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Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Suspected dealers gave up $10,000 in drug taxes during Wakarusa festival

July 19, 2006

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Kansas revenue agents take in about $1 million a year in cash or property seized from suspected drug dealers, with or without criminal charges being filed.

About $10,000 was collected that way from the increased law enforcement at this year's Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival, according to tax warrants filed last week in Douglas County District Court.

At least 13 people from around the country had suspected drug money seized during the festival weekend.

The biggest cash stash taken was $2,555, from Patrick J. Stanley, 25, of Delbarton, W.Va., who was arrested for possession with intent to sell LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.

The tax cases are just part of the ongoing legal aftermath of the festival. At least 10 people still have felony drug-dealing charges against them, including 28-year-old Dustin D. Russell, of Albuquerque, N.M., who rode a train to Lawrence last week to make it to a court date in Douglas County District Court.

Russell is charged with possession of LSD, a misdemeanor, and possession with intent to sell LSD, a felony. He plans to challenge the dealing charge on the grounds that his tent was searched illegally, but he admits he had the drug for his personal use.

"It's part of the scene," he said.

The drug tax is separate from any criminal charges. Stanley, for example, was charged with two felony drug-dealing crimes but was allowed to plead to misdemeanor possession charges.

"The evidence, after the charging, was not sufficient for the charges," Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said.

Judge Michael Malone sentenced Stanley to a year in jail but freed him after 21 days behind bars. Branson's office recommended a $200 fine as part of the plea deal, but Malone waived it.

The drug tax, enacted in 1987, was a way to ensure that people who dealt drugs paid some taxes because they don't collect sales taxes or pay income-tax on their profits. If dealers are caught with a certain amount of a drug - more than an ounce of marijuana or more than 10 doses of LSD, for example - and don't have a "Kansas Drug Tax Stamp" affixed for the proper amount, the state can assess the tax against them.

Someone with 100 doses of LSD, for example, would owe $4,000 in taxes. But historically, the state only collects about one-tenth of the drug-tax amounts it assesses.

For example, Ryan Matthew Dabkowski, a 23-year-old Connecticut man arrested during the festival for possession with intent to sell marijuana, was assessed a $47,200 tax, but agents seized $160 from him and most likely will leave it at that.

"For the out-of-state people, generally speaking, what we get at the time is all we're going to get out of them," said Phil Wilkes, an attorney for the Kansas Department of Revenue. "We don't have the means to go after them."

Dabkowski has not been charged in criminal court.

Three-fourths of the money collected through drug-tax seizures goes back to the police agencies that made the bust. Lt. Doug Woods, of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, said there are no specific plans yet for how to use the money seized at the Wakarusa festival, but that the money seized by the local drug squad historically has been used for surveillance equipment such as night-vision goggles, audio surveillance equipment or rental cars.

Since the law began, the state has sold about $33,000 worth of drug tax stamps. Wilkes said he doesn't know exactly who's buying them, in part because the law requires the purchase of the stamps to be anonymous.

"I'm going to say that probably somewhere between a fourth and a half of those were collectors," Wilkes said. "I have no way of knowing for sure."










