Arizona’s Peyote Foundation raided

L to R: Raven, Moses and Leo Mercado: Home destroyed by raid yet no charges laid.L to R: Raven, Moses and Leo Mercado: Home destroyed by raid yet no charges laid.Last year, Leo and Raven Mercado’s Peyote Foundation in Kearny, Arizona was battling government officials over their right to grow and possess peyote cacti for religious purposes.
The Mercados, their friends and their cacti had been subjected to years of harassment, including seizure of peyote, arrest, political persecution, and brutality. Still, they had built a network of Native American Church members, entheogen experts and spiritual seekers who helped make their rural Arizona homestead into one of a handful of sacred sites of refuge for peyote cacti.

Peyote is classified as a hallucinogen, but it is not generally considered a recreational drug. Peyote has been used medicinally and religiously in North America for several hundred years before being criminalized in the United States in the early 1900’s. In Canada, it is completely legal to grow and use peyote.

Current US laws purport to guarantee special groups of citizens the right to use peyote. Yet in many states, possession of any amount of the cacti for any reason is considered a serious felony, comparable in judicial penalty to that for large-scale marijuana cultivation.

Peyote raid, 1995

The Mercados know about the war on peyote only too well. In 1995, a group of armed Pinal County authorities descended on the Mercado’s home, machine-guns in hand, and confiscated 1,000 plants (see CC#13).

They also terrorized the Mercados and their children, leaving their home a shambles. International protests convinced the county attorney to return the Foundation’s plants, but many of the cacti had died.

Since then, Mercado has been subject to ongoing persecution, including the seizure of a sacred “grandfather” cacti. When he demanded return of the cacti, he became involved in a tug of war with the new county attorney, who had made his predecessor’s return of peyote to Mercado a campaign issue.

Last year, Mercado lost a court fight to have the grandfather cacti returned. A local judge ruled that the Mercados were not protected by Arizona and federal laws that allow peyote possession for spiritual purposes.

“We do not believe that these courts are capable of rendering fair decisions,” Raven said. “The core issue is that the government is trying to tell us what our spiritual beliefs are. We accurately state that we are religious users of this plant. We are members of the Native American Church and are fully covered by both state and federal religious freedom laws, but the government will not believe it.”

Bona fide religion

Raven explained how after Leo challenged the county’s right to confiscate the grandfather peyote, the county hired a Navajo Indian politician who was an alleged member of the Navajo Native American Church to testify against the Mercados.

“He has never met us, never asked us what our spiritual practices are, never talked to our friends or ceremonial partners,” Raven said. “But he has the temerity to come here and tell us, as if he is an expert witness on the state of our hearts, that we are not bona fide members of a church. He tells the court that we aren’t good enough to be members of the church, that he knows who is and isn’t qualified to participate in this holy sacrament. And the county judge takes his word for it.

“We have ceremonies with Native American Church members and we share sacrament with them. But the judge ruled that Leo had no right to possess his grandfather peyote button.”

Raid and destruction

Apparently empowered by the judge’s ruling against the Mercados, the Pinal County Multi-Jurisdictional Narcotics Task Force came to the family’s home on January 8, 1999, to serve an arrest warrant because Leo was in alleged arrears on a child support payment.

Leo Mercado said that he shares joint custody with his ex-wife and that she did not ask the government to collect child support from him.
“A child support warrant isn’t usually served by the Narcotics Task Force,” Mercado said. “This was not about child support. They came with a team ready to dismantle the Foundation and steal our sacrament.”

Officers handcuffed, arrested or detained the Mercados, their eight-year-old son Moses, and several Foundation volunteers. They then declared that the entire property was under seizure, even though they had no warrant for a search of the property. A warrant was later obtained, but Mercado says that the timing records on the search and seizure forms indicate that most of the seizures took place without legal authorization.

The Mercados and their friends were forced off the property at gunpoint, and were not allowed to seek legal counsel or notify allies. They were denied access to their home and belongings, even though this meant that Moses was forced to stand shivering in the night air dressed only in t-shirt and pants.

Leo was taken to jail. While he was scraping together the child support payment, members of the Native American Church were contacting Pinal County authorities to advise them that the Foundation was a bona fide church and that they would take control of the peyote, which is authorized by law.

Officials refused to even acknowledge evidence of bona fide peyote use, and the next day began to destroy the gardens where Mercado grew cacti. According to Raven, officers drove trucks over the sacred tipi and fireplace sites, then ripped 11,323 plants from the ground, threw them into trucks, and drove away. Agents also confiscated or mishandled numerous other items having absolutely nothing to do with peyote, Raven said, including family photo albums, sacred Huichol art, textbooks, clothing, sanitary napkins, money, sleeping bags, crystals and prayer devices.

