Feds Crack Down on Drug Paraphernalia 

  Feds Crack Down on Drug Paraphernalia 

Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2003 at 15:50:05 PT
By Michael Kirkland
Source: United Press International 

The Justice Department announced charges against 55 people Monday in a nationwide crackdown on sales of drug paraphernalia. The crackdown included restraints put on 11 Web sites where such paraphernalia allegedly was sold."There are 11 dot-coms that are dot-gone," John Brown, acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration told reporters at the Justice Department. Those trying to access the sites are bounced to a DEA Web page with a stark warning that they have been placed under restraint by the courts.
Attorney General John Ashcroft blamed what he called the growing problem in part on Web page sales."With the advent of the Internet," Ashcroft said, "the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has exploded in the expansion."The attorney general said "in homes across America we know that children and young adults are the fastest growing population of Internet users. Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without the knowledge of those families."Drug paraphernalia includes such items as miniature scales for weighing drugs, material to "cut" drugs to increase profits, roach clips and freebase cocaine kits, among others.The attorney general said many of the items sold on the Internet were "sneaky pipes" -- marijuana or hash pipes disguised as highlighter markers, lipsticks or other innocent objects.Ashcroft and Brown were accompanied by a group of officials representing agencies involved in the crackdown.One of those officials, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh, said 27 people were charged in 17 indictments unsealed Monday as part of "Operation Pipe Dreams."The charges in that operation include indictments against 10 alleged national distributors and seven indictments against businesses in Western Pennsylvania.The DEA led "Operation Pipe Dreams," assisted by the Marshals Service, the Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Customs Service.Ashcroft also announced a separate investigation, "Operation Headhunter, with the return of indictments in Iowa against alleged national distributors of drug paraphernalia in Michigan, California and Texas.The two operations plus regional takedowns involved charges against 55 persons, the Justice Department said.Those convicted face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of the indictment. From the Washington Politics & Policy DeskSource: United Press InternationalAuthor:  Michael Kirkland, UPI Legal Affairs CorrespondentPublished: February 24, 2003Copyright 2003 United Press InternationalWebsite: Contact: Articles:55 Charged in Drug Paraphernalia Sales - Paraphernalia Archives 

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Comment #4 posted by slydog on February 24, 2003 at 19:16:44 PT:
What I think would really happen is it will drive the sale of pipes unerground, in effect making the paraphenalia as illegal as the flowers smokes in them. Me I just make my own if I really had to. or my god if rolling papers were illegal, can you imagine little peces of dry wood fiber (papers) would be illegal too. When will the madness end!!!
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Comment #3 posted by Heavy-D on February 24, 2003 at 19:03:50 PT:
Where the Raids Started -Barmes & Chills
For all of you that don't know the history of this,
18 months ago both Barmes Wholesale and Chills Industries were raided by the DEA/Feds.Chris Hill (from Chills) took a plea deal and gave all the information he knew at the time of his plea bargain (thus testifying against the other pipe sellers).Barmes Wholesale (Barmes is a big family, there is Brian Barmes, Marvin Barmes, Mark Barmes and many others) is still in some serious trouble. Beyond selling bongs and other pipes, Barmes has / had offshore bank accounts in the Bahammas where they funnelled all their profits to avoid US Taxes. So now Barmes is in a LOT of trouble - Drug Paraphernalia, Money Laundering, Tax Evasion and with the new Patriot act, they are "enemies of the state" (because of the offshore bank used with illegal activities).However, for some reason we haven't hear much about the Barmes case. I live in Indiana and the rumor mill is that Barmes is testifying and turning Federal evidence for a lesser charge.I don't know if this is true, but it would explain why none of the Barmes family is in jail (they even still sell their RiteWeight scales online).So I think it's safe to say that these raids were the result of a Snowball effect, pushed by the earlier raids on Barmes & Chills, powered with the renewed energy of the information given by Barmes & Chills.Anyway, be carefull out there! With all these people rolling and ratting it's a terrible time to own or operate a headshop. If you haven't been raided yet, it's just a matter of time till someone testifies against you and gets you shut down.Close your store and just walk away.Thank the lucky stars that nobody closed it for you....
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Comment #2 posted by The C-I-R-C-L-E on February 24, 2003 at 17:16:04 PT

The Point Here is Clear
This is intended to scare the crap out of anybody who was thinking of engaging in said business, and to scare others who are currently operating similar businesses into stopping any questionable sales. Not only will people pull "clearly intended" items but many will go beyond what is intended, into the realm of self-policing out of fear. Sweeping raids will potentially ripple this way, providing a temporary over-reaching victory.The other point is to attack a source of advertising funds for cannabis publications and websites, hitting them hard, on the financial bottom line.Clever.
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Comment #1 posted by Kegan on February 24, 2003 at 16:05:23 PT

This is so totally going to blow up in Ashcroft's face it is beautiful.I mean the American people are just going to go "..... what the FUCK are you guys bothering with this stupid crap for?... TERRORISTS, man!!!! Forget the frigging PIPES!!!!
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