PF's Encounter with the Law
Nov 30, 2003
Originally published on fanaticus.com
SENTENCING REPORTOn October 31, my Wife and I went to our sentencing hearing at the Tacoma Federal courthouse. I was sentenced to 6 months home detention and 3 years probation. My wife was sentenced to 3 years probation. My sentence was based on the federal sentencing guidelines concerning drug felonies. I was calculated at a level 10 felony - zone B which provides as the minimum sentence - 6 months home detention. My wife got the minimum for psilocin (magic shroom) possession. She doesn't have to be drug tested. I have to stay clean and do periodic drug tests for the next 3 years. But, it ain't bad. I don't mind being unstoned (now that I am used to it).
The details of my sentence was based on the plea agreement my wife and I plus our lawyers signed on August 15 in Tacoma Federal court with the US attorneys office. To get count one dropped (the conspiracy to distribute), we forfeited some property and a considerable bank account (PF). We paid a fine of $125 for the court cost, but no fine for the sentence, which was a good thing. The forfeitures satisfied that. Plus, we keep our hip Olympic park rain forest house (my "prison" for the next 6 months). And a really good thing was that they dismissed my two other co-defendants (my wife's sister, Judy and their childhood "brother" (Steve).
The reason I got the minimum and a dismissal of two co-defendants was because the US attorney said that I cooperated with them from the day of the raid by taking the heat, telling them that I was the "man", and I was truthful and didn't hide anything. Also, I had a very small gro op in my house and they found 11.4 grams of dried shrooms in a waste basket. The DEA was surprised at the small ("miniscule" was a word they used in hearings) gro-op. But a gro-op is a gro-op, and any shroom gro-op no matter how small, is an automatic level 12 drug felony. I got a level 10 by pleading guilty with 2 points off for acceptance of responsibility. The plea agreement also said that I would not get any enhancements of the felony level. Probation (they work for the Judge) wanted me to get an "enhancement" of 4 levels added because that is what happens to "leaders" of conspiracies. And since I am the leader of the PF shroom gang, that would be me. So if that would have happened, which very well would have (without the plea agreement), I would definitely have gotten a level 16 which is 21 to 27 months. But my lawyer successfully disengaged that one.
But if we went to trial, the worst nightmare was presented to us by the US attorneys when they threatened to ask the court to calculate the amount of shrooms that could have been cultivated from the amount of "packets" I sold over the years (over 100,000 syringes)(the "conspiracy"). And the prosecutions evidence would be the example of shrooms that the DEA grew in their lab with my syringes. I saw the photos, and they did a great job, even though they were newbies. They used an aquarium, plant light and the PF TEK as written. The PF TEK was the actual reason for this whole affair, it works all the time as long as the spore syringe is good. And so when the evidence against PF is added up - I (we) didn't have a chance.
- the High Times ad
- the PF web site
- the years and success of PF as a business (bank accounts and income tax reports)
- The spore syringes which the DEA ordered and by following the PF TEK - grew shrooms
- a whole bunch of idiotic cases ("related" cases) from around the country involving absolute morons with shrooms that they did or did not get from using my PF TEK and syringes (which they had) - (all the most sickening bunch of ass holes you could possibly not ever think could exist - blamed on PF) - described in the DISCOVERY (police investigation reports that the prosecution gives to the defense counsels). Secrets so fucking stupid, I will never reveal. I have to accept that a whole lot of complete jerks were my customers.
- and then there are the returned order boxes by the hundreds and hundreds, and what is worse, the many "victims" who got a box of syringes that they didn't order. They didn't know what they were and got frightened and called the police. There were untold police and postal inspector investigations on that. As you know, I cut out the "customers" hand or typewritten address from their order letter and taped it on the box. There were never any typos on this end. But the chaos was considerable.
- the tiny gro-op in my house the DEA found
- the amazing surveillance the Feds did on us for several years (including the installation of a camera at the Seattle post office especially for us) and other evidence such as FINGER PRINTS on the syringes, mailer boxes and money orders - ect.
