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Old 08-03-2004, 09:00 PM #1
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Post Operation Green Merchant-1989- (part 1, long)

(Originally published May '91)

When Operation Green Merchant first broke 18 months ago, no one was sure of where it was going or what the extent of it would be. Now we know that its ostensible aim was to shut down this country's burgeoning indoor marijuana-cultivation industry; that during its execution the government decimated several of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution; that one magazine was put out of business and another thrown into financial straits; that several garden-supply stores and businesses were seized by the government without their owners being charged with criminal activity; and that more than 100,000 American citizens -- whose only connection with the operation was the purchase of gardening equipment -- came under federal investigation.

Green Merchant was designed to link the sources of information regarding indoor marijuana cultivation -- HIGH TIMES and 'Sinsemilla Tips -- with indoor growers in a criminal conspiracy. The connection of the two was thought to be that the gardening centers advertised in both magazines.

The logistics of the operation were these: during a two-year period beginning in late '87, the DEA sent agents to 81 stores and mail-order houses specializing in indoor-gardening supplies, asking for information regarding the growing of marijuana. While most of the store owners refused to have anything to do with the agents once they made their blatently illegal requests, a handful responded positively , and a few of those apparently even provided seeds to the undercover agents.

Those few positive responses provided the DEA with the legal leverage it needed to subpeona UPS shipping records from a number of those stores. An investigation of a portion of the names provided by those records turned up a number of illegal indoor-marijuana growers.

For the DEA, the link had been made: They now had proof that some of the consumers who purchased indoor-gardening supplies from the stores and mail-order houses which advertised in HIGH TIMES and 'Sinsemilla Tips' were indeed using gardening equiptment to illegally produce marijuana. The stage was set for the Operation to go public.

Main Objectives :

The government succeeded in shutting down 'Sinsemilla Tips'. Tom Alexander, whose Full Moon garden-supply store was seized during the early stages of Green Merchant -- without him being charged of anything -- was unable to continue publishing after all his advertisers either went out of business or were threatened with charges if they continued advertising with him.

HIGH TIMES continues to publish despite the loss of revenue from those same advertisers. But once it became apparent that HT would not fold, and in fact sales were increasing, a federal investigation was launched in New Orleans which attempted to make HT a co-conspirator with both the Seed Bank and the indoor growers. That investigation was dropped some months ago when the government failed to get an indictment.

On June 24, 1990, Nevil Schoenmakers, who legally operated the Seed Bank (another HIGH TIMES advertiser) in Holland, was arrested by the Australian authorities at the behest of the US government while visiting family in Perth. A 44-count indictment was lodged in New Orleans, charging him with the sale of marijuana seeds to undercover agents and indoor growers in the New Orleans area in 1989. He has been detained awaiting the results of an extradition hearing -- while not charged with anything -- in Australia since June.

Incidental Casualties :

George Warren owned six Northern Lights garden centers in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. On October 24, 1989, he was visited in his flagship store by a man who asked about purchasing lights and hydroponic systems. During the course of the conversation the man, who turned out to be a DEA agent, inquired about acquiring marijuana seeds. Warren told the man he wasn't in that business; the man persisted, and Warren told him there were probably magazines he could look into for that kind of information, then excused himself to answer a phone call in his office. The man followed him into the office and passed him a note asking for 200 seeds. Warren asked the man to leave the store.

The following day, the agent returned and made a small purchase, again sought seeds and was again informed that he couldn't get them there.

The next day, nine DEA, Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms and local-authority agents arrived at Warren's main store armed with a warrant for business records, grow lights, hydroponic systems and other inventory that might be used to grow marijuana. That same day, the process was repeated at each of Warren's stores; by evening he'd lost inventory valued at nearly $200,000. Warren himself, however, has never been arrested in connection with the seizures, and continues to fight for the return of his inventory.

Reached recently at home, Warren was furious. "My feeling is that if I've done anything wrong, arrest me. If not, give me back my merchandise. There's nothing illegal about lights. What are they going to do with them anyway?"

