On the One Hand

Does anyone really need a reason to stay out of trouble?

There are a multitude of reasons why a person would choose to maintain privacy or anonymity. I choose to maintain my anonymity because this enables be to open and to encourage robust discourse. We may choose to remain anonymous because we are at risk of persecution. This is understandable.

What are the steps one can take to avoid detection? What are the best ways to operate harmoniously within your corner of society? Do you have a story to add?

We may choose to remain anonymous because we are at risk of persecution. This is understandable.

16 years ago I was single and had recently moved into my new home in Westchester County, NY. I had driven to New Jersey for the day and when I returned to my home, I was quite alarmed to find the property crawling with police - local police AND state troopers – lots of them.

I could not even get into my driveway because of all the police cars blocking the way. I nervously parked my car and walked up the short hill to my house.

There was about a dozen or so officers standing around the front door of my house, with my then girlfriend. Unfortunately they also had a small duffle bag on my front porch that I recognized as my stash bag.

This was definitely not going to be a good experience. I had just gotten a bunch of a really terrific strain, (supposedly from government seeds!). I had carefully placed the flowers into mason jars to keep them fresh and hidden the small bag in the back of my closet. Of course, if I had to do it all over again, I would probably choose to keep my stash in an outbuilding or some other location besides my bedroom closet. Mental note.

After another hour or two of searching my home, they arrested both my girlfriend and I and drove us to the courthouse parking lot around midnight to meet a judge who seemed quite displeased.

He apparently signed off on our capture, and they carted us off to the county jail. They separated us to the men’s and women’s areas, and I had the expected typically demeaning in-processing sequence.

We were charged with possession AND intent to distribute.

While I don't really believe there should be any laws against distribution, this stash was most certainly for my own personal use and not for distribution. (It is quite common for law enforcement to ‘over-charge’ a suspect, so that the fear of punishment for the greater crime induces people to a deal and plead guilty to a lesser crime.)

It turned out that my girlfriend, who had been alone and afraid, in my new house, had called the police after she heard a mysterious beep from the alarm system.

It took several hours for the police to show up maybe because my house was in the woods, however, I did only live 5 minutes away from the local police and 6 minutes away from the state troopers. While she waited, she called 911 several more times (hence the arrival of the full cavalry, I suppose). The beep from the alarm system resulted from a dead battery or some other ADT security company snafu, but the arrest and incarceration were real.

I definitely appreciate that the police were ‘just doing their job’, though if there had been an actual intruder, I think he or she would have had ample time to do their business and move on with time to spare.

I can also appreciate that they searched my house while looking for a potential intruder, and even that an intruder might have been in my closet. However, there most certainly was not an intruder in my duffel bag.

I will never know exactly what occurred, but I know that the results were not good.

The gardener for my house was a retired cop, and he came and was able to bail us both out later the next day. It was the end of the day on a Friday, so I was extremely relieved to not have to spend the weekend at the county jail.

An embarrassing article was written about the incident in a local paper, and of course my boss was alerted to the story. Since I was a registered financial representative at the time, I had the additional pleasure of self-reporting the arrest on my Form U-4.

The case against my girlfriend and I dragged on for over a year and a half before we finally made a deal. It turns out that the judge, who is allowed to issue a search warrant over the telephone in New York State, is also obliged to take notes with regard to the incident. Our judge did not take notes, so their case was weakened by this technicality.

My girlfriend agreed to a minor possession charge and they dropped the charges against me.

Before you re-judge me, please at least remember that she is the one who called the police. It may even have been an attempt to prolong our relationship at the time, which it certainly did, but at great expense.

Now I have been fingerprinted, and I have a permanent report on my form U-4 for all of the world to see.

I was exonerated, not even convicted and yet I still carry the societal scars from this incident. I was extremely lucky compared to many.

No one could argue that society is now better off. Time and resources were wasted, my life was turned upside down. At times this incident has affected the path of my career and not generally in a good way.

If this is not a scary enough story, I trust there are numerous much worse tales and also worse outcomes from the similar situations, and hopefully plenty of narrow misses.

The obvious bottom line is: the best way to avoid trouble is to avoid trouble!
If you are in a state or country where cannabis is still illegal, you may want to take extra precautions in order to avoid detection. Even if you are in a state where it has become legal, it is probably a good idea to stay as low profile as possible.

If you know or suspect my true identity, I ask that you please respect my privacy.

Wrobert Parker

Do you have a story to add?

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