Psychedelic mushroom farmer busted in Kaohsiung City

A man in Kaohsiung City was arrested after a police raid turned up the largest haul of psychedelic mushrooms in Taiwan’s history.

The 33-year-old man, named Chen, became the focus of police attention after an investigation that began during a marijuana bust last year according to reports in Liberty Times and United Daily News today, June 18.

An investigation by the Taichung District Prosecutor’s Office and Criminal Police Bureau began after three packs of psychedelic mushrooms weighing a total of 34 grams were found among the evidence during an investigation into a marijuana cultivation case in Taichung City in April 2020.

After many months of investigation, police raided the home that Mr Chen shares with his mother in Gangshan District, Kaohsiung City in November.

Police investigators found a total of 6.4 kilograms of dried and fresh mushrooms, making it the largest known case of psychedelic mushroom cultivation in Taiwan so far.

mushroom cultivation in bathroom.
Purple haze in the Chen family bathroom.

When police came to the Chen family’s door, Mr Chen claimed that he was growing common shiitake mushrooms. However, the subsequent search and investigation identified the mushrooms as containing psilocybin and psilocin, making them hallucinogenic.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms are classified as Category 2 drugs along with marijuana and amphetamine.

Mr Chen’s mother said she had no idea that the mushrooms were a kind of drug, but thought all along that they were common edible mushrooms.

According to the investigation so far, Mr Chen had purchased mushroom spore via the Internet around one year ago, and had also been selling the finished product via the Internet at a price of NT$400 per gram wholesale, and NT$800 per gram retail.

Chen faces charges of producing, manufacturing, and selling a Category 2 drug, and faces a felony sentence of more than seven years in prison.

Police warned the public of the dangers of ingesting psychedelic mushrooms, pointing out that they can interfere with the brain’s signal transmission, causing hallucinations, and physical and temporal displacement which may endanger life, and can cause long term psychotic effects.

dehydrator with psychedelic mushrooms.
Dehydrator with mushrooms.
mushrooms and other evidence seized in drug bust.
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