Jake Mitchell, the drummer for Austin’s Boxing Lesson, was sentenced a couple of weeks ago to 60 months in federal prison on marijuana charges. What makes Mitchell’s case particularly unsettling is that he was charged under the Patriot Act and has been branded a Narco-Terrorist. The band went public with the details today as Mitchell prepares to begin his sentence early next month, hoping to raise awareness of his case for the pending appeal and help support him and his family as they have lost everything. And the details only get more distressing.
According to the Boxing Lesson’s publicist, Ryan Cano, Mitchell’s wife is currently serving a six month sentence as a conspirator for not turning her husband in. While Cano acknowledges that the operation Mitchell was running out of his house in 2006 was certainly much more elaborate than a simple case of his growing pot for personal use, the fact that he was charged, and sentenced, under Patriot Act laws that have essentially branded him a domestic terrorist seems particularly ludicrous and disheartening.
Contrary to our initial information, Mitchell was NOT charged under the Patriot Act, and has not been branded a “narco-terrorist.” His appeal against his 60 month sentence and conviction for both manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture over 100 marijuana plants is, however, focused on the questionable tactics by the Austin Police Department in pursuing their sting operation against Mitchell, namely the un-warranted use of drug dogs outside of the house and, as the Chronicle reports today, the controversial policy of the APD using utility information to spot potential illegal operations.