“The Boxing Lesson are Narco-terrorists?”

A couple of days ago, I got an email that sounded too bizarre to be real. It was titled “The Boxing Lesson are Narco-terrorists? Free Jake Mitchell.”

Reading the message, I saw that Jake Mitchell, The Boxing Lessons’ drummer, is about to go to federal prison, charged under the Patriot Act for growing marijuana. He has apparently been branded a “narcoterrorist.”

“Narcoterrorist”? My understanding of narcoterrorism was that the term applied to drug traffickers influencing government policies through violence. The term seems also to have come into vogue lately to define groups who fund terrorism through sales of narcotics.

I don’t know the particulars of Jake Mitchell’s case, but a drummer for a rock band hardly seems like someone who would be funding the Taliban or trying to overthrow a government.

Here’s the post made on The Boxing Lesson’s MySpace blog, concerning the charges:
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.
(Go here for the blog post and also to read a re-posting of the email I received.)

Again, I don’t know the specifics of Mitchell’s case, but on the surface, this seems utterly ridiculous and brought forth from a government strong-arming its citizens under the guise of patriotism. I can hardly believe the current administration would do something like that.

The Boxing Lesson is playing two shows in Austin, Texas, next week. Those will be Mitchell's last before he begins his sentence. They will be at Emo's August 27, and the Carousel Lounge on August 28. The band plans to continue with Kevin Sparks filling in on drums.

White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane cover).mp3

To donate to Mitchell’s legal defense fund, contact The Boxing Lesson at freejakemitchell@gmail.com.

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