"Sell them at auction," he was told.

"Wait a minute," he replied. "You mean they confiscate my merchandise because they think someone will grow pot with it, and then they sell it to someone else?"

"That's how it works."

The owner of a large West Coast mail-order gardening-supply center tells a similar story. On October 26, 1989, the DEA and state police arrived at his warehouse with warrants for business records and computers. They padlocked the warehouse and began forfeiture proceedings for the nearly $1 million worth of inventory, the warehouse itself and the property it was located on.

The owner, who asked to remain anonymous, was also never arrested. Ten months later, the prosecuter in the forfeiture case gave the owner's lawyer a list of 20 misdemeanors, which he said he would prosecute if the man continued to fight the forfeit. The choice was simple: Fight and lose thousands of dollars in legal fees -- as well as risk one year in jail for each count he might be convicted on -- or give up the fight and walk away. His lawyer advised him to walk away, suggesting that of 20 counts it wasn't unlikely that he could lose at least one of them, and conviction on even a single count would mean losing the forfeiture case anyway. The man took his lawyer's advise and walked.

While not all prosecutors are willing to go to such lengths to seize property, the federal and civil laws regarding forfeiture certainly make it appealing for them to do so in cases where the forfeited items are of value. In federal cases, the agencies involved receive 75 percent of the monies eventually generated through the auction of forfeited goods; the remaining 25 percent is divided between the prosecutor's office and any local agencies involved in the seizure. Civil forfeiture cases divide ALL the monies between the prosecutor's office and the local authorities involved.

Dan Viets, a defense attorney who has won a number of Green Merchant cases, says that while "the idea of forfeiture is not new, the idea of giving the money to the police and prosecutors is. Forfeiture is an abuse. A lot of people don't really understand that it's going on."

Forfeiture doesn't just affect businesses. One of Viets' clients, a former law-enforcement officer, stands to lose his whole farm because 37 marijuana plants were found growing on it. Another of his cases involved a couple found with four pot plants, who have had their 11 acre farm forfeited as a result. Viets is optimistic about both cases.

"A lot of people don't fight forfeiture because they don't think they can win," he says. "But even though the burden of proof is not very high of the state's part, they still have to prove that the forfeited items were at least probably derived from the monies generated by illegal activity. And that's not always easy."

The horror of the prosecution of Green Merchant case's wasn't limited to forfeiture: One couple had their parental rights terminated for growing pot at home; several school teachers and at least one nurse lost their state licenses; others simply got caught up in the legal system, and found that trying to extricate themselves nearly ruined them.

Tom and Sara Williams were visited because their names were on the one of the confiscated store mailing-lists. When the DEA arrived they tore the Williams' house apart, eventually finding seven plants. Though their case was later reduced from felony possesion of an illegal substance to a guilty plea on one misdemeanor, paraphernalia-possession (the warrant was faulty), the Williamses had to spend nearly $7,000 in bonds and legal fees.

The list goes on. There are hundreds of horror stories which came out -- and are still coming out -- of Green Merchant: People whose lives were disrupted or destroyed by the government in an attempt to shut down two magazines and a seed house.
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Old 08-03-2004, 09:03 PM #2
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Post Operation Green Merchant-1989- (part 2, long)

Repercussions:

While the obvious targets of the Operation were HIGH TIMES, 'Sinsemilla Tips' the Seed Bank, store owners, small-time growers and the thousands of people who were investigated, the real victim of Green Merchant has been the Bill of Rights.

The right of free speech is a cornerstone of our republic. History is full of people that spoke out advocating illegal positions in an effort to change the laws governing them -- from Thoreau's 'Civil Disobediance' to 'The Abolition Papers', from Freedom Marches to abortion rights. What 'Sinsemilla Tips' did, and what HIGH TIMES does -- advocate the legalization of marijuana -- is no different than what others have done throughout American history. The right to print what we choose to print is supposed to be inviolate.

