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*Charges Dropped* Colombian healer arrested for Ayahuasca possession

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    The "Taita" John ", who faces 20 years in federal prison, is recognized for its community and the Ministry of Health of Colombia as a traditional healer.

    On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 while en route to perform traditional ceremonies of Ayahuasca, indigenous healer Colombian Juan Agreda Chindoy was arrested in Houston International Airport. He was arrested by the border police (ICE) for possession of ancient medicine Ayahuasca. He is being charged as a federal criminal and faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

    Taita Juan is known for its community and the Ministry of Health of Colombia as a traditional healer. It is one of the few remaining indigenous leaders in the world with the knowledge of traditional medicine of an ecosystem that is rapidly disappearing. Taita Juan is a father, husband and sponsor over 20 children. With over 3000 friends and beneficiaries of medicine in several countries around the world, his life and work have touched many.

    About Taita Juan:
    Taita Juan Agreda Chindoy is an indigenous traditional healer Cametsa Sibundoy Valley in the Alto Putumayo region of Colombia. In addition to being recognized by the Ministry of Health is recognized for his community as a lineage holder of Amazonian traditional medicine and a leader of people. Since childhood, John has been learning Taita practices Taita his father Martin and has studied with many seniors across the Amazon. Taita Juan has over 20 years experience working with 'yajé (ayahuasca) and other forms of traditional medicine. He has extensive experience in dealing with aspects of mind, body and spirit. He has successfully treated conditions are not well treated by other forms of medicine. Their ceremonies offer the experience of traditional medicine in an authentic Amazon.

    At home in Sibundoy, Taita Juan is developing a traditional medicine clinic. Is a leader in addressing public health needs in their community. Thousands of people from all over the world visit Sibundoy seeking their services. Taita Juan is leading efforts to build educational ethnobotanical gardens in their village to ensure that the knowledge of traditional medicine continues to be transmitted to future generations. He is an artist with great technique and talent in the arts of wood carving, painting and beadwork. He and his wife Carmen, own a small business, "Craft Basoy" a shop selling Indian art at the heart of Sibundoy. His family company employs several single mothers in the community and participates in creating innovative and original designs that make a big impression on all visitors. Taita has an incredible sense of humor and kindness of his spirit and heart extends to those around him. For all these contributions, Taita Juan is esteemed and loved by many.

    'Taita' is a term of respect used by the indigenous communities of the Amazon to recognize traditional healers working with Ayahuasca, a word which means father.


    The above post is a google translation of the original story


  1. Alfa
    Re: U.S. could sentence to 20 years in prison for "daddy" Colombian possession of Aya

    A true clash of cultures. What's sacred and holy in one country, is punishable to the extreme in another country.
  2. turborunner
    Re: U.S. could sentence to 20 years in prison for "daddy" Colombian possession of Aya

    It doesn't say how much he had? Was this guy trafficking thousands of kilos or did he get caught with a presonnal stash? hard to say whats really going on here.
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: U.S. could sentence to 20 years in prison for "daddy" Colombian possession of Aya

    "Personal" it seems. Sounds like he had enough for a group / gathering .From another source that may be better not to link to:

  4. buseman
    Colombian Shaman Arrested for Ayahuasca on Arriving in US

    A widely known and well-respected indigenous Colombian shaman is in US custody on drug trafficking charges for possessing the psychedelic concoction ayahuasca when he arrived in Houston October 19 on a flight from Colombia.

    Taita Juan Agreda Chindoy faces up to 20 years in federal prison after being arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Taita Juan is a traditional healer of the Cametsa people who live in the Sibundoy Valley in Colombia's Alto Putomayo region.

    He is recognized by the Colombian Ministry of Health as a traditional healer and is widely known in his community as an established healer and leader.

    He was traveling to Oregon to give a presentation when he was arrested.

    Although used as a religious sacrament in the Amazon, ayahuasca is banned under the US Controlled Substances Act because it contains DMT, a fast-acting hallucinogenic chemical.

    But in a unanimous 2006 decision, the US Supreme Court held that a US branch of a Brazilian church may use ayahuasca as a sacrament during religious rituals.

    Taita Juan's supporters are organizing a campaign for his release and have created a web site, Free Taita Juan, to help mobilize support. His attorney was scheduled to meet with prosecutors Tuesday in a bid to resolve the situation.

    Meanwhile, the shaman remains behind bars in a US detention center.

    by Phillip Smith,
    November 02, 2010
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Colombian healer arrested for Ayahuasca possession - facing 20 year sentence

    Colombian healer held as a dealer in Houston cell
    Arrest of 'medicine man' puts drug in spotlight

    When Juan Agreda-Chindoy arrived at the U.S. customs screening point at Bush Intercontinental Airport last month, an officer thought he looked nervous and singled him out for added scrutiny.

    Inside his luggage, federal agents found a certificate stating that Agreda-Chindoy, 42, is a licensed medicine man in Colombia. They also found four plastic bottles of what his supporters describe as "ancestral medicine," a concotion called ayahuasca. Laboratory tests showed the little bottles contained Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a potent hallucinogen and a controlled substance in the U.S.

    Agreda-Chindoy's Oct. 19 arrest on a federal drug charge has caused a stir in the Colombian news media and prompted an Internet-based campaign by supporters to raise money for his defense.

    On a Web page launched after his arrest, Algreda-Chindoy is described as "one of the few remaining indigenous spiritual leaders in the world that holds the ancestral medicinal knowledge of an ecosystem that is rapidly disappearing."