THE GOOD POINTSThe Feds didn't take my domain name - FANATICUS.COM. This is kind of a mystery, but I think I know why. The site was strictly for information. The First Amendment of the US constitution protects that. If I would have done some kind of credit card thing or pay pal (as suggested by know nothing idiots thinking that was the "modern" way to do business) - yeah, I would have lost my domain name. I think that is why the Feds confiscated Tommy Chongs domain names for his glass ware (paraphernalia) business. My domain name is very valuable, because it keeps me in touch with the world and I can clarify issues that way without any interference. I also have a trademark on PSYLOCYBE FANATICUS. If any copy cat wants to use it, I can suit. And I have a lawyer who is ready to do just that.
The Feds gave me back a substantial amount of money, and I was able to keep three nice houses.
The Feds are giving me back my little Chevy S-10 pickup and my wife's Honda CRV (chick recreational vehicle).
WHY DID I BECOME PF?Magic mushroom spores and kits have been sold openly and advertised in such magazines as HIGH TIMES for at least 25 years. These spores are not illegal in Washington State or Federally. When I got my idea for the PF TEK and kit back in 1991, I decided to try it myself. I had no doubt that I would become successful. I just wondered how successful I would be, and I became more successful than I dreamed. And that is because of my growing technique - the PF TEK which has now become the standard - world wide.
I have been a jazz and blues musician all of my life, turning professional at the age of 16. I consider my lifestyle definitely on the "edge". I take chances. I don't really live for the future. I live for today. I have engaged in a lifestyle that most people are afraid of which involves the complete absence of "security" and a "comfortable" predictable life. When one is a professional musician who likes to play the jazz and blues music he likes, that is practically street level survival. I have never had a real job. My music work goes from gig to gig, day to day and week to week. I never have had the certainty of a 9 to 5 work day. That is truly living on the edge. Becoming PF was no big step.
I knew I was taking a risk when I began my PF spore and kit business, but risk was a part of my being. To give you a little hint at the "risk", in 1991 after only 2 months of business, I went to the Post Options business mail box center to pick up my orders, and the owner took me to the side. He told me that two Seattle Narcotics officers presented him with a warrant and they got my name and information from him. That worried me, but I kept on going because all of the other magic shroom kit entrepreneurs were still going and had been going for many years. I just kept my head down. I heard nothing for many years. I considered myself "safe". But know that I never thought that I was secure. I just continued to play music and sell spore syringes. Both of those activities seemed almost the same to me - basically risky - the game of life - an artists life.
Then I had the misfortune to purchase a copy of Richard Glen Boire's book "SACRED MUSHROOMS AND THE LAW". It is an interesting book, but it has a really glaring error. And that is the "error" that I thought was my salvation in case of a bust (which I talked about at my old web site). The error is where Boire describes dried shrooms to be considered equal to dried marijuana. In other words, he said in his book that "one gram of dried shrooms equals one gram of weed". Since my grow op was always tiny, that would mean that if I ever got in trouble for it, the charge against me would be a simple misdemeanor weed charge of less than 2 ounces. That is what I considered the risk to be. If I was to get busted, I would just accept it and quit with a minor problem with the law. After all, in the POWER PRODUCTS bust (that took place a few years after I began PF - in which he copy cated me) that I raved about at my web site, they dropped the charges against him for the shroom kits (most likely he had no shrooms at the time!!!) but busted him for the weed he got in the mail. But I was totally wrong. Boire doesn't really understand (or didn't then) what the one equals one means. It is very complicated, but it aint what it seems. In the statutes, the comparison is part of an algebraic kind of calculation that has further implications. It is not as simple as Boire says in this book. Growing shrooms is far more serious than growing a like amount of weed. It is a felony verses a misdemeanor. BAD NEWS!
Then I became very successful and my reputation as PSYLOCYBE FANATICUS became international. I was so pleased with that, that I just didn't consider getting into trouble, and as you all know, trouble came to me in a big way. But I am not bitter, and like I have always done, I just role with the punches.
