Sheriff's Dept. Charges Man With No Drugs With 'Intent To Distribute Counterfeit Controlled Substances'

from the if-you-don't-like-punishment,-don't-not-break-the-rules dept

Live a clean life and the cops should leave you alone, right? RIGHT?!? Harvey Silverglate wasn’t being facetious when he wrote “Three Felonies A Day.” There are all sorts of laws waiting to be broken, laws that boggle the mind in their insipidity.

As we covered recently, the FBI arrested one of its own handcrafted “terrorists” for “conspiring” to materially aid a terrorist organization. This “conspiring” apparently took the form of the suspect talking about possibly joining a terrorist group and, with undercover agents’ urging, traveling to Canada to fill out some sort of terrorist job application. He was arrested at the border, having really done nothing more than talk big and wear the “rube” label really well.

More recently, Techdirt covered Judge Otis Wright’s beration of the ATF for setting up stooges to pull off a fake crime — a conspiracy to rob a “stash house.” Of course, the stash house didn’t exist, but this didn’t stop the government from bringing criminal charges against the “criminals” and seeking sentences based on the entirely fictional contents of the fictional house. The ATF told its stooges that the house contained 20-25 kilos of coke in the house. Judge Wright asked why not just say 10, or 100 or 1,000, as long as the government’s just making up numbers? No crime here because said “stash house” simply didn’t exist and yet, people were arrested and put on trial.

Here’s another case of no criminal activity somehow turning into a crime in the hands of zealous law enforcement officers who apparently couldn’t handle not getting the drug bust they were obviously seeking. (via Reason)

Deputies said they stopped Delbert Dewayne Galbreath at NW 10th Street and Interstate 44 for a broken brake light. The deputy said Galbreath admitted he did not have a license to drive. Two deputies asked to search his car and he agreed.

A deputy found a cigarette pouch that had 16 pieces of a rock-like form, which authorities generally associate as crack cocaine. The deputies said they also found a digital scale.

Authorities tested the rocks and said they did not contain cocaine. When they asked Galbreath what the rocks were, he said they were Scentsy.
Galbreath was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute imitation controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under a revoked license and defective equipment.

Read that again: a man was arrested for not possessing drugs. Note the oddly specific denial. The man said they were “Scentsy.” This doesn’t sound like someone just blurting out the first thing that came to mind when deputies searched his vehicle.

If you’re not familiar with Scentsy, it’s a direct marketing company that specializes in “wickless candles,” which are scented wax cubes that are warmed on its proprietary warmers. (All images taken from Scentsy’s catalog unless otherwise noted)

Here’s how the process works.

Here’s a shot of a couple of Scentsy cubes sitting in a warmer with a vaguely scale-like shape.

Here’s some more scale-esque warmers Scentsy offers.

And here’s another scale-like warmer that’s included in every Scentsy starter kit.

And here’s some vaguely crack-colored wax sitting in a Scentsy warmer.

And for comparison’s sake, here’s a DEA file photo of crack cocaine.

So, this seems like an entirely plausible explanation. The plausibility factor shoots way up when you factor in the negative test results. But rather than investigate whether Galbreath’s claims were accurate after the “NOT COCAINE” determination, the deputies ran with their original plan: nail Galbreath for drug dealing. Instead of dealing drugs, Galbreath was trying to sell fake drugs, which is completely indistinguishable from actual criminal activity when you’re sitting in a jail cell.

Maybe the Sheriff’s Dept. is hoping to sweat out some more info from the jailed “dealer,” like who his pissed off customers are or who’s further up the chain supplying him with fake drugs and taking a percentage of each sale he makes. (My hunch? A regional director in Oklahoma as well as any number of intermediaries along the direct marketing food chain.)

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” they say. But they somehow fail to add, “Don’t NOT do the crime if you can’t do the time,” because everyday citizens like you and me might find that statement baffling, horrifying and complete bullshit.

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Comments on “Sheriff's Dept. Charges Man With No Drugs With 'Intent To Distribute Counterfeit Controlled Substances'”

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Groaker says:

Re: Re:

No, the cops won’t get a slap on the wrist. The standard practice is to give them promotions and/or commendations. This is done so that when the civil case comes to trial, the defense can point to an outstanding record on the part of the cop(s) involved. See what a wonderful cop he was — he got two promotions and four commendations after this trivial error. Helps to keep jury verdicts low.

