IUS professor, sons busted for massive magic mushroom operation, police say
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - A “very large psilocybin mushroom grow operation” inside the home of an Indiana University Southeast professor was discovered by investigators in Floyd County on Feb. 24.
Anne Allen, 68, who lives on French Creek Road in New Albany with her two sons, agreed to give officers the key to a building near her house where the mushrooms were found, according to an affidavit.
Floyd County Police Sgt. Joel White described the building as having a kitchen, a bathroom, and a downstairs room, and he said an appliance with bundles of seeds was in the kitchen where the stove should have been. A steel air filter, shelf stacks, and long narrow lights were found, as well as testing kits, mixture containers, and other tools used in drug operations. Besides a large plastic tub full of dried mushrooms and jars filled with marijuana, there were about 50 more containers filled with fungus-like material.
More dried and fresh mushroom bags were found in the main house, with Allen, a fine arts and art history professor, claiming they were “oyster mushrooms that I use to thicken soup and for when I get the munchies.” A test later revealed the mushrooms were in fact psilocybin “magic” mushrooms.
The bedroom of the professor’s son, 29-year-old Joseph Allen, was searched by officers, who found a safe “with a large amount of LSD, hundreds of small Ziploc type bags, suspected spice, $4,220 in cash and a handwritten budget totaling costs and deposits for two bank accounts totaling $79,800 between May and December,” according to White’s affidavit.
In total, police said they found 295 pounds of psilocybin-infused brown liquid, more than 3.5 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, approximately three pounds of marijuana, six grams of LSD paper, 29 grams of suspected spice, 2.58 grams of cocaine, 1.31 grams of methamphetamine, and four capsules of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
Neighbors told WAVE News they suspected something might have been growing in the building located on Allen’s property; others said they didn’t see any signs.
“I’ve lived here a year, and I didn’t really know them,” Zack Kaufman, a neighbor said. “A lot of the neighbors we see out, but I’ve never seen them in a year’s time, so they kept to themselves I reckon.”
Many former and current students were surprised by the news.
Maria Barnard, a former student of Allen’s, said when she was experiencing test anxiety, her professor took the time comfort her and make sure she was okay.
“Anne’s classes were a place where you knew as a student going in you were going to learn something, have a lot of fun, and carry something away with you and learn some amazing and exciting thing about another culture in a way that felt safe and secure for you as a student,” Barnard said.
Joseph Allen faces multiple charges such as dealing in marijuana and possession of cocaine. Anne Allen and her other son, Frederick Allen, 29, are charged with dealing a controlled substance.
“We are aware of the charges and are evaluating the situation,” Indiana University spokesperson Chuck Carney told the News and Tribune in response to Anne Allen’s arrest. They added Allen has been placed on administrative leave.
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