Millions of dollars worth of psychedelic mushrooms were seized in a bust in Connecticut


Law enforcement officials made a startling discovery after receiving a tip about a possible drug trade: dozens of dog food-sized bags of psychedelic mushrooms worth an estimated $8.5 million at a home in rural Connecticut.

A drug task force, including federal, state and local authorities, raided the property Thursday in Burlington, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Hartford, and charged a 21-year-old man with operating a drug factory and possession with intent to sell. Drug distribution.

The bust came as two states and several cities in the United States decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms and their active ingredient, psilocybin, which works alongside other drugs. It has emerged as an alternative treatment For PTSD and other mental illnesses. About 20 other states have active legislation changing drug laws, according to Psychedelic Alpha, a group that tracks such legislation. And in Connecticut, an attempt this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of psilocybin failed in the state Senate.

Authorities said they received information that a resident of the Burlington home was running a psilocybin mushroom cultivation operation. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials went to the property Thursday morning and said they saw ventilation equipment in the home consistent with items used in “clandestine laboratories.”

The man who was later arrested was at the home and showed them a detached garage where police said they witnessed a large mushroom growing operation. But the man said the mushrooms are not illegal. He also refused to consent to a search of the house.

Authorities then obtained a search warrant and found what they called psilocybin-containing mushrooms in various stages of growth.

State Police released photos showing dozens of bags allegedly containing mushrooms lined up outside the home as well as stacked on metal shelves throughout the interior of the home. The images also show portable ventilators and other equipment.

After police entered the home with an arrest warrant, “the man admitted to investigators that the mushrooms were actually psilocybin, a Schedule I controlled substance,” state police said in a statement. “A Schedule 1 controlled substance is defined as drugs, substances, and chemicals that are not currently accepted for medical use and have a high potential for abuse.”

The man posted $250,000 bail and was ordered to appear in state court in New Britain on November 16. His contact information was not found in public records, and court records did not list an attorney for him. Phone numbers listed in public records for several possible relatives of the man are no longer in service.

Oregon voters They approved the decriminalization of small amounts of the drug in 2020, and separately they were the first to approve the supervised use of psilocybin in a therapeutic setting. after two years, Colorado voters A ballot measure passed to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and create state-regulated centers where participants could try the drug under supervision.

Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill That would have decriminalized the possession and personal use of many hallucinogenic substances, including psychedelic mushrooms, saying the state first needed structured guidelines.

The federal Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” for treatment-resistant depression in 2019, and recently published a draft guideline on the use of the psychedelic in clinical trials. There has also been a shift in public opinion to support the therapeutic use of psychedelics, including for military veterans with trauma and other illnesses.

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