Military frequently does the same thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Excuse me, but why should the cops be arrested? He did have what looked like cocaine, and I doubt they had the means to test it on the spot. Plus he was already driving on a suspended license – they had every right to bring him in. If he’s being charged with too much, that’s on the DA, not the cops.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are so damn right… we don’t need Officers of the law to know what the hell is and is not an illegal substance or how to do their jobs by observing the situation! They just need to say your shit looks like drugs and arrest people on the spot then throw them in jail left and fucking right so the DA can sort it out later, while people potentially lose their jobs and experience necessary trouble.

Brilliant idea assclown! Should save assloads of taxes and help keep those ‘real’ criminals off the streets right?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

From the article: “Authorities tested the rocks and said they did not contain cocaine. When they asked Galbreath what the rocks were, he said they were Scentsy.”

I assume that meant they tested it at the scene, but the wording is unclear. However — if the “rocks” were indeed Scentsy, that means they were scented wax. It doesn’t take a lab test to determine if a hunk of something is made of scented wax (and therefore is not cocaine). It takes a scratch and sniff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think the point here is that the intent to distribute is a bullshit charge anyway unless they actually observed him trying to pass it off to someone as crack. Even if it had been crack. Simply because he had a quantity in a form that could have been easily distributed doesn’t do anything to prove that he intended to do so. People buy lots of things in large quantities that they never intend to resell to anybody else. It’s all bullshit.

Urgelt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Derek, of course they do. The point of the article is that even when the so-called drugs aren’t drugs, they can press charges anyway, if they feel like it. There are enough vague statutes on the books to let them do that.

So if you stay clean of illegal drugs, you can be snared anyway if the authorities decide they want you to take a fall.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I never said they should be arrested. I said severely punished. It’s no small thing to keep a person in jail for unjustified reasons. The guy could have lost his job and have his life jeopardized. So the punishment should fit the transgression committed by the cops.

But maybe they should. Maybe they should face jail time for the same length they kept the guy locked for no reason.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Tisk tisk...

He committed the worst crime of all, making a cop look stupid and/or exposing a cop’s stupidity, no wonder they threw him in a cell.

Had the cops been wearing their big-boy pants, and the maturity to match, as soon as the test results came back negative they would have dropped the drug related charges altogether, but apparently admitting to being wrong is just too hard for some people.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Tisk tisk...

Had the cops been wearing their big-boy pants, and the maturity to match, as soon as the test results came back negative they would have dropped the drug related charges altogether, but apparently admitting to being wrong is just too hard for some people.

It’s even more strange since they could still get him for driving on a revoked license (unsafe equipment sounds like more police-need-something-to-arrest-you-for bullshit). They could have dropped the drug stuff and still put him in jail anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

So to make sense of it we all need to know what is the definition of an “imitation controlled dangerous substance” in OK? I can see why it could be a crime (eg sell 2kg of coke, but 1kg is fake, want to nail dealer for intent to supply on 2kg one way or another).

Plus, I couldn’t see it in the linked articles, but did they actually try warming one of these ‘rocks’ to see if it was a Scentsy? Did they do a chemical analysis, or does the defense have to put up the $$ for that? Was it waxy, like a Scentsy is supposed to be (never heard of them before this article) ? Need more info.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The authorities tested the rock. They had to – the burden of proof is on them, after all. They can’t just say “he had some rocks” and assume they are or are not cocaine when trial time comes around. But, hmm… you’re right, the articles said tests found the substance was “not cocaine” but didn’t say that they WERE Scentsy. If they weren’t, that changes the whole case. And did the digital scale count as the “paraphernalia” or did they find something else? If he really only had Scentsy and a digital scale – or worse, Scentsy and a Scentsy warmer, but the police couldn’t be THAT dumb, right? – then they should let him go.

The shakiest part here is the “intent to distribute” when they only found one cigarette pouch worth of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Who cares what it was. If it wasn’t a controlled substance it doesn’t matter. All they need to know is it isn’t an illegal substance that he was in possession of. Unless they actually saw him attempt to sell it as crack, then the possession with intent to sell charge is bullshit speculation. It’s even bullshit speculation that he intended to sell it even if it HAD been crack, if they didn’t see him try to sell it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually that is EXACTLY what people should do. It would be nice to see someone set up a case for that sort of thing to challenge these sorts of laws by properly documenting their intended purpose and methods beforehand, then putting themselves in a place to encounter a police officer who would find the “stash” of non-illegal material simply as a matter of making a legal case to challenge these sorts of statutes in court.

