Founder of Play)A(Skool Indicted After Major Drug Trafficking Bust [Update]


Thanks to the chief Anonymous Burner for giving us this tip. Play)A(Skool founder Scott Pack, whose past experience includes spooky firms like Booz, Allen & Hamilton (the world’s most profitable spy organization), SERCO (run by Winston Churchill’s grandson), and the Naval Surface Warfare Command, has been indicted in the largest ever fraud case in the Colorado pot business. Pack is accused of securities fraud, money laundering, racketeering, forgery, tax evasion, and conspiracy – and collaborating with corrupt former police officers.

Pack was charged with 11 felonies:

  • Pattern of racketeering under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act; conspiracy/endeavoring under COCCA;
  • two counts of conspiracy to distribute or possess or intent to distribute 50 pounds or more of marijuana;
  • conspiracy to commit cultivation of marijuana more than 30 plants;
  • two counts of securities fraud;
  • money laundering;
  • forgery;
  • tax evasion;
  • and attempt to influence a public official.

A warrant is out for his arrest, and his bond has been set at $1 million. [Source]

According to Westword, Pack denies all allegations against him:

“We have structured our business abiding by the governing laws and regulations, and there is no reason why we would need to deceive our stakeholders, who still hold value in our company. We deny the allegations in this case, which will easily be proven false once facts and evidence are revealed in court.”

[Source]

It all began at Burning Man, according to a civil lawsuit against Pack and his accomplices:

Screenshot 2017-07-06 15.21.28

[Source]

From the Playaskool website:

Few people realize that PlayaSkool began when a large group of us were “priced out” of our seed camps.  In order to decrease the number of people in these camps we had participated in, the organizers raised their dues dramatically in hopes to “cull out” those who didn’t have the money to belong.  A group of seven incredible leaders — Michael HendersonNicole Schmidt, Scott Pack, Jay RockliffeEmre ÖzaltinAnnette Özaltin and myself banded together to create PlayaSkool and a platform to bring together our friends from around the world to share their experiences and bring those back to their communities — to “bridge the gap” between the playa and the real world.

scott.pack.png

Reblogged from The Cannabist:


A former Colorado marijuana enforcement officer and a Denver-based marijuana entrepreneur already the target of fraud allegations were indicted in connection with a suspected massive illegal marijuana trafficking ring that operated throughout the state.

A grand jury cast a wider net after the March indictments of 16 people in an allegedly illegal marijuana trafficking ring led by Michael Stonehouse, and on June 7 indicted former Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) officer Renee Rayton and three others. According to court records and the indictment obtained by The Cannabist, warrants were filed for the arrest of Rayton; entrepreneur Scott Pack, whose businesses Harmony Green LLC and HGCO LLC also were charged; and Travis Bridle and John Edward Loos, both growers and suspected middlemen in the operation.

Pack, whose businesses hold 14 marijuana licenses, played a “pivotal” role in the Stonehouse drug-trafficking organization responsible for illegally producing and selling millions of dollars worth of marijuana across state lines, according to the grand jury’s indictment. Earlier this year — in a lawsuit first reported in April by Denver Westword — Pack and Rudy Saenz, who was indicted in March, were sued by former investors who claimed they lost close to $1 million because of the duo’s fraudulent scheme.

Investigators claim that Rayton, a former Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy who joined Colorado’s MED in 2015, left her enforcement division job in the fall of 2016 after Pack offered her a 6-month, $8,000-per-month position as a compliance consultant. She started working for Pack — and pocketing cash from illegal operations — barely two weeks after leaving her post, investigators allege, in violation of state licensing policies requiring a six-month “cooling off” period before former employees can work in an industry related to their oversight.

During her involvement with Pack and his Harmony & Green businesses, Rayton also told a source that she was aware of compliance breaches and said “that she knew ‘(Department of Revenue) employees’ who would help the (drug-trafficking organization) ‘get legal,’” according to the indictment.

Officials for the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County said they do not comment on open cases. Pack, Rayton, Bridle and Loos could not be immediately reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for the state’s marijuana regulatory agency said via email that MED was “actively engaged” in the investigation. She also noted that Rayton’s alleged illegal activity occurred after she left her job on Nov. 2, 2016.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we requested that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation conduct a formal and independent investigation involving matters related to the Marijuana Enforcement Division,” said Lynn Granger, communications director for the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees MED.