The right to privacy is supposed to be protected as well. Yet the investigation of thousands of people -- based solely on their having purchased legal equipment from legal businesses which just happened to advertise, amoung other places, in pro-marijuana magazines -- has been continually defended by the Justice Department as necessary to their effort in the War on Drugs, despite its obvious constitutional infringment.

The rights to privacy were further comprimised by the thousands of warrantless searches made in that investigation. While many people allowed those consent searches to be performed, others were intimidated into them. To date, dozens of government cases have been dropped as a result of those unlawful entries.

Perhaps the rights most abused in the execution of Operation Green Merchant involve personal property and the right to be innocent until proven guilty. The use of forfeiture during the government's prosecution of the Operation has absolutely shredded these basic rights. That store owners could have their businesses seized by federal agents, without there being enough evidence to charge those owners with any criminal activity whatsoever; is a terrifying concept; that people found to be growing marijuana in the privacy of their homes could have those homes seized by government agents before they were ever brought to trial is unconscionable. And yet this was one of the recurring themes of Green Merchant: confiscate property; threaten charges which would bankrupt the defendant to defend; and then make an offer to withdraw the charges if they agree not to fight the forfeiture.

Net Results:

The government not only denies ever trying to put either HIGH TIMES or 'Sinsemilla Tips' out of business by gutting their advertising, it has defended the actions of the federal, state and local authorities in every phase of Green Merchant as integral to the success of the War on Drugs. Terrance W. Burke, the Acting Deputy Administrator of the DEA, suggests that "there is no such thing as a casual or innocent drug user of illegal substances. Users are a major factor in the drug-trafficking problem, and they are going to be held accountable."

Steve Hager, HT's Editor-in-Chief finds fault with that argument. "The whole reason we told people to grow their own pot was to get rid of the criminal element. We said, if you want this -- to eat it, to smoke it, whatever -- that's your God-given right, and we'll tell you how to grow it. Don't give your money to the narcotic traffickers. Don't support the criminal drug trade."

Marijuana is illegal today not because it's unsafe to drive while high, or because some religious and temperance groups think it's the devil's weed; it's still illegal only because the big boys haven't yet seen their way clear to corner the market once it does become legal. But you can bet they are working on that; both marijuana for smoking and hemp for its thousands of commercial uses -- from plastics to pulp, paper to pesticides, from food to fuel, fiber to pharmaceuticals -- are just too valuable to be kept of the market forever. It's just a question of working out the details -- amoung which is ridding the marketplace of as many independant growers and as much information as possible. That part of the plan went into effect on Black Thursday -- October 26, 1989.

In the final analysis, Operation Green Merchant has done nothing but ruin the lives of thousands, destroy the Bill of Rights, obfuscate the potential commercial and medical uses of hemp/marijuana by continuing to demonize it, raise the price of pot and invite the criminals to take charge of its production.
Way to go boys.

The Numbers:

During a two-week period beginning on October 26, 1989, the DEA raided gardening centers and private homes in 46 states. The results of that first phase of Green Merchant -- released on November 9, 1989 -- were:

o 377 arrests of private citizens for marijuana cultivation;

o 42,677 marijuana plants seized (the Justice Department counts unsprouted seeds in soil as marijuana plants);

o 875 pounds of packaged marijuana seized;

o 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine seized;

o 5 pounds of mushrooms seized;

o 280 indoor grow-sites seized;

o 19 stores and warehouses seized;

o 11 store owners arrested (8 store owners had their businesses seized without being charged of any criminal activity);

o $7,318,000 in total assets seized.

--------------

o 19 stores closed down: 7 stores forfeited, 11 currently under forfeiture litigation, 1 store no explantion;

o 16 store owners arrested;

o $9,208,928 in total assets seized.

(No new statistics on either quantities of packaged marijuana or other illegal substances seized.)

