Rapper Vic Mensa was arrested Saturday morning at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on felony drug charges, and spent the rest of the weekend under arrest. US Customs and Border Protection claim a cache of psychedelics, from psilocybin to LSD, was found in the artist’s luggage during a secondary inspection that took place after Mensa returned to the United States on a flight from Ghana.
Mensa’s bags were reportedly found to contain 41 grams of liquid LSD, roughly 124 grams of psilocybin capsules, 178 grams of psilocybin gummies, and six grams of psilocybin mushrooms in his luggage.
“I'm freeeeeee love you all god works in mysterious ways,” Mensa tweeted on Tuesday night, relieving fans after several days of radio silence in which officials said he remained under arrest. His first post to Twitter earlier that evening was loaded with incredulous, bleak humor: “what a trip.”
The 28-year-old artist, formally known as Victor Kwesi Mensah, was on his way back from a multi-week trip to his father’s home country meant to promote tourism to Ghana’s capital, Accra. The rapper played a show while there and made several appearances alongside fellow Chicago-born hip hop artists, including Ghana-rooted Chance the Rapper. Mensa and Chance visited various cultural sites and even met with current President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The rapper’s 7 am arrest on Saturday was not announced by Customs officials until a statement was released on Monday. That communication implied that Mensa was still in custody.
“Travelers can save themselves time and potential criminal charges during their international arrivals inspection if they took a few minutes to ensure that their luggage is drug free,” stated Daniel Escobedo, Custom and Border Protection area port director.
An accompanying photo showed the drugs that officials allegedly pulled from Mensa’s bag, including capsules, droppers, and bags of ‘shrooms that were emblazoned with the brand names Psilo and Happy Path.
“FREE THE YOUTH,” read the caption of a photo from the presidential meeting, which was posted to both Chance and Mensa’s Instagram accounts the day before Mensa’s January 15th arrest.
Mensa has long spoken out against the failures of the US criminal justice system. He is the founder of a non-profit geared towards providing resources for at-risk youth, and his 2019 song “16 Shots” speaks out against racially-motivated police violence.
“A lot of people in this nation and around the world are indifferent to the oppression and the struggles of other people until it includes them, and affects them, and we can’t get anywhere like that,” he told Teen Vogue in 2019. “Sometimes you have to shock people into humanity, and you have to force them into apathy, to imagine if the shoe was on the other foot.”
Mensa’s arrest comes at a time when big steps are being taken towards widening access to entheogenic plants, like psychedelic mushrooms. Denver became the first city to decriminalize the possession of mushrooms in 2019 (the city’s activists are now pushing to expand that access). Following that regulatory shift came Oakland and Santa Cruz’s decision to make all entheogenic plants — from mushrooms to ayahuasca — the lowest priority for persecution (and prosecution) by police. Oregon voters opted to decriminalize the possession of all drugs and regulate the therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms in 2020. And now, measures to legalize or decriminalize mushrooms are seeing political movement in states from California to Utah and Virginia. On a federal level, members of Congress sent a letter urging the DEA to allow terminally ill patients to participate in scientific investigations of fungal power.