February 8, 2010

My Chong Bong and ‘Operation Pipe Dreams’

February 8, 2010

My favorite possession is my ‘Chong Bong.’ I have talked about it on Facebook quite a few times, and for good reason; it is the best bong I have ever smoked off of. But there is more to my bong than meets the eye. Because of this bong, and others like it, the legendary Tommy Chong had to do hard time in federal prison. I’m sure by now most of the readers already know about ‘Operation Pipe Dreams,’ and how dumb it was, but for those of you that are rookies or don’t get out much, I decided to write about it for today’s article.

Operation Pipe Dreams, in conjunction with Operation Headhunter, was one of the stupidest federal stings in United States history (read the link for some ridiculous claims by federal employees). It is a great example of how overzealous federal agents can go on a personal crusade to try to ruin honest working Americans. The investigation started in Pittsburgh, PA, where undercover federal agents placed an order from California for ‘Chong Glass’ products through the mail. California is where the company Chong Glass/Nice Dreams was based out of, which was founded and operated by Tommy Chong’s son, Paris. Once the order arrived, it gave federal agents the jurisdiction to raid not only Chong Glass/Nice Dreams, but also any storefront that they felt sold products from the company. Essentially, the feds swept across the US and seized property first, asked questions later.

After the smoke cleared, 55 people were charged for violating 21 U.S.C. Sections 846, 853 and 863. Federal law provides for a maximum total sentence of three years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, with respect to each count set forth in the indictments. However, 54 people were given probation and community service for the indictments. Only Tommy Chong had to serve jail time for his involvement (9 months in federal prison), which is interesting, considering the fact that he was not the CEO of Chong Glass/Nice Dreams at the time, his son Paris was the head of the operation. Tommy Chong’s case never went to trial; he accepted a plea bargain, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for leaving his family alone. Chong served his sentence at the Taft Correctional Institution from October 8, 2003 to July 7, 2004.

It is crazy to think that, at a time when we were fighting the ‘War on Terror’ and dealing with domestic issues in the United States, the federal government felt that it was VITAL to dedicate $12 million dollars and over 2,000 law enforcement officers to this operation. Clearly, by getting the ‘vicious’ Tommy Chong off the streets for 9 months, it won the war on drugs right? I mean, the world is obviously a better place due to the efforts of former Attorney General John Ashcroft and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, right? (Insert a picture of me laughing sarcastically while I hit my Chong Bong). Wouldn’t this money have been better spent on education, troop armor, salmonella inspections on spinach, or ANYTHING REALLY!!??



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