The Operation was far from over. During the past 18 months the DEA has continued its Green Merchant investigations. The most recent figures -- released by the Justice Department on February 1, 1991 -- are:

o 443 arrests of private citizens for marijuana cultivation;

o 50,794 marijuana plants seized (including unsprouted seeds in soil);

o 358 indoor grow-sites seized;

Of all the arrests made in Green Merchant thus far, only two people had illegal substances other than marijuana in their homes; one man with 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine, and another with 5 pounds of mushrooms. Indeed indoor pot-growers don't appear to be supporting the criminal drug trade.
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Old 08-04-2004, 01:36 AM #3
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great thread babbit,
i touched on this subject a while back in another thread. though mine wasn't quite as detailed.... heres the link
https://www.icmag.com/forums/showthre...Green+Merchant
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LET LOVE GUIDE YOU

LEAVE YOUR CLOWNSHOES AND YOUR NEGATIVITY AT THE DOOR PLEASE.. THANK YOU

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."
Albert Einstein, "My First Impression of the U.S.A.", 1921

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."
Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President. 18 Dec. 1840

PLEASE don't PM me for seeds or cuts,.. Thank you
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:06 AM #4
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https://www.growingedge.com/

Tom Alexander, mentioned above in part one was the publisher of "Sinsemilla Tips" magazine and owner of Full moon garden supply at the time and is now currently founder, owner and editor in chief of Growing edge magazine.


Growing edge magazine

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Old 11-26-2011, 05:04 PM #5
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Old thread...but good read!
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:58 PM #6
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On a personal note, this operation is still continued today in a different form. The police will go to hydro shops, usually in an area that has one one or two around, and setup camp. They then take pictures of people that go to these shops and then start kicking in doors. The local cops doing this are deputized marshals of a secret grand jury investigation, this is because the feds never have to produce paper work that there is even a secret grand jury. Thats because its a secret. After kicking in a bunch of doors and arresting people, the operations shuts down and moves to the next area that they will run these at. All the while there is never a need to show anyone that they have a lawful investigation. This type of action goes on still today! If your in a medical state and there is only one hydro shop around, I would suggest using another one and using a car that can't be traced back to you.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:24 PM #7
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:34 PM #8
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Hey guys, I hope everybody is high and smiling.

I recently came across the Affidavit from RAYMOND ANTHONY COGO who is the snitch in the case against Nevil. I will attach the PDF and text to this message.

In the affidavit against Nevil, Cogo states that during his 18 months of sending seeds for the Seed Bank, he was responsible for shipping over 11,000 packages and instead of destroying the customer information as Nevil told him to do, Cogo kept it and gave it to the DEA sometime between March 1989 & June 1989. Operation Green Merchant started five months later in October 1989.

This SOB is still selling nutrients to the cannabis industry and has been attacking me for writing an article for grow magazine that exposes his treachery.

Please see: https://growmag.com/growmag_feature/legacy-of-a-legend/

This website will not let me upload the PDF so these are screenshots of the file and the complete text.

Please note, I allowed my computer to OCR the text from the PDF so there might be some minor mistakes, so I included screenshots of the PDF for authenticity. You can find the documents about Nevil and COGO on PACER.

---

Case 2:90-cr-00055-EEF-DEK Document 14-2 Filed 02/01/94 Page 1 of 59

9000210/cs
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA * CRIMINAL DOCKET NO. 90-055
VERSUS * SECTION: “H" (4)
NEVIL MARTIN SCHOENMAKERS *

* * *
AFFIDAVIT OF RAYMOND ANTHONY COGO

RAYMOND ANTHONY COGO, being duly sworn, deposes and says that:

1. My full name is Raymond Anthony Cogo. I was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 20, 1957. I was educated in the public schools of the United States and graduated from high school at Livonia, Michigan in 1975. Until an on-the job accident caused disabling injuries to my back, I worked as a bricklayer and cement man. For almost a year and a half, I was the U. S. distribution agent for "The Seed Bank," and also distributed a liquid fertilizer. I have cooperated with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in its investigation of the activities of Nevil Martin Schoenmakers, and others. No charges have been made against me as a result of the facts related herein, although I fully appreciate the fact that my statements have the effect of incriminating me. This statement made by me accurately sets forth the evidence which I would be prepared, if necessary, to give in Court as a witness. The statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I make it knowing that I would be liable to prosecution were I to have wilfully included in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.

