Actor Tommy Chong was arrested in 2003 under “Operation Pipe Dreams. Chong was sentenced to nine months in prison, a fine of $20,000, and the forfeiture of about $120,000 in assets. He plead guilty to charges of "conspiring to distribute drug paraphernalia," after a sting operation in which federal agents ordered his bongs over the Internet, to ensure that the items were sent across state lines. The bust was part of a larger anti-bong police effort called “Operation Pipe Dreams”, which involved over 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers. The operation culminated on February 24, 2003, with simultaneous raids against multiple paraphernalia retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Chong was the first of the Operation Pipe Dreams defendants to plead guilty, and also the first to receive jail time. Chong’s lawyers claim he was convicted because of his pot-friendly media persona.
Country singer Willie Nelson and four others was issued misdemeanor citations for possession of narcotic mushrooms and marijuana after a traffic stop on a Louisiana highway when a trooper smelt the strong odor of cannabis in 2006. There were enough drugs to merit a felony charge of distribution if they had been found in one person’s possession, but all five claimed the drugs as their own and the drugs were not packaged for resale.
Randy Credico, who heads the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly trying to prevent police officers from arresting two teens outside of his house in 2008. Randy told the Post, "I'm constantly warning kids not to smoke pot on that street. These cops are making Mickey Mouse pot arrests - what a waste of time and money."
Abbotsford Police arrested marijuana activist and recent political candidate Tim Felger at his store. Wielding a warrant issued under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, patrol officers and the drug squad busted the Da Kine shop on Essendene Avenue in British Columbia. As Felger was escorted out of the store by a drug squad officer garbed in a black balaclava, Felger was vocal in his assessment of the situation. “Remember the drug war and all the kids that died!” he yelled. “This is just killing the kids left and right, and they’re arresting me for marijuana.”
Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson ordered that his country's most famous marijuana legalization advocate be extradited to the US to serve a five-year federal prison sentence. Emery and two employees, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, were arrested in Vancouver in 2005 by Canadian police acting at the behest of US authorities, who had indicted the trio in Seattle for selling pot seeds over the Internet to customers in the US. However this arrest should have never happened under sovereignty, and postal laws. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to make sure that these purchases abide by their state and federal laws. It became clear that Emery was the true target when Rainey and Williams were offered plea bargains that allowed them to stay in Canada, and Emery himself pleaded guilty to one count of marijuana distribution in exchange for a five-year sentence. He had faced up to life in prison for his pot seed sales.
The Huffington Post stated that a group of civilly-disobedient hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested while digging up the lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration. David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a more than 60-year-old company that does tens of millions of dollars of business annually, was among those arrested.
A Washington State medical marijuana activist, Phil Mocek, was arrested at the Albuquerque airport after refusing to show ID to TSA screeners. Mocek is one of many Americans who believe Americans have a right to travel freely between the states without showing their papers to the federal government. Mocek was tabling at the 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference for a Seattle-based activist group called the Cannabis Defense Coalition. The event was attended by over one thousand people, including New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and former Governor Gary Johnson. At the Albuquerque airport for his flight back to Seattle, Mocek politely refused to show his ID to a TSA screener, who called in a supervisor. Mocek started recording with his digital camera, which caused the TSA supervisor to become extremely agitated. The police were called in, with six officers arriving on the scene. Mocek was immediately arrested. Another Seattle activist, Jesse Gallagos, was traveling with Mocek, and was driven in a police cruiser to the edge of the Albuquerque airport, dropped off, and told he was banned from flying for 24 hours. Like many Americans, Mocek has flown for years without showing ID to federal officials.
The most recent of these targeted retaliation attacks is on the infamous rogue cop Barry Cooper who turned himself in on a warrant for allegedly making a False Report to a Peace Officer. Cooper, once one of the Permian Basin Narcotics Task Force's most successful agents, has refashioned himself an anti-prohibition activist. Cooper says that as a result of legal research put in by his team, Yolanda Madden, an Odessa woman jailed in 2005 on possession of methamphetamine, was freed from federal prison in December of 2009. With the help of a benefactor who hoped to embarrass the Odessa Police Department, Cooper and a team of researchers, videographers and lawyers staged a high-media assault on the west Texas cops in late 2008. After setting up a faux cannabis grow-house retrofitted with small pine trees and high-heat light bulbs, then ensuring the delivery of an anonymous tip about the home to a local pastor, a trap was set. Cooper says he suspects police peeked into the home with infrared cameras, after officers received the tip from the pastor, which is illegal without a search warrant. They would have seen the numerous hot bulbs, and what appeared to be plants growing; these could not be verified as cannabis though. A local judge then signed a warrant based solely on the anonymous tip, a practice which has also been barred by the Supreme Court, and officers raided the home; only to discover that they’d been set up in a reverse sting operation. Over a year and a half after his stunt, the Texas Rangers issued a warrant for the arrest of Barry Cooper, along with his wife Candi, accusing them of the Class B misdemeanor. The Coopers contend that delivery of an anonymous letter to a religious leader in the community is not the same as making a false report to police, but authorities in Texas are determined to let that be decided by the courts. The Coopers both have a separate charge of making a False Report to a Peace Officer that's connected to another Kop Buster’s sting in Williamson County.