Created January 15, 2005. Revised October 26, 2007; and April 3, 2017.
Copyright 1998-2017 by John W. Allen.

Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer from Orissa, India


Big Cultivation Busts

In the late 1970s, there was a big mushroom cultivation bust in the Los Angeles area (High Times magazine, Unsigned, Volume 31, March, 1978). It allegedly involved several tons of psychoactive fungi confiscated by several teams of state and federal narcotics and law enforcement agents. As it turned out, only about five fresh pounds of P. cubensis were confiscated and several tons of compost and casing which were being used to grow the fungi were also hauled away. Most of the charges against the growers of these mushrooms were eventually dismissed.



Bellingham Herald Friday, September 4, 1981.
Three Men Arrested as Police Seize Truckload of Psilocybin

Three men are in custody today and five to seven truckloads of evidence were seized after a Thursday raid on a house police believe was being used to manufacture illegal mushrooms.

Police raided a three-story Victorian house at 1208 Broadway Thursday afternoon after a routine burglary investigation, according to Bellingham Police Chief Terry Mangan.

All three stories of the house were being used as an "extensive and sophisticated factory for the cultivation, processing, drying and shipping of psilocybin, an hallucinogenic drug contained in a species of mushroom," Mangan said.

This is the first mushroom lab I've heard of anywhere," Mangan said.

Police believe the mushrooms were being distributed to at least six states.

Police have jailed Douglas Patterson, 28, 1208 Broadway, Scott Butterworth, 27, Squallicum Harbor and Joel Anderson, 28, Moscow, Idaho, on charges of possession of a controlled substance. Anderson and Butterworth are being held without bail. Patterson is being held on $20,000 bail. Police said they are seeking others both here and in other states.

Mangan placed a value of about $1,000 a pound on the dried mushrooms. Because the mushrooms were in various stages of being processed, however, police could not determine the exact amount at the house, he said.

The incident began Thursday afternoon when Officer Dale Brandland stopped three juveniles in the 2300 block of H street on a burglary investigation.

The juveniles had about $20,000 worth of psilocybin mushrooms and some firearms on them when they were stopped, Mangan said.

They apparently had broken into the house and stolen the mushrooms, Mangan said.

When police traced the mushrooms back to the source, they found the house. A search warrant was obtained and the factory raided.

In addition to the mushrooms, a considerable amount of laboratory equipment also was seized.

Included among the equipment seized were microscopes, culture tubes, large sterilizers, drying racks, grow lights and hundreds of mason jars, Mangan said.

"We have so much evidence we haven't been able to inventory and process it," Mangan said. "The elevators are jammed to overflowing with the evidence."

Even as police were processing the evidence throughout the night, phone calls from various states were coming into the house inquiring about the mushrooms, he said.

He noted Whatcom County has a history of illegal mushroom cultivation and use.

Whatcom County has long been a focal point for the psilocybin mushroom craze," Mangan said.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Saturday, September 5, 1981. Page C2.


Bellingham (AP)

Prosecutors charged one man and released two others for lack of evidence yesterday, after police arrested the three at a house crammed with hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The mushrooms were being marketed, via United Parcel Service, to Northwest and possibly other states, said authorities.

Douglas K. Patterson, 23, of Bellingham, was charged with four drug counts alleging that he illegally possessed and intended to deliver psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana.

Patterson appeared yesterday in Whatcom County Superior Court where judge Byron Swedberg ordered him held on $150,000 bail and scheduled September 10 for arraignment and entry of a plea.

Two Released.

The county prosecutors office decided to release the other two men arrested Thursday night, said Bellingham Police Chief Terry Mangan.

Scott Butterworth, 27, of Bellingham, and Joel Anderson, 28, of Moscow, Idaho, were released "for lack of evidence, at least this time," Mangan said.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutors office said both men were released without charges, though the judge ordered Butterworth to appear when called.

Mangan said Police searched Butterworth's boat on Squallicum Harbor yesterday but found no evidence. They also were searching for another Bellingham resident in connection with the arrest, he added.

Patterson, Butterworth and Anderson were arrested Thursday evening at a home Mangan called "an extensive and sophisticated factory for cultivation, processing, drying and shipping of psilocybin mushrooms."

Seven truckloads of equipment and mushrooms in various stages of development were seized, Mangan said. Police will not know the weight and value of the mushrooms until next week, he added.

