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Missouri Buys Hippie Drug Haven Camp Zoe, Turns It Into A Park

campzoe.jpg
Jimmy Tebeau
Camp Zoe back in its Schwagstock glory days.
The last time Camp Zoe made the news, owner and Grateful Dead cover-band frontman Jimmy Tebeau was going to jail for allowing an open-air drug market during weekend-long jam fests for young hippies.

Now, Tebeau is serving time in South Dakota, and his 330-acre tract locatated some 150 miles southwest of St. Louis will become the next new Missouri State Park complete with fishing, floating and hiking.

See also: Schwag frontman Jimmy Tebeau says Camp Zoe is an idyllic campground for weekend hippie jam fests. Federal prosecutors beg to differ.

Missouri Parks recently paid $640,000 for the land, which used to be a girls' summer camp.

Tebeau won't see any of that money. Federal agents seized the land in 2010, saying drug dealers were selling $500,000 worth of drugs at each weekend festival, so proceeds from the sale are likely to wind up in the coffers at the DEA or Missouri State Highway Patrol.

tebeau.jpg
Jennifer Silverberg
Jimmy Tebeau
See also: In Asset Forfeiture Cases Like Camp Zoe, Feds Help Local Police Keep Money From Missouri Schools

Tebeau, who moved his wife and two children to Camp Zoe when he bought it in 2004 for $530,000, says he was never part of the drug markets at his festivals, where teens could easily find marijuana, hallucinogens and ecstasy.

"I'm paying for the sins of others," Tebeau told the Riverfront Times in June. "Some people were ingesting some drugs at the property and selling drugs, which I wasn't affiliated with in any way, shape or form.... We hired security to deal with issues like [drugs], but apparently they weren't always doing their job."

schwagstock.jpg
Jimmy Tebeau
The Schwag's series of events at Camp Zoe attracted crowds -- and, local and federal law-enforcement authorities allege, drugs galore.
Undercover officers bought drugs from at least one of the St. Louis-based B&D Security employees at the festival, according to a 2010 affidavit filed with a request for a search warrant.

See also: He's Gone: As Schwagstock founder Jimmy Tebeau enters federal prison, should other music-festival organizers worry about on-site drug use?

Legal troubles aside, Tebeau seemed to have stumbled onto a gold mine. Seven thousand people attended each concert, five times a year, and Tebeau estimated 150,000 people visited in the six years his Camp Zoe operated.

Maybe business was too good. When Tebeau deposited $4.6 million into his bank account from 2004 to 2010, the DEA got suspicious. When a Kansas City man died from an overdose after partying at Camp Zoe during 2006 Schwagstock, the DEA joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol's investigation, sending undercover agents to the festivals for years.

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Jimmy Tebeau
Camp Zoe brought in partiers by the thousands.
The property is a perfect fit for the Missouri Parks Service. Close to Current River State Park and Montauk State Park, the water and land is home to small-mouth bass, birds and at least nine animal species of conservation concern. Sinking Creek's clear waters make for easy wading and floating, and the sheer bluffs tracing the water's edge make for "a stunning landscape," according to Missouri Parks.

Camp Zoe will stay open -- presumably under a new name -- for folks wanting to re-create Schwagstock's glory days, but its days as a drug haven for music fans are over.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

My Voice Nation Help
225 comments
leelisa36
leelisa36

Why such a poor title!?!  Did you ever visit Camp Zoe Lindsay Toler??  Didnt think so....  <3 LUV-ZOE <3  Momma Goose

