Pro-Pot Magazine Ad Buy Was Path To Bust

David Mayo, left, waits for his preliminary hearing with his attorney, Bruce Block.David Mayo, left, waits for his preliminary hearing with his attorney, Bruce Block.GRAND RAPIDS – Longtime Press sports columnist David Mayo, accused of growing marijuana in his Northeast Side home, was targeted for investigation after police tracked shipping invoices of a company that advertises in “High Times” magazine, court records showed.

Armed with that information, police sought utility bills, which showed Mayo’s electric use was more than twice that of his neighbors.

Police also put his home under surveillance and determined he did not bring his trash to the curb, which is common among marijuana growers, police said.

Investigators in early January also noted a “large amount of mold” under the eaves on the outside of his house, which suggested to them strong grow lights were being used inside the residence, heating the room where marijuana was being grown, and causing condensation on the exterior.

The allegations were contained in search-warrant affidavits made public this week.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Kelley confirmed police based the investigation on items shipped by companies that advertised in “High Times” and other pro-marijuana publications.

Mayo bought, “on 11 occasions, hydroponic growing equipment that is specialized in indoor marijuana growing,” according to sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Todd Butler, who said local authorities received information from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, a project of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“Operation Green Thumb has access to shipping invoices from suppliers who advertise their indoor marijuana-growing equipment in magazines such as ‘High Times.’ David Mayo bought his hydroponic equipment from one of the suppliers that do, in fact, advertise in this (manner).”

Mayo’s lawyer, Bruce Block, could not be reached for comment, but earlier said he was reviewing police information to determine whether he should challenge the reason officers had probable cause to enter Mayo’s Fuller Avenue NE house Jan. 19.

Mayo is suspended from The Press pending the legal outcome. He awaits trial on charges of growing from 20 to 200 plants, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, and a high-court misdemeanor charge of maintaining a drug house. Prosecutors have offered to reduce charges to a four-year felony if he pleads guilty.

Police say 71 marijuana plants and 32 ounces of packaged marijuana were found in the home.

Mayo’s wife, Denise, awaits trial on charges of marijuana possession and maintaining a drug house.

Both are free on personal recognizance bonds.

Mayo, with no prior criminal record, has worked for The Press since 1985.

– Article from The Grand Rapids Press on March 18, 2009.

Press columnist David Mayo’s lawyer says he is ‘appalled’ that police targeted Mayo for grow lights

by John Agar, The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS – The attorney for suspended Press columnist David Mayo said today he is “appalled” that police targeted his client for a marijuana bust at his home after Mayo bought grow lights from a company that advertises in “High Times” magazine.

An undercover drug unit searched Mayo’s Fuller Avenue NE home in January after tracking a shipment of planting supplies and finding his electric bill was double that of neighbors.

Attorney Bruce Block said police should have a higher standard to obtain a search warrant and said he would file a challenge in court.

“A man’s home is his castle,” Block said. “You should have a very good reason to go in there. I’m just appalled. I am just appalled. … It’s almost like search warrants are getting out of control. I guess I don’t know how else to say it.”

He said the tactic was “chilling” and should concern everyone. No one disputes the fact police found marijuana — plants at various stages of growth, and packed in mason jars — but Block said police had no right to go into Mayo’s home in the first place.

It would be different, he said, if police were called to Mayo’s home for another reason and spotted marijuana in plain view.

“Remember, these grow lights are legal,” Block said. “This is not illegal stuff. You’re not ordering something that is, per se, illegal.”

He also disputed the contention by police that Mayo does not put his trash out to the curb, a practice of marijuana manufacturers to prevent police from sifting through garbage.

“The home is the most private place that exists in the world and for good reason,” Block said.

Mayo is on unpaid suspension.

E-mail John Agar:[email protected]

– Article from The Grand Rapids Press on March 18, 2009.



