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( archives / 1971 )

Hemp of Northeast Kansas

2/26/71 / Lawrence Journal-World / Jerry Schwartz

Miller Leads Drug Raids

Vern Miller had promised to land in Lawrence with both feet. Early this morning, he did. Leading a battalion love 154 law enforcement officers, Miller, the new Kansas Attorney General, swept into Lawrence arresting thirty young persons on various drug charges. The defendants ranged in age from 16 to 24 and the charges against them were for sale or possession of narcotics, including LSD, cocaine, hashish and marijuana. The arrest began at 2:30 a.m. with 22 nearly simultaneous raids by seven man teams of law enforcement officers. There was no violence: nobody was hurt. No "hardware," such as explosives or heavy firearms was discovered or confiscated with the exception of one 22 caliber rifle that the owner had used for normal hunting activities, according to officers.

Lawrence Police, members of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, Topeka police, men from the Shawnee and Sedgwick County sheriff's departments and members of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation as well as A.G. Miller's agents were all in on the raid. The action began shortly after midnight at the National Guard Armory in Topeka where nearly 200 officers and news media representatives gathered for a briefing. By 2 a.m., the men had organized into 22 teams of seven men each, containing a KBI officer as the commander and at least one Lawrence policeman as a guide. They were given arrest and search warrants and each team was assigned a specific address. Miller cautioned the teams that the raid was to be conducted in a firm and businesslike manner and added, "we aren't out to harass anybody."

Each of the 22 teams took two cars from the Topeka staging area to Lawrence. Here, the group broke into the teams and headed for various parts of town. Miller's first stop was an apartment complex at 1123 Indiana. Two apartments were raided there and several arrests were made. Among other items, a syringe was found in one apartment. Miller helped in the arrest and in the search of the apartment that followed. When the search concluded, Miller leaped into his car and went to 1309 Ohio. On the top floor of that building another raid was in progress. One man was in custody and law enforcement agents were cataloging evidence and taking photographs. Miller, with a team of news media representatives trailing, then sped across town to 818 New York. At this location, officers uncovered a real plum -- a suitcase containing substantial amounts of a substance that appeared to be marijuana. Three arrests were made at that location. Mark Shepard, 20 who lives in the house, sat on the sofa while officers poured (to be continued)

2/26/71 / Lawrence Journal-World / Dean Kackley

Biggest Raid for Kansas

The state-sponsored drug-narcotics raid in Lawrence early this morning is rated by of officials as the largest single "bust" in Kansas history, and one of the largest single raids ever carried out in one city in the United States.

3/2/71 / University Daily Kansan

Rally Says Drug Raid Used as Political Tool

1000 Hear Protests

John Naramore, steering committee member for the police-community relations program, alleged Monday at a rally in front of Strong Hall that the recent drug raid showed both Vern Miller's lack of concern for the people of Lawrence and his willingness to misuse the law to further his own political ambitions. Speaking before a group of a about 1000 students, Naramore read a statement prepared by the Legal Defense Committee. "Kansans have a long history of fighting for local community control over local problems," Naramore said. "Miller's company violated this principle. He used a band of outside police to raid our city. He refused to listen to Lawrence city and local officials, while at the same time taking reporters from CBS and Life magazine into his confidence. "He distorted one aspect of the Lawrence community, blowing it out of all proportion to build his own personal image. He used our community, he did not help it," he said. Narrymore said the bust would not stop the flow of narcotics into Lawrence and heroin coming from Leavenworth and Junction City would continue to be a problem. He said that the bust might serve as a "temporary emotional release" for townspeople who are angry about the conditions in Lawrence, but that the bust had not solved any problems of the community. "So Miller has benefited. He has launched his political climb," Naramore said. "He has appeared on national TV. We're the ones left divided and confused. We still have to overcome our divisions. Like other outsiders, he only causes more problems."

Students at the rally heard Mark Creamer describe his arrest during the Friday morning raid. Creamer said that he had seen newsmen take a picture of Vern Miller "illegally" searching a room. Some of those who were harassed without being arrested could file invasion of privacy suits against Miller, he said. Creamer said that he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge and posted a $1,000 bond. He said he thought he had been the victim of a "discriminatory system which cost me more because I have less." Creamer said that he was taken to the police station, mugged, booked, relieved of his rings and money and taken to the courthouse where he said in the jury box was six other prisoners for two hours while waiting for his bond be posted. While he was waiting, he said, Sheriff Rex Johnson came over to him and said that he could get out of the bondsmen's fees if he got a businessman in Lawrence to underwrite his bond.

Miller failed to accomplish the things for which he came to Lawrence, Creamer said. He said Miller had not cleaned up the drug situation because he had gotten only small dealers and hadn't touched the "smack" (heroin) dealers. Creamer said Miller had broken the law to enforce the law. If Miller was really concerned with enforcing the law, Creamer said, why did he need all the newsmen on the raid?