Dave (user link) says:


The arrest strikes me as legitimate. There’s no argument that the man was driving on a suspended license.

The drug charges are worrisome, but drug dealers do distribute “drugs” that are in fact poisonous substances if some rube ingests them, so I’m not surprised that “possession with intent to distribute imitation controlled dangerous substance (CDS)” is an offense. (Is that a good idea? Different question, and it probably is open to abuse.)

If the substance actually is Scentsy and the man’s still prosecuted for it, the DA is an asshole, no question. But the cops already had him on an arrestable offense, so adding the potential drug charge when it actually might be legit (even if that’s unlikely) doesn’t strike me as an abuse of power.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Meh

I’m guessing that under your analysis one should be careful taking their freshly picked, dried and chopped oregano and basil over to their friends house, as they might be pulled over and arrested for intent to distribute imitation controlled dangerous substance’s (CDS). Oh, and that digital scale you use for baking? Expect that to be considered drug paraphernalia when they search your house for more evidence.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Meh

“Oh, and that digital scale you use for baking? Expect that to be considered drug paraphernalia when they search your house for more evidence.”

This is a real concern. Although it’s common in Europe (and most of the world, I assume) to measure certain ingredients such as flour by weight rather than volume, it’s so rare in the US that my wife and friends tease me over the fact that I do so. I also occasionally take my scale to friends houses when I’m baking over there.

I could easily see a cop assuming that my scale (which has a resolution of .1 grams) is intended for drugs.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Meh

That is the right way to do it. Baking is more of a science than an art, in that your creation requires specific relationships of ingredients to achieve your artistic result. Flour, for example, can be packed or loose or sifted or not, making volume measurements inadequate. Professional bakers use scales, a lot, as they are much more accurate than measuring cups, and some recipes require that accuracy, as does repetition.

Interesting note, sugar is considered a wet ingredient when toting up the balance of wet and dry ingredients, because it dissolves, whereas true dry ingredients absorb. But it gets weighed rather than measured as other wet ingredients do. In some commercial recipes I have read (and used) everything is by weight, even milk and water.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Meh

Yes, exactly. I am an excellent (although amateur) baker, but I didn’t reach that level of ability until I realized that some things (pretty much anything that’s a powder) really have to be measured by weight. Baking is more directly an exercise in chemistry than cooking is, and those measurements have to be pretty exact.

Flour is the worst — the amount of flour in a given volume can vary by a mind-boggling amount, and the US workarounds (sifting, stirring, etc.) don’t go anywhere near close enough to resolving the problem. Sugar can vary quite a lot at well.

I do tend to measure things used in smaller amounts with measuring spoons — if I just need .5 teaspoons of something, the difference between weight and volume tend not to be enough to make any real difference. However, I do have some recipes where high accuracy in even these small amounts is critical, and I weigh for them.

But all this is well and truly off-topic, and probably only interesting to the two of us.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Meh

Well, that’s how it usually goes. You measure the liquid and stuff likes eggs (not per-piece, but rather by volume) and weigh some other substances. But flour is usually fine-tuned by the feeling of the dough.

In industrial settings, everything goes by weight, but that requires determining the water content of each batch of flour in the lab in advance. I kid you not.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meh

“But all this is well and truly off-topic, and probably only interesting to the two of us.”

This may very well be true. Ha, a Techdirt cooking class, who wudda thought?

A suggestion. Try a .01 capable scale. You may find the difference astonishing for very small amounts. Think spices. I had one salesman put a crumpled dollar bill on the .1 scale to show it off. I had him put the same dollar bill on the .01 scale, he was amazed.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Meh

You are correct. I was actually simplifying so I didn’t seem to be as much of a scale freak as I am. I own three scales in three different, err, scales. I have one that weighs up to five pounds at a time with a resolution of an eighth of a pound, one that weighs up to a kilo with a resolution of .1 grams, and one that weighs up to 10 grams with a resolution of .01 grams.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meh

Certainly measuring by weight is more critical in larger batches. When baking however, measuring by weight will always provide a superior result. Measuring by volume is for speed and convenience, not accuracy.