Mangan said the upstairs and basement of the large, rambling Victorian home were "crammed with equipment and chemicals and cultures of all sorts."

Mangan said evidence indicated the dried mushrooms were being shipped by United Parcel Service to various locations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Colorado and possibly other western states.

As police seized evidence, calls to the laboratoty where the raid took place continued to come.


The Seattle Times. Saturday, September 5, 1981.


By Svein Giije.

Bellingham - The Great Mushroom Bust was simply out of this world.

"I'd love to tell you that this was a tough case we had worked on for months. But we really fell into it".

Belligham police officers swooped down on a three-story Victoraian house overlooking Bellingham Thursday afternoon, thinking they were after "some college kids with a few mushrooms." They were so wrong.

The department's drug enforcement people weren't even on the case. "They had bigger fish to catch, a cocaine dealer". Instead, the patrol division was sent over to the old house for the quick little raid.

It netted them the first known commercial operation of psilocybin mushrooms in this corner of the nation, and a sophisticated interstate business.

During the raid, calls came in from customers as far away as Colorado. Police officers tried to sound casual as they attempted to pry out information, such as spellings of names and, "Where are you now?"

"Some hung up on us. They obviously figured out that something was wrong," the chief said.

Officers worked through the night after the raid, to inventory and move the evidence -- 4,103 quart jars, most of them full of dried mushrooms that have the effect of an hallucinogenic drug -- and hundreds of tubes and little jars used to germinate new mushrooms.

Also: "wheat to help start the germination, peat moss, chemicals, pressure cookers, gas masks, hot plates, lights, sheets of plastic to seal off areas where high humidity was desired, plastic bags for packaging ground-up dried mushrooms, receipts and other documents, a scale, and literature on chemistry and how to grow mushrooms."

Most of the jars (3,188 of them) contained grown dried mushrooms. In the remainder, spores were still growing.

The factory for cultivating, processing, drying and shipping occupied two of the three floors.

"The entry floor was a rather nicely appointed living quarters with a library and a stereo," Mangan said.

"Police found evidence that shipments were being made to Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and possibly other western states.

Also seized was about half a trash-bag full of marijuana, apparently for personal use by the factory workers.

Three persons were arrested on the property. Charges against two of them later were dropped for lack of evidence, Mangan said.

Douglas J. Patterson, 23, resident of the house, was charged with four counts of possession and intent to deliver controlled substances. He appeared before Whatcom Country Superior Court Judge Byron Sweberg, who ordered him held on $150,000 bail and scheduled arraignment and entry of a plea Thursday.

Mangan said another occupant of the house is being sought and is believed to be out of the state.

It all grew out of "a good piece of police work," by two patrol officers, Dale Brandland and Warren Ochs, said the chief. They investigate house burglaries by juveniles who were caught with two boxes of mushrooms.

Officers armed with a warrant, raided the house about three hours later.

There was a fly in the ointment; The collected evidence included a colony of small flies and some spiders. "The flies are like gnats and they bite," said Rich Nolte, a notoverjoyed evidence-investigation officer.


Honolulu Star Bulletin. Friday March 19, 1982. Page !4.


Oakland (AP)

Firefighters battling an apartment house blaze stumbled onto a psychedelic mushroom factory jammed with about 2,000 jars of spore cultures, police said yesterday.

"The whole apartment was just turned into a mushroom growing factory. There was no room to sit or sleep in the place" said Oakland vice officer Chuck Holland.

He estimated that the 8 to 10 pounds of dehydrated mushrooms taken from the four room apartment were worth about $100.00 an ounce. But he said Oakland police hadn't had much experience dealing with "magic mushrooms."


Seattle Post-Intelligencer. July 19, 1997. page B2.



When Thurston County officials served a drug warrant on a secluded, rural Rochester property yesterday, they found nothing for the first three hours.;

Then a sharp-eyed detective noticed a secret metal door. It led to what is believed to be the biggest bust of psilocybin mushrooms in Washington state: 500 pounds of dried, processed bagged and mostly boxed hallucinogenic fungi. Its estimated wholesale value was $500,000.

A 33-year-old man was arrested. Authorities believe he is a prime wholesale mushroom supplier for the Puget Sound area.


The Seattle Times. July 19, 1997. Page A6.


Rochester, Thurston County -- Law-enforcement officers found 800-1,000 pounds of psychedelic mushrooms in a secret grow room in a building south of here.

The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force raided the building Thursday. The psilocybin mushrooms are worth about $500,000, the sheriffs office said.

