Sunday, September 13, 2020

Memories of drug busts past

I always wondered if the big Palmyra drug bust of 1978 ended up in the newspaper, and thanks to my subscription to I discovered that yes, it did.

This is from the August 19, 1978 edition of the Camden County Courier Post. I had no idea my ex-husband (who they misnamed "Howard") and our friend Matt ("Edward") were charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" of the 17-year-old Pennsauken female (me.)

The "controlled dangerous substance" was various experiments Matt, a budding botanist, was performing with seeds from morning glory plants. If he had any intent to distribute he never told me about it. 

I was impressed to see that the arrests were the result of a "month-long investigation."

The best part of the story is the photo that came with it, of the results of the arrest.

A few beakers and some sickly-looking marijuana plants. Not exactly breaking bad.

One more error in the article - I wasn't released to my parents, I was released to my in-laws, since my parents were vacationing in the mountains - they almost never went anywhere - and I had no way to contact them. 

I also never heard about "action by the county juvenile court." My entire personal experience with the law was being taken to the Palmyra jail, almost directly across the street from our apartment, cavity searched (I do not recommend it) and then allowed to call my in-laws who picked me up.

Matt and "Howard" were in county jail for a few days and then their lawyers pled down the charges in court and they didn't have to serve any prison time. According to my mother, who happened to meet her one day, Matt's mother blamed my ex-husband for everything. Not that my ex-husband wasn't a dummy, but he wasn't the one responsible for all the "controlled and dangerous substance."

Matt's attempt to extract some kind of psychedelic substance from morning glory seeds (I think he got the idea from "The Anarchist's Cookbook") was a bust for the bust - his laboratory, such as it was, had been up in the hot un-air conditioned attic of the apartment and any success he may have had with his pharmacological experiments was destroyed in the heat, which  left the Palmyra police with little but a few marijuana plants to show for their trouble. 

Apparently it was a big week for the South Jersey police - ours was one of four raids according to the Jersey P.M. Report.