I imagine this is true even in a bakery where the amount of time required to measure the ingredients is of great interest to management as it has an impact on their profit margins. Just because you have been told to measure by volume for small batches doesn’t mean it is the ‘best way’, it means it is the most efficient (from a profit prospective) way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Meh

Great now I can’t buy a kitchen scale or pressure cooker without looking suspect…

Here is an Alton Brown video to refer to when selecting your scale. I do like the home verification test he did. It is probably something to refer the arresting officer to.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Meh

So you’d be okay going to prison yourself for possessing quantities of a lookalike substance that suggest you might at some point distribute them?

Flour, sugar, talcum powder and salt all look like cocaine. Most spices you’d add when making spaghetti or pizza resemble marijuana at least a little. And that ignores real chemicals that people get high on, that most people have in their house — cleaning supplies, for example.

Even the gasoline in your car could be used (by huffing the fumes) to get high. It could also be used as an accelerant in an act of arson or terrorism.

Perhaps you should turn yourself in? You’re obviously guilty of something, with all that stuff in your possession.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Meh

One can only hope that you are one day faced with a similarly absurd situation and end up in jail on ‘trumped up’ charges (which is exactly what these were).

At least where I live, you don’t go to jail for driving on a suspended license. You are issued a citation, your car is towed and you pay a fine. Bottom line is the cop(s) had a hard on for this guy and they screwed him.

I had a situation years ago where I was pulled over in my own driveway and issued a citation for speeding (52 in a 30, more than 20 over was reckless driving). I challenged the officer because I had lived in the same place for more than 20 years and knew that the speed limit was not posted (in my state that makes the speed limit 50). I told the officer he was making a mistake and that I would be glad to show him where the ‘Begin 30’ sign was a couple of miles up the road on the way into town. He very nastily told me I was wrong and wrote me up anyway.

I went in my house, ate lunch, grabbed my camera and took pictures of the road all the way to town. I then got a map of the area and marked the location of the ‘Begin 30’ sign and took that along with the photos to the prosecutor. I explained what had happened and that there was no way I was going, more than 1 – 2 MPH over the speed limit. I further told him I was not paying this citation and would be taking it to court. He reviewed my evidence, shook his head and said he would take care of it (the citation never made it to the BMV). About 2 or 3 months later that officer was pulled off the streets, I was not the first or last person to report the abusive nature of this officer.

The point of the story is cops do ‘go to far’ and think they have to win at all costs. The problem is, in a lot of areas, this is actually encouraged. There are a lot of Barney Fifes in this world, but not a lot of Andy Taylors. We need more Andy Taylors to be police officers and a lot less Barney Fifes.

As another short story when I was 16 I was out screwing around when an off duty officer I knew well, in fact was friends with, stopped me and started reading me the riot act for chirping my tires in a local stores parking lot. I had friends with me and told him “Your off duty and you can’t touch me”, I then sped off. My friends were impressed…

The next day I was driving to school and got pulled over 2 MPH over the speed limit. Later that same day driving home from work, I got pulled over “Rolling Stop”. The next day I got pulled over again “Unsafe Start”. These were all by different officers working for different departments. I quickly figured out that I could no longer drive my Jeep, not because I was driving poorly (I wasn’t) but because it had been flagged by my ‘friend’ the cop. I saw him a few weeks later and he said something like “Do you think I can touch you now?” Message received, and understood.

For those playing at home, at least in my state, Police officers now always have arrest powers, regardless of if they are on or off duty. I wouldn’t try this today (even if I was 16 again).

Here is hoping you run into a Barney Fife and get hauled into jail inappropriately. When that happens we will watch you sing a very different tune.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re: Meh

Well I was an asshole to him too, and did disrespect him in front of my friends. I don’t really blame him, he was teaching me a life lesson. This was also before computerized records… so it isn’t like my insurance rates went through the roof or anything.

That same act today would have had a lot more detrimental effect on me.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meh

Like I said it was a different time. The effect was not as long lasting, or detrimental as it would be today.

I think the message was more about disrespect can go both ways than “I can make your life hell for personal reasons and without any repercussions”.

As the old song goes “If your going to play the game boy, you better learn to play it right”

He was a good guy overall and while our friendship waned after that I never thought of him as a bad guy or anything. There wasn’t an on-going vendetta or anything. Sadly his life was taken early in the line of duty.

