Schaffer Online Library of Drug Policy Sign the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy


Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Historical Research


Thriving Crop of Loco Weed in Secret Lot Discovered After Raid Near Bridge.


Two Men Held After Soldiers on Governors Island Reveal the Source of Their Supply

New York Times,  October  18, 1934

An investigation started a month ago by the Narcotic Squad, acting on reports that several soldiers on Governors Island were showing signs of lethargy produced by the smoking of mariajuana, led to the discovery of a large field of the weed in downtown Brooklyn, near Brooklyn Bridge, yesterday afternoon.

Two Brooklyn men are under arrest for possessing the weed and two soldiers are in custody of the military authorities pending an investigation.

The raiders found the mariajuana, or loco weed, which produces a pleasant, relaxed sensation when smoked and eventually drives the habitual user insane, growing in abundance on a plot in the middle of the block bounded by Washington, Nassau, Adams and Concord Streets.

The plot, almost an acre in size, is hidden from the streets by tenement houses on all sides and can be reached only by descending a stairway and going through a basement at 189 Washington Street.

Yield Worth About $50,000

The police estimated the yield at half a ton and thought the finished product would be worth about $50,000 at the reported price of $60 a pound. It was believed to be the largest quantity ever found in this latitude and the second growth to be found in the city's vicinity. Several years ago a small patch was found in Long Island City. The plant is indigenous to Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

A month ago the War Department asked the police here to investigate the source of the mariajuana that was finding its way to Governors Island and reaching an ever increasing number of soldiers.

Detectives Thomas Mason and Arthur McCloskey of the Narcotic Squad donned army uniforms and went to the island as newly enlisted men. Mason was assigned to duty as a cook and McCloskey became a potato peeler.

They made friends with Privates Gregg and Evans of the Sixteenth Infantry and hinted they would like to buy some of the cigarettes. For some time the soldiers refused to accept the hint, but finally sold the detectives some at 10 cents apiece, according to the police.

Source Finally Revealed

It was not until yesterday, however, that the detectives were able to persuade the soldiers to reveal the source of their supply. Gregg, it was alleged, told the detectives they could buy all they wanted if they went to 17 Concord Street, asked for "Mack" and mentioned who sent them.

The detectives, still wearing their army uniforms, went to the address accompanied by fifteen detectives and plainclothes men, including Captain Joseph Mooney, commander of the narcotic squad, and Lieutenant Edwin Johnson, in command of the plainclothes detail.

Repeating Gregg's instructions, they were admitted by a man later identified as Robert Arnold, 29 years old, alias Nicholas Mack. The detectives bought a box of the "smokes" for $2 and then called in the other raiders.

Arnold and Louis Kelly, 25, of the same address, in the room at the time, were arrested charged with violating the State Uniform Narcotic Act. Kelly, the police said, was engaged in rolling the cigarettes when they entered. About 1,000 cigarettes and a large quantity of filler were found in the room.

Soon afterward, a group of the raiders found the field of mariajuana. Deputy Chief Inspector Edward A. Bracken, in charge of the Brooklyn police, ordered a day and night patrol of the plot until arrangements could be made with the Park Department to have the plants and their roots destroyed.

Arnold and Kelly will be arraigned in downtown court, Brooklyn, today after they have appeared in the line-up at Manhattan police headquarters. The intelligence bureau at Governor's Island said that Gregg and Evans were being held in the disciplinary barracks. Thei first names were refused on the ground it would be premature to give them out pending the outcome of the investigation of their activities.

Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Historical Research