Journalist Warren Whipple’s Summary of
The United States of America vs. Peter McWilliams
A favorite trick of the authorities, such as they are, when pulling
a stunt such as the recent one with Peter and his friends, is to make
the charges appear voluminous and unconfrontable, and therefore
uncontestable, to the average person. A nine-count, 40-page Federal
indictment sounds pretty impressive in the paper, and, well,
anyone with that many charges must certainly be guilty of something,
The following is a summary of the Grand Jury Indictment that
documents the charges under which Peter is now being held in custody. I
hope that this will be of some help in reducing the unconfrontability
factor of the indictment itself, and assist in allowing people to focus
on the real issues here.
This is NOT an official document in any way, and is not intended to
replace reading the indictment itself. Rather, it may help one in
reading it, or serve as a general overview and aid in the understanding
of the situation for the person who simply is never going to read it.
Anyone who wants to quote the indictment, or make reference to it in any
other media, should refer to the source, and not this document.
The Indictment consists of two parts, an Introduction, and then a
detailing of the nine counts. The 2-page Introduction simply names the
cast, who are, Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick, and Andrew Scott Hass (
the major players), David Richards, Kirill Dyjine, (aka Hermes Zygott, a
musician), Christopher Carrington, and Gregg Collier ( the supporting
players), and Aleksandra Evanguelidi, Renee Boje, and two anonymous,
unindicted co-conspirators ( the extras).
The second part details the nine counts. Count 1 is the conspiracy
charge, which takes up most ( 30 pages) of the space. Counts 2 - 9 are
simple, one page documents, alleging the existence of 4 crops, or
"grows", with two counts allotted for each, one for manufacture of that
particular crop, and one for possession, each with "intent to
Count 1, the real charge here, consists of three sections. Section
I ( 1 page) consists of the prosecutor's hypothetical outline of this
sordid conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally manufacture, possess,
and distribute marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code,
Section 841 (a) (1). Section II ( 1 1/2 pages) outlines the means by
which this dastardly deed was to be accomplished. Essentially, Peter
(the mastermind), would pay all of these other people to grow pot for
him, in various suburban locations around LA County, and then he would
sell it. Section III details 182 "Overt Acts" which allegedly support
the government's case, and are, in fact, the heart of the indictment
Before we begin (even this summary is not really easy reading, it's
just better), it is VERY IMPORTANT to note that the most interesting
thing about this indictment is what is NOT there. Nowhere in this
year-long investigation were they able to produce any evidence that
anyone sold anything to anybody. Nowhere in this indictment is there any
mention of anyone TRYING to sell anything to anybody except the Los
Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club, a legitimate, non-profit operation that
distributes medical marijuana to patients in need of it. With this
exception of the LACBC, there is NO EVIDENCE presented in this
indictment to support the governments charges in Counts 2 - 9 of
"Intent to Distribute". Frankly, I'm kind of disappointed. You'd think
they would at least try.....
Summary of the 182 alleged "Overt Acts" which support the
conspiracy charge in Count I of the Indictment:
55 incidents in which Peter paid somebody. These break down as
14 payments to Todd for a total of $116,400.
26 payments to Andrew for a total of $76,401
6 payments to David for a total of$26,100
9 payments to Chris for a total of $6,004
47 incidents in which things were purchased, or modifications were
made to a building, in order to facilitate the growing of plants.
(30) On or about April 17, 1997, in Los Angeles, California,
defendant TODD McCORMICK purchased soil, pots, ladybugs, and other items
for the cultivation of marijuana, to be shipped to the Stone Canyon
residence, with the McWILLIAMS/Prelude Press credit card.
10 incidents of normal, innocuous business transactions involving
such things as renting houses by the co-defendants, leasing a Lexus
mini-van, etc. Example:
(11) On or about February 18, 1997, in Pacific Palisades,
California, defendant TODD McCORMICK executed a two-year lease for
$6,000 per month for the Stone Canyon residence.
8 of the "Overt Acts" are simple reiterations of the Counts, 2-9. 5
more, incidents ( 98, 108, 174, 180, and 182), are similar allegations
which simply state that the defendants were in possession of "equipment
and supplies for the cultivation of marijuana...." It is notable that
these deserved mention in this section, but did not result in the
issuance of further Counts in the indictment. Hmmm, must be legal. (?)
That's 125 so far. Are you getting the idea?
26 Incidents infer a direct observation of activity by a third
party, such as (for example) a surveillance team. These, for the most
part, simply document normal plant-growing activities. My favorite is:
(91) On or about July 29, 1997, defendants ALEKSANDRA
EVANGUELIDI and RENEE BOJE watered numerous marijuana plants at the
Stone Canyon residence. ( those bad, bad girls!)