Now the cop from the first story was definitely an ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Cop: Whats this?
Dude: Scentscy
Cop: Ecstasy! Dude your going down!

Later back at the precinct….
Sargent: Um, this is just some wax
Cop: What? guy said it was Ecstasy!
Sargent: Better get your hearing checked, its Scentscy, I know cause my wife has been spending a fortune on this crap.
Cop: Ok, I’ll change the charges to distributing imitation drugs!
Sargent: Great! Need to keep those drug bust numbers up for the Mayors upcoming election!

Anonymous Coward says:

Hope those cops never visit my house, too much technical stuff going on for them to comprehend....

Constructing an ultralight airplane (airplanes, terrorist!) and I use a small digital scale to measure part A and B of epoxy accurately. (airplanes, scales, terrorist AND drug trafficker!) and lots of zip lock baggies to organize various nuts and bolts used on the airplane. (Intent to distribute!)

But when they see the box for my airplane’s ballistic parachute (safety device) that has a giant orange sticker stating “Explosives” (rocket fuel to launch the parachute) I am assured to be taken down fast and my neighbourhood evacuated for three months.

The various arduinos, circuit boards, chips, wires and other electronic crap will surely be taken for evidence labelled ‘bomb making supplies’

I’ll let you know if the NSA shows up at my house for post#!#$FW#f2!#$ –Carrier Lost

mcinsand (profile) says:


Pipes and bongs make sense as paraphernalia, but we’ve let this definition get way too broad. Maybe, back when digital scales cost $1000, they could have been probable cause… under the right circumstances. Today, though, anyone can afford a small, accurate digital scale for any purpose for $20-30. At this pricepoint, an item can even become a whim purchase, rather than an investment in making sure that high value transactions are accurate.

I have one of those scales. It’s about the size of a deck of cards, cost about $25, and I have been very happy with its accuracy and precision (if you don’t know the difference… nevermind, different topic). They don’t go in the car, though. Yes, drug users and dealers use scales, but so do people weighing packages for postage.

They’ve never been used for anything remotely questionable, but today’s anything-goes culture of reasons to suspend the fourth amendment scare me. Along the same lines, I’m into electronics, but I’m also careful to keep test leads out of the car. At one point in time, having alligator clips visible counted as probable cause.

I hope this guy’s case gets thrown out.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you have done nothing wrong, you have more to fear

I bet Delbert had no idea what crack cocaine looks like.

If he were a drug trafficker, he’d know that his scented wax looked like a drug, and would know that he should either hide it, or make it obvious what it was (like keeping it on its original packaging). He’d know having a small digital scale can be considered suspicious.

Since he weren’t a drug trafficker, he probably thought white wax stones were something perfectly innocent, and thought nothing of carrying a digital scale (or something which looked like it).

He was more at risk because of his lack of knowledge. He lacked the knowledge because he wasn’t a criminal.

Anonymous Coward says:

He ended up in jail for violating rule number 1 of how to interact with police officers. Whenever an officer asks you for permission to search your vehicle, you answer “no officer, i’m asserting my 4th amendment rights, am i free to go”. this is usually followed shortly by “i’m asserting my 5th amendment rights, am i free to go” If they really don’t want to do the paperwork (which they could have done when they seized his car), atleast make them offer clearly, not imply, that in exchange for the search, they won’t give you a ticket.
See this video for a complete set of guidelines for how to deal with the police. Always be polite, and clear.

Finally, if you are arrested: SHUT THE HELL UP until you have a lawyer.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“atleast make them offer clearly, not imply, that in exchange for the search, they won’t give you a ticket.”

And then be sure that you still refuse to consent to a search.

Rule #1: Don’t talk to the police to any degree greater than you are legally obligated to.

Rule #2: Never give the police consent to anything whatsoever.

Rule #3: Be polite and, if possible, friendly and charming.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

And don’t forget your “Allahu Hoover” if you want to avoid getting shot on the spot.

There is not really much of a difference between how you should behave in the presence of police force and in the presence of terrorists in the U.S.A.

Except that terrorists can’t rescind your citizens’ rights and put you in the slammer by inventing bullshit stories.

