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Two Accused of Peddling 700 Loco Weed Cigarettes Daily on Governors Island.


Officers Called Police When Soldiers Showed Lethargy Induced by Marihuana.

New York Times, January  23, 1935

Two men, accused of selling marihuana cigarettes to soldiers on Governors Island were arrested yesterday by detectives of the narcotic squad and locked up at Manhattan police headquarters. The prisoners, Patrick Keenan, 27 years old, of 27 Henry Street, and Joseph Lopez, 34, or 25 Chatham Square, will be arraigned today.

Lopez, the police said, was the source of supply for the cigarettes, which contained loco weed, known also as marihuana. They estimated that he sold to soldiers on the island about 700 cigarettes daily, collecting between $60 and $75 a day.

As far back as September, 1934, army officers on the island noticed that some of the soldiers were showing signs of lethargy. An investigation started by the Army Intelligence Division disclosed that marihuana cigarettes were being smuggled to the island and widely used there. The police were notified. In October, 1934, they arrested two men, and discovered a large field of the weed growing in downtown Brooklyn.

The weed was destroyed. The two men, Robert Arnold, 29, and Louis Kelly, 25, both of 17 Concord Street, Brooklyn, were convicted and sent to prison. It was believed that with their arrest the source of supply had been dried up, and no further sales would be made on Governors Island.

Recently, however, army officers again detected signs indicating that marihuana cigarettes were being sold there. The police were again notified. Detective Arthur McCloskey went to the island and posed as a CCC worker.

According to McCloskey, when he inquired from users of the cigarettes where they could be purchased, he was referred to Keenan. Keenan, he said, refused at first to have anything to do with him; but told him, finally, that the cigarettes might be purchased from Lopez.

After considerable persuasion, McCloskey said, Keenan agreed to take him to the Chatham Square Hotel in which Lopez lived. Arrived there, McCloskey said, he gave Keenan a marked $1 bill, and the latter went into the hotel and returned in a short time with twelve cigarettes. Keenan was arrested and the arrest of Lopez followed. The marked $1 bill, McCloskey said, was found in Lopez's possession at the time of his arrest.

Lopez, the police said, is a Mexican citizen and is known under the nickname Little Mex. They added that they were trying to ascertain how he entered the country. If he entered illegally, they said, steps would be taken to deport him.


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