Rayton was charged with violation of state licensing authority and conspiracy to commit the cultivation of more than 30 plants of marijuana. She was released after posting a $5,000 bond, court records show.

Pack was charged with 11 counts, all felonies: Pattern of racketeering under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act; conspiracy/endeavoring under COCCA; two counts of conspiracy to distribute or possess or intent to distribute 50 pounds or more of marijuana; conspiracy to commit cultivation of marijuana more than 30 plants; two counts of securities fraud; money laundering; forgery; tax evasion; and attempt to influence a public official. A warrant is out for his arrest, and his bond has been set at $1 million, court records show.

Pack’s companies were charged with: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 pounds of marijuana; cultivation of 30-plus marijuana plants; and two counts of securities fraud.

Bridle and Loos, who investigators alleged illegally cultivated marijuana for sale out of state, also served as middlemen in the shipments and payments, the indictment claimed.

Loos was charged with two counts: conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 50 pounds or more of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to court records. Bridle was charged with conspiracy to distribute, distribution of 50 pounds or more of marijuana, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Bond for each was set at $250,000 and warrants have been issued for their arrests.

‘A front for a successful illegal marijuana trafficking organization’

Pack and Saenz were 50-50 partners in Harmony & Green LLC, an asset holding company and licensing business; Pack created HGCO to obtain marijuana licenses, according to allegations in the June 7 indictment. During the course of two years, Pack obtained 14 marijuana licenses for the firm, but he kept Saenz’s identity as an owner cloaked from the state.

Pack never disclosed to the state that his business partner was a man who was barred from obtaining a marijuana license nor that there were investments made from out of state or country, investigators allege.

Harmony & Green’s scheme involved soliciting investors for money to build out warehouses that had been leased or bought by Pack’s father, Michael Pack. The younger Pack and Saenz deceived investors, saying they had invested millions of their own money when they had not, and they misrepresented a $678,000 annual revenue stream that did not legally exist, according to the indictment.

Under the guise of a licensed Colorado cannabis business, Harmony & Green and HGCO served as a front for the drug-trafficking organization, investigators claim, noting that the businesses never made a single legal sale of cannabis in their two years of operation.

Pack and Saenz reeled in $1 million during 2016 from the illegal distribution of marijuana, investigators allege.

“All of this was done under Scott Pack and Rudy Saenz’s scheme of using HGCO LLC as a shell company, which essentially provided licenses that Harmony & Green LLC could never hold,” investigators alleged. “Harmony & Green LLC then scammed unknowing individuals into investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to a company, which never once sold legal marijuana in the state of Colorado, but provided a front for a successful illegal marijuana trafficking organization.”

Eight of the 16 people indicted held active or expired licenses for operating a marijuana business in Colorado, The Denver Post reported in March.

The story has garnered national attention, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited The Denver Post in a recent letter to Congress framing his opposition to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prevents Justice Department funds from being used for prosecutions in states with medical marijuana laws. The letter dated May 1, 2017, was published Monday by MassRoots, a marijuana social media company.

“Drug traffickers already cultivate and distribute marijuana inside the United States under the guise of state medical marijuana laws,” Sessions wrote. “In particular, Cuban, Asian, Caucasian and Eurasian criminal organizations have established marijuana operations in state-approved marijuana markets. The individuals in these organizations often find a place for themselves within state regulatory systems.”

[Source: The Cannabist]


[Update 7/7/17]

We received this comment on Facebook from Zoë Brock, who I can confirm is not the Anonymous Burner source who originally tipped us off to this story.

Zoë Brock I’ve had a couple of people reach out to me in the last day or two and suggest that I am responsible for this article or other aspects of Scott Pack’s astonishing downfall. Amazingly, I’m not (amazing because I didn’t even think of it, NOT because there aren’t plenty of people who would feel justified and motivated enough to feed Burners.Me the story).

For the record, I have no idea if Scott Pack is guilty or innocent. I worked for his company in marketing, brand and design (and glorified personal assistant/social organizer/fuck bunny – doing whatever I could to support my then boyfriend). It was my job to make everything look beautiful and try to keep him on track to uphold the corporate integrity I wrote for the company’s culture and mission. Clearly I failed, and for that I would like to extend my sincere apologies to all the people who invested in his company. I’m sorry. Looking back I can see that the corporate ethos that was peddled to you reflected my own integrity and ideals, not those of its CEO. I’m embarrassed and sad that I ever had anything to do with Mr Pack on a personal level, or his company on a professional one. I wish I could erase him from my life forever.

