Adam Kokesh Arrested in Virginia For Mushrooms, Shotgun


Libertarian activist and provocateur Adam Kokesh's apparent attempt at civil disobedience got him arrested on Tuesday night.  At 7:45 p.m., police in Northern Virginia raided his house using a battering ram and flashbangs. In their search, police found hallucinogenic mushrooms and a shotgun, the combination of which could lead to serious jail time.

A former Marine and Iraq War veteran, Kokesh attracted attention in May when he called for a "March on D.C.," in which gun-rights protesters armed with loaded rifles would march on the Capitol and White House. Announcing it on his Facebook page as "The Final American Revolution," 6,846 people had RSVPed the event. Kokesh later backed down after police made clear their intention to enforce the District's strict gun laws, which prohibit carrying loaded firearms.  Instead, on July 4 a YouTube video surfaced of Kokesh loading a shotgun in D.C.'s Freedom Plaza. That video appears to be what prompted his arrest.

Kokesh has a history of flamboyant antics that even some allies say verge on self-promotion. In 2007, he was photographed in his uniform protesting the Iraq war, and was the first protester to step across the police barricade line. Because engaging in political activities while in uniform is prohibited by military regulations, Kokesh's honorable discharge status was revoked and changed to a "general discharge."

Since then, Kokesh has protested more or less nonstop for a variety of causes, or sometimes, no obvious cause at all. At the 2008 Republican convention, Kokesh (by then a Ron Paul supporter) heckled Republican nominee John McCain during his acceptance speech, yelling out "Ask him why he votes against vets!" His antics got him dragged out by security but also an interview.

In 2009, he ran for Congress as a candidate for New Mexico's 3 District, garnering few votes (he didn't win the Republican primary) but gaining an endorsement from Ron Paul. In 2011, he led a dance-protest on the Jefferson Memorial, dancing while being arrested to protest the memorial's ban on dancing (you can't make this up). Kokesh has also recently taken up the cause of legalizing marijuana, and was arrested twice this spring for his actions during "Smoke Down Prohibition" protests in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Possession of a Schedule I substance in Virginia carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The presence of a firearm in conjunction with the drug charge enhances the penalty by a minimum of two additional years. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 2.