  1. Anonymous on

    I agree, You have to have a GE license to sell anything and pay taxes…some states make you get a permit just to have a Yard sale, and then here’s this big turd…

  2. Anonymous on

    Yeah, it’s true lots of people do smoke in public, and if you can’t even smoke cigarettes in a 21 and up place, why is dope ok everywhere? Most people aren’t all honest with their Drs. about using either so lots of health facts aren’t adding up…Thanks

  3. Anonymous on

    … It’s drug, it’s illegal , I have to pay parking tickets, or get a bench warrant…why do all these guys get away with this stuff?…It seems everyone wants to do the popular thing and not the right thing…It’s not good for you…Oh yeah, I know it HAS to be, just like cigarettes don’t hurt you and the earth is flat…
    They share with kids…they drive like this…oh and yes, let’s use the Alcohol is worse argument…it sucks too, but most potheads drink like fishes also and by using this argument you sound like you want to make it all illegal…and stop using in PUBLIC, I don’t want in my lungs…If you believe you have the right to use…I have the right not to use…

  4. Anonymous on

    My lighter wouldn’t even be present during the search. Always losing the damn things.

  5. Anonymous on

    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
    – Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief, 1929

  6. Anonymous on

    careful with the comments! they may be cause for a warrant! why dont they just investigate everyone who buys a lighter for that matter it could be used for marijuana

  7. Anonymous on

    This is bullshit. Americans should be ashamed of themselves. You all gripe about how we are in such an Economic Crisis these days. WELL, if you looked at how much money is being wasted everyday on this endless and pointless WAR ON the AMERICAN PEOPLE, I mean WAR ON DRUGS, and how much money is being spent on war overseas in the name of Christianity even, you might be a little disturbed. Stop flushing that money down the drain and put it to some good use, like Education and Local City Maintenance. Do you understand that because of this War on the American People and the War on the Afghans, and Iranians, most of our soldiers are guarding poppy fields in those places while we blow up bridges and steal their oil. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN. Look at the statistics of heroin use in the US in the last 8 years. Since Bush took office and we have been at War with the Middle East, Heroin use in the US has tripled. Lets look at the facts. Google heroin or drug use statistics. It is alarming.
    Do people in the US feel any safer or any more threatened than you did before 9/11? Is the Government helping or hurting the people more by interfering with personal choice in the Name of HomeLand Security. I smell bull shit!
    Come on, Tracking what someone buys through a magazine. I can think of plenty other things to use that money for, instead of hiring someone to spy on their own brother. THIS IS ORWELL ON STEROIDS!!! How much money is the American Taxpayer paying to Operate that sort of job. Cant you see, this war is costing more than just money, it is costing innocent peoples lives everyday. This war and Prohibition is in fact doing more harm than the drugs do themselves. You build more jails to put these innocent people in and for what? So you can pay for the cost of housing all of these inmates. Do you have any idea of how much it cost to house and feed a prisoner every year. Probably higher than some of you can count. That being said, stop persecuting innocent people. We are all entitled to personal choice, whether it be RELIGION, BUTTERFLY CATCHING, ALCOHOLIC, POT SMOKER, OR OVEREATER. JUST as long as it does not harm the quality of someone else’s life around you.

    And one more thing. If you are anti pot and believe the law that is put in front of you. YOU might be a racist. At least that is what the law is based on. In 1937, cannabis was made illegal and announced to the public by Harry Anslinger that MARIJUANA caused WHITE women to sleep with NEGROS, Phillipeans, and Mexicans. Is that a law you are proud to be upholding? If so, I have great sympathy for you.


  8. joe and his six pack on

    you just have to look at the taser probe to see how the police lie all a time.
    Police are cowards. They only go after the none violant people while leaving the harden killing gangs alone.Because these gangs have guns and are not afraid to shoot at them. So by busting the average none violant people this way it like being a garner in a uniform with a gun. Busting none violant people is as safe as picking flowers.

  9. Anonymous on

    hey anyone notice that there is no talk of an indictment,which they are supposed to have for a felony or infamous crime and i believe this falls into that.