    "This guy is not coming here as a drug dealer. He is coming here as a holy man who has been working with this substance for 25 years or more," said his Houston attorney, Kent Schaffer.

    Schaffer said the maximum sentence his client could face ranges from 40 years to life, depending on the quantity of DMT found in the vials.

    The case has drawn attention to DMT, which a top federal law enforcement official in Houston described as making a "comeback," though it remains relatively rare in the U.S. It's found naturally in certain plants, primarily along the Amazon, but also can be synthecized in a lab.
    Second recent seizure

    A week before Agreda-Chindoy's arrest, officials made a similar DMT seizure at the same airport, court records show.

    The number of DMT specimens identified in forensic labs has grown significantly in recent years, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2009, 241 drug exhibits were identified as DMT — up from 106 in 2008 and 67 in 2007. Data for 2010 was not available, said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman.

    "My understanding is that DMT is making a comeback, and I have no idea why," said Stan Furce, director of Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

    "I hadn't heard much about DMT since I was a young narc back in the '70s," Furce said. "I've seen it being seized or being encountered more in the past 18 months than I had in the last 18 years, but by no stretch of the imagination is it in any quantity for me to be really concerned about it."
    Potent brew

    Schaffer said ayahuasca is a tea made from the vines and leaves of a bush that grows along the Amazon and in southern Colombia.

    Schaffer said his client is a fourth-generation medicine man who uses ayahuasca in healing ceremonies, often for "purification."

    "I guess, according to the American government, there is DMT in it, which is naturally produced in the combination of these leaves and vines," Schaffer said.

    "He doesn't know what DMT is. He knows if you mix this leaf with this vine, you get this medicine," he said.

    Rick Strassman, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, conducted DEA-approved clinical research on DMT in the 1990s. Strassman called it "a powerful psychedelic drug, which produces visions, out-of-body sensations, and extreme emotions."
    Licensed in Colombia

    DMT is designated as a Schedule I drug by the DEA and has no accepted medical use, Strassman said, though there are anecdotal reports of ayahuasca being useful for substance-abuse problems like alcohol and cocaine, cancer, and emotional problems.

    In court records, federal agents reported that Agreda-Chindoy arrived on a Continental Airlines flight from Bogata on Oct. 19 and was planning to head to Portland, Ore., New York and then San Francisco. According to court records, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer asked Agreda-Chindoy if he had any medicine to declare, and Agreda-Chindoy said he did.

    Agreda-Chindoy later explained to investigators that he knew the medicine was a narcotic but that he was licensed to carry it in Colombia as a medicine man. He told investigators that he was planning to give the medicine to friends in Oregon, saying it is used to treat heroin addiction. For his troubles, federal agents said, Agreda-Chindoy would be paid $1,000.

    Schaffer said he is confident that prosecutors will dismiss Agreda-Chindoy's case. He said he is preparing evidence of his status as a medicine man and of ayahuasca's religious and medicinal value to share with prosecutors.

    "It's not a recreational drug," he said. "It's a substance that is used in their ceremonies for a combination of prayer and healing. In the village that he comes from, he is the medicine man. He is the doctor."

    Nov. 6, 2010, 7:26A

  6. Moving Pictures
    Re: Colombian healer arrested for Ayahuasca possession - facing 20 year sentence

    I think there's a good chance this case will be dropped and the guy will be banned from the country. I'm sure the Colombian government is having talks with our government to get this guy released. That is if he really is as respected in Colombia as the article says he is.

    Looked nervous? Hmm. Maybe it was because he was dressed in traditional garb?
  7. Terrapinzflyer
    Charges dropped against Colombian medicine man
    Man was arrested at Bush airport with ceremonial 'ancestral medicine'

    Federal authorities have dismissed charges against a Colombian medicine man detained at a Houston airport with vials of a potent hallucinogen.

    Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston, said Tuesday that the felony charge against Juan Agreda-Chindoy, 42, was dismissed "in the interest of justice."

    Agreda-Chindoy, a medicine man from Colombia, was arrested Oct. 19 after federal agents at Bush International Airport in Houston found bottles in his luggage that tested positive for Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a controlled substance in the U.S.

    Supporters on website

    Agreda-Chindoy's arrest caused a stir in the Colombian news media and prompted a Web-based campaign by supporters to press for his release. On Tuesday, a website set up to help raise awareness about his case announced the charges had been dropped and declared "We did it!"

    "We're ecstatic," said Kent Schaffer, Agreda-Chindoy's attorney in Houston. "We think this is a wonderful result, and we're excited that Juan gets to return home to his village."

    Schaffer said his client could have faced up to 40 years in prison if convicted. On Tuesday, after the drug charge was dismissed, Agreda-Chindoy was transferred into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and could be back in Colombia within a few days, Schaffer said.

    Religious purposes

    Agreda-Chindoy's supporters said he was stopped at the Houston airport carrying ayahuasca, "ancestral medicine" that is often used in religious, healing ceremonies. Federal agents arrested him after finding the concoction contained DMT, a drug that occurs naturally in certain plants, primarily along the Amazon but also can be made in a lab.

    Schaffer said he presented prosecutors with information that Agreda-Chindoy is a religious leader and planned to use the ayahuasca for religious purposes.

    He said Agreda-Chindoy's family is eager to have him back home.

    "They've been waiting for this day to come," he said. "They've been very nervous to know what's happening because they don't understand it. So they're excited he's coming home."

    Houston Chronicle
    Nov. 16, 2010, 6:25PM

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