2. I have first-hand knowledge of the general method of operations of the international marihuana seed distribution business conducted in and out of the Netherlands by Schoenmakers under the trade name of "The Seed Bank." My first contact with Schoenmakers was as a mail order customer of The Seed Bank. This was during early 1986, when I was involved in growing marihuana for my own use to aid in dealing with the pain from my back injury. I also was developing an interest in hydroponic food production. In early 1986, I placed several telephone calls to The Seed Bank, using the telephone number listed in their catalog. I spoke to a man who identified himself as Schoenmakers, and through a combination of those telephone conversations and letters sent and received through the mails, we gradually developed a friendly relationship.

3. In the summer of 1986, Schoenmakers invited me to visit him in Holland. I flew from Detroit, Michigan, U. S. A. to Amsterdam in July, 1986. A man identifying himself as Schoenmakers eventually met me at the airport, and took me to his house, which is the house pictured in the attached article entitled “Inside the Cannabis Castle - The Incredible Story of the Man Who Would be King of Cannabis" (High Times, March, 1987) (Attachment 1). The man I met at the airport, and with whom I stayed during a portion of this visit, was a white male, about six feet tall and medium build, with green eyes and blond hair. His picture appears on the page numbered 41 in the published magazine article at Attachment 1, as well as in the photograph at Attachment 2. On that visit, I stayed in Holland approximately three days, and spent one night in Schoenmakers' house. This house, which is really an old mansion located in the small village of Lent (near Nijmegen) is shown in the photograph at Attachment 3. I actually took the photographs at Attachments 2 and 3 during one of my visits to The Seed Bank. While I was at Schoenmakers' house, he showed me his marihuana growing operation inside his house. I saw an elaborate system of growing plants, rooted in rockwool nourished by liquid fertilizer, and under 400 watt horizontal lamps.

4. I returned to Holland the following month, that is, in August, 1986, and stayed by prior arrangement with a friend of Schoenmakers. While I was there, the friend arranged for me to visit Schoenmakers' house again. During my visit, Schoenmakers excused himself to go to the post office. Shortly thereafter, he returned with a large duffel bag filled with hundreds of envelopes. He began to open the envelopes in my presence, whereupon I saw that each of them contained hundreds of dollars of United States currency and an order for marihuana seeds. Schoenmakers told me that he received a bag of orders such as these on the order of twice a week.

5. During my August, 1986 visit, Schoenmakers introduced me to an American that he called "Charlie," and that I now know to be Charles Benjamin Frink. Schoenmakers told me that Charlie was a trained, university educated expert in horticulture who Was helping him to grow marihuana and harvest the seeds. On one of my early visits to Holland, I was introduced to a man called "Stefan" who I saw working at Schoenmakers' house and tending marihuana plants under instructions from Charlie, I do not know Stefan's last name, but his picture appears on page 48 of the article that is Attachment 1 hereto.

6. I made a number of separate visits to Helland and to The Seed Bank. During one such visit, which I believe was in February of 1987, Schoenmakers informed me that he had someone working for him in the United States, who was receiving bulk shipments of seeds by mail from Holland and then mailing individual orders to customers for The Seed Bank.

7. In June of 1987 my wife and I flew to Holland. I went to Schoenmakers' house, above described, where I met with Schoenmakers and a man called “Mark. " Then, and again in September, 1987, Schoenmakers and Mark suggested that I might work for them by receiving bulk shipments of marihuana seeds, and shipping individual orders to customers in the United States and Canada, Each time, I told them I would consider it. I do not know Mark's last name.

