:04 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


neither prohibition or wide-open legalization are going to serve the best social purpose

Strongly disagree, the people need easy and open access to psychedelics without the mediation of The Man in any way.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:56 AM on January 17, 2012


Yes, a big question, and my own opinion is not quite resolved. I smilingly refer to the need for "adult supervision" and at best this comes from within, from our peers, and from some kind of a wise-use or wisdom-seeking tradition. In the early days, the two camps, characterized as the Huxley Camp and the Leary Camp, argued about whether psychedelics should be first administered to the cultural, social and political leadership (Aldous Huxley's view) and begin clearing sanctionable pathways for wider use, or as Tim Leary et al. succeeded in doing, popularizing and promoting the broadest use in the most rapid manner. The latter is what happened, and the reaction was reflected in the 40 plus years of repression that we've been under ever since. Does that mean I would trade my participation in the late '60's and '70's for being part of a clinical study or a church or something? Heck no!

But in our over-the-top American arrested-development adolescent way, we tend to overuse and abuse most everything we get our hands on. I really am interested in exploring ways that society- that large and very diverse "we" can actually imbed wise use into our culture, a huge undertaking. Step One to me is to "open the dungeon" of CSA Schedule I and re-evaluate (hell, actually evaluate for the first time!) the mix of drugs sequestered therein, each on its own merits and in some sort of experimental, responsible way.
posted by mushroomman at 9:42 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think we're really on the same wavelength sir, just a case of you having a little more nuanced and thoughtful view whereas I'm being more categorical in my advocacy. I think it is this cautious "slowly, slowly" thinking that will let the Man keep things tightened down on us, and I will regret being an old man still living in this culture of repression.

I know for a fact that these things are very very good for humans, almost universally - everyone (OK, maybe not everyone, but the vast bulk of normal people) needs to take LSD or mushrooms, it should be a right of passage. Yes of course we need adults supervising and guiding, but these should be shamans and not government officials... :)

Really wishing you luck with your struggle sir.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:14 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Noticed today the blog was scrubbed of some of the posts concerning the arrest and the details of the case against Mr. Maki, which is probably a good and lawyer requested move. Too bad the look at the legal system from the unique perspective was lost, maybe it will return and be expanded upon when the case reaches some sort of resolution.

A friend from high school is now a drug lawyer, which is weird mix of the profoundly disreputable and profoundly idealistic. Think one part Saul Goodman sleaziness and one part Aaron Sorkin soliloquy on the stupidity solving people's problems by putting them in cages. Very interesting stories.
posted by midmarch snowman at 11:30 AM on January 30, 2012


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