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New court date for 'shroom suspect

Posted: March 17, 2009 12:13 a.m.
Updated: March 17, 2009 4:59 a.m.
 
Accused psychedelic mushroom dealer David Dunnell's preliminary hearing was delayed, while charges against his alleged accomplice Arfana Hubbard were dropped Monday, a court official said.

Judge Graciella Freixes ordered Dunnell to return to Santa Clarita Superior Court on March 30 for arraignment on charges of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

The charges against Hubbard were dropped after Dunnell took responsibility for the mushroom stash, a court official said.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at Dunnell's apartment at 4 a.m. Thursday, Lt. Brenda Cambra said. When deputies arrived they saw hallucinogenic mushrooms in plain sight, she said.

Deputies returned at noon on Thursday with a search warrant and help from a regional drug task force that included officers from the Los Angeles Police Department crime lab, Cambra said.

The drug seizure was among the largest in Santa Clarita Valley history, Sgt. Richard Larue said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team showed up to collect the mushrooms, which are considered a biohazard, said Thomas Provost, a hazardous materials specialist Fire Department.

The hazmat-suited fire crews went in and out of the apartment carrying mason jars full of mushrooms along with 15 growing containers, 21 start-up jars and eight trays of dried mushrooms ready for street sale.

Dunnell is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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