8. In January, 1988, I received a telephone call from Schoenmakers, who asked me if I would distribute seeds for The Seed Bank in the United states, and I agreed to do so. Schoenmakers told me that he would pay me $10 for every seed order that I tailed. Later, my compensation for this service was changed by agreement with Schoenmakers, pursuant to which he had Charles Benjamin Frink give me The Seed Bank's formula for Liquid fertilizer, and agreed to endorse it when I started to market it in the United States.

9. Shortly after I agreed to act as the distribution agent for The Seed Bank in respect to its North American sales operations, I travelled to JFK Airport in New York City and, on the specific instructions of Schoenmakers, received physical custody of a large quantity of marihuana seeds, shipping orders and related records from two men, one of whom had supposedly been handling The Seed Bank's business in the past. I paid them $3,000, which was later reimbursed to me by Schoenmakers, for the stated purpose of paying them for past services. I then brought the seeds and records back to my home in Michigan.

10. From about February of 1988 until June of 1989, I acted as Schoenmakers' distribution agent in the United States. The method of our dealing was as follows: Schoenmakers would cause The Seed Bank to ship marihuana seeds to me in bulk, Wrapped in packets and labeled according to the quantity and type of seeds involved, which packets were shipped in sealed soup cans that were packaged in a box with food items. The soup cans contained lead inserts, and were packed in such a way that their contents could not shift or move about during shipment, and would weigh what the label on the soup can said the can should weigh. Attachment 5 is a photograph showing such soup cans in a typical shipment which was actually received by me from The Seed Bank. I would open the package and inventory the contents, and upon receipt from The Seed Bank of a list of orders, would individually count, wrap and ship the seeds through the mails to the addresses shown on the list. The customers did not mail orders or cash payments to me; all I.did was ship the seeds in execution of the instructions of The Seed Bank. on the basis of my prior experience as one of their grower/customers, and as set forth in the copy of their 1988 catalog at Attachment 5, I was then and am now aware of the procedures for placing orders with The Seed Bank. The customer sends his or her order, with cash wrapped in carbon paper to avoid X-Ray detection, by registered mail to The Seed Bank's address in Holland. Schoenmakers or one of his employees receives the order, collects the cash from the envelope, and then notifies the shipping agent of the quantity and type seed to be shipped and the address to which the seeds are to be shipped. During my time as the shipping agent, I routinely received lists from Schoenmakers or his employees detailing individual orders to be filled.

11. Attachment 6 consists of true and accurate copies of a representative sample of the hundreds of lists I received from The Seed Bank. Each list contained the names and addresses of the persons in the United States who had ordered seeds, the number of seed packets ordered, and the strain of seeds ordered. The strain was indicated in a brief code. For example, the strain of marihuana known as "Big Bud" was abbreviated tc "BU", and an order for a single packet of 10 Big Bud seeds would be abbreviated as “1-BU", Originally, these lists were sent to me in the mail, and later they were sent by fax. The changeover from mail to fax occurred shortly after a visit that I made to Holland in September, 1988, during which Schoenmakers gave me the money to buy a fax machine, While I was in Holland in September of 1988, Mark (previously identified in paragraph 7, above} showed me The Seed Bank's computer and fax machine, and told me how he maintained the records of the seed orders and issued shipping instructions to me, In each case, I mailed the seeds to the address indicated on the lists I received. Although Schoenmakers told me to destroy these lists, I kept them as a record of my activities in support of his operations.

