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Background Info:

 On Sept. 16, 1995; dan&mary's Monastery-Hemporium of
the Church of Cognizance, received a phone call from an
Individual Orthodox Member Monastery located in London
England.  A request was made by them that we contact a
Leonard Mecado in Kerny Arizona about a recent invasion
of their religious sanctuary.  We contacted Leo,  and
provided him with some legal information he requested
reguarding the Desecration of Religious Items; via FAX.
 We then sent him a package we supply our registered
member monasteries,  that contains other useful information
related to the protection of Religious Freedom, and
our church;  and we offered therein to post any information
he would like us to post to the related newsgroups on the
Internet.
 On Sept. 19 we recieved the following FAX, with a request
from Leo that we Post it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Begin~~~~<span style="color"><span style="color"><span style="color"><span style="color"><span style="color"><span style="color">Religious Persecution in Pinal County
           Interview by"> Rattlesnake

Attn: Joel K. Barr
Publisher
Grapevine News

Oct. 17, 1995
Interview
Rattlesnake=R
Leo=L

R: Leo, I understand that on Friday, the 13th of October,
 you experienced our well renowned Pinal County Drug Task
 Force at you residence.  Tell me of your impression of
their tactics...be specific.

L: On Friday afternoon our doors were busted in by a heavily
armed SWAT team.  My wife, my youngest child, and I were
assaulted by heavily armed individuals.  I was eventually
served a warrant for the cultivation of marijuana.

R: Leo, what precipitated this overwhelming show of force?
Did you resist?

L: Far from resisting, I was completely cooperative, and
willing to assist in order to minimize the destruction.

R: Of what Leo?

L: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

R: Could you be more specific Leo?  Were your lives
threatened?

L: Most definately.

R: In what manner were your lives threatened, what made
you fear for your life?

L: Two fully automatic weapons pointed at my head.

R: And what of your wife?

L: She was sick and in bed, and already suffering quite a
bit, and her condition was extremely aggravated by the
presense of armed thugs in our bedroom.

R: So they served a warrant on you, with their usual
discretion.  The warrant was for cultivation of marijuana.
Correct?

L: Yes.

R: You don't grow marijuana?

L: No.

R: So Leo, let me get this straight.  You were served a
warrant for cultivation, but they found no plots of
marijuana on or around your property?

L: Correct

R: I understand that you and your wife were both booked
into the Pinal County Jail that night. Why?  What were
the charges?

L: Pursuit of Herbal Freedom, my religion.

R: Let me understand this.  You were arrested by our
Drug Task Force for pursuing your personal religious
endevours?

L: And ONLY for that.

R: What aspect of your religion could possibly warrant
the use of potentially lethal force in your apprehension?
How is the practice of your religion such a threat to your
community and to the American way of life, that they deemed
this necessary?

L: I am apparently guilty of holding the unpopular belief
that the Lord God created all plants for the benefit of
mankind, to be used with prayer and thankgiving.  Particularly
the sacred power plants, specifically, Holy Peyote which I
maintain in living form in my family altar.

R: So let me get this right.  The Task Force served a warrant
 for cultivation marijuana and after they found no cultivation,
 they turned around and looked for some other way to justify
 your arrest?  What brought their attention to your religious
 altar?

L: After realizing their suspicions to be unfounded they grasped
 at whatever stems and seeds they could find in our home.
Peyote plays a central part in my religious beliefs and is
likewise prominently and lovingly nurtured within the sacred
space of our living quarters.  The quite display of power the
Holy Peyote emanates was obvious even to these short-sighted
individuals. Consequently, while forced on the ground, cuffed,
and two fully automatic weapons pointed at my skull, I was asked
if the plants in the room were there because of my religious
beliefs, and I answered &quot;Absolutely Yes.&quot;  Subsequently, my wife
produced written, notarized verification of this, and presented
it to the detective in charge.  Shortly thereafter I was notified
by this detective that the County Attornee had no interest in
pursuing this particular matter as a criminal charge.
Unfortunately, and I believe, much to the discredit of his office
this was later changed on a whim. I was informed by the detective
in charge that the County Attornee had come up with the statutes
had somehow been altered.  The decision was then made to desicrate
and confiscate our Sacrament, and also arrest my wife, who before
this time had not been under arrest.

