Seized fungi just shiitakes? Man charged in drug case, lawyer await test results

Edward V. Spearman

WALTERBORO -- The attorney for a man charged with trafficking hallucinogenic mushrooms said he and his client believe tests on the mushrooms will show they're actually an edible and legal delicacy.

Walterboro attorney Scott Harvin said his client, 30-year-old Edward V. Spearman, turned himself over to Walterboro police Thursday on the trafficking warrants authorities filed against him after they say they found psilocybin mushrooms growing in a lab inside his Warren Street home.

Harvin said he and his client expect the test results to show they are actually shiitake mushrooms, which are relatively expensive in their own right but not illegal.

Walterboro Public Safety officers said they responded to a call about suspicious activity at the house about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. They entered the open door and saw marijuana out in the open. Officers then got a warrant to search the house and found evidence of a lab used to grow the hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to an incident report.

Police contacted the State Law Enforcement Division's newly formed Joint Enforcement Team that targets drug organizations and violent crime activities across the state. The team confirmed the grow facility and, along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, investigated and seized lab equipment and large quantities of mushrooms in various growth stages, according to a statement released by Walterboro police.

Harvin said he knows of only one other psilocybin mushroom case in South Carolina in the past year. He said it's so rare that most state law enforcement agencies don't have a field test for them.

"We're waiting on the lab results," Harvin said. "We believe they're going to show that the mushrooms are shiitake mushrooms, edible mushrooms."

He said one of the liquids seized from the house was home-brewed beer.

Harvin said he has questions about the legality of the search but can't comment on it until he sees the affidavit from the search warrant. He declined comment about the marijuana allegations.