Feb 20, 2018

January 20, 1968: Municipal Auditorium, Eureka CA


Nineteen persons, including 17 juveniles who are students at both Eureka High and the College of the Redwoods junior college, have been rounded up during the past five days by city police as part of a dope ring discovery stemming from what initially appeared to be routine arrests made at a "psychedelic dance" held at the Municipal Auditorium here last weekend.
Investigating officers took time out this morning from their around-the-clock probe launched last Saturday night, to report to Chief C.E. Emahiser that their work has taken them into virtually all walks of the city's society and has left scores of parents as well as school officials in a shocked and puzzled state of mind.
[ . . . ]
Officers also disclosed they have confiscated some 10 lids of the narcotic in bulk form which they say would make enough rolled cigarettes to bring about $400 on the dope market.
One of the pathetic ironies is that the teen-agers who have been purchasing the dope have been duped out of their money by their pushers since police report the dope has been gradually "watered down" with a material known as Asthmadore, a medicinal tobacco for asthmatics.
However, a more tragic note in the continuing investigation is a report that one of the teenagers was sold a "bad batch" of LSD, causing him to go on a "bad trip" and resulting in a "freak out."
Officers are attempting to confirm the report that the youth has had to be transferred to a Washington hospital where he's undergoing special care as he faces possible blindness.
Officers said that while the $400 estimate may now seem high as dope market values do, they feel hundreds of dollars have changed hands since the traffic got under way some time during the 1967 summer vacation.
Police stakeouts over the past six weeks culminated in the first arrests at the auditorium last Saturday night during the performance of "The Grateful Dead" and the "Quicksilver Messinger Service," two of several rock and roll bands performing there.
More than 3,500 young people from all corners of the county attended the "psychedelic dance," where three of the youngsters were among the first arrested. Two were in the process of rolling a marijuana cigarette when apprehended, officers said.
Law enforcement agents, directed by Lt. Robert Ludtke of the department's Narcotics Division, began uncovering an avalanche of leads which led to the arrests of...the 17 teenagers...
[ . . . ]
Sixteen of the youths, ranging in ages from 16 to 18, are reported to be high school students while the 17th attends the junior college at Beatrice.
All of the juveniles have been cited into Juvenile Hall, on charges of danger of leading a lewd, indigent or destitute life and of breaking a law.
[ . . . ]
Officers reported the confiscated material contained traces of some other white substances in addition to the medicinal tobacco and the marijuana. They are awaiting a full report from the Bureau of Narcotics.
Interrogations with the young suspects, police said, point to the fact that the majority of youngsters became involved only during the past three months.
Earliest reports of involvement point to last summer and while several questioned admitted taking LSD, officers feel this began only in recent weeks.
Officers credited the families of the youths with 100 per cent co-operation despite being both highly shocked and puzzled when apprised of their offsprings' involvement.
Veteran officers also expressed surprise over finding that many of the youths come from no worse than average income families and several are from prominent families.
Chief Emahiser closed out the interview with the declaration that his men will continue their investigations.

(from the Eureka Times Standard, 25 January 1968) 


The number of arrests in the newly uncovered dope ring involving Eureka High students climbed to 23 yesterday when four more youths were cited into Juvenile Hall here. 
However, investigating officers were quick to point out that the noteworthy aspect of this latest development was that the youths and their parents had contacted headquarters to reveal their involvement.
[ . . . ]
These latest four youths, ranging in ages from 16 to 17 years, have been cited into Juvenile Hall on charges of being in danger of leading an idle, lewd, dissolute and immoral life.
And like all of the other juveniles apprehended, they have been released to the custody of their parents.
[ . . . ]
Investigators said the apprehensions yesterday resulted from telephone calls from the youths and-or their parents to report they were "mixed up in this ring and wanted to know what they should do about it."
"We are taking this as a definite 'call for help' on the part of the parents and their youngsters," police said, "and at this point we can only urge that more of them do the same thing."
Police stakeouts and surveillance initiated at least as much as six weeks ago led to the arrests of the three youths at the Municipal Auditorium here last Saturday night, which brought the entire investigation into public focus for the first time.
Two of the youths were apprehended in the process of rolling marijuana cigarets from "a buy" of materials they had completed while a massive "psychedelic dance" was in progress at the auditorium.
Official estimates placed the dance crowd at between 1,600 and 2,000 teenagers from all parts of the county, attracted to hear and see the performances of at least three widely known rock and roll bands - "The Grateful Dead," "The Quicksilver Messenger Service," and "The Headlights" - on tour from the San Francisco bay area.
Many of the youths caught up in the police web told of attending the dance and describing it as "psychedelic."
Officers assigned to patrol the auditorium during the five-hour affair reported viewing highly sophisticated lighting and equipment valued in the thousands of dollars that "really had the building wired for sights and sounds."
They told of three large screens upon which were flashed hundreds of slides and uncounted footage of motion picture film that produced kaleidoscopic colors - dripping, oozing, melding, merging, waving, piercing - for the predominantly youthful audience.
Officers also reported some film and slides flashed shots of nude female forms on the screens.
"Wild" was the way one officer described the entire performance, and "a la discotheque" was the way another put it.
In addition, after the dance officers also reported finding narcotics paraphernalia on the premises during clean-up operations.
Meanwhile, the investigators, which embrace the city's entire police department and narcotics officers of the Humboldt County sheriff's office, re-emphasized that the probe is continuing and that both parents and school officials are co-operating "100 per cent."

(from the Eureka Times Standard, 27 January 1968)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing about the Dead here...I posted these to show how Dead shows were perceived by many people, and written about by the press. (The articles are mostly complete here; I left out mainly lists of names.)

    McNally writes, "On January 20 the musicians flew to Eureka to begin the tour, exited the plane, and found what appeared to be half the cops in the county there to greet them... [After the show] their cleanup was not perfect, and after the gig, police found roaches and rolling papers, leading the local press to call the show a 'pot orgy.' This news dogged their tracks through the next few weeks." (p.248)

    I don't think any local paper actually called the show a "pot orgy," but clearly it was a frightening event for local police! Eureka seems to have been stuck in 1957.
    There's no mention of the music; the show is said to have lasted five hours, and was "wild." Estimates of how many kids attended vary wildly, but they came from all over the county, and evidently they were all in danger of having drugs pushed on them at the show - why, one unfortunate even got "bad acid," freaked out and might go blind! Even the "highly sophisticated" light show was threatening, with its oozing colors and "nude female forms." Those poor souls who attended were being lured into "an idle, lewd, dissolute and immoral life"...and even worse (gasp) some of the pot-smokers even came from wealthy, "prominent" families!
    But not to worry, the entire police department is working on this with round-the-clock surveillance, and they're certain to nip this dope thing in the bud. They're getting "100 per cent cooperation."

    Arnie Millsap, who made arrests at the show, later became the Eureka police chief, and recalled: "Look back in the archives of the Eureka paper and you'll see there was a big bust at the Grateful Dead dance. I was an officer at the time. We had people all over the outside and so many inside the fire marshal was getting the hiccups. We had people selling and using marijuana that night. I caught one guy selling LSD tabs. After that we wouldn't allow the Grateful Dead to come back to Eureka."