Tampa man arrested with 34 pounds of 'magic mushrooms'
A Tampa man was arrested Sunday evening when approximately 34 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms were found in the car he was driving toward Gainesville.
The mushrooms, which are best known for their hallucinogenic effects, were found in a car being driven by Antonio Miguel Fernandez, 28. A Florida Highway Patrol drug dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the car after Fernandez was pulled over for wearing a headset while driving.
FHP Trooper Mike Jordan stopped the 1991, two-door Buick that Fernandez was driving at 5:55 p.m. Fernandez had been northbound on Interstate 75 when he was pulled over at mile marker 379, which is about three miles south of Gainesville.
FHP Lieutenant John L. Gourley said that after the drug dog alerted on the car, troopers discovered “several jars, coolers, and plastic containers containing Psilocybin mushrooms, as well as other evidence used in the manufacture and delivery of the controlled substance. Marijuana was also discovered in the vehicle.”
Gourley estimated that an ounce of the dried mushrooms would sell for about $255, putting the value of the mushrooms at $138,720. Troopers reported finding $3,280 worth of marijuana in the car, as well.
Fernandez was charged with trafficking in psilocybin, unlawful manufacturing, possession and distribution of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, attaching a tag not assigned, and no motor vehicle registration.
Fernandez was being held at the Alachua County Jail on Monday.
According to the U.S. Attorney General’s National Drug Intelligence Center, psilocybin mushrooms are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of the U. S., Mexico and South America. People who swallow the mushrooms typically feel the effects within about 20 minutes and the effects last about six hours.
In addition to nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination, the mushrooms are hallucinogenic. Federal officials noted that some people who thought they were taking a psilocybin mushroom have taken another, poisonous variety that was similar in appearance.
By Karen Voyles
Published: Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7:55 a.m.