And that you are less likely to encounter one of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

That is not Scentsy even by the wildest of imaginations and that makes him guilty of lying at the very least and trying to cover something. I have four Scentsy burners going at this time and the burn all day long everyday without exception, I know Scentsy and that is not even remarkably close. Scentsy is nothing other than scented soft melt wax. It does not crumble in the manner this has, it is also smooth to the texture rather than gritty and it certainly does not come in odd looking crack rock likeness. What this is I don’t know, it is obviously not crack as it was tested but neither is it Scentsy.

Eponymous Coward says:

Re: Before I forget...

It applies if you try to sell me imposter drugs and I’m an undercover officer… here, on the other hand, it doesn’t since the defendant didn’t demonstrate any intent (it’s conjecture on the part of the arresting officer). If it did though that would mean anything on your person, when searched by police, that looks remotely drug-like could therefore be “intent to sell” and used against you, which is an insanely low bar to be arrested over.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Before I forget...

I guess I didn’t eat enough wall candy as a kid or something for ‘logic’ like that to make sense.

If selling fake drugs is a crime equal, even partially, to selling the real thing, then what’s illegal isn’t the substance itself, but rather the idea of it, where simply giving something a different name from what it actually is changes what it is in the eyes of the law.

Who’d of guessed it, alchemy is alive and well in the legal system, and all it takes is words to change one substance into another.

Personally, far as I see it, if someone’s out there selling fake ‘drugs'(as long as it’s not a harmful substance), then good. They get easy money, the buyer gets some harmless stuff, and nothing dangerous actually changed hands, so I’d say that would be a win situation all around(though the buyer would likely disagree).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Before I forget...

It should be illegal. Whether it needs its own separate crime is something I’d have to think about.

If you’re selling someone fake drugs, you’re guilty of fraud, and I don’t think just because the targets are drug users that that makes it OK. If the “drugs” are harmless, then that’s less serious than selling them drugs, but I don’t think that should be legal. You’re also almost certainly not paying sales tax or income tax on the sales or revenue generated.

But you seem to assume that a random substance that looks like drugs is usually going to be harmless. I’m not convinced that’s the case. When you sell fake drugs, whatever you sell them is likely going to be snorted, smoked, ingested, or injected. This can cause a normally “harmless” substance – like candles – to do harm.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Before I forget...

So treat it as fraud then, not anything drug related.

Doing so would have a two-fold benefit of both being more accurate, and, since it would no longer be a drug related charge, likely be treated as far less of a crime, with a decreased penalty to match.

Basically, if the substance involved isn’t a drug/’controlled substance’, the charges involving it should in no way be based upon, or related to, charges dealing with actual drugs.

Urgelt (profile) says:

Imitation Drugs

In an authoritarian state, the law is whatever the authorities say it is. This is aided by the existence on the books of laws so vague, they can mean anything.

If the authorities decide they want you, they’ll get you. Trumping up charges is easy.

Many of us have substances in our homes which *could* be mistaken for illegal drugs. I certainly do. I’ve got an eight-ounce package of a fine, white, odorless powder secured in an ammo can (to protect it from stray bugs). I use a tiny amount in my tea several times every day. What is it?

Stevia extract powder. Not a controlled substance. It’s a natural, no-calorie, non-toxic sweetener.

But it *looks* like a controlled substance. So any time the authorities decide to put me away for fifteen years, they can do it.

Intent to distribute? Check. A few years ago I gave my neighbor a package of it.

The authorities aren’t currently after me. But if they decide I’m a nuisance, they’ll have no difficulty finding something to charge me with. If not fake drug dealing, something else. They can make up any charge. Vague statutes will back them up.

Welcome to America.

David says:

Re: Re: Imitation Drugs

As a gardener, you have a lot of access to poisonous stuff as well.

A castor bean bush will provide you with the raw material for producing Ricin. Taking a look at the Wikipedia article is information enough to give you a good clue how to extract it using just material from an average kitchen cupboard (no need to visit a drugstore).

There is no protection from terrorism except sanity and education.

My Name Here says:

the law

This story shows a very clear misunderstanding of the law, and what the term “intent” means.

If you are planning to kill someone, but some smart ass gives you a fake fun (say one with a *bang* flag in it) and you use it to try to kill someone, you had intent. It doesn’t matter if the underlying crime could not happen for technical reasons, the intent was there.

With drugs, it’s the same thing. You don’t actually have to have real drugs in your possession to be arrested for intent to traffic or intent to distribute, because the intent is still there. The FBI setting up a sting like this isn’t worrisome, because the guys still had the willingness an intent to commit the crime, they were trying to obtain drugs to redistribute for money.

