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Springfield Woman Speaks Out About Drugs at Camp Zoe's 'Schwagstock'

Investigators call it "The Ozarks' Largest Open-Air Drug Market"

November 15, 2010|Doug Magditch | dmagditch@kspr.com

SALEM, Mo. — The U.S. Attorney's Office may soon seize a 350-acre campground in Shannon County. It's called 'Camp Zoe.' According to investigators, there was rampant drug use and sales of drugs at events there. One investigator we spoke with called it the 'largest open-air drug market in the Ozarks.'

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Missouri Highway Patrol, and U.S. Attorney's Office filed a joint complaint last week.

That complaint came after a four-year undercover investigation at Camp Zoe. 

"It was sickening, truely sickening," says a Springfield mother.

She's afraid to give her name, fearing what will happen when she tells what she saw.

"I don't want any ramifications to come from the people at Camp Zoe and Schwagstock. I don't trust them," she says.

Memorial Day weekend, 2008, her 17-year-old daughter skipped school to go to a music festival called Schwagstock. It was held at Camp Zoe, a former kids camp 25 miles south of Salem, Mo.

In 2004, James Tebeau, a member of a band called 'The Schwag', bought the land. He changed it into a venue for festivals and concerts.

"Everywhere there was groups of people smoking pot, people passed out," says the woman.

According to her, the main draw for 1,000's of people at Schwagstock, was drugs.

"It was kind of surreal. It was like, I cannot believe I'm seeing people openly doing drugs, passed out, throwing up, everywhere. I'm in missouri. If this was my house and there was alleged drug use at my house, the cops would be there in a New York minute," she says.

She reported what she saw to the Highway Patrol.

"I said, 'this place is disgusting, and I won't keep my mouth shut.'"

Troopers were already in the middle of a four-year investigation.

According to the civil complaint, investigators attended events at the camp, and saw people using and selling drugs. They say the owner allowed the sales and profited from them.

Tebeau is not facing criminal charges, only the threat of loosing his land.

If you ask the woman we spoke with, that punishment should only be the beginning.

"I was just totally and thoroughly sickened," says the woman.

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According to the civil complaint, that land is worth $600,000.

We did try to contact the owner of  the land and his lawyer. Neither returned our calls.

According to the Camp Zoe website, the DEA seized all of the money in the businesses' bank account. Tebeau's lawyer is representing him for free, but he is asking for donations for the camp.

Tebeau says the money will go to the basic costs of running the camp through the winter. Until a judge decides on the complaint, the camp remains James Tebeau's property.

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