Pubdate: Wed, 05 Dec 2001
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Tahoe-Carson Area Newspapers
Author: Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune


The Drug Enforcement Administration still has the records of Dale Schafer
and Dr. Molly Fry -- minus 65 boxes.

DEA agents on Friday returned the boxes to Schafer and Fry, a married couple
who operate a medical marijuana clinic in El Dorado County. The portion of
files sent back are related to Schafer's previous law practice that dealt
with worker's compensation issues, not medical marijuana. The rest of the
records, which include medical files on more than 7,000 patients, about 400
of which are from South Shore, remained sealed but still in the hands of the

Last month, a district court judge in Sacramento ruled the records could be
examined by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration without an
impartial overseer. The couple's attorney, J. David Nick of San Francisco,
is appealing that decision and has requested an emergency stay on the
judge's order in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Schafer said he has not
heard from his attorney whether or not the emergency stay was granted, but
he assumes all the records have been kept confidential.

"(The files returned) by all appearances had not been opened," he said. "The
request for appeal and stay are keeping the (the rest of the files) closed
right now."

Schafer and Fry operate the California Medical Research Center in Cool,
Calif., near the western edge of El Dorado County. The center handles mostly
medical marijuana cases. Schafer, an attorney, advises clients of their
legal rights. Fry, who suffers from cancer and is a medical marijuana
patient, evaluates people to see if they are eligible for a marijuana

The DEA seized files from the couple twice, first on Sept. 28. A week later
agents came back and cleaned out a rented storage unit where Schafer kept
old files. Fry and Schafer have not been charged with a crime, but U.S.
Attorney Anne Pings has said couple's work may represent acts of "aiding and
abetting" marijuana sales.

The California Medical Research Center has been able to stay open since the
raid by cutting back its staff.

"The DEA was successful in scaring people away for a while," Schafer said.
"For about six weeks we were down to a couple of people a day. They are
beginning to come back now."
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MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk