Guilty plea entered in 'shroom drug case
WAYNESBORO — A man snared last summer in Waynesboro’s largest drug bust ever for psychedelic mushrooms pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession with intent to distribute.
Waynesboro police launched an investigation of 31-year-old Felix Gutierrez after neighbors in the 1700 block of New Hope Road complained of possible drug activity at his apartment. He was arrested July 1.
Police carted away 107 mason jars of the drug, its effects similar to LSD, along with two large plastic tubs used for growing. Thermostats, vents, scales, pots and soil also were taken from Gutierrez’s apartment.
Waynesboro prosecutor David Ledbetter said Gutierrez initially claimed the drugs were for his own personal use. Asked for the street value of the confiscated mushrooms, which can sell for up to $150 an ounce, Ledbetter said it was never determined because only a few grams of the drug were submitted for forensics testing because of fears the mushroom spores could become airborne during testing if too much was submitted.
The entire stash of mushrooms was eventually destroyed, according to Ledbetter.
A sentencing date for Gutierrez has not been set. Virginia’s recommended sentencing guidelines call for a prison term ranging from seven months to one year and four months, Ledbetter said.
Gutierrez remains free on bond.
BY BRAD ZINN/STAFF • BZINN@NEWSLEADER.COM • NOVEMBER 18, 2009
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