Jimmy Tebeau, member of the Grateful Dead cover band Schwag and founder of the Schwagstock festival, has entered federal prison. Tebeau accepted a plea bargain last year after being charged with “maintaining a drug involved premises” (aka violating the Crack House law), following a DEA raid on his Camp Zoe property in 2010.
Tebeau was the owner of Camp Zoe, a 330 acre campground in rural Missouri that was home to a number of Schwagstock festivals over the years. The DEA had been investigating the premises for over four years when it was raided. Since the agency was never able to prove that Tebeau bought or sold drugs himself, they decided to charge him under a broader statute that makes it a crime to knowingly allow drug sales on one’s property. The federal government then invoked asset forfeiture laws to confiscate Camp Zoe.
According to the Riverfront Times (who have published an extensive report on the subject), U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan stated that “We didn’t view this a music-festival prosecution…we viewed it as somebody who was using a festival site to promote illegal drug sales and profit off of that. We thought there was a difference between a music festival with incidental drug use and a drug festival with incidental music. We believe in this case it was the latter rather than the former.”
In accordance with the plea bargain that was reached last year, Tebeau will spend 30 months in federal prison. He has also been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and has been fined $50,000, in addition to the forfeiture of Camp Zoe.
Tebeau played a farewell show with Schwag in St. Louis on May 25. A few days later he reported to a to a minimum-security prison in Yankton, SD to begin his sentence.
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