The NYT has reported that Federal prosecutors in Washington State tried to remove elaborate customized dental jewelry bonded to the teeth of two accused drug dealers, saying the jewelry was bought with drug money and should be forfeited to the government.
The men were on their way to a dental clinic Tuesday morning when their lawyers learned of the effort, rushed to court and persuaded a judge to halt it.The prosecutors had been granted permission to remove the jewelry in a secret proceeding in the federal court in Tacoma. In a sworn statement dated March 29 and unsealed this week, a federal agent, Brice P. McCracken, told a judge that the two men, Donald L. Lewis and Flenard T. Neal Jr., had used money from selling marijuana and cocaine to buy dental 'status symbols which drug traffickers purchase to portray their status in the criminal community.'Mr. Lewis and Mr. Neal are awaiting trial in Tacoma on drug and gun charges. They have pleaded not guilty. The dental jewelry, known as grills, cost 'from $1,000 to anywhere in excess of $25,000,' Special Agent McCracken wrote, saying he based his assessment in part on research he had conducted on a Web site called gangstagold.com."
I love that big bad special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are doing their homework on Gangstagold.com. I love even more that they put their allegedly reliable findings in sworn affidavits. As it turns out, despite his extensive research, McCracken didn't know that the gold he found on the website was actually bonded to the teeth.