Criminal Gang, “DEA” Robs Local Smoke Shop in Broad Daylight
Back in May, as part of nationwide raids, the DEA raided popular local Main St. smoke shop, Phat Stuff. Liberty activists were on-scene to document and copblock. The dozen-or-so agents loaded up a large U-haul and carted way nearly every smoking device in the store, easily $100,000 in inventory.
The ostensible reason for the raid was a crackdown on synthetic drugs, which the store had not stocked for months. Some observers of the situation believed that the DEA would actually give back the pipes. Those people are obviously new to observing this thuggery. The Keene Sentinel has an update on the case. Guess what? The DEA is seeing “forfeiture” (legal stealing) of all of the seized inventory.
The article reveals that the DEA jacked (in addition to the inventory), $15,000 from Phat Stuff owner Panos Eliopoulos’ bank account, nearly $700 from the store’s cash register, and stole his 2011 Ford F-250. As expected, no charged have been filed against any human beings. Only the inventory appears to be at risk here. Typical DEA robbery – they take your stuff, like a criminal gang, and there’s nearly nothing you can do. Does the owner want to spend $50,000 on attorneys to try to get $100,000 worth of inventory back, with no guarantee of success?
Free State Project participant Andrew Michael Jones of Norfolk, Virginia was arrested in December of 2013 along with others accused of being the operators of the Silk Road underground marketplace. Andrew is alleged to be the longtime site administrator, “Inigo”. Thus far, almost all of the news headlines about the Silk Road arrests have gone to Ross Ulbricht, who is accused of being the infamous site’s creator and head admin, “Dread Pirate Roberts”. Andrew is accused of similar allegations as Ross, “conspiracy to commit money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and hacking” and is facing spending the rest of his life in federal prison.
While Ross Ulbricht was not offered bail, Andrew was able to get out on $1,000,000 bail thanks to his parents, who did not have anything close to that amount of money, so they put up their house and retirement incomes to secure a bond. His bail conditions include 24/7 house arrest at his parents’ house and being strictly forbidden from using any internet capable device. His girlfriend, Birdie, (who is also a Free State Project participant) is the one who reached out to me and she and Andrew’s family have set up a website to accept contributions to his legal fund, as they can use all the help they can get.
Birdie and Andrew
Andrew’s mother, Judy Jones, 68, told me this about him, “He’s very bright, kind, generous and has always been an idealist. When he first told me about bitcoins, he helped me envision a world where the central banks are no longer in charge of money. If it were instead a peer-based monetary system, so much good can come from that. I have hope for a better world thanks to his generation (the Millennials).”
Unlike Ross’ case, Andrew does not face the “kingpin” charge. Plus, he has not been libeled with allegations of murder for hire, as Ross has. Hopefully, that will help with this fundraising ability. He has retained the services of attorney Samuel M. Braverman and the bill will likely be very expensive.
As have many activists looking at moving to New Hampshire, Andrew and Birdie made the pilgrimage to Keene in December of 2012 and came to visit Social Sunday. I met both of them there and truly hope he can get through this difficult time with the minimum damage possible. If Andrew did not administer the Silk Road, then he’s a man wrongfully accused, but if he did, he’s a hero. The Silk Road was (and is) the most important development to happen to the black market in our lifetimes. (more…)
This week’s AKPF #1 installment focuses on recent events across the globe, as linguistics professor Noam Chomsky narrates an analysis of what has driven the tragic massacres in Gaza. Illustrated with footage from the area and beyond, this special edition ranks among the most informative and insightful episodes.