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Just another drug story

growroom.jpgSteve Santhuff once tried to do a good deed and help out some local authorities. Worried about the rampant black market for marijuana plants in his community, he elected to go undercover and pay $400 for some plants from a guy who turned out to work at a state drug agency. He told the feds and the state attorney general about his purchase but, instead of using this information to bust open the rampant corruption, the state and feds used it to get a warrant to search Santhuff’s home. They then stormed in and seized about 500 marijuana plants from his home. This has led to a criminal prosecution focused primarily on where and how Santhuff got his pot plants.

The thing is, I lied. This wasn’t all about pot plants.

It was about turtles.

Yes, he spent the $400 to illegally buy a turtle from an officer of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and it was this state agency, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Services, that raided Santhuff’s home and seized 500 turtles. Santhuff has now sued these agencies in two separate lawsuits - a federal civil rights suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service (seeking $1 million for the agency’s alleged unlawful search and seizure) and a state lawsuit against the Georgia agency (seeking the return of his turtles). But these trials have been put on hold, while the criminal trial, which has been going on for three years, continues.

And as for those wheres and hows, Santhuff says he had permits from every state where he got the turtles, except for those turtles he got before they were protected.

However, he could not offer any explanation as to why he also had Myrtle the Turtle caged up in his living room.

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Comments

Santhuff here: At first I read what??? How could they confuse this case with marijuana? Then I laughed.

27-3-132 (b) is the Georgia Statute that does not authorize Georgia DNR to regulate beyond capturing, killing, etc. So possession cannot be regulated under current state law. Besides, it's not captive breeding and possession affecting the wild populations.

Howell vs. State in 1976 was a Georgia supreme court case ruling that the Georgia DNR cannot charge misdemeanor crimes for regulations! Only civil penalties. How did they even get a search warrant on a void regulation?

Look at the powers of conservation rangers in the beginning of title 27. Power to arrest by citation not by arrest warrant and $33,600 bond! Is that not a violation of the 8th amendment? A violation of the 8th amendment just to be able to use Younger v. Harris abstention doctrine!

Lots going on in this case. Why would they take and keep all the turtles? 22 species were taken and only 4 are know from Georgia. About 300 turtles were not protected anywhere and can be purchased in the trade legally or captured legally today.

Why were they not set up to be cared for properly and then died? Maybe because the intention of the agents was to sell them for profit in their undercover network?

The $400 was sent by an agent of the USFWS and this is admitted in testimony already. The undercover buy was something the agent asked for and arranged! See the transcripts. Is this what we call an attempted frame-up?

My collection in 1988 contained the complete species count as it did at the time of the seizure. Georgia DNR did not designate 4 of these species as protected until Oct. 1991. I've reproduced over 100 hatchling map turtles every year for half a decade now. That's how you get up to over 500.

So we will see, and thank you for your support. Just say no to drugs and yes to turtle conservation.

Yours truly, Steve Santhuff