“Our home, ceremonial sites, sacred gardens and personal possessions were crushed and destroyed by this raid,” Mercado said. “It is most unfair because the police get to come here, steal everything precious to us, run us off our own land, destroy what we love and hold dear, and we have no recourse since they haven’t charged us with anything. Unless they do, we will never get our day in court so that we can go up through the court system and establish that we are legal users of peyote.”

Why?

Why did authorities choose to conduct the raid?

“The current district attorney thinks peyote is a recreational drug,” Mercado said. “He obviously has no idea about anthropology or ethnobotany. It’s anything but recreational. Our use of peyote is no more recreational than a Catholic going to confession. Seizing cacti as if they are illegal is like seizing bread and wine used in communion.”

Mercado bemusedly explains that the county prosecutor apparently suspects the Foundation is making money selling peyote.

“It’s really laughable that they came in here apparently trying to accuse us of racketeering, like the Foundation is a criminal enterprise through which we sell peyote and make a living,” Mercado said. “We are a church living on shared resources and community values. They seized all the money we had, about $117. They even took two dollars out of our donation jar. That’s all we have. The food we eat is donated. The wood we use in ceremony we cut at the river. We live on faith and prayer.”

As the Mercados await news on whether the government will return the Foundation’s precious cacti and Leo’s computer, they rely on the peyote religion for strength.

“They can file charges any time. They can come back and threaten us with guns, rip us from our children. We always have lived under threat and terror. But we believe in a spiritual world that somehow governs what happens here,” Raven explained.

“Somehow, in all this suffering, Creator is bringing about a higher consciousness. Our family is growing. People are turning against the drug war. We will go through hell in the short term, but in the long term, we have our hearts fixed on the sacred Huichol land of Wirikuta, where sweet dreams and justice prevail.”
Moses, Leo’s eight-old-son, is growing up with nightmares and learning to distrust his government.

“I feel bad about what those men did to my family and the cactus,” he said. “I wanted to tell them to stop hurting us, but I was scared. I get scared whenever I see them, because all they do is hurt things.”L to R: Raven, Moses and Leo Mercado: Home destroyed by raid yet no charges laid.