THE REGRETSI didn't quit when I "felt" it. That began a couple of years ago when the ALBINO mutant appeared. That spooked me. Plus, I was doing killer business and also getting back scores of syringe boxes and calls from Police and Postal Inspectors around the country. Plus, I was watching SHARON OSBORNE on TV and she said, "if things are going really good, watch out, something bad is sure to happen". I believe that for some reason. Her words echoed around my brain for months.
My Stepdaughter and her ex boyfriend were handling my Seattle post office stuff (mailing syringes and collecting the money). They got spooked early on. My Stepdaughter quit and moved to New York City. Her ex kept on with his Seattle duties, but likewise, he got spooked and he and his girlfriend moved to New York City where he is pursuing his music. They were very intuitive about it all. They were named in the indictment and they even had their photos taken with the Seattle post office surveillance camera installed just for them. I gave my stepdaughter the photo when she just came for a visit, and she was both amused and pissed off. Plus, right around Feb. 18 when I was arrested, a New York Narc started pursuing her and did all the usual narc things - mysteriously would show up at the local pub and engage in talk with her about PF (that was very suspicious because she did not advertise her involvement with PF. And how did he know or why would he have brought up out of the blue some bullshit about him trying to grow shrooms with that "shitty" PF TEK - especially to her??? It is way to much of a coincidence). He used all the usual bywords such as "those potent little aborts". He even tried to entice her into starting a gro-op in "his" big loft (a nasty little sting attempt). And of course, he offered her the best of drugs. The real giveaway was that he had "FED" shoes, a phony Chris Robinson hippy hair style (ex singer for the BLACK CROWS) and a snappy Miami Vice style outfit - all giveaways for a narc and totally out of place for Brooklyn NY. He would encounter her on the street all the time, and she spotted him in a narc style car watching her apartment and sometimes he would be replaced by a black dude in a car watching her apartment. When I did the plea agreement, they "mysteriously" went away. My stepdaughter and I were immediately hip to it when the narc began his hunt, and laughed our asses off on the phone about it. What is cool about her, is that she doesn't take any bullshit. Actually, I think the narc was enamored with her since she is a babe. No narcs showed up to pull a sting on her ex boyfriend (not a babe).
THE BIG SCAREWhen one is released from Federal Detention it is by a RELEASE BOND. I was immediately put on drug test rotation and I was given the max - two tests a week. Since that began, I have given about 55 Urine samples. Since I was a chronic weed head, my piss didn't come clear until about 6 and 1/2 weeks after they began (and that figure is based on age, weight, metabolism rate, body fat, physical activity, amount of weed smoked, how long weed was smoked, how often, how much, quality of the bud and the last time it was smoked before the UA's commenced). There is a rule with pretrial release about dirty UA's, and that is one must clear within 30 days or that is proof you are smoking weed. Check out any official site about weed UA's and there is a way to determine NON-drug usage. The THCC marijuana metabolite is divided by the creatinine urine concentration, and with non weed use, the level reduces by 1/2 every 7 to 10 days. Pretrial doesn't care about that, with the UA's it is just a matter of positive or negative. 3 weeks after my release, my pretrial release supervisor accused me of smoking weed. That freaked me out to say the least. I asked him in a meeting if my levels were going down, and he said yes, but he just follows the rules of the court, and if you get a positive, that is that.
So I was written up in violation for "smoking weed" because my March 28 and April 2 UA's were positive. Within the week, they finally went clear, but I was still written up in violation. Then on April 24, I got another positive. I thought that was just the quirks of my body releasing the weed metabolite. I was written up for that too. And when that happens, they send the sample for confirmation by GC/MS (Gas chromatography mass spectrometry) lab analysis.
I also did a "going out of business" sale by selling bottles, glass labware, syringes and PF TEK books ect. That was a big mistake. The US attorneys office saw it (they monitored my website) and called my lawyer and told him that was a violation. One of the conditions of my release was that I abstain from anything that had to do with my PF business. Although PF didn't sell lab ware and the lab ware I tried to sell was commonly available stuff, because "I" sold it, that was not good. My lawyer called me immediately and warned me and I promptly took it down. I remained very nervous about it. One thing to remember, is that when one is on pretrial release, do nothing without getting it clear from your lawyer. That is what lawyers are for. They know the law.
