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Published: 2013/06/13

Schwagstock Founder Jimmy Tebeau Heads to Federal Prison

Jimmy Tebeau, member of the Grateful Dead cover band Schwag and founder of the Schwagstock festival, has entered federal prison. Tebeau accepted a plea bargain last year after being charged with “maintaining a drug involved premises” (aka violating the Crack House law), following a DEA raid on his Camp Zoe property in 2010.

Tebeau was the owner of Camp Zoe, a 330 acre campground in rural Missouri that was home to a number of Schwagstock festivals over the years. The DEA had been investigating the premises for over four years when it was raided. Since the agency was never able to prove that Tebeau bought or sold drugs himself, they decided to charge him under a broader statute that makes it a crime to knowingly allow drug sales on one’s property. The federal government then invoked asset forfeiture laws to confiscate Camp Zoe.

According to the Riverfront Times (who have published an extensive report on the subject), U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan stated that “We didn’t view this a music-festival prosecution…we viewed it as somebody who was using a festival site to promote illegal drug sales and profit off of that. We thought there was a difference between a music festival with incidental drug use and a drug festival with incidental music. We believe in this case it was the latter rather than the former.”

In accordance with the plea bargain that was reached last year, Tebeau will spend 30 months in federal prison. He has also been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and has been fined $50,000, in addition to the forfeiture of Camp Zoe.

Tebeau played a farewell show with Schwag in St. Louis on May 25. A few days later he reported to a to a minimum-security prison in Yankton, SD to begin his sentence.

Comments

There are 28 comments associated with this post

Crack Whore June 13, 2013, 20:11:29

I think theyre saying that even when their wasnt music people were there selling drugs there like a crack house. I may be mistaken and if i am science help us all.

jamesdinct June 13, 2013, 16:29:26

Without knowing all the details this sounds really harsh and shitty. You cannot stop someone from selling at a fest or anywhere else. Should the state or feds be punished if someone sells at a city park or a national park? The guy hosted a festival which has a big cross section of the population attending just like any fest, fair, market etc.. I would like to see how he “profited” from this. Unless there is any hard evidence this seems like total crap. I never went to the fest or heard his band but when someone tries to create a harmonious, fun gathering of music fans its a beautiful thing, getting busted because some people broke the law while they were there is ugly.

MarZaPhiGar June 13, 2013, 18:46:16

A “drug festival with incidental music.” Pretty clever for a flatfoot.

Don Dorn June 13, 2013, 20:55:25

It should also state that a couple of years before JIMMY was given an award from the govener for his outstanding acivements
He was the largest employer on the county.Also when the DEA,STATE POLICE,IRS AND MORE RAIDED CAMP ZOE NOT 1SINGLE ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE WAS FOUND.THEY CLAIM ALL THESE BUYS,WHERE ARE THE ARRESTS!!YOUR NOT ARRESTING DEALERS BUT MAKING A LAND GRAB! JIMMY is the nicest guy ever period.

Sharon Clifford June 13, 2013, 21:10:25

It is ridiculous to say this was a drug festival with incidental music. SCI played there and various members of String Cheese played with the Schwag all the time. Big Brother and the Holding Company, Keller Williams, JGB and George Clinton played at Zoe. Along with American Taxi, the drummers from Planet Drum and countless others. I went to every event at Camp Zoe for years. The only way you could say he made a profit from the drug trade is if you say he made money at the gate because people knew they could find drugs there they couldn’t find at home. Which is a ridiculous claim to make, considering the availability of drugs EVERYWHERE in this country. Did people feel a little more free out in the middle of nowhere? Yes. Think Burning Man. Jimmy was a die hard Grateful Dead guy, because they changed his life. And yes, what has been going on in that family since the ’60’s went on at Zoe. Have you been to a festival where this wasn’t true? This is nothing but a terrible miscarriage of justice. As a recent hat pin put out by his loyal followers says, “Jimmy is doing time for some other f**ker’s crime”. And btw, the police went undercover for FOUR YEARS (c’mon, 4 years?) before they seized his property. 330 incredible wooded acres on a National Scenic River. And when it finally hit them he wasn’t manufacturing or laundering money, they had to return the $180,000 they seized from his bank accounts and come up with something with which to charge him. They used the Rave Act. And this is why no festival promoter should EVER own the land on which a festival is held. The precedent has been set…

Doug Canady June 14, 2013, 06:21:11

Not about the music? That’s outrageous. Anyone with a sense of music knew that this was a class act going on. That was the best outdoor venue for sound in Missouri. A million dollar sound system. Literally. Best lighting money can buy. String Cheese Incident, Los Lobos, P Funk, The Wailers, Del McCoury Band, the class acts go on and on. I was very much there for the music. The kicker was it was on the most beautiful piece of property in Missouri. Yeah the drug dealers were annoying. Why didn’t they ever go after any of them? Because they wanted the land.