George Laughead, a member of the Student Senate and Dodge City senior, said he wanted to organize those who weren't arrested but who thought their civil liberties had been violated during the raid. Laughead said money and lawyers would be made available to combat Miller's actions. Laughead said persons who thought their civil liberties had been violated should call the Student Senate office.

Another speaker asked for contributions to the community bail fund which has secured the release of some of those who were arrested. The fund has assured bondsmen that they would be paid later. Those who were arrested and are still without lawyers were advised to contact Floyd Horowitz of the American Civil Liberties Union or go to the Legal Aid office at the County Courthouse.

3/2/71 / University Daily Kansan

Bondsmen Deny Miller Allegations

Attorney general Vern Miller said Friday that he thought there was some sort of organization behind the speedy release of those arrested in his early morning drug raid in Lawrence. He added that he planned an investigation to find out how those arrested got out of jail so quickly. Local bail bondsman Gene Doane, who made bail for 19 of those arrested, said Monday that he had not been contacted by the Attorney General's office and that Miller's allegation had no basis. "The Mafia it didn't call me," Jones said. He said he went to the courthouse at about 7 a.m. Friday to arrange bail for Lance Hill, one of those arrested. Jones said while he was there, some of the other persons under arrest asked him to arrange their bails and he did so. Another bail bondsman, Robert Lester, a representative of the Peterson Pete Bail Bonding Service of Topeka, said that Miller's office had not contacted him. "I don't know what he (Miller) was pointing at, Lester said. We're are not the persons to decide whether or not a person is bondible." Lester said the courts set procedures for bail, and that bondsmen only arranged bail if the person was eligible. Lester made bail for seven of the accused persons. Both Doane and Lester said the there was no truth to a rumor that a "price war" had occurred between the two while at the courthouse. According to Doane, both he and Lester charged only ten percent to arrange the bail bonds. Both bondsmen said most of the bail bonds they arranged were done on credit. Doane said only one of the accused persons had paid him thus far. Lester said several of the persons he had made bail for had paid him.

3/2/71 / University Daily Kansan / Op-Ed / Bob Womack

Miller and the Raid

Many students are dismayed and confused after Vern Miller's public relations extravaganza of last week. His post-midnight arrival last Friday had been expected earlier last week, yet after the raid there were feelings of shock and some surprises as well. Also remaining are questions concerning his motives and his methods. Why should the state's chief lawyer involve himself so avidly in the enforcement of the law rather than the prosecution of cases? Why was such care taken to notify the press while university officials were not informed that students would be arrested in dormitories in the middle of the night? Will the abundant presence of press during the raid give those arrested grounds to claim invasion of privacy? These are several questions among so many others that can't simply be passed off or excused in the name of law and order. It's also difficult to conclude that the results of the mass arrests will curb the drug traffic in Lawrence. If Miller had chosen some real villains -- such as the heroin prushers doing business in Lawrence -- instead of some of the hundreds in town who have sold some marijuana, it would be easier to sympathize with Miller. If the attorney general had not taken such care to insure that he was photographed frisking some of those arrested it would be harder to doubt his sincerity. If Miller had to date demonstrated his professed intention to enforce the state's gambling laws, he would be harder to doubt his professed devotion to the letter of the law. It appears, unfortunately, that Miller is also attempting to make Chancellor Chalmers' justifiable dismay at not being notified of the raids a political issue.

Miller used a Democratic fund-raising dinner Saturday night as a forum to criticize the Chancellor. Said Miller: "It was none of their business...I was a little surprised at this reaction from the Chancellor...I did not know where there was any channels that I was supposed to follow in such matters." Miller, however, doesn't seem to have neglected his channels to Life Magazine, which sent a team to cover his activities Friday morning. Many of those most excited by Miller's raid ("I would like to see Chancellor Chalmers bow tie bounce around some more," said a man in Junction City) are expressing shock, amazement and dismay at the reaction of those here at KU to the attorney general's raid. Many of these persons blithely break the law every weekend at their Eagles and Elks lodges, and are now fighting tooth and nail to insure that Miller focuses on the drug laws rather than the gambling statutes. Although Miller may believe, as he said last Friday, that "drugs are taboo for a while in Lawrence" he is sadly be deluded. If he believes his dragnet, planned with such a careful eye to maximum dramatic effect, will begin to remedy the complexities of the drug situation, he is likewise mistaken. Efforts such as the recently established methadone treatment center here will do worlds more to fight the drug problem than Miller's approach. Until Miller drops his public relations orientation and shows more concrete evidence of his professed even-handed devotion to law as well as some cognizance of the depth and breadth of the drug situation on campus, he can't look for much support from the University of Kansas student body.