The DEA Made Its First Big Mushroom Bust in Denver
Several months after Denver decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, the DEA executed a search warrant on Kole Milner, a cannabis employee, for selling shrooms out of his apartment.
Published on October 16, 2019

Denver made headlines earlier this year when it became the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin, or “magic,” mushrooms. Last month, the DEA executed its first big mushroom bust since the legislation passed, and now we know how the feds found the suspect, according to court documents.

On September 11, the DEA raided Kole Milner’s Denver apartment, where the agency claimed it discovered over 20 ounces of dried psilocybin mushrooms and 906 live psilocybin mushrooms (1,147 grams). Agents seized a personal computer, a cell phone, and packages bearing the “Happy Fox Edibles” logo on them, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Court documents show that the DEA was led to Milner’s apartment after agents read a series of press interviews given by “Douglas,” a self-admitted ‘shroom dealer in Denver who told journalists he made $2,000 a month selling psilocybin mushrooms. Although voters decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms in May, the law only permits shrooms for “personal use,” including possession and cultivation. Selling and distributing shrooms for remuneration, regardless of amount or purpose, remains illegal. 

The DEA first caught wind of “Douglas” after he spoke to the Denver Post in August. After a bit of digging, agents found that “Douglas” also gave interviews to Denver’s Westword, Harvest Public Media, NPR, and VICE News — most of which were given prior to Denver’s psilocybin decriminalization vote. And along the way, “Douglas” dropped a lot of clues regarding who he was. For instance, he wore the “Happy Fox Edibles” logo on his t-shirt in one interview. In others, he allowed journalists to take shots of the inside of his apartment, and the DEA used a reverse image search to match those images to Milner’s apartment.

Additionally, the DEA discovered from Colorado’s cannabis employee database that “Douglas” is Kole Milner’s middle name. Searches through his seized Venmo account show transactions labeled with mushroom emojis.

Now, for the crazy part: Despite it being a month since the search, and all the evidence collected, Milner has not been arrested nor charged by the DEA. According to Jeff Dorschner, a member of the Colorado US Attorney’s Office, there is an “active and ongoing investigation” involving Milner, but the office would not provide further details.

Gallery — Smoke Weed, Eat Shrooms, and Shine:

When Denver decriminalized magic mushrooms, activists and campaigners were concerned that Mayor Hancock and the Denver PD would continue to arrest people for small-time shroom possession and sales. After all, when Denver decriminalized weed several years ago, weed arrests went up in the Mile High City, not down. But, so far, it’s looking like Denver authorities have kept their word on leaving shroom users alone. The DEA is a federal law enforcement agency, so it follows federal laws, not local.

Whether Milner will skate by or face a judge remains to be seen. But we can hope that maybe, just maybe, the DEA will recognize that psilocybin mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in existence, and the agency’s resources would be better spent on curtailing the recent surge in US meth production and cracking down on pharmaceutical opioid pushers instead. 

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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