12. I would like to provide additional details as to what I observed of Schoenmakers and his marihuana seed business during my several visits to Holland. Except for a computer and fax machine that Mark showed me at Nijmegen, and some coffee shops in Holland where their marihuana was sold over the counter, the entire cultivation and distribution operation appeared to be conducted in the mansion and a number of smaller structures on Schoenmakers' property in Lent. I would state by way of estimate that the grounds were as much as three acres. When I visited the property in the summer of 1986, and again in 1987 and 1988, I noted that the main house was very large, with huge marihuana buds strewn throughout much of the interior. A small room adjacent to the second story bedroom in which I stayed contained what appeared to be hundreds of individually labeled plastic bags each containing about a quarter pound of specified types of marihuana. When Schoenmakers showed me the basement, in what was essentially a guided tour of the house, I observed it to be full of hydroponically grown marihuana plants. By hydroponically grown, I mean without soil nutrients but rather rooted in rock wool and fed with liquid fertilizer. Each plant was labeled to indicate the type marihuana that was growing. I saw two small cutting rooms where clones of other marihuana were being rooted. I saw a flowering room where at least a hundred marihuana plants were growing in a hydroponic system using rock wool. In this same room were from fifteen to twenty 400 watt horizontal lamps operating. Outside, Schoenmakers showed me two greenhouses each full of marihuana plants, and an outdoor garden with still more plants. I saw two men who were tending the plants and who appeared to be working for Schoenmakers. All the people I met during my various visits to The Seed Bank, including Charles Benjamin Frink, Mark and Stefan, appeared to be part of a well-organized and efficiently operated business activity supervised and directed by Schoenmakers.

13. On the basis of my many contacts, both in person and by mail and telephone, with The Seed Bank and its operators, I am certain that it was engaged in a large scale effort to produce and distribute high quality marihuana seeds to persons who would plant them and grow marihuana plants. During the period of some seventeen (17) months when I was their sole distribution agent for growers in the United States and Canada, I mailed out approximately 11,000 orders which, in the aggregate, represented millions of U.S. dollars that were paid to Schoenmakers.

14. This Holland-based end of The Seed Bank's operation was anything but a secret. Schoenmakers told me that he was a regular advertiser in the magazine High Times, and either he or Mark told me that he had a contract with a company in California or Oregon to publish an annual mail order catalog. Schoenmakers took pride in his operations, and stated to me that his seed distribution business was a legal activity in Holland.

15. In March of 1989, after I had already been handling orders for Schoenmakers, I was arrested for growing marihuana by the authorities in the State of Michigan. I was convicted and sentenced to serve six months in jail. At my wife's request, Schoenmakers lent us $30,000 for legal expenses. While on a work release program, I learned that the company that was handling distribution of my liquid fertilizer, "Superior Growers, Inc. ", had stolen the formula and was cutting me out of the picture. This and other things led me to go to law enforcement authorities and agree to cooperate in providing information about my dealings with Schoenmakers. At the time I did this, the authorities here were not, to my knowledge, aware of my serving as Schoenmakers' distribution agent for The Seed Bank's marihuana seed sales.

16. I know that the seeds sold by Schoenmakers were marihuana seeds. In fact, the seeds I bought from him in 1986 were planted by me, developed into mature plants, and produced marihuana that I smoked. I am familiar with the effects of using marihuana on the body and mind. I experienced those effects, including euphoria, pain relief, light-headedness, and accentuation of senses of hearing and taste, when I used marihuana produced from Schoenmakers' seeds, from plants at his house, and from marihuana ts he gave me in his car as we drove from the airport to his house in the summer of 1986. I am familiar with the physical appearance of marihuana seeds. All the seeds I handled and mailed to Seed Bank customers were similar in size and appearance to the ones I bought and cultivated from Schoenmakers in 1986.

17. I swear that the above information is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true and correct. I have put my initials and today's date on each of the attachments hereto.

(SIGNED)
RAYMOND ANTHONY COGO
Six Attachments:

1. High Times article (3/87)

2. Photograph of Schoenmakers

3. Photograph of Schoenmakers' house

4. Photograph of soup cans and seed packs

5. Seed Bank catalog

6. Lists of seed orders

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge by Raymond Anthony Cogo, this 26 day of January, 1994, in Grand Rapids, MI

(SIGNED)
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Western District of Mich.
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Last edited by gaiusmarius; 10-01-2020 at 03:48 PM.. Reason: removed the list of personal info, not needed.
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:57 PM #9
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Good read and welcome to ICMag Todd!
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Old 09-30-2020, 11:01 PM #10
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Would like to see 11-13 pulled, it contains nothing except the names of innocent people who had the misfortune of dealing with a compromised outfit.
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