Heroin Dealer “Wanted” Poster, circa 1970

This is the first of two anti-heroin posters that were created in the 1970s, a time when Boulder rallied and took a lesson from Haight-Ashbury and chased the heroin dealers out of Boulder.

These posters signify one of the finest moments in the hip Boulder Community when it came together in love for each other. For the first time, this is the story behind the posters.

In 1970, a heroin epidemic hit Boulder, Colorado. Large amounts of white H was coming into the country from Vietnam smuggled in the cadavers of US soldiers and making its way to Boulder. The cheap, good and plentiful dope was much stronger than the junkies were used to and as a result, there were many lethal overdoses on the hill.  I witnessed these events from the second-floor window in my store the Cotangent. In conversations with the beat patrol cops I suggested they come to the radio station KRNW where I worked and see what we could do together to form an anti-heroin campaign. At that meeting, the station agreed to put out public service announcements and disseminate information through the different disc jockeys. Great!

 I called old friends, Hank Schmidt to make the posters and Scott Coen to write the script. I asked the cops what was they could do for us if it we were successful and they asked what I had in mind. I told them no more walking patrols would be nice for it only caused tension among the street people. I also asked for no arrests for simple possession of an ounce or less of pot.

They agreed, we had a handshake deal, and the station went to work. The first poster printed the first name of all the heroin dealers on the hill with the promise of publishing their last names and photos in the next 10 days. It was a war of words. My windshield was broken and I received phone calls daily telling me not to f*** with the family. I replied that the “Boulder family” would not allow smack here.

Our plan worked.  The dope disappeared and the dealers split. In a couple weeks, the episode of the anti-heroin campaign soon faded away. More about the story will be in book.

PostScript— there is an interesting antidote involving Steve Stills. You can read about it in my forthcoming book. I won’t bash him for free but I will do it for money.

–Marcello

Comets volleyball drug Case; Wiretap Evidence Admitted

Originally published in the New York Times, November 14, 1979
https://www.nytimes.com/1979/11/14/archives/trial-is-on-in-drug-case-linked-to-denver-volleyball-team-wiretap.html

GOLDEN, Colo., Nov. 13 — In the closing minutes of a professional volleyball game between the Denver Comets and the Albuquerque Lasers last July 14, the top management of the Denver club was rounded up in a drug raid by the Colorado Organized Crime Strike Force and led from a Denver auditorium in handcuffs. The Comets won the game anyway.

Prosecutors contend that the flamboyant sweep has “severely interrupted,” if not stopped, marijuana traffic in Denver, which state law enforcement officials call the distribution point for marijuana from California to the Mexican border, and from the Middle West to California. ,

By the time the trial started here today, 13 of the 17 defendants arrested in that sweep had pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy counts. Among those pleading guilty were David Casey, the Comets’ board chairman and general manager; his brother, Robert, the team’s president, and Douglas Killingsworth, vice president of the team. According to evidence gathered through wiretaps and from informers in the strike force’s 18‐month investigation, the Caseys were dealing in thousands of pounds of marijuana and sometimes in kilograms of cocaine.

Among those pleading not guilty was Marcello Cabus Jr., 32 years old, of Boulder, Colo. The drug enforcement authorities believe that Mr. Cabus is one of the state’s major marijuana “brokers.”

A crucial factor in the case was the ruling two weeks ago by District Judge Anthony Vollack that wiretap evidence central to the prosecution’s case was admissible evidence.Continue reading

“Of course you never know until the judge rules,” said Alan R. Beckman, an Assistant Attorney General who is trying the case with Robert Nathan, director of the Colorado Strike Force, “but I have been prosecuting for five years now here and in Miami and this is the cleanest wiretap I’ve ever seen. We opened all our files to the defense. There was nothing to hide.”

More than 780 telephone conversations between mid‐March and mid‐May this year were taped at the Comets’ office in Denver and at the homes of Robert Casey and Mr. Killingworth. Lawyers on both sides say the tapes are extremely damaging.

Inquiry Called ‘Operation Spike’

The prosecutors allege that the Caseys supplied dealers who distributed marijuana throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana. They also allegedly supplied major dealers in British Columbia.

Members of the strike force called their investigation “Operation Spike,” after the move in volleyball in which a player smashes the ball straight down into his opponent’s court. The strike force had Comets T‐shirts made with “Operation Spike” on the back.

David Casey is said to have been regarded as a dynamic and serious young businessman with a good reputation in the International Volleyball Association. Last spring he sponsored a Comets exhibition game in Central City to raise money for a new school there.

But one player in the association said he had heard rumors about drugs and the Caseys. “I think it was fairly common knowledge around the league,” he said.

Most of those who pleaded guilty have pleaded to felonies. Sentencing is scheduled for January, but Mr. Beckman said the state reserved the right to claim “aggravating circumstances” in five of those cases, including those of Robert and David Casey and Mr. Killingsworth. The defendants could serve between four and eight years.

DIRTY DEALING: An American Parable

“We were a good family—that’s what people forget,” Joe Chagra said, “It was the money. You can’t know what it does until it happens to you…until everyone is chin-deep in millions of dollars.”

Dirty Dealing, a true story, chronicles the rise and fall of the house of Chagra. The Chagra brothers of El Paso were pioneers in smuggling drugs across the Mexican border, and were infamous for their fabulous wealth. But in the end Lee Chagra was gunned down, a federal judge was assassinated, Jimmy and Joe Chagra were imprisoned, and Charles Harrelson (Woody Harrelson’s father) was convicted for Wood’s murder.

