Gabriel Steve Rodriguez, a 26-year-old resident of Humboldt County, California, probably won’t be sending his mom flowers next Mother’s Day.
According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Mama Rodriguez called the Sheriff’s Department and asked them to contact her son to deliver a message because she had been unable to reach him.
Nice police that they are, a deputy was promptly dispatched to Gabe’s home. The deputy told Gabe that Mama was concerned, and Gabe told the deputy thanks for the message, explaining that he’d lost his cell phone and couldn’t contact Mama.
Unfortunately, the deputy smelled cannabis while he was talking to Gabe, and this is where Gabe made a crucial mistake that hundreds of thousands of busted people make every year: he voluntarily consented to a search.
It was all downhill from there. The deputy found 25 pounds of pot. He arrested Gabriel and his two roommates, Nick and Vic, and called in drug unit officers, who found meth, hashish and hash processing equipment, and thousands of dollars in cash.
The three guys were arrested, and police put out an arrest warrant for another roommate, 21-year-old Dieter Delpardo, who was not home at the time, because he had already gotten himself busted nearby on Saturday night. According to police, Dieter was driving the wrong way down a one-way street while smoking bud. A police officer pulled him over, smelled the pot, asked for permission to search the car, got it, and found psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, marijuana, powdered cocaine and what police suspect is DMT.
These kinds of busts are very common. In Chicago a few days ago, police say they pulled a vehicle over for a traffic violation, started asking questions about drugs, were given information by the vehicle’s occupants which led them to search two southwest Chicago homes where high-tech hydroponics were being used to grow what police describe as “millions of dollars worth” of marijuana.
In all circumstances during the chain of events leading to the arrests, police say, suspects voluntarily consented to searches of their bodies, cars, and homes.
Near Osceola, Florida this week, police say that 41-year-old Alfred Brito was busted on charges of cultivating marijuana in his home.
Police claim that Brito told detectives about four other homes where pot was being grown. Police searched all four homes, finding grow ops in two homes and grow equipment in two others. Another man was arrested, and police expect more arrests, all thanks to Brito.
These arrests demonstrate how pot people harm themselves and others by not understanding the dynamics of police-citizen interaction. After studying dozens of pot busts and talking to many busted people, it’s clear that there is a code of conduct that can minimize risk, forestall arrests, and otherwise diminish the possibility that your involvement with the kind herb will land you in prison. Here are the techniques that will reduce problems:
Don’t provide any external cues to anyone that you are involved with marijuana or that any police officer needs to contact you. This means keep your exterior house and apartment in good condition. Obey all traffic and vehicle laws. Get rid of all odor of marijuana using air cleaners, venting, scrubbers, and other methods. Don’t smoke up in your car or in public.
Don’t leave marijuana and other drugs lying around where they can be found. Always sequester such items in as secret and undetectable places as you can.
When a police officer speaks to you, only give your name, and if relevant due to traffic stop, your driver’s license and vehicle registration. No matter what the officer says, do not engage in conversation. Do not answer questions about anything other than your identity and vehicle registration. Never consent to any search. Always insist on having an attorney present. Always state that you are refusing to answer questions and that you want to be released, or that you want to be given the right to contact an attorney.
Especially if you are a grower, have your driver’s license and vehicle registration at some address other than where you grow. Also, you should already have a skilled criminal defense attorney on retainer. In a future article, I will explain how to choose a skilled lawyer (there aren’t many of them, that’s for sure). If you are a grower, you need to realize that every person who knows you are growing can destroy your life. The less who know, the better.
Maintain a professional “paranoia,” realizing that you live in occupied territory in a war zone, and that the government views you as a terrorist and is waging a war against you. Don’t let this distress you or take away your freedom of thought, but take all reasonable precautions to prevent yourself from having contact with police, and to minimize any possible problems you could have if by unfortunate fate you come into contact with a police officer. At every step of the way, do not let police make you afraid. Do not let them coerce you into confessing to crimes or consenting to searches. If you refuse to let them search you, the worst that can happen is they get a search warrant. In many cases, they will not be able to get a search warrant. If they do get a search warrant and find drugs, you will be arrested, just like if you consented to the search. But if you consent to a search or confessed to something, you have already ruined much of your chance to fight the charges in court. Be strong. Don’t let them rattle you.
Keep your pot use quiet. Tell your family NEVER to contact police in regards to you. Tell people to shut up about you. Make sure that anybody you have contact with who knows that they are never to mention your name in any way at any time to any government official. Make sure your lovers, friends, acquaintances are trustworthy, ethical people who would never rat you out.
These are the most basic and concise tips that we can give you. If you look at the cases cited above, you will see that these people got themselves busted. It’s bad enough that there’s a war against us, but to voluntarily put yourself in the line of fire so you are sure to be injured by this stupid war, that’s crazy.
Better safe than sorry.