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Ann Arborite Remains In Puerto Rican Jail

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Ann Arborite Remains In Puerto Rican Jail

An Ann Arbor business executive, arrested five weeks ago on a charge of smuggling 600 pounds of marijuana into Puerto Rico, remains in jail there under a $7,000 bond.

Samuel T. Harmon Jr. of 1617 Cambridge Rd., former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Washtenaw Community College, was arrested at the San Juan airport moments after his leased plane had landed on Jan. 24. Puerto Rican authorities say Harmon and his 32-year-old nephew, David Harmon of Detroit, were involved in the dropping of golf bags containing 600 pounds of marijuana on the runway of another airport at Dorado, 20 miles from San Juan. The plane involved took off after the golf bags were dropped and the arrests followed in San Juan, police say.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Jose Keeler said yesterday he plans to present the case against Harmon to a federal grand jury in San Juan next week. If an indictment is returned Harmon will be arraigned before a federal judge and a trial date set.

Keeler says Harmon remains in the Princess Jail in San Juan, unable to make the $7,000 bond, which must be posted in cash. Originally the bond was $50,000 . The centuries-old jail is a former fortress built when the Spaniards occupied the island. Persons awaiting criminal trails and hearings are held in that building.

Harmon’s nephew, David, is currently free on $3,000 bond.

Keeler says Samuel Harmon is being defended by Juaqin Monsarte, a former U.S. attorney in San Juan, and Arturo Negron, son of the chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Keeler says Harmon hired the two lawyers at the time of his arrest.

Police sources in San Juan say Harmon was involved in the arrangements for a rock concert for mainland college youths which had been scheduled to be held near San Juan last Thanksgiving. Backers of the “International Music and Arts Fair” expected to attract 50,000 young people from the mainland but the project was cancelled when financial backers pulled out of the program.

The mammoth rock concert was to have been held on a 430-acre site outside Vega Baja with 15 major rock groups and performers scheduled to appear. One of the program’s backers was Glen W. Turner, reputed to be a millionaire who heads a conglomerate of 58 enterprises around the United States.

One of Turner’s projects is Koscat Cosmetics and his name has been linked with a plan which has been under police scrutiny in several states. The plan is called "Dare To Be Great" and is holding weekly meetings in an Ann Arbor motel. Legal action against the project was taken recently in Florida on the grounds it violates that state’s lottery laws and Iowa authorities have banned its operation there.

Ann Arbor police investigated a complaint about the “Dare To Be Great” movement here but they said they found no violation of state law or city ordinance.

Police describe it as a “sensitivity organization” which provides members with films and literature in return for various amounts of money. A local man who took part in several of the group’s meetings told police he was taken on a bus with other recruits to Cincinnati, O., where the operation was explained and persons attending the meeting were urged to join by paying sums ranging from $500 to $5,000.

When the Thanksgiving rock concert in Puerto Rico was written off because of financial difficulties, David M. Clarkson, a Turner Enterprises spokesman, said the concert would be re-scheduled but authorities there say the concert has not yet been held.

Samuel Harmon had been listed as one of the five backers of the rock concert and at one time said $225,000 had been invested in preliminary work on the program.

Also listed as involved in the production of the rock concert was Robert Salstrom, a U-M Law School graduate.

Tickets for the event were to be purchased through Fiesta del Sol at 621 Church St. in Ann Arbor but a check shows a telephone listed for that address has been disconnected.