Press enter after choosing selection

Paper Radio

Paper Radio image Paper Radio image
Parent Issue
Day
23
Month
May
Year
1975
OCR Text

Ewe Wagner, a self-confessed hard drug dealer, has surfaced again in the employ of the Michigan State Pólice. Wagner first appeared as a paid informant on the scène two years ago as a major defense witness against Pun Plamondon and Craig Blazier. The judge in that trial labeled Wagner as "unscrupulous, immoral and dishonest." Now Wagner lias reappeared in South Haven, where he is responsible for the arrests of eleven people on drug sale charges. The implications of this case go far beyond the city limits of that western Michigan Community,and raise serious questions about the drug law enforcement program of the State Pólice. Despite Wagner's proven unreliability as a witness in the 1973 trial of Blazier and Plamondon, the State Pólice have continued to employ Wagner and have relied on information supplied by him alone to prosecute the eleven South Haven residents. THE SOUTH HAVEN BUST Amid a fanfare of media attention the Michigan State Pólice with assistance from the South Haven Pólice, swept up ten men and one woman from the South Haven area in coordinated raids on February 1 2. The eleven were árrested on charges ranging from sale of marijuana to sale of LSD, cocaine and PCP. Bonds were initially set between $15,000 and S30,000 and the defendants spent from ten days to six weeks in jail before bonds were lowered and they were able to post bail. In all eleven cases, the defendants are charged with selling drugs to Ewe Wagner, in the period from October, 1974 to January, 1975. "The prosecution in these cases hasn't introduced any evidence other than Wagner's testimony," Craig Rochau, lawyer for two of the defendants told the SUN. Ewe Wagner's entire stay in South Haven raises questions about the methods used in State Pólice drug operations. Wagner first arrived in the town during late September, 1974 and immediately began maneuvering his way into the local drug scène. "He started getting people high so he could get in with them . . . he was selling dope himself," one source stated, and this was confirmed by others. According to several people, Wagner was selling not only marijuana, but hashish and psilocybin, and personally used LSD, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and other tranquilizers. He also consumed large amounts of beer and wine. "I never saw the guy that he wasn't high or drunk or both," remarked one person. Even more fascinating is who was paying the bilis for this entire operation. At the preliminary hearing for defendant Mark Winkle, Wagner testified that State Pólice not only paid for hotels and his living expenses, but also provided him with funds which he used to buy drugs for his personal consumption. Wagner produced an incredible array of drugs to get people high. After he had built up "obligations" in this way, cording to sources, Wagner would then ask his victims to return the favor by obtaining drugs for him. "When I first met him, I didn't trust him," commented one person who avoided the trap. "I wouldn't deal to him." THE WHOLE TRUTH? Eleven people feil into Wagner's net. Where entrapment failed, Wagner appears to have resorted to partial or total fabrication of evidence. With his unlimited access to drugs from other sources, it would have been easy for Wagner to turn drugs over to State Police and claim he had purchased them from one or another of the defendants. Charges against two of those arrested were thrown out at their preliminary hearing af ter Wagner admitted on the stand to having consumed large quantities of drugs and alcohol at the time he ► claimed to have purchased marijuana. "He was so high he didn't know what he was doing," stated one of the other defendants. The judge agreed. Wagner may have perjured himself in two other cases. "Both defendants were at other places at the time the offenses were alleged to I have occurred, and we will present testiI mony to show this," said Craig Rochau, ' attorney for Gary and Greg Lawson. In fact, Gary claims to have been staying with a friend in Benton Harbor at the time Wagner has accused him of making a cocaïne deal. "In my opinión, it should have been thrown out at the preliminary hearing," Lawson said. Seven defendants besides the Lawsons face trial this summer in Van Buren Circuit Court because of Wagner. Charges still pending include sale of marijuana against Greg Lawson and Riek Braunz; sale of PCP against Bill Crow, Art Thivieridge, Marian Hamilton, and Harlinda Flourney ; sale of LSD against Bill Knappel and Mark Winkel; and sale of cocaine against Gary Lawson. A CHECKERED PAST Ewe Wagner's history as a paid informer of the State Pólice goes back to July, 1973. At that time, he served as chief prosecution witness in the extortionusury trial of Pun Plamondon and Craig Blazier in Cadillac, Michigan. The case was widely perceived as a political prosecution because of the $100,000 bond set for Plamondon and the intervention of State Attorney General Frank Kelley in the case. At the time, both Plamondon and Blazier were active members of the now-disbanded Ann Arbor-based Rainbow People's Party. The prosecution's case collapsed when Ewe Wagner's testimony was contradicted by the second prosecution witness and by testimony from both defendants. On the stand, Wagner admitted to being a hard drug dealer and identified himself as a paid pólice informant. Bruce Peterson, another prosecution witness, stated that Wagner was a "large scale" dealer of morphine, opium, methadone, continued on page 24 A judge ín 1973 cal led E we Wagner "unscrupulous, immoral and dishonest" but Wagner remains in the pay of Michigan State Pólice and is responsible for the recent arre sts of eleven South Haven residents on drug charges. Ewe NXégner continued from page 5 amphetamines, barbituates and marijuana. "He's been a drug dealer and a dishonest one," according to Buck Davis, attorney for Plamondon and Blazier in the 1973 case. "He ripped people off, he stole money, he lied, he sold bogus drugs . . . it was shown on the stand that he consistently stole from and cheated his closest associates and roommates." Circuit Court Judge William Peterson, in his ruling acquitting Plamondon and Blazier of all but one technical count, rejected Wagner's testimony as unreliable. The judge referred to Wagner as "an unscrupulous, immoral and dishonest person . . . not only a lawbreaker but a scoundrel ... a hard drug dealer who is not being prosecuted." ON AND ON AND ON IT GOES... Ewe Wagner was proved a "dishonest" witness in 1973, but his testimony will be used again against the South Haven eleven. The continued reliance by the State Police on an informant such as Wagner suggests they are willing to go to almost any lengths to beef up arrest statistics of their anti-drug programs. This includes the State Pólice sending innocent people to prison and serving as accomplices to perjury and entrapment. In the process, people like Ewe Wagner save their own skins from prosecution while the pólice bureaucracy is also saving its skin. Based on arrest statistics, the State Pólice are able to increase the drug program budget and thus their own power. In related news, the Washtenaw Area Narcotics Team, WANT, busted twentyfive small user-dealers for heroin this week in Ann Arbor using a paid informant. Pólice Chief Walter Krasny was quick to point out how this proves WANT is effective, and vindicates the cooperative effort between Ann Arbor and the State Pólice. The bust comes right at the time City Council is considering budget cuts. Ewe Wagner may yet be operating in the pay of the State Pólice. Speculation is growing that he worked continuously for the Pólice throughout the period between the Plamondon-Blazier trial and the South Haven busts, although the SUN has been unable to confirm this. Niles, Michigan may be the next target for Wagner's activities. A friend of one of the South Haven defendants reported spotting Ewe at a Niles bar in late April. Wagner attempted to sell him marijuana at that time, but the friend refused the offer. Other reports have placed Wagner back up north in Traverse City, although this remains unconfirmed. These practices of the State Pólice will continue unless enougli people are made aware of them. The SUN is continuing its program of A-Narc, and encourages readers to let us know what the Pólice are up to. The information in this story originated from an Expose-ANarc tipoff. Let us know of busts by undercover agents, times and places of court hearings, etc., so we can uncover nares with photographs and stories like this one.