Sentence Handed Down in February Glassblower Busts

Sentence Handed Down in February Glassblower Busts
Posted by CN Staff on October 21, 2003 at 15:09:54 PT
By Terrence McNally, Eye Business Editor
Source: Arcata Eye 
Back from the East Coast, former 101 North Glass co-owner Jason Vrbas is beginning to decompress after his future hung in the balance for eight months. Last Tuesday, Vrbas, partners Ryan Teurfs and Gabriel Watson were handed down sentences in Pennsylvania for convictions surrounding the South G Street business’ glass pipe making and distribution. All three faced federal indictments for manufacturing paraphernalia, distributing paraphernalia and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute paraphernalia and a potential sentence of three years prison.
"The end result was good," Vrbas sighed on Sunday. After the trio’s attorney Timothy Wykle and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Department of Justice made their closing arguments, five minutes of deliberation resulted in the verdict: six months of house arrest, three years probation and 100 hours of community service. Vrbas’ worst nightmare of doing time in a federal prison was not realized.That was eight months and many thousands of dollars after early morning February 24 when Vrbas was awakened by pounding at the door. He assumed he was being summoned to an emergency. "I came running into the living room," he recalled. "I thought the house was on fire." But after opening the door, he was thrown onto his front yard and surrounded by about 10 agents in military dress with rifles trained at his head. Vrbas concluded that what he had thought were flickering flames outside his home were flashlights. "I was asking, ‘What’s this about?’" he said. Handcuffed, Vrbas was dragged back inside, where an agent explained that he had been served a Drug Enforcement Administration federal search warrant and had been issued three felony indictments. "I thought they were at the wrong house," he said. Within minutes, Humboldt County Sheriff Deputies were searching his Arcata home and Vrbas was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Donning an orange jumpsuit and rubber slippers, Vrbas briefly met Teurfs and Watson in a waiting room. "They were pretty freaked out," he said. The partners, however, had been arrested at their homes and had not undergone searches. Vrbas began calling family and friends to inform them what happened, received a visit from Attorney Wykle and spent the night in the jailhouse’s maximum security holding tank clutching his glasses and asthma inhaler. The company’s South G facility, which employed 29 people and been in business since 1997, had been raided, much of its content confiscated. By midmorning a circle of workers stood outside sharing scattered information. At their arraignment the following day, the threesome entered Eureka’s federal court shackled - but greeted by a courthouse stuffed with supporters, many with signs bearing "Free 101 North " On February 26, they were released with the knowledge that a preliminary pleading awaited a month later 3,000 miles away. 101’s assets had been frozen, their employees locked out, paychecks bouncing and health benefits lost. 101 North had been caught up in Ashcroft’s "Operation Pipe Dreams" which arrested nearly 50 accused marijuana paraphernalia manufacturers nationwide The feds said that 101 was selling pipes online - an accusation Vrbas says is false. "We sold only to retail stores who had retail permit numbers," he said. "And there were no sales over the Internet." 101’s website posting was limited to a catalog, Vrbas said. After "not guilty" pleas in Pennsylvania, the owners later learned that they’d be returning in October for trial. The company was reorganized under the aegis California Glass. 101 had made glass pipes, jewelry, ornaments and beads. California Glass dumped the pipe-making end of business. Benefit shows were organized to assist jobless workers. "It was the waiting," Vrbas said was the worst part of the experience. "Eight months on hold." All three plea bargained, and plead guilty to a single felony - conspiracy to sell; and offer for sale drug paraphernalia. Vrbas is attempting to get his life on track and is enrolled at Humboldt State University to get a business degree. "I’m definitely out of the business," he said about having anything to do with drug paraphernalia. Friends and acquaintances stop him on the street, expressing their outrage and disbelief that convictions can result from manufacturing pipes. Source: Arcata Eye (US CA)Author: Terrence McNally, Eye Business EditorPublished: October 20, 2003 Copyright: 2003, Arcata EyeContact: info arcataeye.comWebsite: Paraphernalia Archives
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Comment #7 posted by Treeanna on October 22, 2003 at 08:14:04 PT
Interesting how much harsher the sentence for Tommy Chong is, isn't it?Oh, NORML finally got his address up on the website ;b
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Comment #6 posted by CorvallisEric on October 22, 2003 at 02:24:30 PT
Rush Limbaugh
Thanks for the links, mayan. I have to admit I'm obsessed with The Rush Story. I thought the New Yorker and Libertarian Party items were good. As often happens, the LP comes up with a brilliantly novel way of looking at things.The Buzzflash article is over-the-top political hackery IMHO. I just happened to read a comparable, much longer, article from the opposite side. For those who enjoy the genre, or just want to find out what THEY think: "Why the Left is Targeting Rush Limbaugh"
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on October 21, 2003 at 17:43:49 PT
More Unrelated...
Sorry, but here's more on our pal...RUSH IN REHAB: owes talk host Rush Limbaugh a debt of gratitude, Libertarians say:'s Oxy is Gored: is What Rush Thinks About People Who use Drugs:
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on October 21, 2003 at 17:26:25 PT
Emery to be in Forbes Mag!
Regarding this article, it's good that these folks won't be doing any time in prison. I wish I could say the same for Tommy Chong.Here's some more good news...Marc Emery is going to be featured in Forbes Magazine! Read on...Marc Emery Puts Pot Industry on the Business Map: way out is the way in...CAFE PRESS BACKS DOWN, REINSTATES BANNED 9/11 T-SHIRT:, Lies, and The Legend of 9/11: - Status of the Investigations: CitizensWatch: BUSH II:
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Comment #3 posted by Mark Tide on October 21, 2003 at 17:23:55 PT:
2 Items of Interest Now Online
Howdy FoM,Those two items I mentioned a few days ago are now posted online at Arcata Journal, :The opinion column is now published in two county weeklies (McKInleyville Press and SoHum Independent), and will appear with further relevant material in the Arcata Eye, next week (10/28).News Article :"California's Initial P215 Implementation Measure Promnises Controversy"Opinion Column :"New State P215 Law Should Motivate CIty / County Implementation"I spent some hard work on these, please post them up on your glorious scroll.If you have any questions about the content, I'm available by email.Thanks and Best Wishes,
Mark Tide
Arcata Journal
Arcata Journal
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on October 21, 2003 at 17:14:21 PT
So Letterman's against pot?
If he makes fun of Arnold for smoking pot, I don't think that bodes well for us, really.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 21, 2003 at 15:27:06 PT
An Article About Arnold Schwarzenegger
Letterman Mocks Schwarzenegger:
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