So then at the end of May, I go to the pretrial services office for my monthly report in (at the Tacoma Federal Courthouse). I was with my wife (also out on bond). The officer motioned me in, and he pointed down a different hallway saying we are using a different office that day. I walked into the office and it had no windows and there was an empty desk and chair. I turned around and there they were - two armed US Marshals. They said, "put it down (my briefcase), you are under arrest for violating your release bond". My heart sunk to the floor. They then chained me up and took me to the Pierce County jail for the night. What a horrid place that is. It is like a mental hospital. They put me in a big cage with a lot of bunks and various really degenerated dudes. It wasn't like the Federal Detention Center in Seattle were the inmates are really a bunch of interesting "bad guys" where the facility has individual rooms, private stainless steel toilets and sinks, bunk beds, closets, a big open area with TV rooms, exercise rooms, pool table, card game tables, smoking area and friendly Correctional officers. The Pierce County jail was a hell hole. So I didn't eat or drink for 24 hours. I was freaked fucking out. The US Marshals came to get me early the next morning and they greeted me with "nice place eh"? They took me back to the Federal Court house and put me in a holding cell. I cried with absolute fear. I was sure I was going back to the Federal Detention center for the rest of the summer.
So they drag me out into the court room and there is my lawyer, my wife and the US attorney. As I sat down, the US attorney had a copy of my web site and to make me hear him, he murmured something about "These petrie dishes are great for printing large shroom caps". Then I got it, they were speculating if I was selling paraphernalia having to do with my ex business. I grabbed my lawyer and frantically told him those dishes and glass stuff were easily available anywhere and could be used for any type of biology or mycology. He briefly spoke to the US attorney and the US attorney agreed (in the nick of time). By the way, I complained to my lawyer that I hated the US attorney in charge of my case. My lawyer countered with support for him and that he was a fair man, well educated, an excellent lawyer and a good friend. I now agree with my lawyer. (The US attorney in charge is indeed a very good guy, in fact, I dig the guy. We even had a little friendly chat after sentencing were he explained to me that they were really just after getting me a felony. He also said that they were pushing to put magic shroom spores in the paraphernalia statutes. I asked him why they just don't make the spores illegal, and he shrugged and just said he didn't know).
Then the Judge comes in. He let me go with a date to reappear to determine if my release bond is to be rescinded. I breathed a real sigh of relief. Then the US marshals escorted me out of the courtroom. They put me in a cage section of the elevator. I then said to them, "God Damn, that was close"! Then one of the marshals said, "by a hair, especially with this Judge". They took me downstairs, opened the cage and out I went, free again. I was on the lower floor of the building (by the way - a gorgeous place - very serene - with light streaming in through the windows - no one around - I was alone). I felt like getting on my knees and thanking whatever God might exist. Then my wife appears and I was on my way home. I felt high.
The US attorney told my lawyer that if the April 24 positive drug test comes confirmed as positive, I was going back to prison. My lawyer wisely didn't tell me about that. The worry would have been severe. So it comes back a FALSE POSITIVE. Then a couple of weeks later, I get word from my lawyer that the bond hearing was canceled. That was a relief also.
MY LAWYERI have been given permission to mention him by name. I have learned to do nothing in my situation without his go ahead. His name is Barry Flegenheimer of Seattle Washington, voted by his peers as "SUPER LAWYER" of the year. He says that it is really a ploy to get his advertising. He is a man with a serious punch (delivered to my arm when I started babbling the wrong thing at my presentencing meeting with probation).
On February 18, the DEA and a host of law enforcement teams raided my house out here in the rain forest. (another amazing but horrifying story I am not ready to describe, but might in the future). I was taken to the Federal Detention center near Sea-Tac (south of Seattle). I and one of my co-defendants arrived about the same time in the afternoon (where we both appeared before a judge). They didn't arrest my sister in law, Judy, who lives down the street in the rain forest. I pleaded with the cops to not take her to jail. My fear of her being arrested and jailed made me talk to the DEA dude in charge. And I told him I was singing because of her. She is a frail woman, and not able to take being jailed. So they just fingerprinted her and all of that and let her go home. I was extremely grateful for that, in fact I almost smiled all the way up to Seattle chained up like Marleys Ghost.