R:  The whole thing sounds like a nightmare to me, First off,
if you were on the floor, handcuffed, unarmed, of course, with
numerous armed-to-the-teeth Task Force officers in close proximity,
 I find it hard to believe that the situation called for you to
have the barrels of weapons put to your head.  Did they ever offer
any reason for the use of these tactics on an American?

L:  Aside from religious persecution being nothing new, the only
thing I can come up with is that herbalist are a dangerous and
subversive bunch.  NOT.

R:  I detect a note of sarcasim in your last statement, but
getting back to it.  I was under the impression that life,
liberty, the pursuit of happiness, religious freedom, protection
against unlawful search and seizure-all these things, the
foundations upon which America is based, are all protected by law.
  Did you inquire of the arresting officers about your Civil Rights
during this process?  They knew they were arresting you because
of your religious beliefs?

L:  I quoted from memory word for word, Arizona's Revised Statutes
specifing our right to use Peyote in our religoun.  I also warned
these people if our alter was desicrated, they would be the ones
held liable for their actions.

R:  Liable to whom?

L:  God, and hopefully to our justice system, if such still exist.
  Our justice system, I mean, not God.

R:  Knowing by your information that this was part of a religious
altar, did they take care, since they felt it necessary to
confiscate, and keep your altar and parts therein from being
disturbed desicrated or harmed?  What happened?

L:  To the credit of Detective Keck, I was informed by him that
he would advise his people to treat the Sacrament with some care
and respect.  In my mind he was aware of the unholy nature of
the task at hand.

R: So, Leo, did they treat the Sacrament as a Holy item, with
respect, or did they treat it like a drug they were confiscating?
 How did they treat the items that are the core of your religious
beliefs?

L: Sadly, in my heart, I do believe that these cogs in the wheels
 of injustice have no concept of sacred.

R: So, after all, they did desicrate your shrine?

L: Absolutely.

R: How?

L:  The medicine was tagged as criminal evidence, dug up
unceremoniously and piled in a harmful way in evidence bags.

R:  Harmful?

L:  Yes.  Aside from the obvious lack of respect of this act,
any person knowledgeable about the care of cacti in general,
knows that succulent plants will in fact quickly deteriorate
under such conditions.  This not only is obvious an unholy
thing, but shortly leads to the destruction, by rot, of the
so-called evidence.

R:  Well, I guess that's it in a nutshell.  So, Leo, being
the religious person that you are, how do you feel about the
men that did this to you?

L:  They know not what they have done.  I would like to believe
that someday they will have a clue, and that the Great Spirit
will be merciful to them.

R:  You sound like a very forgiving person, what about tomorrow?
 Will you continue with your will you continue with your
religious beliefs in spite of their condemnation of your
lifestyle and religion?

L:  I sincerely THANK  Pinal County and the multijurisdictional
Task Force for strengthening my religious principle and beliefs.

R: Thank you and God Bless you, Leo.
~END~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Later on the evening of the same day we recieved a voice call
from Leo, advising us that he had discovered that the DARE
officer that instructs at his Daughters school,  along with a
police officer had interrogated his daughter,  without any
other witnesses, and without any record of the questioning.
  Leo had previously, upon enrolling his Daughter in their
school had met with the principle of the school reguarding his
concern over the aggenda of the DARE program.  He was assured
by the principle that his Daughter would not be subjected to
this program, but instead would be given a period of study hall
in its place.  But the sad thing is this wish was not honored,
and once again the Government has used the DARE program to
infiltrate the Bonds of Family, using an innocent child to
gather evidence against her family to be used as pretext for
this invasion of privacy.  Leo request that we now send him
info on the DARE programs failures,  which we will be doing
just as soon as we get this out to the group.

 At the current time the situation is in limbo,  as the State
is still considering the legallity of the States actions in this
case.

Leo has agreed to keep us informed as to the status of this
outrage,  and we will post as more information is learned.

Pax Vobiscum (Peace be with you)

dan of dan&amp;mary


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