Comments

384 Comments

  1. Pingback: Executive search firmsBangalore

  2. Pingback: buy gynexol

  3. Pingback: swingnews.org

  4. Pingback: Escorts Barcelona

  5. Pingback: bitcoin

  6. Pingback: watch movies online

  7. Pingback: casino online

  8. Pingback: landal greenparks nederland

  9. Pingback: www.otbvision.com

  10. Pingback: walmartone

  11. Pingback: free porn sites

  12. Pingback: Luft til luft varmepumpe

  13. Pingback: best porn sites

  14. Pingback: ludo star mod apk hack

  15. Pingback: porn sites

  16. Pingback: deeep.io

  17. Pingback: Flights to London Gatwick

  18. Pingback: cheap iphone 6 case

  19. Pingback: best free porn sites

  20. Pingback: over door clothes rack

  21. Pingback: Pinganillo

  22. Pingback: Boonswang SEO

  23. Pingback: anthony morrison

  24. Pingback: louboutin australia

  25. Pingback: anthony morrison

  26. Pingback: Newport Beach medical cannabis card renewals near me

  27. Pingback: dog box

  28. Pingback: get medical marijuana card online medical marijuana doctor Fairfield

  29. Pingback: free porn sites

  30. Pingback: Electronics

  31. Pingback: english breakfast tea

  32. Pingback: slot machines

  33. Pingback: joanns coupons

  34. Pingback: eico homeowners insurance

  35. Pingback: snapbacks china

  36. Pingback: ptg oils

  37. Pingback: progressive car insurance

  38. Pingback: buy sell hacklinks

  39. Pingback: michael kors factory outlet

  40. Pingback: google cheat free

  41. Pingback: walmartone

  42. Pingback: moms chips

  43. Pingback: adult toys

  44. Pingback: Prince Frank VON ANHALT-Nassau

  45. Pingback: air conditioners with built-in installation

  46. Pingback: Professional Ant Control

  47. Pingback: Fıstık Ezmeleri

  48. Pingback: walmart1

  49. Pingback: porn city

  50. Pingback: Cosmetic Dentist El Cajon

  51. Pingback: Schlüsseldienst

  52. Pingback: bed frame singapore

  53. Pingback: boob enhancement

  54. Pingback: Peter Schatzberg

  55. Pingback: puta cataluña

  56. Pingback: Chaturbate

  57. Pingback: read more

  58. Pingback: simply click the following page

  59. Pingback: Yahoo Finance

  60. Pingback: Full Statement

  61. Pingback: bigg boss 11

  62. Pingback: اغاني عربية

  63. Pingback: free essays online

  64. Pingback: 3D Model of Vauxhall Insignia EcoFlex 2008-13

  65. Pingback: Los Angeles Web Design Company

  66. Pingback: estate planner the woodlands

  67. Pingback: it disposal companies

  68. Pingback: Arvind Pandit

  69. Pingback: pirater un compte facebook

  70. Pingback: http://

  71. Pingback: FillerUp Anal Training Waterproof 3 Piece Varying Size Butt Plug Kit Pink

  72. Pingback: https://disqus.com/by/jasonddffolgd/

  73. Pingback: Cryptocurrency

  74. Pingback: news bihar

  75. Pingback: this post

  76. Pingback: sexmag.biz

  77. Pingback: supernatural

  78. Pingback: covers accessories

  79. Pingback: yBest Drones Under 30y

  80. Pingback: http://bit.ly/hawaii-seo

  81. Pingback: Hakukoneoptimointi Espoo

  82. Pingback: Wellness

  83. Pingback: فیلم رگ خواب

  84. Pingback: Google blackhat

  85. Pingback: switchable film

  86. Pingback: avakin life hack apk

  87. Pingback: current bitcoin price

  88. Pingback: www.consumerhealthdigest

  89. Pingback: WalmartOne Login

  90. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  91. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  92. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  93. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  94. Pingback: ΦΙΛΟΞΕΝΙΑ ΙΣΤΟΣΕΛΙΔΑΣ

  95. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  96. Pingback: adam and eve toys

  97. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  98. Pingback: laundry organizer

  99. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  100. Pingback: best slot machines to win on

  101. Pingback: دانلود رایگان فیلم نهنگ عنبر 2

  102. Pingback: Kinder Surprise

  103. Pingback: link

  104. Pingback: pirater un compte facebook

  105. Pingback: ΑΘΗΝΑ ΞΕΝΟΔΟΧΕΙΑ ΚΡΑΤΗΣΕΙΣ

  106. Pingback: فروش لینک

  107. Pingback: Android Tablet

  108. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  109. Pingback: Judi Bola Online

  110. Pingback: this is my site

  111. Pingback: lolinorgocd morewq

  112. Pingback: نهنگ عنبر

  113. Pingback: دانلود

  114. Pingback: original site

  115. Pingback: game hack

  116. Pingback: porn movie

  117. Pingback: sex app

  118. Pingback: maximainvestments

  119. Pingback: dealfeed

  120. Pingback: Taruhan Olahraga Online

  121. Pingback: Schl�sseldienst

  122. Pingback: Bandar Judi Bola Indonesia

  123. Pingback: dealfeed

  124. Pingback: child abuse reporting hotline

  125. Pingback: SkinAlley

  126. Pingback: Online Mobile Casino Malaysia

  127. Pingback: pornapp downloader

  128. Pingback: cheap canada goose jackets

  129. Pingback: car seat accessories

  130. Pingback: real caller blackberry

  131. Pingback: Infant car seat canopy

  132. Pingback: billboard

  133. Pingback: Stroller cover

  134. Pingback: Bandana bibs

  135. Pingback: دانلود فیلم دوبله شده

  136. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد فصل دوم

  137. Pingback: headhunting

  138. Pingback: دانلود فیلم اینه بغل

  139. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد

  140. Pingback: دانلود فیلم دوبله شده

  141. Pingback: پنجره

  142. Pingback: should i make a cancer jealous

  143. Pingback: US stamps

  144. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  145. Pingback: elite sport socks

  146. Pingback: exporting a car

  147. Pingback: buy illegal backlinks

  148. Pingback: marketing network

  149. Pingback: https://profiles.wordpress.org/jimstephenson4899/

  150. Pingback: Yarra Valley

  151. Pingback: Judi Online

  152. Pingback: payday loans

  153. Pingback: TEXTBOOK TEST BANKs

  154. Pingback: Judi Poker

  155. Pingback: youtube video for kids

  156. Pingback: buy illegal backlinks

  157. Pingback: نهنگ عنبر

  158. Pingback: Elvis Presley Wedding Singer

  159. Pingback: air jordans

  160. Pingback: rhymes for kids

  161. Pingback: buy hacklinks

  162. Pingback: blackhead remover

  163. Pingback: brazilian butt lift surgery in Houston

  164. Pingback: new assured return projects in gurgaon

  165. Pingback: Cute Slim Russian Amateur Teen Homemade Sex

  166. Pingback: Easiest Way To Make Money Without a Website

  167. Pingback: Bandar Togel

  168. Pingback: Self Storage Units and Facilities in Garden City

  169. Pingback: Watch movie for free

  170. Pingback: home maker on the edge

  171. Pingback: Nathaniel

  172. Pingback: what that

  173. Pingback: wordpress real estate theme idx integration

  174. Pingback: Bad Credit Remortgages

  175. Pingback: carte grise

  176. Pingback: Single Chat

  177. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  178. Pingback: garden bridges USA