Randy Floyd June 14, 2013, 09:26:42

i am out of the loop on this, but based on the comments, it sounds like a injustice. i’m sad to hear about this

dankerator June 14, 2013, 09:42:43

hmmm there is a place in new york which is a biker retreat that smells like a sewage plant which is prob. next on the list.

uncle_slam June 14, 2013, 09:48:22

listen, i am the gov’t and we can do what we want when we want and to WHOM we want. we have ways of making charges stick like dank nuggets.
omnipotent—look it up

Missouri is a dump June 14, 2013, 10:06:27

Missouri (especially rural Missouri) is well known for its backwards thinking. Small town sheriffs hide in the bushes on rivers and look thru binoculars for canoeing and rafting folks who are smoking grass, and then bust them and put the money squeeze on them. Missouri is for losers.

bf420 June 14, 2013, 23:02:46

its a shitty thing for them to do but i know about shwagstock and been to many and it was an open drug market. people shouldnt be able to walk around with giant bags of shit just selling to anyone and everyone. wait they should be able to lol. the law may be stupid but he knowingly broke the law.

Jay Johnston June 15, 2013, 13:05:31

I am what is known in the Dead community as a Wharf Rat, which is to say a Dead Head who is in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. I have been clean since Halloween 1998. Barely even take OTC medicine, let alone mood altering substances. I went to many a Schwagstock with other sober friends through the early millenium, and to say we weren’t there for the music is ludicrous. Why else would we go camoping with a shit-ton of other people, when we could have gone somewhere quieter? Why would I surround myself with wasted party people, doing what I chose not to, unless the music was just so damn good (and it was). I can’t deny that the drug use was a huge draw for a lot of the kids, as I had many a conversation with people who knew not a thing about the Dead and were there for the particular drugs that favor our family, but for the most part people were there for the tunes and the fun. Just like at EVERY festi I have atteneded. I a certain there were more drugs at Bonnaroo last year alone than any Schwagstock I attended, and that leads me to believe the only reason that Camp Zoe got hit was because it was somewhat private and intimate, and really only providing money for the promoters and artists, unlike all these other mega-festivals that profit mostly corporations and “the man”. To say that what happened is a travesty would be an understatement. But, I already knew this was a police state, so I am not surprised.

Rev. SciCo Sal June 15, 2013, 16:39:03

Whew!!!....
....good thing they never heard of…..
.............................. BONNAROO...

colt winchester June 17, 2013, 15:30:56

wait….dosent the cia bring opium poppy and heroin into this country??? and they worry bout some hippy fest in the middle of bumfuk?? a drug fest with incidental music what an arse hole. get ready folks its crashing down all round us. time to WAKE UP b4 it happens to you

R June 18, 2013, 10:10:34

There is a difference between illegal substances being bought, sold and used at a festival and what went down at the Schwag(s)... Groups of thirty or more kids from my high school attended multiple Schwaggstocks and NONE of them had any idea who was playing or what they were playing, all of these people went for drugs alone. This is not to say that this is what the majority of attendees goal was but if this guy wanted his festival to stay open maybe he should have not permitted hippies to walk around with burlap sacks full of mushrooms selling them, it was the premiere place to make money and everybody in my town knew it.. While it is very unfortunate things ended this way for the Schwag, perhaps they should not have created such a ludicrously free-for-all environment

lewispenta June 18, 2013, 15:51:48

America=police state

lovejahlive June 19, 2013, 12:09:57

If you know anything about that Camp Zoe ghetto, you know he kinda’ had that coming. It was getting pretty ridiculous down there.

mandoloonie June 19, 2013, 15:17:29

From what I gather there wasn’t anyone associated with the venue going around telling people to put things away or be discreet. If Jimmie could have shown that time and time again he had done his due diligance to prevent or discourage an open air drug market from turning into a free for all this would have never happened. I know it seems heavy handed but why do you think Bill Graham allways had the goon squads canvasing the parking lots. It was because it limited his liability.. Don’t get me wrong, I love a phat music festie just like the next long haired guy and have dreamed of hosting festivals like this all my life. But you have to use some common sense. I live in California and I never attended a Shwagstock but I grew up in Kansas and I am very familiar with mid-west culture. It sounds like a lot of local kids showed up just because they knew there would be drugs and booze. You can’t just set up hippie carnival/festival in some rednecks backyard, get their young-uns all fucked up and expect nothing to happen. It just taint the way things are done round here, you will be held accountable. Do I think it is an injustice? YES......

howcome June 19, 2013, 15:21:43

why don’t they do this bonnaroo?