James G. Hoffman, 33, who lived in a trailer nearby, was booked into the county jail for investigation of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, weapons charges and money laundering. He was released after posting $12,500 bail.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Monday, October 27, 1997. Page B2.

Couple Will Stand Trial for Having "Giggle" Mushrooms

A Thurston County couple will stand trial on charges they possessed 409 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms, which police valued at more than $400,000.

James G. Hoffman, 34, and Diane F. Hoffman, 32, are charged with manufacturing and intending to sell psilocybin mushrooms seiuzed during a July raid. The husband also is charged with unlawful possession of firearms.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Steinborn said the mushrooms ought not to be against the law, and there's no proof the Hoffmans made any money from selling mushrooms.

"What's the flap? They're mushrooms. They make you giggle," he said.


The Seattle Times. Sunday, December 14, 1997.

Million-Dollar Drug Bust Made

Olympia -- An undercover deal to buy 50 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms for $37,000 ended up being several hundred pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms worth more than $1 million.

Seven people, including a father and daughter, were arrested Friday in connection with the undercover drug bust in the Chehalis and Olympia areas.

The mushroom-manufacturing facility was discovered in a building in Chehalis, said Sgt. Jim Faust of the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.

An investigation began in October in Montana after authorities stopped three people en route to Missoula who had $20,000 to purchase hallucinogenic mushrooms. They were eventually connected to a person in Portland.

An undercover buy was planned, leading to the arrests on Friday.

One person remained in the Thurston County Jail yesterday. The others were released on approximately $5,000 bail, Faust said. The seven ranged in age from 19 to 52.

The Detroit News
Friday, May 22, 1998

Drug Trade Gets Deadly Addition: Magic 'Shrooms.
Gene Schabath

There's more than just cocaine, heroin and marijuana being peddled on the streets of Metro Detroit

Narcotics agents across the tricounty area are now running into an increasingly different type of drug: magic mushrooms.

Wayne County Sheriff Robert A. Ficano said undercover officers last year seized 37 pounds of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic mushroom plant that can be chewed or made into a tea.

:It's sort of just bursting onto the scene," Ficano said.

"Its well known in the drug trade. ITs been around a long time, but not around here."

Users who ingest psilocybin -- known as magic mushrooms or 'shrooms -- can get a sensation that ranges from relaxzation to fatigue, Ficano said.

"Larger doses give you a numbness," Ficano said. "The odd thing is you must refreain from using it for several days to regain your sensibilities."

Bad side effects of psilocybin include increased blood pressure, hallucinations and disorientation. An overdose can cause violent behavior and even death.

Lt. Chris Flo, supervisor of the drug unit for the Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Sterling Heights, said of the thousands of drug cases his unit analyzes each year, only 20 to 30 were psilocybin last year.

"Some sell bogus psilocybin," Flo said. "There was a case in Algonac where LSD was sprinkled on a regular mushroom."

Flo said psilocybin was once popular in the southwestern part of the country and has been used for religious ceremonies.

The drug, popular among the Aztecs and other Indian tribes, can be traced back to 1,500 B.C.

The Orange County Registar

Jan 13, 1999

Sixties Drug Is In Again (According to the Orange County Register, say 'magic mushrooms' have made a comeback, and they are claiming without any scientific evidence whatsoever - that psilocybin mushrooms are addictive and deadly.

In what is believed to be the department's largest mushroom bust in at least 12 years, Orange County sheriff's narcotics investigators in December seized 20 pounds with a street value of $80,000 to $100,000.
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 15:44:05
From: Peter Webster (

Sixties Drug Is In Again
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Pubdate: Thur, 07 Jan 1999
Author: Mai Tran-OCR


'Magic Mushrooms' have made a comeback,and police say they can be addictive or even deadly.

Ben Thomas put hallucinogenic mushrooms on his pepperoni pizza. He mixed them into Lipton tea, or ate the nasty-tasting drugs with loads of potato chips.

"All I wanted to do was get high," said Thomas, 19, of Newport Beach, who says he has been straight for almost a year.

"All my friends were into it." Like bell-bottoms and platform shoes, psilocybin mushrooms are making a comeback with teens and young adults.

The so-called "magic mushrooms", popular in the 1960s and 1970s, these days are a drug of choice at rave parties - all-night gatherings held secretly in warehouses and other industrial sites, police say.