  179. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  180. Pingback: پنجره

  181. Pingback: download

  182. Pingback: We Buy Houses Cash

  183. Pingback: divided dip dish

  184. Pingback: best online casinos

  185. Pingback: uk music charts

  186. Pingback: stainless steel

  187. Pingback: Web Design

  188. Pingback: صيانة

  189. Pingback: live sex cams

  190. Pingback: camera dealer nikon

  191. Pingback: clique aqui

  192. Pingback: gay porn

  193. Pingback: para niños

  194. Pingback: Online Casino Malaysia

  195. Pingback: usi-tech

  196. Pingback: vlog editor

  197. Pingback: cool gifts

  198. Pingback: Modesto

  199. Pingback: Web Design

  200. Pingback: gardening

  201. Pingback: Nursery Rhymes

  202. Pingback: top 40 music videos

  203. Pingback: centrum-rim

  204. Pingback: aliexpress dropship

  205. Pingback: قیمت پنجره

  206. Pingback: فیلم

  207. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  208. Pingback: پنجره

  209. Pingback: Learn Colors

  210. Pingback: Bad Spiderman

  211. Pingback: google hd porn

  212. Pingback: click this link here now

  213. Pingback: Web Designer in Yakima

  214. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  215. Pingback: window

  216. Pingback: ed sheeran

  217. Pingback: hosting pakistan

  218. Pingback: tempat aborsi raden saleh

  219. Pingback: walmart1 login

  220. Pingback: military boots for desert deployments

  221. Pingback: pacificrain shower head

  222. Pingback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bld2NoB1hBI

  223. Pingback: The 2 Week Diet Review

  224. Pingback: https://www.pinterest.com/adulttoys4427/

  225. Pingback: download game gratis

  226. Pingback: Agen Judi Online

  227. Pingback: Funny

  228. Pingback: grafisch.JouGids.nl

  229. Pingback: you can try here

  230. Pingback: permainan judi dadu online

  231. Pingback: garden bridges

  232. Pingback: permainan judi online android

  233. Pingback: motorhome hire

  234. Pingback: buy weed online no medical card

  235. Pingback: drugs

  236. Pingback: Morocco Holiday Packages

  237. Pingback: affordable SEO services

  238. Pingback: IELTS institute in Karachi

  239. Pingback: مشاوره بازاریابی اینترنتی

  240. Pingback: IELTS course in Karachi

  241. Pingback: اموزش ساخت پنجره دوجداره

  242. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  243. Pingback: پنجره

  244. Pingback: back to school

  245. Pingback: دانلود

  246. Pingback: قیمت پنجره دوجداره

  247. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  248. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  249. Pingback: پنجره ضد سرقت

  250. Pingback: Paw patrol

  251. Pingback: авто-ключар

  252. Pingback: kids songs

  253. Pingback: Double chambered

  254. Pingback: how to buy bitcoin

  255. Pingback: پنجره

  256. Pingback: دانلود فیلم ایرانی

  257. Pingback: درب یو پی وی سی

  258. Pingback: Search Engine Optimisation UK

  259. Pingback: Bacillus Anthracis Symptoms

  260. Pingback: kids toys

  261. Pingback: دانلود فیلم روز

  262. Pingback: chester bennington linkin park

  263. Pingback: Nursery Rhymes

  264. Pingback: guaranteed approval loans

  265. Pingback: discount codes

  266. Pingback: l�exemple

  267. Pingback: titleist ap1 irons australia

  268. Pingback: Boxspringbett

  269. Pingback: just for information

  270. Pingback: House Cleaning fort hood TX

  271. Pingback: دانلود

  272. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  273. Pingback: five little pepa pig

  274. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره وین تک

  275. Pingback: شرکت تولیدی پنجره دوجداره المانی

  276. Pingback: قیمت پنجره دوجداره

  277. Pingback: Marquee hire prices in London

  278. Pingback: http://urladda.com/5J8G

  279. Pingback: fix teeth

  280. Pingback: game

  281. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  282. Pingback: دانلود سریال عالیجناب قسمت اول 1

