Police searched the Northern Virginia home of activist Adam Kokesh Tuesday evening and took him into custody on for allegedly being in possession of hallucinogenic mushroom while also having a gun, authorities said.
Kokesh, a former Marine, was held overnight at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, charged with possession of schedule I or II drugs while in possession of a firearm, said Lt. Steve Elbert, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office.
Kokesh refused to be fingerprinted or arraigned, or to speak with court officials on Wednesday morning, said Nancy Lake, Clerk of the Fairfax County General District Court.
He is now scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday morning. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 2.
“We were expecting this. We were expecting the government to raid our house,” Darrell Young, Kokesh’s roommate, told WRC-TV (Channel 4).
U.S. Park Police Lt. Pamela Smith said her agency executed a search warrant at Kokesh’s home in Herndon about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, looking for a weapon. The park police are the federal agency responsible for policing Freedom Plaza, the concrete park a few blocks from the White House where — in a video posted to YouTube on July 4 — Kokesh appears to load a shotgun in violation of D.C. gun laws.
Smith said she did not know if the YouTube video was the reason for the search warrant. Carrying a loaded weapon, concealed or unconcealed, is against the law in the District. The possession of a firearm not registered in the District carries a penalty up to a year in prison.
“We will not be silent. We will not obey,” Kokesh says in the video. “We will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final American Revolution. See you next Independence Day.”
According to a news release posted on Kokesh’s Web site, police in cars and helicopters approached Kokesh’s house in Herndon, a suburb 25 miles west of Washington, about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday and staged an “armed invasion.” The house is in the 1500 block of Snow Flake Court.
“Numerous police vehicles, including a light armored vehicle and two low-flying helicopters barricaded Adam’s street,” the news release says. “More than 20 armored SWAT team members surrounded the house, as well as a number of detectives, and plainclothes officers.”
The release says police used a battering ram to knock in the front door and detonated a flash grenade in the foyer, then ransacked the house in a five-hour search while handcuffing Kokesh and detaining others who were in the house in a separate room. Those details could not be independently confirmed.
Herndon police assisted in the search, a communications technician from the department said. But she declined to provide details.
Charging documents filed in court Wednesday morning said Kokesh was charged with possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, a Schedule I narcotic, while possessing a firearm. Possession of Schedule I or II drugs is a felony in Virginia, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $2,500 fine. If convicted of possession of the drugs while also in possession of a firearm, Kokesh would face an additional minimum of two years in prison.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said prosecutors could potentially obtain a court order compelling Kokesh to be arraigned if he continues to be uncooperative with authorities.
Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran and Internet talk show, host unveiled plans in early May to lead an armed “Open Carry March” into the District on July 4. He described the proposed event, in which he said participants would carry loaded guns across the Memorial Bridge from Arlington into Washington, as an act of civil disobedience against “tyranny.”
But the march was canceled after police said they would enforce D.C.’s strict gun laws, which prohibit the carrying of loaded weapons.
In six years of headline-grabbing activism, Kokesh has embraced causes including peace in Iraq, free speech in the United States and the unsuccessful 2012 presidential candidacy of Ron Paul. He has invoked Mahatma Gandhi and the First Amendment, and he’s used both dancing and loaded weapons to make his political points.
“We will continue to spread the message of liberty, self ownership, and the non-aggression principle regardless of the government’s relentless attacks on our operation,” a statement posted on Kokesh’s Web site on Wednesday morning said.
“We will continue to combat its desperate attempts to crush a worldwide, revolutionary shift in the people’s understanding of the state’s illegitimacy — after all, good ideas don’t require force.”
In 2007, Kokesh was arrested at the Hart Senate Office Building wearing a T-shirt that read, “Iraq veterans against the war.” He was arrested again in 2011 when he led a group dance party at the Jefferson Memorial. He has gotten into trouble for protesting in a Marine uniform and for taking a souvenir gun home from the battlefield.
Source: Washington Post