I do have an opinion on Scott’s guilt/innocence with these indictments but it is based solely on my own experiences of his character (or lack thereof) and the statements of several people who have approached me since the indictments came down and told me what they know. It doesn’t look good, but in this new Trump world anything is possible.

I have mediocre faith in the judicial system and if Mr Pack is innocent I assume he will be found so. If he is found guilty I have no doubt that he will continue to cry “witch hunt” and “fake news” and other Trumpian things.

Mr Pack has recently asked me to stop posting negatively about him and hurting his standing in “The Community”. My response to that is – stop behaving negatively. I’m not putting any kind of spin on things, I’m simply stating the facts. The facts are that this man lied to everyone he has ever met about the state of his marriage and the character of his poor wife. He lied about the state of our relationship and my character. He has assassinated the characters of many of his friends and colleagues behind their backs – and yet demands loyalty from everyone or else they are “dead to (him)”, and now he has been indicted on criminal charges.

There are many people who might be the Anonymous Burner mentioned in this article. I have an inkling that it was a band of brothers (and sisters) fed up with the arrogance, manipulations, double standards, lies, misogyny, objectification and the abject lack of accountability and complete victim mentality of this poor little rich boy from San Diego.

I’d like to say thanks to Anonymous Burner for aiding the karmic hammer on its path, for I know that there is nothing more important to Mr Pack than his reputation. Nothing.

Which brings me to my point. If you, singularly or as a community, want to see him evolve and be a better person, then hold him accountable. Don’t let him make excuses for his shit and blame other people anymore. Don’t let him pass the buck. Don’t pat him on the back and tell him everything will be ok or indulge his victim mentality. Don’t just anonymously fill his RV with trash at the end of the Burn as a message for him (that was crazy, yo – but I had to clean that shit up!). Tell him. Tell him face to face what a gigantic, mean, demoralizing asshole he is to work with/under/build a camp with. Tell him you think cheating on his wife is immoral and ugly. Make him aware that saying vicious things about womens genitals behind their backs after sleeping with them is disgusting and ungentlemanly. Make sure he knows that letting women have unprotected sex with him and someone he knows has HIV is downright illegal and fucking horrifying. Communicate to him how fucked up it is to string his girlfriend along for years thinking she is supporting him through a violent divorce only to find out it was bullshit once she was pregnant. Please let him know, on no uncertain terms, that after his abusive, threatening, sadistic and cruel behavior during her pregnancy, birth and first few weeks of motherhood that he is not welcome in her life, and that the best thing he can do for her and her daughter is to leave them alone forever and focus on healing things with his traumatized wife and neglected children. Please, please tell him that “The Community” no longer “wants to see him step up and be a good father”, but that it instead wants him to back the fuck off and leave them alone.

However you do it is fine by me. A text, a message, an email. Carrier pigeon.

If you don’t like confrontations feel free to just like this post to show your support of Willow and I.

Or delete him.

Or both.

I love you all but your silence is enabling. He reads it as acceptance, and acceptance prevents him from ever learning accountability.

If this community wants to be a community perhaps it ought to find its voice and not just snack on popcorn from the sidelines.

This man has treated people like shit for years and then waxes lyrical about peace, love and mungbeans. Well reading self-help books does not make an evolved man, and fucking everything with a hole in it doesn’t make you a feminist.

How do you know I am not Anonymous Burner? Because I would have proudly emblazoned my name right across the top of this article… and added a whole lot more.

2016 Crime Scorecard: New Record for Arrests, Attempted Murder

 

Image: Buzzfeed

Image: Buzzfeed

Jenny Kane at the Reno Gazette-Journal brings us news of this year’s arrests by the Pershing County Sheriff’s office.

The highlights:

  • 46 arrests (up 12.2% from 41 last year) – this is 6 times the number of arrests in 2014
  • 37 drug-related – marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and acid (in that order)
  • 1 attempted murder (second degree)
  • 1 battery with a deadly weapon

Yes, yes, I know…there are no weapons at Burning Man.

quote-when-guns-are-outlawed-only-the-government-will-have-guns-the-government-and-a-few-outlaws-edward-abbey-46-84-66

This is the highest number of arrests ever at Burning Man. Two thirds of those arrested were Californians. International Burners from Spain, Italy, and Mexico were locked up.

