01.01.14

Do You Have 500 Capsules Of MDMA & 14 Bags Of Mushrooms In Your Pocket (Or Are You Just Glad To See Phish?)

Posted in New York, New York, Rock Und Roll, The Law at 5:09 pm by

(there’s no sensible reason for this clip, but it’s worth pointing out that even during the Bloomberg administration, moderate quantities of M&M’s and Oreo cookies were considered legal).

Back in the late 1980′s, I briefly befriended a single dad-of-two who financed his travels around the USA following the Grateful Dead by peddling various trinkets (magic crystals, friendship bracelets) on the street in front of whatever enormodome venue the band were playing.  During the Dead’s annual Madison Square Garden residency, this enterprising not-so-young-man would flog these items while in pursuit of tickets…and almost certainly in the pursuit of D-R-U-G-S, otherwise what sensible person could tolerate an entire hour week of said performances?

Were this acquaintance still hitching across the country, it’s pretty likely he’d be following Phish, and even more likely he’d be at the receiving end of unwelcome attention from the NYPD.   While Garden chief James Dolan provides royal treatment to the likes Greg Allman and Joe Walsh, the ticket-buying fans of Phish are being persecuted, if not prosecuted, for doing exactly what you’d figure Phish fans to do.  According to the NY Times’ Eli M. Rosenberg and Michael Schwirtz, some 228 Phish phans (sorry) were either arrested or issued summons during the first 3 nights of the band’s 4-night stand at MSG.

In one episode before the Phish concert on Saturday, a man the police identified as John Picrqlisi, 34, offered to keep watch as his partners, Steven Powers, 47, and Jeffrey Powers, 52, sold some mushrooms on the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street, according to a criminal complaint.

“Make sure you don’t get caught, cops are everywhere,” Mr. Picrqlisi yelled, according to the complaint.

The buyer, who paid $40 for the drugs, was an undercover officer. The three men were arrested and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance. According to the complaint, Jeffrey Powers had 424 capsules of MDMA, 71 strips of LSD and 14 bags of mushrooms in his pants.

While ticket scalping and public urination accounted for some of the arrests over the first two days, most were linked to narcotics possession and sales. Undercover officers have confiscated marijuana, hash, psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, MDMA or ecstasy, amphetamine and prescription drugs like Oxycodone, OxyContin and Xanax, among other drugs, the authorities said.

Fans handed out a 39 page pamphlet which  included an editorial plea to stage next year’s New Year’s Eve concert somewhere other than Madison Square Garden, where the band has played each year since 2010.

“How about visiting some other great Northeast venues?” the pamphlet said. “You know the ones that have affordable accommodations, easy transportation, and where Our Community is thoroughly welcomed by the Local Community?”

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