New Mexico -----
Witness: Suspect on mushrooms at time of fatal shooting
Last Update: 01/24/2005 1:28:41 PM
By: Reed Upton
A man who a witness says was high on mushrooms when he fatally shot a friend over the weekend faced a judge Monday morning.
Boston Zamora was charged with an open count of murder in connection with the Saturday shooting death of Christopher San Martin-Gonzales at a North Valley apartment Saturday night. Both Zamora and Gonzales were employees of Metropolitan Court.
Witnesses told police that Zamora had been smoking hallucinogenic mushrooms at the time of the shooting. One of the witnesses held Zamora down until police arrived.
Zamora could also face a charge of child abuse stemming from the incident because there was a one-year-old child present in the apartment when the shooting occurred.
Growing hallucinogenic mushrooms not illegal, state appeals
By BARRY MASSEY | The Associated Press
June 16, 2005
Growing hallucinogenic mushrooms isn’t prohibited by a New Mexico law against manufacturing an illegal drug.
That’s the legal conclusion of the state Court of Appeals, which has overturned the felony drug-trafficking conviction of an Alamogordo man for growing psilocybin mushrooms in his home.
Under state law, drug trafficking includes the manufacturing of illegal drugs.
However, the court said growing mushrooms was not covered by the drugtrafficking law’s definition of “manufacture.”
The hallucinogenic substance in the mushrooms, psilocybin, is an illegal controlled substance under state and federal law. Street terms for the mushrooms include “magic mushrooms” and “shrooms,” according to a U.S. Justice Department Web site.
The court, in making its decision , cited a 1999 ruling that concluded that growing marijuana does not constitute manufacturing under New Mexico’s law against drug trafficking.
The law defines manufacture as “the production, preparation, compounding, conversion or processing of a controlled substance or controlled substance analog by extraction from substances of natural origin or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.”
Police raided David Ray Pratt’s home in Alamogordo in June 2002 based on information from a confidential informant . They found mushrooms growing in glass jars, syringes containing psilocybin spores for inoculating a mixture used to grow the mushrooms, a foam cooler with a humidifier apparatus and instructions for growing the mushrooms.
At his trial, Pratt testified he was trying to grow the mushrooms for his own use and didn’t intend to sell them. He said he was a heavy user of the mushrooms and they were expensive, worth about $15 a gram. Police found about seven grams of the mushrooms.
Pratt was convicted of drug trafficking by manufacture — a second-degree felony — and sentenced to nine years in prison. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on five years’ probation.
He also was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia , a misdemeanor. In the raid of Pratt’s house, police had found pipes used to smoke marijuana.
Pratt did not appeal the drugparaphernalia conviction.
The attorney general’s office argued Pratt’s felony conviction should be upheld because he used special equipment to artificially grow the mushrooms.
Pratt’s lawyer in the appeal, Cordelia Friedman, an assistant appellate public defender, contended in a brief that the mushrooms were in “a natural state of mushroomness when their ‘cob-like ’ structures were ripped out of their mason jars by police.” The illegal hallucinogenic substance is produced naturally by the mushroom during a certain stage of its development , according to the court.
“Genetic material in a seed or spore, brought to fruit by provision of soil and water, is not ‘manufacturing’ as contemplated by the Legislature” in the drug-trafficking law, Friedman wrote.
The Court of Appeals agreed.
“Because there is no evidence that defendant engaged in ‘extraction from substances of natural origin or ... chemical synthesis’ as defined by (the drug-trafficking law) ... his acts of cultivating or growing mushrooms, even if by artificial means, are not prohibited” by state law, the court said in an opinion written by Judge James Wechsler.
The court pointed out New Mexico’s anti-drug laws are patterned after a federal law. However, state law does not include a federal provision that makes clear the “planting , cultivation, growing or harvesting of a controlled substance” is illegal because those are defined as the production of a drug.
The court said “we believe the Legislature acted intentionally when it omitted a similar definition” of production in New Mexico’s law against drug trafficking.
|Parents upset student
accused of distributing drugs allowed back in school
Update: 02/26/2004 1:10:30 PM
A sixth grade girl is suspended for taking hallucinogenic mushrooms to school and giving them to five of her classmates. Now the parents of those classmates want to know why the girl has been allowed back in school.
All six kids involved were suspended from Albuquerque’s Harrison Middle School for the February 10th incident. Parents of the five kids who accepted the mushrooms say their kids deserve to be punished, but they can’t believe the girl who distributed the drugs is back on campus.
“She handed two other girls the drugs,” said Debbie Gauna, whose daughter was suspended. “My daughter put them in her hand. The other girl threw it away.”
All six students were suspended on grounds of possession of drugs on school property.
“I went down to the principal and he said he needed to teach them all a lesson,” said Terry Rael, who also had a daughter suspended.
Now, the parents are questioning if the lesson is the right one. Albuquerque Public Schools policy states that students in possession of drugs face three- to nine-day suspensions. Those who distribute drugs face suspensions of a minimum of ten days to the end of the school year.
According to an APS spokesman, Harrison Middle School’s principal wanted the girl who distributed the drugs to be suspended a long-term, but the district’s hearing officer did not approve and would not say why.
The parents of the five other students who possessed the drugs say that decision clearly breaks policy.
“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Rael. “I don’t understand it.”
“APS is not doing their side when they say, ‘You did this, you’re suspended, but all of you can come back, even the dealer,’” said Gauna.
did not allow their kids to go back to school Thursday, say they were worried
what may happen to them since the girl who distributed the drugs was back in school
as well. KOBETV.COM – Eye Witness news online. Channel 4.
KOBETV.COM – Eye Witness news online. Channel 4.
May 19, 2004