Hello RFT, This Is Jimmy Tebeau of the Schwag Writing You From Prison

Categories: Local History

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Riverfront Times received the sweetest note this week from Jimmy Tebeau, the subject of our June 13 feature story, "He's Gone".

The lead singer of the popular local Grateful Dead cover band, the Schwag, reported to federal prison in South Dakota last month after pleading guilty to knowingly allowing the sale of drugs at his campground and concert venue, Camp Zoe. As our article detailed, Tebeau is believed to be the the first artist or event organizer ever imprisoned under a somewhat vague federal statute initially designed to stamp out crack houses.

But Tebeau didn't write to RFT to plead his case or argue that he's paying for the sins of others. (Tebeau, himself, was never accused of selling drugs. His crime, according to the feds, was not stopping others from doing so.)

The old Dead Head has moved on. Besides, he's too busy playing in prison bands to dwell on the past.

See also:
- Jimmy Tebeau Gets 30-Month Sentence for "Drug-Involved Premises"

As Tebeau details in the letter (full copy on display on next page), he's playing in both a hard-rock band and a classic-rock band while in prison. Tebeau has also found a job in the prison's music department making 12 cents an hour. (A few million hours at that pay, and who knows? Perhaps Tebeau will have enough to purchase his 350-acre Camp Zoe out from federal-asset forfeiture?)

Concludes Tebeau in his letter: "I am making the best of my time while in prison to improve who I am and what I do. If life hands you lemons, you must make lemonade."

Jimmy would like to hear from you. He left this address for anyone who has ever wanted a prison pen pal.

James Tebeau 38712-044
Yankton FPC
PO Box 700, Durand Unit
Yankton, SD 57078

Continue on to read Tebeau's full letter to the RFT.


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25 comments
midyettb
midyettb

It all would have been avoided if local and state law enforcement had not DENIED Mr Tebeau the official law enforcement presence that would have prevented Zoe from getting out of control....IT looks like they got what was intended.... to STEAL Zoe from it's legal owner.The DNR has coveted Zoe for years...IN ADDITION THE FUNDS SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN SHANNON COUNTY SCHOOLS is  NOW GOING TO THE the Missouri state highway patrol....The New ORGANIZED CRIME!!!


Kevin Rudroff
Kevin Rudroff

All it would've taken to logically end the drug trade amid the campground is one undercover cop arresting one drug offender. The word that undercover cops where infiltrating camp Zoe and Shwagstock would have spread like colon cancer and prompted offenders and users to not be so sloppy with their practices. Instead they arrest an individual who didnt break any laws or sell any drugs to anyone? This just doesn't make any sense at all.

Jeff Schaefer
Jeff Schaefer

No. It's a corporate drug war. Just the fact that cannabis is illegal should be evidence of that. Are they going to bust every float trip and campgrounds in Missouri? No, probably not. I have a suspicion that he was cutting in on someone's business in that area, someone with connections to law enforcement.

Amanda Conner
Amanda Conner

It's a disgusting display of injustice from small town fkrs playing God. Bless the dude. Tebeau is a peaceful loving soul.

Travis Maurer
Travis Maurer

Absolutely not. He is a non-violent criminal (and whether he is even a criminal is up for debate). Separating his family from him is worse than any crime he committed. I think RFT should keep track of who buys the property that was seized from him......

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

the goverment should take everyones stuff and lock them up because they say

Greg Hahne
Greg Hahne

Melissa Tucker IDK if you saw this so I tagged you

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Read the report, many were arrested for drug charges. I know people who were busted by Dent County roadblock while stopping to get firewood. Or, in the report, the FBI busted folks selling drugs, not just possessing them going to the event or while there using. I haven't even started on the nitrous... I can't believe how many people comment without ever reading what actually happened.

Meghan Bohnert
Meghan Bohnert

Arresting people who are committing a crime is one way the law works.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

who's to say they didn't make arrests on ppl selling? see thing is, when one drug dealer is taken off the streets, it creates a "job opening" for THREE more dealers. that's hard facts of drug life. no, the FBI and stuff will sit back and wait, go after the so called ringleader. obscur example of how things work: Wal*Mart. ppl go boosting things there ALL the time. they go back in and return it for store credit; a gift card. the boosters then take the giftcards and resell them (usually 50 cents to the dollar) you think Wal*Mart doesn't know this goes on? of course they do! HOWEVER THEY SIT BACK AND WAIT UNTIL THE PERPS GET THEMSELVES BUILT UP FOR FEDERAL CHARGES. that's wht the feds did in this case. you think Waka, Bonnaroo, EF, Scamp, All Good, etc etc are gonna have the same problems? NO. they won't. the venue owners are NOT the ones holding the festival. there is usually a production company holding the festie, not a single person. the PC's know better than to let open drug sales happen on their land. that sh** needs to be kept to the privacy of ppl's camps, if that's what they are gonna do. the ppl selling the "serious" drugs should have gotten more than "booted out of the festival." b/c they are jus gonna come back again at a diff time and sell some more. no, he should have had those ppl charged. cruel sounding, yes. but, uhm, HELLO. ther eis a HEROIN epidemic with YOUNG ppl in the STL and surrounding areas (shit man, it's everywhere) and allowing such sales to young kids was a bad move. i am by NO means the type to drop the dime, but if it means saving young kids from a fate worse than death, then so be it.

Meghan Bohnert
Meghan Bohnert

I agree with Stephen. If they observed the activity, they should have arrested the people they observed doing it. Enough arrests would have reduced drug use/sale drastically.

Stephen Francis Engelmeyer
Stephen Francis Engelmeyer

¿ -- if the FBI observed this activity for that long then it seems like they were also just as wrong for to knowingly let it go on. Something does not make sense on how this all was handled.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

according to the laws? well then, yes. i remember being 17, 18, 19 y/o, i had friends who were still minors. if my dad caught us smoking, hoo boy, i'd get in trou-BLE! he'd go all on about how if we were caught, he could los ehis house, the authorities can TAKE it! this was 10+ yrs ago. so the law is nothing "new." charging him for the crimes of others? hmm, that's a grey area...see, if i was driving a car and say i have a passenger. this passenger decides to lean out the window and fire rounds at ppl; then guess what, *I* would be charged with being an accessory. "guilty by association." is it kinda stupid, well yeah. is it fair? not really. but that's the way it goes. the drugs ppl were using/selling -- there was no discretion, it was very very open. whether he "knew" about it or not, his name was on the piece of paper, the deed, assuming ALL responsibility. THAT is how come, out at the Rainbow Gatherings, we say "don't ever sign ANYTHING. the rangers will want someone to sign a permit; do NOT sign it; if anything happens, they come after YOU!" all due respect to the guy, but he HAD to've know what was goin on. i mean, i know it was festies and stuff and what can ya do about it, right? well, you can NOT let it be so open. i've only been to like, 3 things on his land (which is beautiful, no doubt) back in '07. and it wasn't jus "harmelss" thngs being offered, it was stuff like "girl" (crack) "boy" (heroin) "PG" (powder girl, coke), percs (percocets), droes (hydrocodone, vicodin), addies (adderol) and stuff like that. not cool, especially when there a re a LOT of young, impressionable teenagers out there, especially girls. bad mix. it's sad for his fans and most definitely his family. i DO, indeed, hope he gets out on good behaviour, for the sake of his family. h/e i cannot agree with what was going on during the shows. i've been other places and never had it been a drug smorgasbord like it was there. now, i shall sit back and wait for the hate-comments. LOL. cos that's what hippies do (sarcasm)

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

No it doesn't. The Pageant doesn't have this problem b/c they don't allow open drug use and sales. Any festival today has better security and supervision of their property than this. The FBI observed him for 5 years... I applaud their work. Schwagstock was cool early on, then it became nothing more than a drug using/dealing event with all the Ozark meth heads and ravers in attendance.

Meghan Bohnert
Meghan Bohnert

Absolutely not. This sets a precedent that any venue owner can have their property seized and be sent to prison if drug use is seen at the venue.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

This was never about stopping the drug trade, it was about stopping the concerts at camp zoe and the way to do that was to go after the owner and sieze the property.  While I don't like what happened here, the laws that allowed this to happen are the same laws that would apply if my neighbor was having large parties at his house with drugs being used and sold and I sure as hell would be happy to see my neighbor stopped under such circumstances.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

The Feds took him down, not Barney Fife.

dylanized
dylanized

@Thee Lovingcup Nitrous got banned from Zoe years before the bust. I was a regular for the last 3 seasons, never saw a single tank.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

It happens all the time in undercover operations.   The people selling drugs were not the targets.

dylanized
dylanized

@Thee Lovingcup Actually those last several years there was an active effort to clean up the vibe, very different from the early days

Doughnut
Doughnut

@Thee Lovingcup 

 What is funny about this statement is,  BnD security is the same security that many venues use in St Louis and was the security that ZOE used!  BnD = Big n Dumb or Bust n distribute :)

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