Crime Strange

Fair Warning: It’s Illegal to Sell Fake Drugs for God

If you are caught selling fake drugs to provide God with extra cash and help people stay sober, I’d think you’d be charged with, at most, endangering your own life and perhaps creating a public nuisance, but be on notice that it is totally illegal to sell fake drugs. 

A man’s divine calling has landed him in jail after he was caught trying to sell thousands of fake drugs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, law officers said.

According to an arrest warrant from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office, David E. Brady told officers “he was doing God’s work,” when they found 1,000 fake hits of acid, 20 bags “made to look like cocaine,” 37 pills that were made to look like molly, 22 bags of fake mushrooms and an incense stick made to look like black tar heroin.

Brady, 45, was sitting in a tent Wednesday when he was approached by Coffee County deputies after one of them saw him with what appeared to be narcotics, the warrant says.
As they came closer, Brady threw the object behind him. When he stood up, he had a bag of mushrooms hanging from his waistband, the warrant says.
Officers said they searched Brady and found the fake drugs. He told them he “was doing God’s work by selling fake drugs,” the warrant says.

Deputies discovered Brady was wanted in Arkansas on a felony bench warrant. Arkansas subsequently said it would extradite Brady, the warrant says.

Brady faces a charge of being a fugitive from justice and two charges of possession of counterfeit controlled substances, the warrant says. His bail was set at $120,000.


Possession of counterfeit controlled substances? Come on, is that a real thing?  Yes. Never mind selling them, you can’t even have totally legal things nearby if they resemble illegal drugs. 

Q: What does it mean to “possess” a counterfeit controlled substance?

A: Possession can be either actual, physical possession or “constructive” possession. For example, if you are pulled over and a counterfeit controlled substance is found in your pocket, you are in actual possession of the substance. If, however, you are pulled over, a counterfeit controlled substance is found under the driver’s seat of your car​ and there are no passengers in the car, you may be in “constructive possession” of the substance. Constructive possession exists if you are aware of the presence of the substance and you are able to choose and control whether or not it is near you.  

Q: The law seems vague; is it constitutional?

A: Yes. Appellate courts have found that the law is not vague, since it gives a reasonable person fair notice of what conduct is prohibited.
Q: Can I go to jail for violating this law?

A: Yes. For possessing counterfeit controlled substances, you could go to jail for up to six months.  …


Courts may “find,” but wrong is still wrong. I’ve never been into drugs, but a law against being in the proximity of fake drugs is looney. It’s too close to a thought crime, where internal motives of a person are assumed nefarious without cause.

I do understand the practicality of “fake drugs laws” from the point of view of law-enforcement: fake drugs make finding real drugs difficult. Nevertheless, it’s a bad law with a cruel and unusual penalty. 

What about movie and theatre props? What if you’re a teacher with fake drug props to show kids what to avoid? What if you take little bags of salt in your luggage for ironing and that is mistaken for a fake drug? What if the United States of America was a free country? Just a thought.

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