TBT - (1979) "The Big Pot Bust"

As Barbara always says: "No good deed goes unpunished".

For a short while in '79 I worked at 'Pet Farm' in Miami - an exotic animal import company with several bird import quarantine stations. One Sunday I dropped by the office to see the owner, Bern Levine (now owner of 'Parrot Jungle Island'), and he asked a favor of me - to drop some parrots off at Ozark Airlines.

After leaving the crate of parrots at the airlines I carefully drove out onto the MIA airport perimeter road - noting an unmarked black sedan parked near the road junction. Next thing you know I am pulled over and have gold badges flashed at me. They are ATF agents and they tell me they have the right to inspect the van.

I said: "nothing in the van - I dropped some birds off at Ozark Airlines". So one agent went up to the cab to inspect the front and the other one rolled up the back door. The agent found nothing in the back - but the guy looking in the cab yelled; "Holy crap there is a bunch of marijuana here!". So I was arrested on the spot - read my rights, had my wallet and keys removed from my pants.

One agent does a computer search of my driver's license and the other guy grabs a drug test kit and heads back to the cab. And I am looking at least one night in jail before Bernie can spring me. The guy going through my wallet asks why I have all these names and phone numbers for people in Central America - I explain that I am in the exotic animal biz and they are contacts. Well - that did not look good! Then he finds a fake key on my key ring that separates into a roach clip - but it is new and still clean. He asks; "What is this?". I say: "my nose picker".

The computer check in the agent's car shows I have a clean record - so we go to the front of the truck to see how the other agent is doing with the test kit and the 'marijuana'. Looking down I see the agent has scrapped together the debris that falls on to the truck's floor out of the supplies hauled by the van to the bird quarantine stations - straw, stems with seeds and loose parakeet seeds. The agent doing the test has disappointment on his face as he says; "everything here is negative for pot". I try not to laugh at their stupidity - but I am unable to keep the grin off my face!

The other agent hands me my wallet and says: "And here are your keys and 'nose picker' - have a nice day".