It’s why “intent to distribute narcotics” is a different crime than “distributing narcotics”. The latter is the actual act, the former is what you were planning, taking steps to do, or actually though you were doing.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: the law

“The FBI setting up a sting like this isn’t worrisome, because the guys still had the willingness an intent to commit the crime, they were trying to obtain drugs to redistribute for money.”

Wrong story. Link for that one is at top of page. Forth or fifth link into post.

This guy was stopped for a broken taillight.
“Deputies said they stopped Delbert Dewayne Galbreath at NW 10th Street and Interstate 44 for a broken brake light.”

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: the law

Intent is the mens rea of the action yes but it still requires the actus reus for a crime to have either occurred or for a REASONABLE person to believe that a crime is IMMINENTLY about to occur (and even then it is fraught with problems)

Though possession does come into your (USA) criminal laws (nowhere else in the common law world though) as a voluntary act so meets the actus element in some instances. Though only as a possession charge NOT as anything else.

Though in the above instance INTENT has to be proved and that’s going to be hard especially if it was a non common obvious substance (ie: wax) they are trying to prove was being passed off as an illegal substance like crack cocaine.

MrColdWaterOfRealityMan (profile) says:

The drug laws are having their intended effect

They are providing a flimsy excuse to bust anyone at any time for anything. Evidence can now literally can be in the eye of the beholder, and not exist in any objective sense at all. Evidence no longer needs to be planted. All you need is the opinion of a cop who may, or may not, have finished college.

In states where the civil confiscation laws are sufficiently draconian, charges don’t even need to be filed, allowing the confiscation of one’s car and any money you happened to be carrying during the non-bust.

When a civilian does this, it’s called fraud, or theft. When a cop does it, he either goes back to work, or gets a promotion to protect himself from prosecution.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes but if one of the persons (the cop) is only dumb enough to think the fake product is drugs (even after testing it) and the other person in the conspiracy is actually stating that it is NOT drugs the two person test for conspiracy fails.

Though the one person test for “is this LEO a complete moron in a hurry” absolutely checks all the boxes.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“if one of the persons (the cop) is only dumb enough to think the fake product is drugs”

I seriously doubt the cop actually thought it was drugs. I suspect that they were just looking for something they could pin on him. Maybe the cops had a stick up their ass, maybe the guy was rude, maybe he was a known person of ill repute, whatever. This looks like an attempted railroading to me.

John85851 (profile) says:

Two quick points:

First- how is anyone supposed to avoid getting into trouble when police can charge you with “suspicion of intent to posses and distribute”. How do you even fight a charge of “suspicion” or “intent to possess”?

Second- can anyone get in trouble for having a digital scale? My wife makes cookies and the digital scale is great for converting ounces to grams.

Kerron Brown says:


On jan19,2014… The bouglasville ga police department was called to my former home for a domestic dispute between 2 woman.. They had a comando type of knife slashing at and punching each other…when the racist police officers got there they fucosed all of there attention on me the only black man they could leagaly question and they asked to search me not wanting them to beat me or hurt me I agreed knowing I was not in possession of any illegal items…..However I was incarcerated for possession of 72 grams of meth and 29 grams of extacy ” the feild test was poss…3 months later I was released the GBI lab said it was vitamins. B12 and niacin lost my house my job and my kids. THATS THE KIND OF RECEPTION A NAVY WAR VET GETS.

Scott Sasek says:

I got arrested for "Possession with Intent" without possessing anything (or intending to for that mater)

How is everyone….. I was sitting in VOP court, awaiting the judge to agree to place me on unsupervised probation. I was in VOP court, because I was arrested several weeks earlier but had ended up having my charges “fully dismissed.”

And a messed up situation of “Probable cause to search vehicle was met when they saw syringes in the female’s purse” A syringe was found in vehicle with drugs. Arrested me because I was sitting in the driver seat of a parked vehicle. Spent nearly a month in jail and 2 court dates wherein I refused the offer of probation (twice). Before I ever made it to a Superior Court, they randomly just release me from jail.

Two weeks later, there I am in court for Violation of Probation on the case which had been dismissed. Upon arrival, my probation officer was telling me how he was recommending probation termination and get sentenced to Department of Corrections (sentencing run CONSECUTIVE on that note). When I informed him of the charges and how they were dropped, I was no longer in violation of my probation.