When Federal Judge John “Maximum” Wood was gunned down outside his home in San Antonio, Texas in 1979 (the only assassination of a federal judge in more than 100 years) his death sent waves of shock across the country. The FBI labeled it “the crime of the century.” Former President Nixon expressed “outrage,” calling for quick arrest and punishment. But the crime’s solution would be anything but quick. Dragging on for years and costing $11.4 million, the investigation turned out to be the largest in recent FBI history, surpassing even that of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Gary Cartwright, senior editor of Texas Monthly and author of several nonfiction bestsellers, details the full history of the events leading up to this crime and the trials that followed in Dirty Dealing. This reprint from Cinco Puntos Press includes a new afterword by the author and black and white photographs of all the players. Complete with shady maneuverings on the part of the federal government and an outcome that Kirkus Reviews has called “straight from Oz,” Dirty Dealing is one of the richest and most fascinating of all true crime stories.

From the Author, Gary Cartwright:

I don’t claim much of a literary background. The town where I grew up (Arlington, Texas) had a tiny library above the fire station. The first writer who truly impressed me and caused me to wonder if there was something out there for me was Hemingway. For a long time I tried to emulate his clean, crisp style and feeling for life and death.

I was going pretty well with Hemingway when I got sidetracked by Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, at which time I lapsed into my Purple Period. Nelson Algren’s Walk on the Wildside-I think I read some Conrad about the same time-got me out of the stench of lyrical, overripe nonsense and back in the dust where I belonged. Somewhere in there I read Robert Stone’s A Hall of Mirrors, and later Dog Soldiers, and began to understand that a writer’s true function was storytelling.

Like a lot of writers my age, my head was turned by reading J.D. Salinger, though I didn’t understand him. I came to prefer William Goldman, who wrote more to my level and with a skill I could appreciate and borrow from. I know it’s popular in literary circles to dismiss Goldman as a hack-gone-Hollywood, but I wish I had his gift as a storyteller.

In recent years I have fallen in love with such mystery writers as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and John LeCarre. There is something cynical and laconic in the way these writers weave a story, as though to say life really has no resolution, it’s just one damn thing after another but worthwhile if it’s done right.

Two books that influenced my own works were David Storey’s This Sporting Life, which I read shortly before beginning The Hundred-Year War; and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which was the inspiration for my two latest books, Blood Will Tell and Dirty Dealing. I am fascinated by this genre and have come to recognize that life imitating art is every bit as literate as art imitating life.

In a way I can’t quite explain, Dirty Dealing was influenced, too, by John Reed’s Insurgent Mexico. Reed got across a feeling for how the isolation of desert wastelands gives both a meaning and a meaninglessness to life, and how codes within cultures are more permanent than laws within nations.

1977-1980 Denver Comets

View full article at https://funwhileitlasted.net/2011/04/09/1977-1980-denver-comets-volleyball/

The Denver Comets joined the IVA in 1977 and held the IVA’s final match on July 15th 1980.

The comets time in the league was met with some success and a lot of controversy.

Following a match in 1979, an arrest warrant was served on many of the Comets top management including their President and their GM. Over 200 lbs of Marijuana was seized, which is kind of ironic these days considering it was Denver.

An excerpt from the book, STP John

An excerpt from Chapter on Pendejos & Locos from my book “Pioneers of Leisure”

They murdered STP John. Shot him to death. The pillow case, he always carried, was saturated with blood.

In the 1960’s, the University of Colorado at Boulder, was voted the best party school in the nation, no contest. The partiers were straight fraternity boys who could not back down STPers. The trigger man was Robert Coleman. The confrontation was as sure as night.

In the late 60’s, STP John showed up in Boulder, leading an extreme tribe of the filthiest people on earth. The tribe was Hell Angels without choppers. They sold bad drugs, panhandled, stole anything, and took life without moderation. They operated under no moral or legal code. They were constantly in jail for vagrancy and other crimes. I observed the invasion, from my 2nd floor perch in a Cotangent store window. I was the “Fool on the Hill.”

STP John

Follow the Seed

I met Pimm at a commune in Christiana, a free city part of  Copenhagen. The police are not allowed in there and the hippies ruled. I could not spell the name of the house, but it was home to a group of Danish hashish smugglers.

I was brought into the family by Denmarco, my connection who loaded me out of Tangier and Kathmandu. Pimm also lived outside of Masir-Sharif, where he sent back hash to Denmark hidden in walnuts. Later on I helped him bring 250 kilos in a false bottom cage of snow leopards. Pimm is the original source of the 10,000 seeds that became known as Paonia Purple Paralyzer.

Read more at https://www.pioneersofleisure.com/2019/05/03/following-the-seed/

Sun-Flo International has announced development of a mobile solar…

Original article: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/04/27/Sun-Flo-International-has-announced-development-of-a-mobile-solar/2115420264000/

April 27, 1983

DENVER — Sun-Flo International has announced development of a mobile solar food dehydrator it says could increase food production, especially in Third World countries, by preventing billions of dollars worth of crops from spoiling.

The firm also said it was considering construction of two facilities in southern Colorado to manufacture and continue research on the device.

‘Many countries, including Mexico, lose as much as 60 percent of their post-harvest crops in transportation and distribution,’ Marcello Cabus, Sun-Flo president, said Tuesday. ‘In some places, the Philippines for example, it’s closer to 80 percent.’

Cabus said post-harvest spoilage was about 30 percent in the United States, with some entire fields of crops lost because farmers cannot get to the crop in time.

Cabus said the dehydrator, which took two years to develop at a cost of $400,000, was tested in rich agricultural areas of western Colorado. He said the mobile trailer unit was small enough to be moved with a fifth-wheel unit on a pickup truck, or could be airlifted into position.

The machine uses a large solar collector to provide heat for drying, and also contains a gas-fired heater for backup in bad weather.

The official said fruit crops can be dried in four to eight hours, compared to 48 hours for stationary drying plants. The dried product is vacuum sealed on board the unit by workmen after leaving the drying tunnel.