johnscrivner
johnscrivner

If there were drug deals going on all over the place then why didn't they arrest those dealing drugs? I am not saying there were no drug deals going on. I am sure there was at times but why not arrest those dealing the drugs at the time? Apparently that was not the real end game. The federal government wanted the land. They knew it was not for sale. So they stole it. I have spent a great deal of time in this area, in and around the federally controlled National Scenic Riverways. The Current River is my favorite place on planet earth. Camp Zoe is an amazing area. It was becoming more and more popular as a non-government controlled recreational area. The drugs have nothing to do with all of this. The Rangers at Current River are systematically attempting to run all the people away from the area. Our federal government does not want us to truly use and enjoy these areas. They want to own them, control them, extract money from the humans and limit how many humans ever set foot on these locations. One guy told me he was ticketed for littering when his sunglasses fell off his head and the Ranger said, "You did not try to pick them up fast enough" as he smiled at him with a smug smile handing him the ticket with over $100 fine. My son was ticketed for peeing on the side of the river. He was not facing with his penis showing or anything. He was doing what everyone had been doing all day in the river but just did it on the bank. They want all the people to stop going there. And they want to own all the nicest areas in and around the riverways. So they steal it and use drugs as an excuse. 

Kayak Kartel
Kayak Kartel

I frequented camp Zoe from the week it was purchased,before anyone else explored it since it's closing in the 70s all the way until 2008. The land was so beautiful it was hard to not go back. I often brought my snorkeling gear and would swim miles upstream in the early am and float back down for breakfast. The sinking creek is one of the most beautiful ecosystems in the state, and sadly the "hippies" of schwagstock did not care to help protect the water. I found tons of crap during my snorkeling trips, sunglasses, pipes, camping gear, money, lighters, trash etc. I witnessed the terrible drug culture that was brought to Zoe even witnessed a heroin death while working security at Zoe jam in 2006. We all new this place would not last, it was all too dangerous and blatant. I however am happy that the beautiful land is getting back to the untouched beauty it once beheld. I will be visiting as much as a can.

Robert Larson
Robert Larson

This is why the War on Drugs is fought. So average citizens can be stripped of their property and the property then sold which goes to enrich the cops and departments who did the seizing. Anyone see a conflict of interest with this? This is why we have Fourth Amendment protections. This was supposed to have gone out with general warrants and star chamber courts.

Amanda Conner
Amanda Conner

Please.... Smoke it up at camp Zoe.... Meanwhile, there's a heroin od in every town. Get real.

Amanda Conner
Amanda Conner

God dang it. I own a tenured business. I work for the state. I can pass a drug test. Look at my picture. Do I look like a druggie. A hippie? Abnormal? ......I loved schwag because i own a retail music store and I fkn love music... Never seen a needle, saw a few glow stick people but who fkn cares..... Moral of the story.... I'm a completely normal female who is drug free, I work for the fkn state of missouri and this was quite possibly the biggest piece of bullshit thievery and land stealing I have ever seen. We've got a dude in our state serving life for pot and Jimmy in for having a beautiful chunk of land because assholes wanted it and THEY CAN. Fuck them. Seriously.

John Salkowski
John Salkowski

They took it by Forfeiture from the owner !!! STOLE IT ! The previous owner needs the money to get it back From the State They Took the Place illegally !!! Please Help the legal Owner get it back !!!

Robert Horton
Robert Horton

The guys using the argument about dealers at other venues are not taking this into perspective. It's not 3 guys slanging acid/x, coke and weed at a deftones show. It's that number multiplied by 50 or more during schwagg. All of my friends back in highschool (00-03 era) went because of "Drugs Everywhere". Even if they liked the bands playing I never heard about it. In perspective, I never heard a story along the lines of "This band played an awesome set and did this cool stage show". I've always heard along the lines of " Tony smoked a blunt, took 4 tabs, and jumped into the river because he was wasted and thought he became a Fire Elemental and needed to be 'put out'". Beautiful land, but let's be real, promoting a huge festival where dealers number in the hundreds will get you on the Radar quick. And it will make it easy to look past the clean events you also hold.

Michael Quinn
Michael Quinn

lmao "drug haven" that's anybody grandmas medicine cabinet. They just hate what they don't understand. forgive them.

William AndLynn Shipman
William AndLynn Shipman

I've never been to Camp Zoe, but back in my concert going days I saw drugs, and drug deals regularly in the open at every venue I visited. Why hasn't the government seized those properties? What made them seek this particular property or target this particular citizen?