So 5 hours go by, and I am still in court room waiting….. Then Mark Letterman, HEad Detective at the Sheriff’s office comes up “and would like to ask me some questions downstairs.” I almost smiled, as I was awaiting for the ball to drop. Things rarely “go smoothly” and I was awaiting for SOMETHING to occur. I just didn’t think it would have been the following things:

1. Possession of Methamphetamine.

2. Possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver (Namely three grams of Methamphetamine sold to an undercover officer)

3. Use of a vehicle to commit a felony.

Want to know how I am innocent? Never in my life have my hands ever even TOUCHED and 8ball of dope. I could never begin to afford such a large amount (in North Carolina). Never had I seen 3 grams of dope even once in this state. And somehow, while Mark Letterman describes how I sold to an undercover (I am pretty sure he means a “confidential informant”), and that “They do this all the time. They have their ducks in a row.”

So, I was arrested on Possession and Possession with intent….. I had no drugs to possess for them to take. They say I sold them.

So I guess when a person sells them. It means that the transfer of goods from one to another is enough to arrest a person at the time of a crime? If no drugs physically on the perpetrator, then they had to probably Catch he perpetrator, post-sale with marked money in hand? Sounds good….. This is the first time in a slightly tarnished history, have I EVER, evereververeverever been arrested on charges I DID NOT COMMIT OR EVEN LIVE THE LIFESTYLE OF A DRUG DEALER (especially since I only had moved to this state a year prior). Anyway, long story short, I have never been charged or found with any drugs on me at any time. Nor have I ever been arressted with any marked money (especially since I didn’t sell anything)

How about waiting 90 days before arresting the perpetrator? Oddly, the same amount of time before Verizon and other carriers backup text messaging? What text messages? Well, it just so happens that the Confidential Informant they used, had taken part in a Breaking and Entering and Grand Theft on my property when he was the driver for another person who stole the goods. Well, he messaged me up one day offering to get my guitar back for me and also had a chainsaw for me to borrow since mine had been stolen.

Well, fortunately for Facebook, 91 days prior, I got these messages offering assistance in a much needed matter regarding the chainsaw for a fell-tree in yard. Plus the guitar back!

So, Mark Letterman is holding my file in his hands. Now, I know that for even ONE charge for a single case, there is always with it, much to much paperwork. I mean, if this were my file for the case, there would presumably be witness reports of the two officers who watched the sale commence. Statements from the “Undercover Officer”. And probably warrant paperwork copies, and the several pieces for the charges filed……

My file had maybe 7 pieces of paper (4 of which were copies of my charges). Interestingly enough, my bond was only set at $10,000. Normally, these charges carry minimum $30,000 bond for three felony charges. Back to jail I go.

Now, worse, is that I have to continue to pay for probation @ $80 a month for Supervision (which I was about to no longer have to pay) AND wait for trial (which in Florida, a fair and speedy trial is exactly 30 days for the District State’s Attorney to prepare his case and evidence supported for trial. Well, Not in North Carolina. The best answer I have heard for a Fair and Speedy trial is: “well, that is a grey area of margin for how long they have. It can take anywhere from 6 months to a year.”)

I wonder if they will keep me on probation LONGER than the actual sentenced 18 months as I am at 14 months now. And if trial is a year away, well….. Damn.

It has been almost 3 months since arrest. First court date my Public Defender said I wasn’t in the court room. Second time I went to Court, I was handed a piece of paper with another court date over 2 months away. TO THIS DAY, I have still been able to even MEET my attorney.

NOTE!!!! – People, I understand there is a world full of people that justify their actions. Rationalize their thoughts. And Minimize their wrong-doings. I have a record freom several years ago. I have done illegal things I am not proud of. I am guilty of EVERY charge I have ever been convicted of (except two DUI’s – – But I beat in trial two separate DUI’s so I consider this a status-quo).. I am NOT being a smart defendent and posting “I am innocent” because one should NEVER admit the the charges before trial is done and over. No, I am saying I am innocent, because I don’t have any idea what it would be like to have namely 3 grams of Methamphetamine in my possession EVER in this state…….

P.S. – I was told that the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office has it’s ways….. One of them for instance, is a history of three Head Sheriff’s all with the same last name. Handed down from Father to Son over god knows how long. So I am still a bit worried.

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