The Crestone Eagle, November 2003:

Ayahuasca case proceeds, DEA still hasnít released mandated evidence - Legal use of sacred Amazon tea still in question
by David Nicholas

Seventeen months after the Drug Enforcement Agency’s raid on Naomi Lake and James Roderick in search of what court records describe as ‘Opium Latex’ and then later identified to be Ayahuasca tea, the case brought by Peter Comar, the District Attorney for the 12th Circuit Court, now has defense attorneys on the attack.

November 3rd is when the attorneys for Lake and Roderick will place Motions for Sanction before Judge Patty Swift in the District Court in Alamosa. On November 5th, a date will be set to hear a motion for the Suppression of Evidence in Saguache. Both motions address the prosecution’s response to previous court orders made on September 2nd when Lake and Roderick requested information on the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) efforts in Peru as it pertained to them.

Court records show in an affidavit sworn by Special Agent William Eldridge of the DEA office in Colorado Springs, who had initiated the investigation locally, that it was based on information received from the agency’s office in Lima, Peru. The affidavit states that the Peruvian National Police had intercepted two packages containing ‘narcotics’ addressed to Lake on June 6th and 7th, 2002, respectively. The affidavit also states that surveillance of both Lake and Roderick began on June 21, 2002, culminating with the arrest of Lake and Roderick after the latter had taken possession of one of the packages on June 25th, 2002.

The episode led to charges being brought subsequently by the District Attorney in Alamosa on Lake and Roderick in April 2003. The indictment pertains to possession with the intent to distribute a Schedule I Controlled Substance. The controlled substance referred to in the charge is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a constituent of Ayahuasca. The count is considered Felony three and carries a sentence of fines, probation and up to 24 years imprisonment.

At subsequent hearings, since the couple was incarcerated in April 2003, the prosecution has failed to provide the requested material, insisting that they could not get it from the appropriate authorities.

Since the prosecution has not provided the evidence mandated by the court on September 2nd, the lawyers for Lake and Roderick are filing Motions of Sanction against them.

The Motion to Suppress Evidence addresses the search and seizure of documents from Lake’s house. The motion is designed to throw out all evidence the DEA obtained as a result of the search because of the way the evidence was gathered.

Lake is a healer with 30 years experience. She offers healing work both here and in Alamosa, when not conducting workshops around the country.

In reference to Ayahuasca, research shows that the herb is a sacred healing tea. The tea has been in use in the Amazon for thousands of years and is used ceremonially by several different churches based in Peru and Brazil. Ayahuasca has been used to treat addictions of all kinds, to treat physical ailments such as cancer and to treat mental illnesses such as bi-polar disease.

This medicine, used as a sacrament in ceremonies, is considered by many as a method to connect with the Divine. The tea can be used in educating and helping to understand consciousness.

In regard to the charge made about dimethyltryptamine (DMT), only minute traces of the substance can be found in the Ayahuasca tea. DMT can also be found in many plants which are indigenous to this country and even in the brain stem of human beings.

Both Lake and Roderick are prepared for the long haul. There are two legal teams at present working on the case. One team in Boston specializes in cases, where healers are charged with similar infractions of the law. The other works out of Alamosa.

For more information on the case or about Ayahuasca, you can view it at www.divine assistance.net.

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