Wakarusa cases

These are some of the cases still pending in District Court related to the Wakarusa Festival: ¢ Garth D. Brosemer, 34, Tierra Verde, Fla., charged with possession with intent to sell ecstasy. He failed to appear in court June 15, and a $10,000 warrant was issued for his arrest. ¢ Joseph P. Beuregard, 25, Altamont, N.Y., charged with possession with intent to sell ecstasy. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Aug. 10. ¢ Willie Golden, 48, Mount Union, Pa., is charged with dealing a counterfeit substance and is scheduled for a hearing July 31. ¢ Joshua P. Cohen, 23, Hackensack, N.J., is charged with selling ecstasy, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. He's due in court Aug. 4. ¢ Ryoji McCormick, 20, of Arroyo Seco, N.M., Oneilo Lopez, 21, and Sergio Lopez, 21, of Taos, N.M., arrested for possession with intent to sell marijuana, were due in court Monday but had their cases postponed until Aug. 15. ¢ Dustin D. Russell, 28, Albuquerque, N.M., charged with possession with intent to sell LSD. He appeared in court last week in Lawrence to have an attorney appointed and had his case postponed until Aug. 31. ¢ Michael Schneiders, 23, St. Louis, Mo., charged with offering to sell psilocybin mushrooms to an undercover officer and with selling LSD. He has retained attorneys from Kansas City to represent him. Checkpoint charges: Some of the people arrested on drug charges at a Kansas Highway Patrol checkpoint outside the festival have not yet had formal charges filed, including Lawrence resident Charles S. Pearlman, 22, who was arrested on suspicion of marijuana dealing. Three men from Des Moines, Iowa, arrested in the checkpoint for possession with intent to sell LSD- Peter J. Casey, 21, Benjamin McCoy, 20, and Jacob W. Norman, 20 - have not yet been charged. But the state did seize $1,107 cash from their vehicle.

Comments

Kelly Powell 8 years, 5 months ago

It is calling it a tax that bothers me.....This has nothing to do with the legality of drugs in my opinion.....Document the money and if there is a discrepency in their income tax or they do not file sic the irs on them...

Sigmund 8 years, 5 months ago

Finally a tax that liberals hate and I have no problem with. Now if we can just get taxes increased on Birkenstocks and dreadlocks.

Moderateguy 8 years, 5 months ago

"Patrick J. Stanley, 25, of Delbarton, W.Va., who was arrested for possession with intent to sell LSD and psilocybin mushrooms."

"Judge Michael Malone sentenced Stanley to a year in jail but freed him after 21 days behind bars."

Excuse me, but "huh?" Must be some other information here. If he really did the crime, he should do the time.

Moderateguy 8 years, 5 months ago

"Ryan Matthew Dabkowski, a 23-year-old Connecticut man arrested during the festival for possession with intent to sell marijuana, was assessed a $47,200 tax, but agents seized $160 from him and most likely will leave it at that."

Exactly how much weed do you have to posess for that fine? I say make him work it off turning big rocks into little rocks.

pundit 8 years, 5 months ago

I hate to admit it but Marion is dead on right here, and the article is wrong. The law was indeed passed specifically to allow for civil charges with lower proof thresholds to be used especially when criminal cases couldn't be made.

The article likening this to sales tax is all bulls***

The War on Drugs has failed and needs to be abandoned.

reginafliangie 8 years, 5 months ago

biggunz: Thats how they make it a crime by saying they didn't have a tax stamp. Nobody is actually going to get a tax stamp to sell drugs.

I just don't understand why people are so upset about people getting in trouble for posessing illegal drugs. Why is it ok to let people do drugs and not get into trouble for it? You know if somebody OD'd or died or killed another because of the drugs at the Wak Fest you all would be going crazy about why nobody did anything to make sure that didn't happen.

Ace_Ventura 8 years, 5 months ago

Thats nice, Now we will see how many people deside to show up next year. I bet it will be half as many.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

So... if I understand Marion and Pundit, the law is basically a way to harrass dealers and users?

I'm OK with that.

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 5 months ago

Read the info a little closer. You have to pay tax on your drugs similar to if you have a car that you don't drive you still have to pay a tax because you have it whether you use it or not.

Taxes are all civil. They made the crime not possessing the stamp I am assuming for an extra charge.

It also makes sense that if the dope dealers are selling and it is a cash business, they should pay some sort of tax on the sales. Everyone else who sells something even second hand stuff on Ebay now has to pay taxes on it (I was surprised this year when I saw that new tax when I was filing) so why shouldn't they have to pay.

My guess is the sellers have gotten away with it for quite sometime so that is the price of doing business without it up till now.

Also if the law has been in place for 20 years why are we complaining about it now when a bunch of out of towners got busted for doing something illegal.

lawrencephilosopher 8 years, 5 months ago

If America wants a war on drugs.....I have the solution. Let the commission ban more drugs!

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

It does seem a little silly to have a tax on sales of illegal substances. Of course drugs should be legal, in my view, for a number of reasons.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

The concept of jihad in the Muslim religion actually refers to one of the precepts of the religion, namely the injunction to fight against "oppressive occupying forces". Clearly the US is seen, with some justification, as being one of those.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 5 months ago

I would have thought with all the headlines the amount would have been so much more. Oh well just give me the money I am sure I can find something to do with it. Oh yeah the war talk is on other articles in case everyone missed it.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the refresher course, Marion!

I'm still OK with that. You see, this doesn't effect me, and if it ever did effect me, it'd be my own fault.

These guys aren't being hit with these "taxes" because they have too many bottles of Robutussin. This is LSD, ecstasy and cocaine. That's what they are dealing, so I'm supportive of the harrassment-in-violation-of-civil-rights being conducted with my tax dollars. Next year, these guys will go from Crap-a-loosa straight to Stupid-a-loosa without stopping to deal drugs in Douglas County at Wak Fest. I'm OK with all that.

Call me short-sighted, call me ignorant, but these guys weren't just keeping a little personal stash on hand, they were dealers. Let the beat-downs begin.

If the cops were giving beat-downs to people pouring heavy metals into the Kaw or Clinton Lake; or to people burning piles of tires indiscriminantly, there are many here who would praise the beat-downs. I'm happy because we are doing what it takes to keep the socially polluting drugs out of our community.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

"Keep out" was wishful thinking. "Make feel unwelcome" is more what I'm trying to say. "Tell them to stay in Wichita" is even more specific.

local_support 8 years, 5 months ago

So did you end up making it to the festival OldEnuf? I heard Cracker and Camper put on a helluva show, although 17 people were arrested during the set for smoking the dope.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, I'm too busy and "uninterested" to make the Wak. I heard a lot of good (and bad) stuff about it. I'd love for it to become the premier drug-free festival in the country.

Yeah, I know: 'drug free' is also wishful thinking. As one of the beaten-down dealers said "It's part of the scene,".

veryconcerned 8 years, 5 months ago

I would have to say that by taxing the drug distribution we are saying that it's ok as long as you pay taxes. This really makes me mad that some of these drug dealers got only a slap on the hand this will not stop this evil occupation.

veryconcerned 8 years, 5 months ago

Whatever happened to a zero tolerance on any crime is that too much to ask. If our District attorneys would do their jobs we wouldnt have all this crime

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

H. Grail:

Things have changed: ecstasy wasn't on the streets when I was a kid. In ten years we will begin to see what the long-term effects of that drug are, and it will make us laugh that we ever worried about LSD. The sensory highs that E gives it's users today will be paid for later on... for a lifetime.

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 5 months ago

Bob

you are right "X" was legal for a while. A few folks I know who transferred to KU from SMU in Dallas said they could buy it in Bars until around '88 or so.

The fact everyone is so worked up about the dealers getting taxed like everyone else who gets taxed for for the work they do just reinforces it is a good way to make business more difficult for the dealer and the only way to upset someone is to "hit them in their pocketbook."

Enforcer: There is a tie to muslim terrorism and the drug taxes. You forget many of the muslim radical organization in Afganistan, African (don't forget SUdan and SOmolia one of the largest growing terror states in Africa), SE Asia and so on... cultivate, refine, ship for sale opium, "Kat", herion and other drugs which directly funds their Jhihad.

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 5 months ago

DUh

I was backing you up with facts not

"Oh yeah your mother."

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 5 months ago

SO basically you are saying the drug users of the US are funding the terrorists' war against the US and their interests.

Hmmmm sounds like the taxing of drugs and making it illegal to sell or possess drugs might be a way of the government trying to take funding away from terrorists.

Sigmund 8 years, 5 months ago

Finally a tax that liberals hate and I have no problem with. Now if we can just get taxes increased on Birkenstocks and dreadlocks we can get the hippies to join our tax revolt!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

Quit posting that "church" website URL! I spent nearly an hour there before I finally concluded it was not for real.

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