Some of the drug arrests were for possession, some were for trafficking.  No information has been released on how many citations for drug possession were issued in lieu of arrests; last year there were more than 600.

Jenny’s report gave credence to the theory I’ve been hearing privately from some various sources, that the White Ocean sabotage attack was a hoax. Nobody ever released any photos, and now we find out that there was not actually a police report filed as White Ocean had claimed.

Without an official report, which the camp leads never made, Allen could not investigate the criminal ransacking.

“It is important to remember that there must be a victim or an outcry from someone for us to initiate an investigation into possible criminal activity, otherwise it would be considered an unlawful or unconstitutional intrusion by an agent of the government,” Allen said.

Here’s the original White Ocean post:

Screenshot 2016-09-02 14.25.33

There was a report on Facebook that a grown man was caught trying to kidnap a 10 year-old girl boy.

screenshot-2016-09-29-15-41-19

The Sheriff did not mention that, and did not answer questions about the other False Amber Alert that Imprisoned Thousands:

Neither the sheriffs nor the BLM had anything to say about the three-hour shutdown of the only road out of Black Rock City when a 17-year-old girl went missing during exodus. Exodus is the peak exit period of Burners at the end of the week of Burning Man. Officials located the girl safe within the city perimeter.

The BLM did not make any arrests last year, and won’t say if they did this year.

Read the full story at the RGJ

The cops were a lot more relaxed back in 2014

The cops were a lot more relaxed back in 2014 (in the Distrikt DJ booth)

 

Hooligans Attack! White Ocean Sabotaged, Camp Collapses

2016 white ocean lineup

It seems the Occupy Burning Man Class War long promoted on eplaya.burningman.com (while being simultaneously dismissed as irrelevant at the BJ) has finally come to fruition.

White Ocean was sabotaged by hooligans, who trashed their camp and glued doors shut on their trailers. Rather than sympathy from the Org, they were told they deserved it.

Screenshot 2016-09-02 14.25.33

Some Burners might laugh at this, thinking it’s a throwback to the glory hole days of the Cacophony Society, but it’s not cool. This is way more than a prank. Pranks should be funny. Like this:

zos billboard

It goes against the whole point of Burning Man, which is radical inclusion. The vandals are MOOPing all over the Playa, “in the name of the Ten Principles!” What dicks. Not to mention that it might not be the smartest thing to mess with these people.

White Ocean put on a huge stage, bring some of the best musical talent in the world, give it away for free – so they deserve to be punished by Burnier-Than-Thous? For what, not gifting enough? Having people in their camp from other countries? First Camp is where people should be protesting.

The result of this attack is more likely to be “raise prices further so poor people can’t come”, rather than “all the rich people will now leave”. Camps will now be forced to have security staff, velvet ropes, members-only areas, all the things the vandals presumably hate. Generators will be closely guarded, strangers will be looked at with suspicion.

Sadly, this is symptomatic of the huge rift in the community caused by the BMorg 2.0 attitude, as exemplified by the “Man upside down” theme of this year. The message from Larry Harvey on the official Burning Man blog is that art comes from rich people sponsoring poor artists, instead of a communal effort by all of us where anyone can be an artist so everybody’s got to try.

These days, some people have $190 tickets and others have $1300 tickets. Burners don’t think “that’s so awesome that they paid more for tickets, they’re funding art” – because the extra money quite clearly is not funding more art. Instead many think “most of my friends couldn’t get tickets and these sparkle ponies don’t even care about our values or appreciate how  lucky they are to be here”.

Instead of Da Vinci tickets funding more art, the annual Art Grants budget was adjusted to include the Man, Man base, and Temple, as well as grants to Burner artists. Of course, all the same old names who’ve been getting grants for decades get rewarded each year, whether they need the money or not.

What about Vehicle Passes? Did this money go to art? Vehicles? To making Burning Man or the world a  better place? Or did it go to flying the 100+ full time, year-round Org staff around the world to a bunch of festivals on recon for Fest300 while courting wealthy patrons to finance off-Playa real estate deals?

Screenshot 2016-09-02 15.19.30

When vehicle passes came out, we were told it was for the environment and improving local roads. Were the roads any better this year? All we have heard about is Police stings at the Gerlach crosswalk.

