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DEA Raid of Shulgin's Laboratory
On October 27, 1994
Jan 8, 2004
On October 27, 1994, the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with other Federal, State and local agency representatives, showed up unannounced, with search warrants, at Sasha and Ann's home in Lafayette, California. The raid followed on the footsteps of a DEA inspection which had been conducted a month earlier. There were approximately thirty persons in the raiding party along with eight vehicles that included a fire engine, a "decontamination unit" and marked police cars. The stunned Shulgins were informed that this was not a criminal action, but rather an "administrative investigation" to determine if Sasha was in regulatory compliance with the stipulations of his DEA license that allows him to be in possession of, and to work with, Schedule I substances.

Administrative and environmental infractions were found; which is not surprising as Sasha's lab (a former basement) is as well known for its pet spiders as for important research and the creation of new molecular structure. It's also fair to say that housekeeping is not one of Sasha's big priorities.

After the raid, the DEA made its findings and terminated Sasha's DEA license. It was this license which had allowed Sasha to work with Schedule I materials. After consulting with a lawyer, the Shulgin's eventually decided not to challenge the termination of the license due to the high costs of such a legal battle, combined with the fact that they would be unlikely to win.

The termination of Shulgin's DEA license seemed arguably justifiable, given the list of record keeping and administrative infractions found during the raid. What is interesting is that in more than 15 years of holding a DEA license, two previous, announced and scheduled reviews of the same lab and records, produced no adverse comment. It should be noted that previous inspections were prior to the publication of PIHKAL in 1991.

Sasha was also fined $25,000 by the local district attorney. The $25,000 fine was attributed to a collection of unsolicited "anonymous drug samples" that people had sent to Sasha with the hope that he might test them. While some people think that such a testing program is beneficial, the DEA does not. Licensees are expressly forbidden (not by law, but by an unpublished DEA administrative rule) from providing such anonymous quantitative testing. The allowable fine is $25,000.00 per sample. Sasha and Ann paid the fine, as well as an addition $15,000 in legal and related expenses. Because the money came out of their retirement funds, and over Sasha's initial protest, a trust account was set up and donations were solicited to help pay the fine. At least $28,000 was collected.