Carter County man faces federal charges in drug case

Published 4:58 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

A Carter County man arrested earlier this year after police reported finding nearly 40 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms, multiple doses of LSD, and a stockpile of firearms in his storage unit now faces charges in federal court related to that arrest.

On June 9, officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office and Elizabethton Police Department arrested John Paul Oliver, 29, of Elizabethton, as the result of a joint investigation by the two agencies. Officers charged Oliver with two counts of possession of Schedule I drugs for resale and possession of a firearm during the commission or attempt to commit a dangerous felony. He was later released from the Carter County Detention Center after posting a $30,000 bond.

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Oliver was scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday in connection with those charges. However, in court on Monday the District Attorney’s Office announced they would be dismissing the charges on the local level due to the case being picked up by federal authorities for prosecution.

The Elizabethton Star obtained records from the U.S. District Court in Greeneville which show a federal grand jury handed down an indictment against Oliver on Oct. 11. That indictment was filed under seal with the federal court that same day.

The federal case was unsealed by the U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Monday, with a notation that Oliver had been arrested on the federal indictment.

A copy of the indictment obtained by the Elizabethton Star shows a federal grand jury indicted Oliver on charges of the manufacture of Schedule I drugs (psilocybin “mushrooms”), possession of Schedule I drugs with the intent to distribute (LSD, also commonly known under the street name “acid”), and possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

According to a statement issued jointly by Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford and Elizabethton Police Department Chief Jason Shaw following Oliver’s initial arrest on June 9, officers working in a joint counter-narcotics task force between the two agencies developed information that led them to a storage unit at a city business rented by Oliver.

In the statement, Lunceford and Shaw said officers located 38 bags and three jars of hallucinogenic (Psilocybin) mushrooms with a total weight of “close to 40 pounds.” Officers also found 22 firearms, several sheets of paper containing individual doses of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide, also commonly known under the street name “acid”), components of an indoor hallucinogenic mushroom grow and drying operation, and a quantity of prescription medication.

While officers were searching the storage unit, Oliver arrived at the storage facility and was accompanied by a juvenile female, who was driving Oliver’s vehicle according to court documents. The juvenile was turned over to the custody of her parents and officers placed Oliver under arrest. When officers searched the car, they discovered more firearms, according to court records.

Officers then obtained and executed a search warrant for Oliver’s apartment in the Biltmore community. According to information released by Lunceford and Shaw, officers found 25 liquid vials of what appeared to be mushroom spore and additional items related to the production of hallucinogenic mushrooms.