Cape Girardeau, MO (KSDK) - A 44-year-old Shannon County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to growing marijuana on his property, which included campgrounds, used for weekend music festivals, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said.
According to court documents, between 2004 and October 2010, James Tebeau owned and operated a campground consisting of approximately 350 acres known as Camp Zoe.
Tebeau would host music festivals at Camp Zoe, which he called "Schwagstock" or "Spookstock," advertising the events in several publications. Tebeau admitted to being aware that the term "schwag" was slang for marijuana, but said he did not participate in drug sales conducted on campgrounds nor did he receive funds from those sales.
Prosecutors said James Tebeau charged each person who attended a music festival at his campground $60 admission. Attendance ranged from a low of 3,600 campers during April festivals to nearly 8,000 campers for festivals in May.
In August 2006, troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested two people for selling illegal mushroom at Camp Zoe. During the ensuing four year investigation, undercover authorities said they made more than 150 purchases of marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, MDMA, opium, moonshine liquor and products like homemade cookies and cakes containing hashish oil. These undercover officers reported observing between 100 and 200 drug dealers at each festival, estimating the amount of illegal drugs sold at Camp Zoe during a typical "Schwagstock" festival at approximately $500,000.
James Tebeau said he was aware of the drug use at Camp Zoe, but told his staff to eject people selling crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin or nitrous oxide gas.
Tebeau pleaded guilty to one felony count of maintaining a drug involved premise. In exchange for his plea agreement, federal prosecutors conceded that Tebeau did not intend to sell or use drugs himself, but made his campgrounds available for sellers and users.
Tebeau's agreed sentence should be 30 months in prison with the ability to appeal the District Court's denial of Motion to Dismiss the Indictment. Tebeau also agreed to forfeit 350 acres in Shannon County. He will be sentenced September 4.