This week as we barrel toward 2014, I’m taking a look at the various stupid ways tokers managed to get themselves behind bars in 2013 (see: yesterday’s Obey Traffic Laws and STFU). With just a little forethought, you can learn valuable lessons from these less-fortunate victims of marijuana prohibition. Today, we address the cell phone shenanigans of the past year.
Cell phones are a remarkable technology right out of Star Trek -- part Captain Kirk’s communicator, part Mr. Spock’s tricorder, and you can even get a Bluetooth headset like Lt. Uhura. But to a district attorney, a cell phone is more like the Captain’s Log, detailing every person you ever communicated with and every location you ever went. There’s good reason why the best underground growers don’t keep cell phones and make you take the battery out of yours when visiting -- and that was before we knew how much the National Security Agency was spying on our phones.
Yet some tokers insist on using their cell phones to make weed deals as if they were ordering pizza from Domino’s. This is bad enough if cops suspect you’re dealing; one quick call to a judge for a warrant and your clever “come pick up your large green shirt” code words become evidence at your trial. But a few unlucky souls made it far worse by calling the cops directly.
Take Nicholas DeLear Jr. in New Jersey. This October, Lt. Eric Danielson of the Andover Police bought a new cell phone with a new cell number -- at least it was new to Danielson. Yet apparently the number formerly belonged to an old customer of DeLear’s. Danielson got a text message on his new phone from DeLear offering a quarter pound of pot for sale. Danielson sets up the deal at a local pizza parlor and DeLear shows up, but becomes suspicious. Cops stop his car, K-9s smell the weed and Danielson matches his texts up with DeLear’s phone to make the bust.
At least DeLear was texting a previous customer on purpose. In July, also in New Jersey, 22-year-old Andrew Macfarlane was hanging out at home, toking and joking with pals when he accidentally dialed 911 with his cell phone in his pocket. The operator hears Macfarlane talking all about smoking weed, so they send cops out to investigate. Still on the line, they hear him say “the cops are here” and see him through a window clearing off his table. Then Macfarlane approaches the closed front door, does not open it, and asks the police if they have a warrant… psych! This is a “stupid” story, so, naturally, Macfarlane opens the door wide and invites the cops in to take a look. Soon enough they find some marijuana residue on the table and eventually the weed, grinder and pipe he had tried to stash.
But neither of these guys holds a candle to the bonfire of cell phone stupid that is Jeffrey Ash of Fayetteville, Arkansas. While staying in an airport motel in Boise, Idaho, Ash meets a woman he’d like to impress. Does he buy her flowers, ask her out for a drink, or engage conversation? Nope, he whips out his cell phone and shows her a picture of his penis -- because this works on women every time (just ask Brett Favre and Anthony Weiner). The shocked woman calls the cops and when they’re interviewing Ash they discover he’s holding two duffel bags with 28.5 pounds of marijuana in them.
You can’t always know when your weed friends change numbers or your butt dials 911, so build good Prohibition Proactive habits like locking your phone screen and never talking or texting about weed deals. And guys, stop taking selfies of your junk!
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of "The Russ Belville Show."