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