So there was me and Steve in the incarceration unit at the FDC. We were sitting there, totally out of our minds, and at the table was sitting a fairly interesting character. He could be great "bad guy" actor. He looked the part - fairly big and "Italian" looking. He turned out to be a three time loser bank robber. As we sat there looking pathetic, he asked us what we were in for. I told him "conspiracy to manufacture psilocin". Then I said we hope to be released on friday when we appear before the judge who will determine if we can be released (detention hearing). He laughed loudly. He said that prisoners in on a federal drug conspiracy charge don't ever get out, and that we would surely remain in custody until our trial. Jesus! That really put the damper on any hope we had. So we just sat around stunned and scared. The real horror of it was that when you get put into Federal detention, you can't call anyone - no communication with anyone, except a lawyer. My partner Steve had a court appointed lawyer at the time, but since I was so "rich", I had none and it was up to me to get one.
A really wonderful thing was that my wife was not home when the raid went down. I was totally grateful to providence that she wasn't there to experience the incredible violence of the raid. So she was missing - out of the country on a vacation in the Bahamas. Plus, my stepdaughter (named in the affidavits but not in the indictment) was with her. They both could have been at the house when the raid went down also. My wife and her daughter missed it by a couple of days. It still seems like a "miracle".
The next day came and I had presence of mind to call a lawyer. There were phones in the FDC and you could only call a lawyer. I checked out the Seattle Tacoma yellow pages (totally tattered) and saw a big ad for a famous local lawyer who specialized in Drug crimes. I called him and was put immediately through to him. He told me he had just got out of the hospital with some serious health problems but immediately recommended a lawyer friend of his. The lawyer was Barry. So I called him right away, and again, a secretary put me right through to him. I was already sort of famous because there was a big news story about me and my shroom business on several Seattle 5 o'clock newscasts. In fact, I was standing around in the FDC, and some dudes on the top balcony yelled down to me - "hey, are you the mushroom man". I looked around and said - "you mean me"? They replied with "yeah, you"! "You were just on TV"! So then my fame grew around the FDC and everybody started to tell about their Shroom experiences. So anyway, Barry's secretary put me through to him. I told him who I was ect. So he said he would be down to see me. It was in the afternoon and I heard a CO (corrections officer) yell out "MCPHERSON"! I jumped to and they took me down to the meeting rooms (after a strip search). I entered the room and there was BARRY. He had a law book open and was pointing to the PSILOCIN statute. He began by saying it was a felony. Then I began babbling about only selling spores, and all of that. But he would not respond to any of that. I remember the old DRAGNET TV series in which Sgt. Joe Friday would always say "just the facts, maam, just the facts". That was Barry. He understood the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and what it says about magic shrooms and psilocin. It was there in black and white - no mystery to him. I started babbling about one gram equals one gram (the Boire thing). Then I began my education on what I had gotten myself into. The fact that Barry took himself away from his busy schedule to come right down to the FDC to see me, foreshadowed what a great job he would do for me.
So friday comes around, the day of my detention hearing. Unknown to me, Steve my codefendant was let right out and he got his truck back. When I went before the Judge, he was concerned that my wife was missing, so they didn't let me out. Barry just got a continuance for the next wednesday and began searching for my wife. They finally hooked up when my wife was alerted to my situation from a phone call to her sister Judy. She immediately came back and her daughter went back to New York. I am sure there was a lot of crying going on with them. She was there on Wednesday for the detention hearing. She turned her self in and was booked and released already. The Judge on seeing her in the courtroom, decided I could get out on Pretrial release bond. That particular Judge was the one who presided over the grand jury decision to issue the search warrant and warrant for my arrest. He presided over all of my pretrial hearings, and he is known as a tough judge. He does not like "drug addicts". I guess they all don't. That's a no brainer. The cops found 2 ounces of weed at my house. The DEA had to open the windows of my house to the cold morning rain forest air because my house reeked of skunky weed. So I get taken back to the FDC for release and it involved the usual strip searches and forms to be signed. I got my cloths (civvies') back and the CO lead me out of the FDC into the light of the world. I was so happy I can't even attempt to describe it. And that was after 8 days in the FDC. I lost a lot of weight. So there was my wife and a chick friend of hers driving up and I was gone. My wife's chick friend had some vodka spiked apricot juice. I didn't know it was spiked, but it did have a funny taste. I got nice and mellow. We had to stick around for a couple of days and check in at the Pretrial services where I met my pretrial release officer and got my first drug test with a list of things I had to do to stay out of jail. Being on pretrial release is no picnic, because one can easily be reincarcerated if one doesn't do as ordered (it happened once - described above). I got real careful after that. My wife and I were pretty apprehensive about what we would find when we arrived home. We were correct - the place was a shambles. But there to great us was our two beloved cats, totally freaked out. Our neighbor took care of them. They were allowed outside because they are outside type cats, but they were there in the house to greet us. They were nervous for days afterwards. The raid scared the hell out of them, and the drug dog didn't help much either. Our front door still has the bash marks on it from the DEA swat teams battering ram. But the next day, we put the house back in order and after vacuuming, it looked like nothing had ever happened, except for the bash marks on the front door and its' loose locking mechanism (I opened the door just before it would have come crashing in - and of course you know the story - "get on the floor, now - put your hands behind your back"!!!! --- without any protest, I complied as fast as I could) and an upstairs bedrooms door frame is still busted.
THE MEDIAWhen we were raided on Tuesday, February 18 2003, the next day the story was all over the media. For two consecutive issues of the DAILY WORLD (Aberdeen newspaper), there was a front page story with big headlines about it. On wednesday, there was a feature news story on Channel 5 (KING TV) news about it. The TV news story was also on Channel 4 (KOMO TV) and a couple of others. The story was also in the Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers with such reports as "the suspects sold hallucinogenic mushrooms on the internet" ect. According to the newspapers, we sold ILLEGAL MUSHROOMS out of our house. Also, they mentioned the spores, but they couldn't seem to get the difference. KING TV channel 5 in Seattle had quite a newstory. In fact, they had some syringes on display. They said they had been investigating FANATICUS for several months already (before the bust day). That is quit a coincidence.
The main thrust of every newspaper story and coverage was this - "UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON". The "up to but not more than 20 years in prison" is in the indictment and it has to do with the maximum penalty one can get from trafficking in Psilocybin mushrooms (felony level 38). This level is defined as manufacturing 300 grams or more of LSD (or the equivalent amount of other schedule 1 or 2 Hallucinogens). And since the Federal Sentencing guidelines give psilocyn a value of 200 times that of LSD, that comes out to 60,000 grams (60 Kilos) of psilocybin (the pure drug). Since 10 mg of psilocybin equals one dose, there are 6 million doses in 60 kilos of psilocybin. The FSG gives 5 grams of dried shrooms as being one dose (or trip) so that turns out to be 30 million grams of shrooms, or 30,000 kilos or 66,000 lb. of dried shrooms. So if one had 30,000 kilos (66,000 pounds) or more of dried shrooms, one can be eligible for 20 years in prison (minimum sentence). That is a lot of shrooms. They caught me with 11.4 grams which is an automatic level 12 which can be readjusted up or down considering the facts of the case and what the prosecution wants to do (which they reduced in my favor).
But here is my complaint. There were no reporters or media anywhere around the huge courtroom at the Tacoma Federal courthouse. And what really pisses me off, is that there was no TV report about my sentence, no newspaper report - not even in the local yokel DAILY WORLD newspaper which covers Lake Quinault. There was complete silence. I guess when the results of the case is not up to "expectations", the media blows off. Yeah, they just blow.
So now it is over. It has been a rough 8 months, but my lawyer took us through it with expert advice through his many years of experience in the Federal court system. Without his negotiations with the US attorneys office, I am sure I would have gotten prison time with TOTAL forfeiture.
November 15 2003