Perhaps related to this attack, or perhaps a total coincidence, but a structure in an unnamed camp collapsed, injuring 6 people. 1 had to be airlifted out, BMOrg aren’t saying where. From SFist:

A Burning Man theme camp collapsed earlier this week, injuring six and requiring that one festival attendee be airlifted out of the desert for medical treatment. The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that this all went down Monday, and that festival organizers are keeping a tight lid on the details.

According to the paper, the structure was part of a theme camp — not one of the giant art projects that cover the Playa — but officials are not saying at this time which camp. Five of the injured six, whose names have not been released, were treated by medical personnel onsite and one needed x-rays from medical contractor CrowdRx. The sixth was sent elsewhere for treatment, although Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham did not confirm to the paper to where or for what injuries.

We can safely assume, however, that Paris Hilton was not one of the injured as she was still Instagraming away as of yesterday.

The 70,000-person festival is no stranger to accidents, and has serious medical care facilities on site as a safety measure. And while most years are free of accidental deaths, it was just two years ago that a woman died after she was tragically run over by a bus.

The collapsed structure was officially closed off Tuesday morning, and we assume the five injured and released attendees are, at present, dancing to some deep house.

[Source]

Meanwhile, back in SF, the Chronicle reports that the 3% drop in city population due to Burning Man has been quickly filled up with tourists. Probably taking advantage of the glut of week-long AirBnB rentals.

 

Burner Steals Mansion

Is this an example of Burning Man values spreading around the world – the wrong way?


From the SF Chronicle

Image: Paul Chinn, SF Chronicle

Image: Paul Chinn, SF Chronicle

The vagabond artist and alleged thief at the center of one of San Francisco’s strangest real estate tales admitted Tuesday that he squatted in a historic Presidio Heights mansion for weeks and sold off its pricey paintings, but explained he was claiming ownership of the derelict estate.

“To me, I owned the house,” Jeremiah Kaylor, 39, said from the San Francisco jail, where he was booked Sunday on suspicion of trespassing and burglary. “When I first saw it, I thought to myself, ‘This is it. This is my headquarters. This is my thug mansion.’”

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

The three-story, eight-bedroom home — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — was built in 1904 and modeled after the Petit Trianon, a Versailles chateau constructed for French King Louis XV. Cnet founder Halsey Minor bought it for $22 million in 2007 but went bankrupt and never followed through on plans to restore it to glory.

Now it’s listed at just over $17 million, down from $25 million when it first went on the market in 2012. The city has repeatedly declared it abandoned, most recently on Tuesday.

But Kaylor may have been drawn by something else — a rumor that pop star Taylor Swift was considering buying the mansion and fixing it up. Kaylor is obsessed with Swift, in part because her first name and his last name are similar, according to a friend.

Kaylor…stayed at the home for more than two months. His claim of squatter’s rights was countered by San Francisco police officials, who said the intruder stole and sold paintings worth well over $300,000 — most of which were quickly recovered.

Kaylor said he sold the premium stereo system, as well as a Viking stove and some chandeliers, then used the money to travel for a few months before returning to the home two months ago. He said he had spent every night since then at the estate, with the exception of three trips, including one to Burning Man.

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

Still in need of cash, he said he began selling artwork to pawn shops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, books to nearby Green Apple Books and other household items, which he brought to the Tenderloin and laid out on a blanket.

Kaylor said he wrote up paperwork saying the property wasn’t being taken care of and he was taking ownership under “adverse possession laws.”

Throughout the interview, Kaylor’s thoughts wandered. He spoke of growing up in Massachusetts, a stint as a heroin addict in his mid-20s and his love for his four children. But he also spoke of fantastical plans, including a 2016 presidential bid. He said he and Swift were destined to end up together.

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

Image: Jeremiah Kaylor/SF Chronicle

Read the rest of the story at the SF Chronicle.

Radical inclusion. Everyone’s welcome, even thieves and squatters.

“Everything’s free”, the bike theft mentality. Grifting, not gifting.”Gift me that immediately!”

2015 Crime Scorecard: Arrests Increased 600% [Update]

Image: Simon Pearce | Flickr (Creative Commons)

Cops at Burning Man, 2012. Image: Simon Pearce | Flickr (Creative Commons)

New Sheriff Jerry Allen was reportedly going to crack down on crime at Burning Man this year. When the story hit the media, he quickly back-pedalled, saying “I have no intention of being heavy-handed” and there is no crackdown, I was misquoted .

