Based in the small Washington town of Amanda Park, the four defendants allegedly sold psilocybe mushroom spores and kits by mail-order through the internet and ads in High Times magazine.
Psylocybe Fanaticus publications and internet articles describe their pioneering cultivation techniques. They explain how to seal mushroom spores in a syringe, which is then used to inoculate a sterile medium. Their methods have become the standard for most other mail-order spore businesses.
In making their grand jury indictment, DEA agents admitted to having investigated Psylocybe Fanaticus for years. Agents had been regularly surveilling the home of two of the accused, Robert and Margaret McPherson, aged 51 and 48. Agents had bought spores from the business and tracked the quantity of their shipments going through the Amanda Park post office.
In a raid on the McPherson home, agents allegedly found a mushroom-growing operation and live mushrooms. A simultaneous raid on the home of another of the accused, Steven Coggin, 51, allegedly found spore syringes and mushroom-growing equipment.
The raid took coordinated efforts from a multitude of government agencies. A press release from the US Department of Justice explained that “the indictment is based on a joint investigation by agents and investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration in Seattle, the National Park Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.”
In an article in the Seattle Times, one of the McPhersons’ Amanda Park neighbors said the mail-order business wasn’t much of a secret. “It’s a small town,” said the unnamed neighbor, who described Robert McPherson as an intelligent, talented jazz musician in his mid-50’s. “They’ve been great neighbors, really nice people,” he added. “They’ve been awesome with my kids.”
If convicted, each of the accused faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The Psylocybe Fanaticus website at www.fanaticus.com is no longer functioning.