Marc Plegge
Marc Plegge

People keep saying it was more than just schwag, well that's what lead to its demise, so that is how normal people are going to see it. Let's be honest for a minute if you went to zoe chances are you got seriously fucked up lol. I'm not against a great party but all good things come to an end. Also if you went to schwag you would know it was mostly (in the end unfortunately) a drug dealer haven. Find a new camp, did you really think a shit load of people dropping acid wouldn't get caught eventually?

Faded Away
Faded Away

Maybe if you printed the facts instead of your opinion that's biased for a place of love and people you dont know to pass judgment on your thoughts and personal opinions is a far cry from the facts of what happened get facts before assuming you have a clue let alone bash something you clearly don't have the first idea of what your talking about!

Ben Wade
Ben Wade

That place is way more than a hippie drug haven. thoughtless pandering copy

Rachel Webb
Rachel Webb

What I think a lot of people don't understand is that there was a lot that happened at Zoe that was not Schwag-related, both in terms of other events and private camping. I attended a festival there that was not Schwag and was drug-free and family friendly. I had many friends who camped there often on non-Schwag weekends. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of property(one of the most beautiful spots in the state) and was very well-run while I was there. Schwagstocks were only a piece of what happened there. I'm not surprised the state parks department wants the property for themselves.

geno_2k5
geno_2k5

people on both sides need to quit the bullshit. Camp Zoe was raging with back packers for profit and anyone who says it wasn't is either lying blind deaf or stupid. People saying this was anything but a classic land grab are the same. If this was truly about stopping drugs explain why in 6 years of open air drug buys not a single arrest or case was made and the buyers and sellers were allowed to go freely on their way. From a law enforcement standpoint they had a bonanza at their fingertips that could have sparked far reaching arrests and investigations reaching to uncountable states and counties. Instead one guy gets 3 years and they get the land they wanted all along and the church wouldn't sell them. 

Sherry Arnold
Sherry Arnold

Camp Zoe wasn't just home to the concerts- we used to camp there on weekends when there was not a fest- and it was absolutely beautiful. i have to admit i am a hippie- not the type so rudely noted above- have a six figure income so do not have to borrow anything from anyone. but i worship nature, love camping and spending time away from the city with good friends. We have lost a wonderful beautiful camping spot. Zoe will be missed

Dennis Woracheck
Dennis Woracheck

I partied there. I didn't like the rave scene (I'm an old fart, but still a "hippie") Liked the music. LOVED the place. I'll be glad to go back for the place. He may have been railroaded, but was not entirely blameless.

Clooney Toons
Clooney Toons

I think its more calling it a drug haven and camp Zoe was amazing

Deborah Wynn
Deborah Wynn

Re-run RFT? -Pretty sure I read this article, like, five months ago.

Scooter Von Donaken
Scooter Von Donaken

Seems like many posting here, didn't read the article or understand it. Tebeau took a plea. The government didn't prove the case. Holding the owner of a venue liable for the actions of others isn't something we see very often. In other words the law applied to him but not the owner of the Pageant or Firebird or Riverport or any of the casinos.