Dave W June 19, 2013, 16:42:32

Something needs to be done about this injustice. I wish there was something I could do about it. People need to stand up against this!!!!

robert June 20, 2013, 03:50:51

jimmy is a good man and a good friend. ive read many of the comments posted by all. i can first hand say that that cat is all about the music. ive been at many zoe events. all about music created by instruments. vocals by people. ive camped there, ive played music there, ive lived there. you pieces of shit, dumb, selfish punks, we never should have let your sideways hat, fake ghetto, dont even know the the grateful dead, techno listening to, worthless, weak, fakes into the wonderland that was zoe. we gave you a place to pretend you play music, and you took advantage of it. you used jimmy’s hospitallity. you bitches. you cant play a guitar, you suck at everything you do. go back to the city, dont ever come back. the schwag was and is an awesome band. and they always will be. grateful forever.

mandoloonie June 20, 2013, 09:44:41

Here is what can be done. There is a web-site where you can set up charitable contributions. Start pushing for contributions to buy Jimmy’s land back, when he gets out, give him back his land…

dubs June 21, 2013, 10:56:40

Sounds like the indiscreet got a little lesson in discretion. America, not free, not private. If you thought it was, you might be doing a little time, yourself.

James Nix June 24, 2013, 17:42:01

The government is not your friend, and they are spying on every single byte of data you transmit. I sense a great animosity motivated by JEALOUSY for this mans persecution Could you imagine being a civil servant spying on this scene, and realizing that your life sucks balls while the “Law Breaker’s” life was ‘gravy’.... how jealous can a stupid cop get…... get the cops high on real healing entheogens, try strophariads and ayahuasca, and who knows what else give the cops some sex, drugs and rock and roll, and if they still want to persecute (just kidding uptight ones….) run away to a saner land, and help make a culture that doesn’t raise kids to want to be Storm Troopers

Tonja September 27, 2013, 04:08:45

“we viewed it as somebody who was using a festival site to promote illegal drug sales and profit off of that.”
my experience with schwagstock and Jimmy, is that Jimmy profited from hosting the best musical festivals since woodstock, I have never know Jimmy to profit from 1 drug sale at camp zoe.

Tonja September 27, 2013, 04:08:46

“we viewed it as somebody who was using a festival site to promote illegal drug sales and profit off of that.”
my experience with schwagstock and Jimmy, is that Jimmy profited from hosting the best musical festivals since woodstock, I have never know Jimmy to profit from 1 drug sale at camp zoe.

Dave Stark February 7, 2014, 16:39:00

I know for a fact Jimmy was unaware of the drug use that was so prevalent at his festivals. In fact, I even read where he said in an interview that he had no idea schwag was a name for low-grade marijuana until after he named his band The Schwag. Give me a freaking break people.

layla March 19, 2014, 21:42:17

I’m super sad about Zoe being closed. Though I’ve never met the man personally, I’ve heard nothing but good things of jimmy and again am deeply saddened by his losses and problems. I also agree that something must be done. The comment about starting a fund to help jimmy buy back his land sounds like a great start. A good deed done is also a good deed returned. Somehow we need to find a way to give back to someone who has given so many, so much. Every experience I’ve had at Zoe was a priceless, unforgettable gift that I and so many others are so greatful to have been a part of… for those of you who never belonged , just know that your punk ass attitudes loud mouths and ghetto bullshit brought down one of the most cherished peaceful places in this piece of shit country. YOU motherfuckers should be in prison doing his time. YOU are the ones who should have what matters to you taken away. People should be talking shit about you telling your business, truth and lie. You should b blamed and punished. Because of shit like this festivals should come with a multipul choice music quiz. 13 out of 15 questions. 21yrs and over. I’m just so enraged at the hate and destruction of my escape place. Worthless sons of bitches. This summer will stink a little more. My 2nd summer w/o real live music. Wished it to be something I would enjoy with my sons… I hope things work out that way. My whole family is in full support of Jimmy, his band and his fans, along with anybody truly in efforts of helping The Schwag/Camp Zoe. Peace and Love4music will prevail.

Alton O'Tuel March 26, 2014, 11:29:55

Just be glad it wasn’t a religious retreat. Remember Waco, TX???

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