Pubdate: Sat, 13 Nov 2010
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2010 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Nancy Cambria


Grateful Dead music lovers will no longer be truckin' down to Shannon
County for outdoor music festivals if three law enforcement agencies
get their way in federal court.

On Monday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Missouri Highway
Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a joint complaint in the
Eastern District of Missouri asking to seize the 350-acre Zoe Farm,
alleging rampant drug dealing and drug use at events.

According to its website, the farm, called Camp Zoe, is located 150
miles southwest of St. Louis near Salem and hosts a popular Grateful
Dead festival call Schwagstock every year, as well as biker and pagan
rallies and individual concerts. Once a popular summer camp for kids,
the property was purchased in 2004 by Jimmy Tebeau, a member of the
Schwag, a Grateful Dead tribute band. He opened the grounds to
recreational camping and float trips and began hosting the festivals
soon after the purchase.

In the complaint, officials said investigators spent four years
monitoring and interacting with concertgoers on the farm, witnessing
drug use and completing open drug deals with participants during
events. Officials allege that the owner and event operators were aware
of the activity and "took no immediate action to prevent" the sale and
use of cocaine, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, opium
and marijuana-laced food.

Tebeau has not been charged with a crime. Nor would he have to be for
the court to approve the seizure of the property under a civil asset
forfeiture law that enables the federal government to take property
that is relied upon by criminals as part of an illegal money-making
enterprise. The complaint values the farm at $600,000.

The Shannon County Sheriff's Department referred all calls about the
case to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Officials with that office could
not be reached.

Tebeau's lawyer, Dan Viets, said the law is unfair and enables the
government to bully innocent property owners and take land, money and
homes nearly at will.

"One doesn't even need to be accused of a crime, let alone convicted
of one to be threatened with the loss of everything you own," Viets
said. "That's the threat."

Viets, who is representing his client pro bono, said Tebeau discovered
this week that officials had cleaned out his bank account, yet he has
not been served legal notice on that forfeiture.

"It's pretty darn hard to hire legal counsel if you don't have any
money - and the government knows that," Viets said. "It's just
heavy-handed and mean-spirited, and entirely uncalled for."

The farm remains in Tebeau's ownership pending the outcome of the
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