The strongest of hallucinogenic mushrooms, psilocybins have made their biggest resurgence in the past two years, said Walter Allen, special agent in charge of the Orange regional office of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

"A lot of these young kids are getting into it," Allen said. "But they don't know what they're getting into. It's unfortunate. In what is believed to be the department's largest mushroom bust in at least 12 years, Orange County sheriff's narcotics investigators in December seized 20 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms - with a street value of $80,000 to $100,000, sheriff's Lt. Hector Rivera said.

Three people, from Fullerton and Mission Viejo, were arrested for allegedly storing and selling the mushrooms.

The mushrooms have a street value of $40 for one-eight of an ounce, police said, though the price fluctuates with supply and demand. The drugs are chewed, sucked or placed in drinks. The "trip" lasts two to six hours.

Mushrooms, which are physically addictive, can cause nausea, vomiting and distort comprehension of time and space. Use can lead to severe liver dysfunction and failure, Allen said.

Moods, good or bad, are intensified. Experts say the trip depends on the drug taker's mindset.

Sometimes, death can result. "People try to do some impossible feats under the influence of the drugs," Rivera said. "Some try to jump off a building or stand in front of a car."

The mushrooms often come from the Pacific Northwest, though sometimes they sprout up closer to home. "Some hydroponic gardens are set up in garages or bedrooms," Anaheim police Sgt. Joe Vargas said, referring to plants grown in nutrient solutions. "They can easily be home-grown."

Police usually seize the drugs in small quantities during larger marijuana and cocaine busts, Rivera said.

La Habra police stumbled onto the largest batch of cultivated psilocybin mushrooms in the county last year when officers responded to a disturbance call at an apartment complex.

Police seized 176 pounds of mushrooms - valued at more than $1 million being grown throughout the apartment, said La Habra police Sgt. Phil Stufflebean, supervisor of the special enforcement unit.

A college student who learned how to grow mushrooms on the Internet was arrested and has pleaded guilty to possession and cultivation, Stufflebean said.

Mushroom users say the drug is preferable to LSD because it is cheaper and easier to get, and the high isn't as intense or as long-lasting. And the mushrooms don't show up during standard drug screening.

Thomas, who began taking the drug at 14, said he ate mushrooms nearly a dozen times every month for three years.

He sold his compact discs or stole, even from his parents, to get $10 for a quick high, he said.

"They're not that cool," he said.

Kelly Wilson, a drug recovery specialist, recalled taking mushrooms at a party, after which, she said, the walls began to move in and out. She saw the carpet lift from the floor. She watched as music come out of the speakers.

"I felt connected to people, a lot of love for everybody," recalled Wilson, who did drugs for six years until she stopped in the late '80s. "&It was a fun party thing to do."

But she and other former users also know the downside. Once while high on mushrooms, Thomas fell and broke four front teeth and cut his lips.

Thomas said getting drug counseling at the Hope Institute in Costa Mesa has changed his life. "I feel better about myself," said Thomas, who now attends Orange Coast College and works at a coffee bar to pay for his new car and apartment. "I got to buy my family presents for the first time ever this Christmas. The only way for me is total abstinence."


Eugene Registered-Guard. Friday, January 28, 2000


(also in The Seattle Times, Friday, January 28, 2000 as Hallucinogenic Mushroom Raid in Rural Oregon.

Grants Pass, Oregon (AP) - A total of 140 police and federal agents raided 20 rural homes Thursday in a crackdown on what the local sheriff called the biggest hallucinogenic mushrooms ring in the nation.

There were no immediate word on arrests.

Working from Josephine County Fairgrounds, police simultaneosly hit 15 homes in the Williams area and five more in the Illinois Valley.

"There's gobs of (police) out there," LaVonne Hildebrand said from the Williams General Store. "We don't know what's going on."

In the planning stages for two months, the raids capped a three-year investigation by the Josephine Interagency Narcotics Team and the Internal Revenue Service, authorities said.

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel said the raids would put a minor damper on the local trade in psilocybin mushrooms, which he said was responsible for growing and distributing more hallucinogenic mushrooms that any organization in this country.

Seizures of 250 pounds of mushrooms taken in traffic stops in California and Kansas were traced back to the local growing and distribution network, authorities said.

The sheriff's department said $195,000 in cash was seized.


From An Unknown Shroom Web-Site
Regarding the above post with some comments

Okay, here's how this went down --

In California and Kansas a number of "traffic stops yielded 250 pounds of psychedelic mushrooms." I'm unsure at this point if they are indicated investigations had been in place on specific individuals in Kansas and California who were linked or not, or if the LEO's talked and decided that 250 pounds was a significant increase over standard street amounts.

These traffic stops caused officials to initiate an investigation that eventually led to a "ring of individuals" located in the Williams/Provolt, area of Southern Oregon, around Grants Pass. This investigation had been ongoing for 2 years.

The investigation culmulated in the LEO's obtaining search warrants for 20 locations, homes of the individuals suspected. Details regarding what led to the search warrants being issued has not been made public by the police agencies involved (that I can find-yet). Police decided to serve these 20 warrants simultaneously in the late evening last thursday (specific time was not stated, I'm assuming it was around 11pm).

These raids netted; 14 pounds of dried mushrooms, 195,000 in cash, a 109 plant marijuana cultivation operation, and "thousands of peyote plants."

The 250 pounds of mushrooms figure comes from the mention of those mysterous 'traffic stops' in California and Kansas; was not a single amount carried (250 pounds in heavy).

No statements have been made on arrests, or avenues of processecution. I am attempting to track down what juristriction the raids took place under, and find names to call and ask questions, but I'm uncertain wether I'll get results.

As far as the internet implications go; here's some legal advise that I've verified with a lawyer.

Your identity on one of these bulliten boards, and the posts that you make are inmatertial, they don't matter, from an investigation standpoint, because unless you explicitly admit to a specific person through personal communications that you are doing something QUITE illegal, they have no precedance to use that to initiate an investigation; They can't even visually identify you, unless you are EXTREMELY careless. Also, character is something you can't prove well online. When you arrest someone, and get them to telll you so and so is growing mushrooms, then you have a person to subpena for testimony at a search warrant hearing. You can't supena a online bulliten board.

False witness and all.

BUT!!! If you are busted, and it is prior to your hearing, or trial, and you post information indicating you were busted, with enough details for an LEO to attach your alias here to your court case, you're fucked. If you get busted, do not discuss the details of your case with ANYONE besides your lawyer until your trial is over and the judge/jury have come to a verdict.

Stay free,

BCTV News. Thursday February 10, 2000

(CHEK) In Victoria, police today raided a different kind of grow operations, the likes of which they had never seen before. For the first time, they came across a "magic mushrooms" grow-op. It filled nearly every square inch of an intire house on Wilkinson Road - row upon row of mushrooms sprouting up from some sort of pod. Police seized 150 kilograms of product, worth more than a million dollars on the street. A 28-year old man is now facing charges of producing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The Parksville-Quanticum Beach Morning Sun-Online Newpaper. February 22, 2000

Parksville RCMP busted what they are calling a magic mushroom "factory," Feb. 2 in Bowser.

At 9:30 a.m., five officers executed a search warrant on a rural home in Bowser, says Cst. Gord Nixon, adding that no resistence was encountered. They came away with 11 kg (24 pounds) of what they believe are psilocybin mushrooms.

"we seized mushrooms at all stages -- growing, semi-dry and dried;" Nixon told the Morning Sun on Monday. "The drying process was ongoing at the time of the seizure.

Nixon called the mushroom growing operation fairly unique. "This is not a very common way of producing a controlled drug, or substance," he said.

The mushroom factory was located in three tractor trailor units, which had been specially modified for the job. Police seized all three units and remained at the scene until 6 p.m.. when the last unit was moved to secure storage.

Several charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act are pending against a man and a woman residing on the property, but police have not released their names.

The co-accuseds are due in Parksville provincial court on March 29.


The Daily Times. Saturday, May 11, 2000.


Maryland - While we always heard that some people were prone to consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, we never suspected there was money to be made growing the strange mind-altering fungi. But this week the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force raided a Salisbury home and charged a resident with eight counts related to manufacturing, distributing, possessing and storing the mushrooms.

Police said they confiscated 48 jars of the mushrooms, known as psilocybin.

Police also said they found a serious mushroom-growing operation in the basement of the home.

Where and how these mushrooms might be sold and distributed is a bit of a mystery to us.

Are Mushrooms sold on the corner and distributed like cocaine? Are they popular with the high school crowd or baby boomers? Should we look for legislation next year in the Maryland General Assembly seeking to legalize mushrooms for medicinal purposes? Either way, police are apparently cracking down on mushroom growers and moving to stop this "Mushroom Madness," and that's a good thing - at least we think so.

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