Jake Moore
Jake Moore

this thread smells like patchouli bunk acid and failure

Neil Ghanti
Neil Ghanti

Real hippies in the 60s were into everything the 'counter culture' entails: New music, Cultural Freedom, Drug experimenting (mostly limited to pot and lsd - which are relatively g-rated compared some of the drugs that were at zoe), but most importantly the OG hippies were Political and Social Activists. They worked to change things; to be part of a revolution. Today's 'hippies' are just societal leaches. Most I have met just want your stuff - for no reason. They think just because they are hungry you should give them your food. Or because they are craving a cig, someone should give them a cig. It's really the tone of their sense of entitlement when they ask for things. If you ask me nicely for something, chances are if I can, I will give it to you. Ya know, it's called manners. If they got involved in anything political it would be to legalize pot, probably just so they could bum some off of you. They come see you play music, but don't want to pay a cover or for your cd if they like it because they think music should be 'free'. I've heard several say, "How can you charge money for sounds?". I just laughed. I have met several that complain about our government, then you ask how they approach voting at the polls and they say the don't vote because they don't want to be part of the evil, tyrannical scheme. Then quit complaining wildly and just shut up. Many say they don't want jobs because they don't want to work for a cooperate machine or whatever is they call them now because then you are a 'mindless sheep'. The worst type are'trust fund hippies'. Not long ago I was talking to this 'hippie' and he was telling me about how material things don't matter and we shouldn't be so consumed with prestige and wealth. He wasn't wearing any shoes, smelled like fresh cut onions, and had small beetles crawling in his dreads, and when he left he got into a 2013 BMW M5 and plugged his iPhone into his blue tooth set. To call these people hippies, or societal leaches rather (Leachies?), is in insult to those from the 60s - the OG hippies.

Darrell Ford
Darrell Ford

As a former "Hippie" of sorts, I am proud of that label. Even though I'm in my mid 60's, I feel I'm still tolerant and peace loving.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

So if you play music for a crowd of people, suddenly, you are now their babysitter? I think we are missing some details here. They would have had to prove the case before they could take the property. I smell some spin on the story to make it look like the big bad wolf blew down the house....there has to be more to it than that. I think we need the whole story.

Nicholas Reynolds
Nicholas Reynolds

People keep saying that Camp Zoe wasn't about getting high, it was about the music. This couldn't be further from the truth. !! You had to be high on something to not see how simple, unoriginal, lacking in both creative & technical talent these musical acts were....much like The Schwag themselves. Fact of the matter is, just like most festivals, drugs are the main attraction, and when people are walking around holding up the tops of bud plants, screaming NUGGETS, ACID, COKE, etc..etc. it's hard to deny this fact. Schwagstock was just a festival people in the region could go to more then once a year. Most of the time anyone who went, when asked who was playing they wouldn't have any clue cause the party was the reason for them attending. Depending on what the Schwag crew was mainly selling that particular day, they would run their competition off the land, especially if the these other dealers had better shit. Face it, you people got pimped like the cheap teenage hoes you were. Schwagstock made annual festivals around the nation look bad, it showed them in the worst light. Not to mention the lives destroyed from overindulgence in substances at an important point in their development, in a place that was a safe haven for such activities. The Schwag made money off this fact, and that is a terrible deed of which some sort of penance needs to be exacted. Also the goverment didn't steal the land, it was seized, just like any other criminals property. Grow up hippies....YOU GET A JOB!!!!!!!!

Linsey Estes
Linsey Estes

It was a place of love and friendship. I grew up with the schwag at leasburg and lester ville before zoe. Drugs and illegal activity are everywhere. Love, peace, and good music, well that's getting a bit harder to find these days. We don't hate being called hippies, we hate the derogatory connotation that people are associating us with

Butch Starwalt
Butch Starwalt

What a shame, The Government wins again. Wake Up People!

geno_2k5
geno_2k5

of course but that's not the crux of the matter. the state has wanted that property for years its right smack in the middle of state land and historic scenic riverways. This is not the first case of this. L.A. Forfeiture Squads Kill California Millionaire for land federal officials had earlier tried to buy to incorporate into its scenic corridor in the Santa Monica Mountains. Its wrong what they are doing it is policing for their own gain not for any justice. 

geno_2k5
geno_2k5

the state saw an opportunity and took it plain and simple. All the people who were there contributing should thank their lucky stars that's all they did and Jimmy went down instead of you. Many people could still be in prison or dealing with cases to this day over it. So lesson to be learned here have some due diligence and realize whether you like it or not drugs are illegal and to use good sense and discretion from here on out. It never made any sense to me to sell drugs where you know cops are out there somewhere trying to trick you up. Its like swimming with sharks but to each his own you gotta do the time and rat out all your friends not me.  

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