Well, it sure looks like a crackdown to me, with the highest number of arrests ever reported at Burning Man – and a still unknown number of citations. The supposedly underfunded Pershing County Sheriff’s Office managed to arrest 41 people, about 6 times as many as last year – and about as many as the previous 5 years combined. They also issued more than 600 citations, another record.

From the New York Times:

Scores of law enforcement officers meted out more than 600 citations and arrested dozens of people — nearly all of them for possession of controlled substances, like the hallucinogenic drugs that can make frolicking in scanty costumes in the desert seem like a kaleidoscopic adventure.

In other words, the party may have ended, but for the local courts, lawyers and busted participants, the headache begins…More than 40 of the revelers, known as Burners, were arrested, according to the sheriff’s office of Pershing County, the rural pocket of northwest Nevada where the festival takes place. The citation fines range from $100 to $500, said Rudy Evenson, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that shares policing responsibilities for the event with the sheriff’s office. Misdeeds ranged from environmental ones, like improper dumping, to drug use and possession.

[Source: NYT]

Crimes this year included 25 counts of drug trafficking, and 1 each of kidnapping and failing to register as a sex offender. Significantly, there were no sexual assaults reported – a huge improvement on 2013, when there were 12 people taken to jail for that crime.

For the first time we get some 2014 numbers too. The 2015 and 2014 data here has mostly come from the Reno Gazette Journal, quoting emails from the Sheriff. If anyone else has any more information, please share.

2015 Arrest Statistics

from Pershing County Sheriff’s Office

Population Size (estimated):

70,000 paid participants

9,000 workers

Total Population: 79,000

Total Cops: 192 – (150 BLM; 34 PCSO; 8 Washoe)

Total Arrests: 41

 

 

  • Trafficking of a controlled substance: 19
  • Possession of a controlled substance for sales: 6
  • Trespassing: 3
  • Warrant for failure to appear: 3
  • Possession of a prescription medication without a script: 2
  • Battery: 2
  • Unregistered sex offender: 1
  • Driving under the influence with accident: 1
  • Assault with a deadly weapon: 1
  • Battery on a public officer: 1
  • Kidnap: 1
  • Grand larceny: 1

Total Incidents: Unknown

Total Citations: 600+


2015 Traffic citations

(from Highway Patrol, Northern Nevada; partial information, as at 2/9/15):

Number of Stops:  245

Traffic Citations:  119

Warnings:  111

Crashes:  12

Fatal Crashes:  0

Speed Citations:  62

Seat Belt Violations:  2

DUI Arrests:  7

Drug Arrests:  0

Commercial Vehicle Inspections:  21


 

2014 Arrest Statistics

(from all law enforcement, including BLM)

Population Size (Peak, 8/29/14):

65,922 paid participants

9,312 workers

Total Population: 75,234

Total Cops: 185 (150 BLM; 27 PCSO; 8 Washoe)

Total Arrests: 7

  • 1 sexual assault
  • 4 drugs
  • 1 domestic violence
  • 2 trespassing

[note: this adds to 8. Earlier the RGJ reported 8 arrests for 2014, now they are saying 7; perhaps charges were dropped, or perhaps 1 person was booked for multiple crimes. This case might also provide an explanation]

Total Citations: 392

Total Incidents: 1,902

  • 334 public assists
  • 860 traffic stops
  • 520 verbal warnings
  • 230 written warnings
  • 392 citations.
    • 104 were issued on the road entrance,
    • 205 were issued for possession of a controlled substance (
      • 117 marijuana,
      • 30 ecstasy,
      • 18 cocaine,
      • 40 other
      • 52 multiple drug types
      • 50 motor vehicle violations.

[Source: RGJ]


While we’re at it, might as well thrown in some medical statistics. We’re hoping to get those for 2015, so we can see how CrowdRX fared compared to their predecessor Humboldt General.

2014 Medical Statistics

Total Patients treated: 2880 (according to BLM Director); 6100 (according to Afterburn report)

Drug overdoses: 71

Trauma incidents: 67

Alcohol Poisoning: 30

Death: 1

[Source: John Ruhs, BLM State Director, Nevada]


 

Here is the arrest data from previous years, as best as I have been able to assemble. They certainly don’t make it easy for Burners to find this stuff.

