DEA Arrests Owners of Phat Stuff – Each Facing 23 Years in Prison

DEA Agents Raiding Phat Stuff

DEA Gang Robbing Phat Stuff in 2014

In a terrible update to an already awful story, the DEA has arrested the owners of Phat Stuff, the popular local head shop on Main Street that was raided in May of 2014. Panos and Katie Eliopoulos were arrested (allegedly in front of their kids) in February and have been charged with one count of “Conspiracy to Offer Drug Paraphernalia for Sale” and one count of “Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering”. You can read the short, three page indictment here.

The paraphernalia sales charge carries up to three years in prison and an unspecified fine and the  money laundering charge carries up to twenty years in prison, an up to $500,000 fine, and an additional fine relating to the value of the property involved.

Longtime readers of Free Keene may recall that the raid nearly destroyed their business and left them penniless as the federal gangsters cleaned out their bank account and even stole their truck. Oh, and don’t forget the DEA’s theft of an entire box-truckload of store merchandise – probably $100,000 in inventory, which they’ll likely never get back, even if they’re found not guilty. The raid was done with the assistance of Keene police, who were protecting and serving their federal masters, not the people of this community.  In an ideal world, the Keene police would have arrested the DEA agents and charged them with armed robbery.  You can watch the 17-minute video of the raid, cut down from over four hours of raw footage here.

panos

Eliopoulous Family’s Life Destroyed By Insane War on Drugs

The indictment was issued on February 11th and the arrests appear to have occurred a week later on February 18th, according to the bail paperwork. Bail conditions for Panos (and presumably Katie, though I haven’t seen her bail paperwork) include him submitting to search anytime police want, submit to urine testing, and give up any weapons, among other conditions.

Trial is currently slated for two weeks in federal court in Concord beginning on April 21st, 2015 at 9:30am. The Eliopouloses are represented by attorney Charles Keefe. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

74% of NH House Votes For Cannabis Decriminalization – Up From 53% in 2014

Pot LeafWith a solid veto-proof margin, the New Hampshire house of representatives overwhelmingly passed cannabis decriminalization today, 297-67, according to state rep Kyle Tasker. That’s a significant increase over 2014’s 215-92 vote on decrim. 297 votes is 38% higher than last year’s 215. A total of 74.25% of the house’s 400 members voted for the bill and 16.75% voted against. That leaves 9% who did not vote. Of those who voted, over 81% voted in favor of decrim.

If this isn’t a mandate, I don’t know what is. Now the bill moves on to the senate, where it died last time. However, it’s a new senate and a new year. With evidence of cannabis legalization’s success mounting, and now even Washington DC legalizing, politicians in NH are finding a little backbone. Sadly, they are late to the party – the other New England states have decriminalized cannabis, some more recently, but Maine as far back as the 1970s.

Maybe the overwhelming support for decrim in this house vote will transfer to the senate, or maybe not. If it passes the senate, unless governor Maggie Hassan finds her conscience, they’ll have to pass this with a 2/3rds veto-proof margin in order to stop Hassan from striking this much-needed legislation down.

In related news, last week the state house voted to add more conditions to the medical cannabis statutes. That also now goes to the senate.

BREAKING: James Cleaveland Arrested in Virginia

UPDATE @ 8:30pm: James has been arrested for Klonopin allegedly found in the truck. According to an officer Lee at the Dinwiddie sheriff’s department, this is a class 1 misdemeanor. James is facing a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if the state can prove he “knowingly” possessed the drugs. He has a $1,000 bond and will likely be transported to the Meherrin regional jail.

Original post from this afternoon:

Free Keene blogger and owner of 101 Deals Thrift Store, James Cleaveland, is currently stranded in Dinwiddie, VA after armed men calling themselves “sheriffs” stole his yellow box truck. Initially the armed men asked James to search, which he refused. They then informed him they will be getting a warrant to search, because of terrorism, human trafficking, and serial killers. He is currently at the Dinwiddie county sheriff’s office and is currently streaming live video on Bambuser:

James says the Dinwiddie gang brought out a dog which they claim alerted on the vehicle and further claims that the tag is expired, so they towed it to the sheriff’s department. That’s where he is right now, awaiting the search of the truck. He has not been arrested or charged. James has said on his livestream that the “bad cop” Sgt. David Williams prevented him from retrieving his wallet from the cab of the truck. Later however “good cop”, name unknown at this point, did retrieve his wallet for him. Early on in this situation, I called the sheriff’s department to inquire on the whereabouts of the truck. The lady who answered the phone told me that the truck was indeed there and that Williams had been involved in the stealing. I asked to speak to Williams and at that point recorded the call. He acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about: (more…)

NH Representatives to Restrict Bureaucrats from Testifying in Committees?

Last week, Keene liberty activists visited Concord’s state house legislative office building and spoke on multiple issues, including a bill, HB300, that if passed would prohibit government bureaucrats from testifying at the state house’s committees without permission from the committee chair. It would also make them wear their state ID when in the state house.

One of the worst things about the state house is that there are bureaucrats who attend nearly every committee hearing who are constantly pushing for more taxes and more power. The bill in question would be a major step in the right direction. Darryl W. Perry, Chris Cantwell, and I all spoke on the issue:

Darryl:

Chris: (more…)

Gilford Schools Recording Audio on Buses Without Notice, aka “Wiretapping”

In a video captured by a student in Gilford, a school bus driver admits to a student that the camera on the bus is recording audio.  By definition, this is “wiretapping”, according to a ridiculous, draconian NH statute that most other states do not have.  In most places, you can record a conversation so long as one person knows it’s being recorded.  In New Hampshire, the supposed “live free or die” state, every party to the recording must be aware, and depending on your interpretation, consent.  What the school board in Gilford is doing is not legal, but it should be – for everyone.  The wiretapping statute only protects bad bureaucrats and business people from accountability and needs to be heavily gutted or repealed entirely.

Here’s the brief student video where they announce they are recording and then the driver admits the permanently mounted camera at the front of the bus has been recording audio.  Will the Gilford school superintendent be arrested?  Don’t hold your breath.  They save their “wiretapping” arrests for activists like Ademo Freeman of Cop Block.

Thanks to Josh Youssef for hosting the video.

Judge Burke Sentences James to Jail, Suspended

Heroic activist, blogger, entrepreneur, and Free State Project participant James Cleaveland was sentenced in Judge Burke’s courtroom in Keene, New Hampshire for the charges of “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest”. His charges stem from a June 30th incident in which James was video recording police. According to officer accounts, James was ordered to move back from an “active scene,” and he complied. After complying with the first officer’s request, a different officer demanded he move back further. He refused and was arrested.
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