Casey William Hardison
Casey William Hardison (born 1971) is an American chemist convicted in the United Kingdom in 2005 of six offences involving psychedelic drugs: three of production, two of possession, and one of exportation.
In 2000, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies published in its bulletin Hardison's "An Amateur Qualitative Study of 48 2C-T-7 Subjective Bioassays." According to Hardison, 2C-T-7 is "a fairly novel entheogenic compound that has been used in a limited context as an adjunct in psychedelic psychotherapy since 1986."
After moving to Brighton, Hardison illegally manufactured three class A drugs: 2C-B, DMT, and LSD. Having set up a laboratory in his rented bungalow, he used £38,386 worth of chemical ingredients to produce hallucinogenic tablets with a street value of up to £5m.
In July 2003, Hardison sent two packages to the U.S. During a random inspection at the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee, officials found four bags of MDMA (Ecstasy) hidden between pages of a magazine. MDMA is a psychoactive drug used primarily as a recreational drug at parties and raves. Thus alerted, British authorities monitored Hardison until arresting him near Brighton in February 2004.
The case was complicated by the involvement of U.S. law enforcement agents, some of whom attended the trial as witnesses. Hardison represented himself in court.
Hardison challenged the drug laws as violating his cognitive liberty and his rights to freedom of thought, therapy and religion, contending that his basic human rights and liberties were violated by his arrest, detention and prosecution. In response, the judge of the Crown Court wrote, "I have come to the sure and clear conclusion that Mr. Hardison's arguments are misconceived and I reject each and every one of the Human Rights arguments."
Trial and conviction
In March 2005, after a 10-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, the jury found Hardison guilty. Calling him a "dangerous individual," the judge said Hardison was motivated by greed and set up his ‘illegal’ drug factory—which a chemist from the Forensic Science Service called the most complex laboratory he had ever encountered—in the UK because U.S. drug laws were "too hot." The court was told Hardison's father used proceeds of his son's crimes to buy a yacht.
In May 2006, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales rejected Hardison's first application for leave to appeal, finding that none of his grounds had sufficient merit. In his decision, Justice Keith wrote that Hardison's criminal enterprise "was not an amateurish operation in a garden shed. It was a careful and calculated attempt to introduce new synthetic drugs onto the UK market which could have reaped great financial rewards."
Hardison found drugs readily available in prison. "LSD, 2C-B, DMT, pharmahuasca, research chemicals, kratom, cannabis, home-brewed alcohol—I did a whole bunch of shit in there," he told Vice in 2014. "Drugs are more available in prison than they would be for the common man trying to find them on the street. And the British prison system is fairly gentle—it's pretty damn civilized."
Death of Anthony Birkholz
On January 17, 2017, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after drinking heavily, Hardison and two other men consumed a substance believed by the Teton County, Wyoming coroner to be the psychedelic drug 5-MeO-DMT. One of the men, artist and filmmaker Anthony Birkholz, died from aspiration of vomitus secondary to food, alcohol and 5-MeO-DMT ingestion. The jury at the coroner's inquest found that Birkholz's death was accidental but could have been prevented. Hardison called 5-MeO-DMT "a very rare, beautiful experience," but admitted he hadn't done any since the night Birkholz died. "Looking back now," he said, "I'm not so charmed."
A day after Birkholz's death, Hardison launched a GoFundMe page, "Tony Birkholz Slips the Mortal Coil," raising $6,100. "This campaign," Hardison wrote, "intends to raise memorial funds and to ensure his remains reach his intended destination. Any remaining funds will be donated to the Buffalo Field Campaign, West Yellowstone, Montana, in the fight to protect the last remaining wild buffalo." After several hundred people attended a vigil at the Pink Garter, a music venue and cocktail lounge in Jackson, Wyoming, Hardison said part of the $6,100 raised online paid for the open bar that night. None of the remaining $3,900, however, was immediately donated as pledged to the Buffalo Field Campaign. In June 2017, a member of Birkholz's family filed a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center accusing Hardison of fraud. Although transfer of the funds was delayed, due to the money having been confiscated by police during an arrest of Hardison in Idaho, the $3,900 donation to the Buffalo Field Campaign in honor of Anthony Birkholz was finally made in September 2020.
Arrest in Idaho
In February 2017, Hardison was stopped in Bellevue, Idaho, for speeding. After a drug-sniffing dog detected controlled drugs, police searched Hardison's vehicle. They found $7,928 in cash, about two pounds (≈ 0.9kg) of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and what was believed to be heroin. However, tests by the Idaho State Police labs determined that the suspected substance was not heroin. Hardison admitted that half of the $7,928 in cash was the missing GoFundMe money collected to honor Tony Birkholz. On March 21, Hardison pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the traffic stop.
In August 2017, all charges against Hardison, including three felony counts and one misdemeanor, were dismissed after a judge ruled that the traffic stop was unconstitutionally delayed without reasonable suspicion, allowing a canine officer time to detect the presence of controlled substances.
Attempted arrest in Wyoming
According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, on August 6, 2018, police attempted to arrest Hardison for selling a large quantity of marijuana to an undercover officer. However, Hardison eluded them after a high-speed chase.
Arrest in California
On July 28, 2020, Hardison was arrested in Yorkville, CA, by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. A $500,000 Fugitive From Justice warrant saw Hardison extradited back to Jackson, to face charges stemming from the botched sting operation by Wyoming officers. On November 17, 2020, in his defense, Hardison will present a motion to Dismiss the Indictment based on the premise that the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act, W.S. § 35-7-1001 et seq., ("the Act") violates his due process and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Wyoming Constitution and the Constitution for the United States of America.
2024 Presidential Campaign
According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, In a January 22, 2021 interview with the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Casey Hardison announced his 2024 bid for president. Hardison plans to run for President in the next general election as a candidate for the revived Democratic-Republican Party, originally founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in 1792.
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- "R v Casey Hardison" (PDF). HMCS Lewes Crown Court. January 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Thorne, Ryan (March 31, 2017). "Victor man pleads not guilty to felony drug charges". Idaho Mountain Express.
- Murdock, Joshua (September 15, 2017). "Charges dropped in alleged drug bust". Idaho Mountain Express.
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- Mieure, Emily (June 7, 2017). "Memorial cash confiscated by police". Jackson Hole News&Guide.
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- Mieure, Emily (May 24, 2017). "Inquest: Death wasn't natural". Jackson Hole News&Guide.
- "Tony Birkholz Slips the Mortal Coil". GoFundMe. January 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- "Cocktails & Creatives". Pink Garter Theatre. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- "Teton County inmate challenging state drug laws". Retrieved September 23, 2020.
- "Cops say drug suspect eluded them in chase". jhnewsand guide.com. August 8, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "Casey Hardison is presidential hopeful Felonies do not disqualify candidate who aims to restart party defunct since the 1820s". jhnewsand guide.com. February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.