Screenshot 2015-09-12 02.47.57

[Sources various 2001-2012, NYT / RGJ 2014, BLM official numbers 2010-2013,  KRNV4 news 2013]

There have been some procedural changes, with the Sheriffs and BLM being integrated for a few years, and this year de-integrated again. So this may not be a straight “apples to apples” comparison, we could be missing some Pershing and Washoe County arrests as most of these figures have come from the BLM. According to local news reports, in 2013 15 people were taken to jail in Pershing County. Maybe some of these were later released without charge, or maybe this is in addition to the 6 arrests reported by the BLM. The anecdotal evidence we have is that arrests were way down under former Sheriff Machado; it is quite clear that his replacement has gone in the other direction.

The full story on 2015 arrests by Burning Man beat reporter Jenny Kane at the Reno Gazette-Journal has some other interesting information:

Whether participants felt that they were being watched more closely this year was up for debate. Some felt the law enforcement presence more than others.

It’s noticeably more strict this year. They’re literally sitting out, and if you have any minor infractions, they’re nailing you,” Jim Pehkonen, of Salt Lake City, said during Burning Man. “When they pull people over, often if they do consent to a search, they take everything out and they put it on the side and if they find anything, they arrest you.”

During entry to Burning Man, anyone who did not consent to a search if stopped by law enforcement was denied entry to the event.

“In past years, they’ve used more discretion. This year, they’re wreaking havoc,” said Pehkonen…

BLM agents, who also serve as law enforcement at the event, made no arrests at the event this year.

That is very probably because Pershing County Sheriff’s Office process the arrests, and take the perps to their jail.

BMOrg pay for the prosecutions, so it looks like Sheriff Allen will be sending them a bigger invoice this year:

Pershing County receives funding from Burning Man to prosecute cases that result from criminal activity by participants at Burning Man, although Allen said in previous statements that the county needs more funding from the San Francisco-based nonprofit for the county to take on the “heartache” that comes with Burning Man.

[Source: RGJ]


[Update 9/12/15 2:45am PST]

Any Burners who did get busted might want to contact Lawyers For Burners.

Results from 2014

 Every single participant who contacted Lawyers for Burners after receiving a drug citation at the 2013 Event was offered the chance to plea bargain the citation to a non-drug offense. The BLM offered to dismiss the drug possession citation if the participant agreed to plead guilty to a motor vehicle infraction. The BLM routinely reduced the $500 fine as well. Attorneys affiliated with Lawyers for Burners worked directly with the United States Attorney’s Office (the part of government that prosecutes citations written by the BLM) to accomplish these results. Lawyers for Burners acknowledges and appreciates the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Reno, Nevada for its management of the Burning Man citation calendars every year.

[Source: Lawyers For Burners]

The New York Times quotes John Routsis from Lawyers for Burners, and tells a horror story about a Mom who got busted with DMT, shrooms and a kid in the car, and may now be facing a life sentence:

“You have these individuals go there to go to this experience, and they will sometimes partake in illegal narcotics, hallucinogens, as part of their rite of passage,” Mr. Routsis said. “Now there is a great consequence to that action, where there wasn’t beforehand.”

Lately, the arrests have been handled locally rather than by the federal government, which is not good news for the Burners: In Nevada, there are lengthy mandatory jail sentences for even small amounts of drugs. Even so, evidence from past years suggests that judges seldom throw the book at the celebrators.

One of Mr. Routsis’ clients is … 35, the owner of a cupcake shop… She was arrested at the start of the festival after a sniffing dog set off an alert on her car at a traffic stop in Washoe County, just to the west of the event site. [She] faces several charges, including drug possession and Level 3 drug trafficking, a felony that carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. One charge is related to her having her 7-year-old in the car with the drugs, which the sheriff’s office described as “significant quantities” of psilocybin — found in magic mushrooms — and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, another psychedelic.

[She] expressed dismay at the charges. “My family, friends and I go to Burning Man to awaken our consciousness and to become better human beings,” she said in an emailed statement.

Some infractions may be the result of culture clashes. In a 2012 case described on the Internet forum Reddit, a Burner said he had been arrested on child-endangerment charges by deputies who took issue with his permitting his 12-year-old son to be naked.

“I spend the night in Lovelock,” the parent said, referring to a Pershing Country prison, “and paid $885 to a bail bondsman on a $5,600 bond.”

[Source: NYT]