  283. Pingback: دانلود

  284. Pingback: 食品

  285. Pingback: دانلودسریال عالیجناب قسمت دوم

  286. Pingback: poetas malditos

  287. Pingback: دانلود عالیجناب قسمت اول

  288. Pingback: دانلود قسمت دوم عالیجناب

  289. Pingback: Reklamnaja prezentacija

  290. Pingback: Long Island Roofing

  291. Pingback: kids cartoons

  292. Pingback: comment agrandir son penis

  293. Pingback: free blazing

  294. Pingback: xsc.jlau.edu.cn/Bbs/home.php?mod=space&uid=1782213&do=profile&from=space

  295. Pingback: www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6279203963254468608

  296. Pingback: Strasbourg tourist guide

  297. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد 13

  298. Pingback: دانلود سریال شهرزاد قسمت 15

  299. Pingback: free clash royale coins

  300. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت 13

  301. Pingback: best price golf clubs australia

  302. Pingback: vpm

  303. Pingback: anime

  304. Pingback: کول دانلول

  305. Pingback: vigra master � bom

  306. Pingback: le site !!!!!

  307. Pingback: mdansby software

  308. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هشتم شهرزاد

  309. Pingback: coin-banks exchange

  310. Pingback: DraftKings DFS

  311. Pingback: coin-banks cryptocurrency

  312. Pingback: golarka braun 9095cc

  313. Pingback: coin-banks cryptocurrency

  314. Pingback: bitcoin hft

  315. Pingback: bitcoin investment coin-banks

  316. Pingback: پنجره دو سه جداره

  317. Pingback: Judi Bola

  318. Pingback: clash royale cheat

  319. Pingback: jake burgess san diego ca

  320. Pingback: buy zynga poker chips

  321. Pingback: cheap jordans china

  322. Pingback: compare hotel room

  323. Pingback: Roof Repair Long Island

  324. Pingback: black jack

  325. Pingback: casino games play for real money

  326. Pingback: Acne Facial Treatments Lauderhill

  327. Pingback: Facial Spa Services Pembroke Park

  328. Pingback: دانلود سریال عاشقانه

  329. Pingback: پنجره ضد سرقت ایرانی

  330. Pingback: آموزش پنجره دوجداره

  331. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هفده عاشقانه

  332. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره وین تک ویستابست

  333. Pingback: porno gratis

  334. Pingback: porno

  335. Pingback: porno gratis

  336. Pingback: porno

  337. Pingback: porno gratis

  338. Pingback: porno

  339. Pingback: videos porno

  340. Pingback: porno gratis

  341. Pingback: videos porno

  342. Pingback: No NEET required

  343. Pingback: porno

  344. Pingback: porno gratis

  345. Pingback: taylormade m2 irons

  346. Pingback: Clemente

  347. Pingback: دانلود قسمت اول فصل دوم شهرزاد

  348. Pingback: دانلود قسمت 13 عاشقانه

  349. Pingback: cheap stephen curry basketball shoes

  350. Pingback: دانلود قسمت دوازدهم عاشقانه

  351. Pingback: دانلود قسمت 11 شهرزاد 2

  352. Pingback: دانلود قسمت سوم شهرزاد دوم

  353. Pingback: Loyola College for Sale by CollegeDunia

  354. Pingback: Hundeskove i Midtjylland

  355. Pingback: پنجره

  356. Pingback: دانلود قسمت 12 عاشقانه

  357. Pingback: online series

  358. Pingback: Paleo Diet

  359. Pingback: lesbian porn xxx

  360. Pingback: Dillion Harper

  361. Pingback: Angela White

  362. Pingback: Gina Gerson

  363. Pingback: Elsa Jean

  364. Pingback: Rachel Starr

  365. Pingback: Anna Bell Peaks

  366. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هفدهم عاشقانه

  367. Pingback: دانلود قسمت ششم فصل دوم شهرزاد

  368. Pingback: دانلود قسمت 10 شهرزاد دوم

  369. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت نهم فصل دوم

  370. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت هفتم فصل دوم

  371. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت هشتم فصل دوم

  372. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هشتم شهرزاد دوم

  373. Pingback: دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2 دوم 2aaadffdsvc

  374. Pingback: x78bn5t37bc45rtb3x45ctbwxds

  375. Pingback: anami sikin

  376. Pingback: cocuk sex escort

  377. Pingback: orospu cocugyum

  378. Pingback: order legal steroids

  379. Pingback: link

  380. Pingback: sahin can coskun orospunun cikarttigidir

  381. Pingback: sekis izle

  382. Pingback: orospu cocuguyum

  383. Pingback: seks izle

  384. Pingback: reserver hotel pas cher