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Charges dropped after arrest of DFW NORML wakeboard team

DFW NORML's wakeboard team boat "Hydro"
DFW NORML’s wakeboard team boat “Hydro”

In 2015 five members of the DFW NORML wakeboard team were arrested for marijuana possession at the Red Bull Cliff Diving event after Texas Game Wardens stormed their boat.

One of those members, Dylan Scharff, is walking free of all charges after he was found to be in possession of marijuana. The other four members were never formally charged.

Scharff, a 20-year-old from Fort Worth, had his charges dropped after completing a pre-trial diversion program and making a $650 contribution to a non-profit drug treatment program. He was also suspended from the team for the remainder of the season for possessing contraband on the NORML boat.

All of the members are eligible to have the arrests expunged from their record.

Dylan Scharff, DFW NORML wakeboard team member
Dylan Scharff, DFW NORML wakeboard team member

On May 30, 2015 members of the DFW NORML wakeboard team were arrested as they sat aboard “Hydro” their competition ski boat at Red Bull’s Cliff diving event held at Possum Kingdom Lake. Texas Game Wardens surrounded and stormed the boat and found Scharff in possession of less than 3 g of marijuana. At the time they boarded, Scharff and two other team members were in the boat; one was standing on the dive platform; and the other was on a float about 50 feet away. The team spent the night in the Palo Pinto County Jail before being released on bond the next day. Following the team’s arrest NORML Attorneys from across Texas stepped forward to defend them but all that was largely unnecessary.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

DFW NORML released a statement:

We’re highly critical at DFW NORML of the way this was handled by officials of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. From the outset we have believed and do believe these officers targeted our wakeboard team for their pro-legalization promotional activities. They have given a variety of nefarious explanations to the media (some untruthful) for boarding the boat. In their official reports they claimed they could smell burning marijuana. Yet they were watching the boat through binoculars and observed nobody smoking marijuana. Around two hundred other boats full of partiers were also anchored in the cove and the smell of pot had been in the air all day. This was no administrative safety check or a check for fishing licenses. This was an outright search requiring probable cause we believe they did not have. We have also questioned their decision to arrest the entire wakeboard team when only one member was in possession, particularly the two that weren’t even on the boat when it was stormed by officers. They had no evidence whatsoever these other young men had done anything illegal yet they arrested them anyway. Merely being present where contraband is found does not make one guilty of possession. We believe these officers were hamming-it-up and showing-off for the crowds gathered to watch the cliff diving by their actions this day. We are also very suspicions of these officers claims that their discussions and actions before, during, and after this incident were not captured on their body-cameras, yet other incidents and arrests at this event were.

The DFW-NORML wakeboard program is funded entirely by private donor. Dylan has been sorely missed on the team. He’s always been a leader in the group and liked by everybody. With today’s dismissal of all charges he has been fully reinstated to the group and everyone is delighted to have him back. And he’s really not too bitter about the consequences since it gave him an opportunity to help people less fortunate than him that have problems with drugs.

Red Bull Cliff Diving is scheduled to return to Possum Kingdom Lake the first weekend in June, 2016. The wakeboard team and Hydro will be there.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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