Dumb & Dumber

If they'd sold drugs on a street corner, punishment would have been swift. Instead, they used the Internet -- and the party lasted for years.

Cassandra figured that the DEA was monitoring UPS, but she apparently had no clue that agents were tapping her telephone and her computer. In dozens of phone calls and e-mails, she continued setting up deals while scheming with her son to hide their money.

Noting that police were seizing five-gallon shipments, the Harveys decided to limit purchases to one gallon per customer per month unless the customer could explain why he needed more. They also told customers that their product was not intended for redistribution. When Cassandra suggested warning labels that included the word "poison," Joshua objected. "It's not a poison, Mother," he said. "You want to put 'Warning: Intentional ingestion may be harmful or fatal.'"

With sales slowing as the DEA seized shipments, Cassandra worried about having too many barrels on hand. "What are we going to do with it?" she asked Joshua. "Sell it," her son replied. "To who?" his mother responded. "Just tell our clients, 'Oops -- well, it's over, but we've got this much left and it will be shipped discreetly," he answered.

Roy Tompkins
Cassandra Harvey (left) and her son Joshua were among the nation's biggest traffickers in a drug that mimics GHB, prosecutors allege.
Cassandra Harvey (left) and her son Joshua were among the nation's biggest traffickers in a drug that mimics GHB, prosecutors allege.

So far as Joshua was concerned, if he and his mother were drug dealers, so were the chemical companies who sold to them and the developmentally disabled who filled the jugs. "We got the shit all set up," he told Cassandra. "We've got WAC over there doing everything -- they've got all the product over there. If they tried to charge us with drug trafficking, they'd have to charge WAC with drug distribution and packaging and all that crap. They'd have to charge [the chemical companies] for distributing drugs to us."

Cassandra mistakenly believed that the DEA thought she was selling GHB. So far as she was concerned, BD was an entirely different thing, even though she knew that the substance converts to GHB when ingested. "What are they going to do, make the human body illegal?" she asked her son. "I am not the mother of the world. I make sure children are not ordering from me. I cannot be responsible for what people do."

Cassandra had trouble following the new rules against shipping large quantities or filling orders for customers who resold their product. When the feds arrested her, she was working on a deal to sell two drums to a San Francisco man who offered to pay about $10,000 apiece. She also didn't cut off a regular who bought by the five-gallon jug and admitted sharing with others, including a friend who went into a coma after "accidentally ending up with a lot in his body."

"It's his choice, but someone like that, you've got to go, 'Whoa, dude, that's not what you said you were going to do,'" Cassandra said. "You don't want to be responsible for that. I don't, either. If you're going to receive from me, then I want all the labels ripped off and I want you to be responsible for what happens to it. I've had a lot of reports from Florida, people who were buying large quantities from me. I was getting these reports that there's all kinds of craziness going on down there -- women getting raped. I can't put up with that. It's just too scary. It's like somebody huffing paint. They can die from it."

Cassandra's worries about law enforcement increased after she heard from a Sacramento customer who warned that the feds could soon be at her door. "Honestly, I take orders in the same fashion you do," said the customer, who assured Cassandra he had a license to resell BD. "I don't want to worry about being visited by the DEA. And that's a distinct possibility that you may have to face. I'm sure you're probably ordering 55-gallon drums. I could do that, but I just don't want to do that and have a flag raised."

The man told her that it was just a matter of time before BD became impossible to obtain. "What are we going to do then?" Cassandra asked. "Find something else that's similar," he answered. "Good luck -- I don't know if there is anything else," Cassandra replied. "Actually, there's a couple of substances that are similar," the man responded. "OK, you'll let me know about that," she said before telling him his order would be shipped the next day.

A rattled Cassandra told Joshua about the conversation and said she wanted to get out of the BD business.

"It's getting too hairy," she said. "What this guy is saying is, they're trying to make it as difficult to get as GBL. So if they do that and we're sitting here with twenty damn drums or 50 drums...."

Joshua interrupted.

"Then we'll have a bunch of drums of product that's harder to get than GBL and we'll be able to sell it for a higher price," he said. "We'll sell it all off and make our damn money." Cassandra wasn't sure it would be so easy. "Well, yeah, but what if they want names and stuff?" she asked. Joshua assured her there would be no trouble. "Well, we were able to get rid of the GBL last time," he pointed out. "It didn't matter. We still sold it."

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