6 incidents of contact with the LA Cannabis Buyers Club, involving
a solicitation to sell them pure, cloned marijuana, and the donation to
them of a good deal of growing equipment for their own use. The first
offer was to provide it to them at $4,800 per pound. A later offer was
for $4,000 per pound. There is no mention of the club's reaction,
although, in the story in the LA Weekly, they deny ever buying any, and
the indictment does not indicate that any transaction occurred.
3 incidents involved two or more of the co-conspirators having a
meeting. Just that; they met. Well, they're conspiring, right? They have
to meet, okay?
8 incidents of basic administrative procedures are reported. These
are things like an accounting of plants grown, projections of output, a
recommendation to hire Gregg, stuff like that.
That's 168, if anyone's still counting.
There are 4 incidents that aren't really "Overt Acts", but general
observations that sort of duplicate others and just seem to be
And now, the TOP TEN best "Overt Acts" from the Indictment of Peter
McWilliams Et. Al.:
10. (89) Between in or about March 1997 and on or about July 29,
1997, defendants Kirill Dyjine and Aleksandra Evanguelidi worked as
employees at the Stone Canyon residence in exchange for money and
9. (90) Before on or about July 29, 1997, unindicted
co-conspirator two wrote defendant Todd McCormick a letter detailing her
financial needs and role as defendant McCormick's partner and employee
in the cultivation of marijuana.
8. (34) Between in or about May, 1997, and and in or about
August, 1997, defendant Peter McWilliams used his 8165 Mannix residence for the
cultivation, harvesting, and distribution of marijuana.
7. (110) In or about August, 1997, defendant Peter McWilliams
attempted to distribute numerous marijuana plants, grow lights, and
other equipment to employees of the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club in
order to prevent the discovery of the marijuana grow at the 8165 Mannix
6. (16) Between in or about March 1997, and in or about April,
1997, defendant Todd McCormick distributed marijuana to other
individuals at the Stone Canyon residence ( Todd's house).
5. (168) Between in or about November, 1997, and and in or about
December, 1997, at the Little Rock residence (Andrew's house), and the
Hamlin residence (Gregg's house), defendant Kyrill Dyjine, aka Hermes
Zygott, planted approximately 1,600 marijuana plant clones.
4. (160) In or about November, 1997, defendants Andrew Scott
Hass, Kirill Dyjine, and Gregg Collier covered holes inside the detached
garage of the Hamlin residence with black plastic.
3. (148) On or about October 28, 1997, defendants Andrew Scott
Hass and Christopher Carrington entered the garage of the McKinley
residence (unindicted co-conspirator one's house).
2. (55) In or about June 1997, in Los Angeles, California,
defendant Peter McWilliams told an employee of the Los Angeles Buyer's Club that
he was funding defendant Todd McCormick's marijuana grow at the Stone
Canyon residence, that he wanted to become the "Bill Gates of medical
marijuana", that "they" intended to become the largest supplier of
medical marijuana in the country and distribute high quality marijuana
clones through the mail, and that he wanted to enter into a grow
contract with the club for the sale of marijuana....
And finally, the NUMBER 1 Overt Act cited by Federal Officials in
their Grand Jury Indictment:
1. (49) On or about May 15, 1997, in Los Angeles County
California, defendant Peter McWilliams signed a letter that was
submitted to the realtor leasing the Little Rock residence, falsely
claiming that defendant Andrew Scott Hass had been employed by Prelude Press for five
Excuse me now. I have to run go pay my taxes.
MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE CASE THAT I HAVE GLEANED TO DATE:
(excluding the obvious and imperitive factor of Peter's treatment in
jail after the arrest)
1. Peter claims that he did nothing that was in violation of
Proposition 215, the 1996 California state initiative that legalized the
use of medical marijuana in cases where it was warranted, with a
prescription from a doctor. While I am not really in a position to
verify this from Atlanta, there does not seem to be anything in this
indictment alleging that he did. Rather, the Feds seem to be saying that
it doesn't matter, that California can't have Proposition 215, since it
still violates Title 21, Section 841 (a) (1) of the United States Code.
This is a State's Rights issue. Wasn't there already a war over this?
Oh, that's right, the Feds won that one, too.
2. As mentioned earlier, there is no evidence that Peter or
anyone else involved had any intention of distributing marijuana to
anyone other than legal, prescribed medical recipients and, in fact, never did.
3. Peter alleges that his payments to Todd were not, in fact,
for production of marijuana, but for a book about it, which was to have been
published by Prelude Press. This has some credibility, as Peter does own
a publishing company, and Todd did, in fact, write the book. It seems to
me that the onus of proof should be upon the DEA to prove that Todd just
wrote the book and gave it to Peter for free.
4. The whole thing just sucks.
Hope this helps a little.