Compilation of Publications, Interviews, Criminal Files and Photographs of Moses Baca & Samuel Caldwell

Written By Uncle Mike
Copyright© Nov 12, 2008
Copyright©Feb. 17, 2010

Copy & Paste Version


Below I have inserted the introduction and body of my book. Due to copyrite laws, and refusal by some publishers to waive electronic copyright restrictions for this project, I cannot publish my book in its entirety on this web site. In all honestly though, I wouldn’t want my whole book on the Internet of misinformation. My only wish is to alert serious research to the reference problems I have found and how to fix them. Therefore, I printed and am currently distributing a limited number of books to various repositories across the county. As each book is distributed to a public institution I will post the locations on this site so researchers can seek out and review my complied research for themselves. In regards to the people who don’t live near any of the locations that I have deposited a book in, simply go to your local library and fill out an ILL form (Inter Library Loan) and stipulate the Denver Central Library in the notes section as having a circulating copy. The ILL will be forwarded to the Denver Central Library, who will in turn ship the circulating copy to your local library for check out.

1/30/2010 Update- Evidently my Denver ILL plan has been thwarted. The first person to check out my ash copy from the Denver Central Libraries general collection did not return it on the due date of 11/18/09. Please keep an eye out for my STOLEN BOOK numbered “5 of 11″. Denver librarian have advised me not to donate another copy since books on topics like drugs and the occult are being targeted by thieves. Always an asshole screwing up things for everyone else. I have one loner copy I am willing to circulate if you send me a SASE, $3.56 in stamps, and a $200 money order as a deposit .


2 books — Denver Public Library, Denver Co., inside the general collection under call # 344.730545 Uncle & in the Western History and Genealogy Department under call # C344.730545 U546un 2008

1 book — William A. Wise Law Library (University Of Colorado Law School), Boulder, Co. under call # KF 3891 .M2 U53 2008

1 book — Robert Crown Law Library (Stanford Law School), Stanford, Ca. in Stack 3, under call # KF3891 .M2 U53 2008

1 book — Paterno Library, Historical Collections and Labor Archives (cross referenced with Anslinger papers), University Park, Pa.


The references in the text below – indicated with [ # ] – are in regards to page numbers from the published book – a total of 190 pages of research (3 pages of written followed by 185 pages of supporting material)

The italic text are additions/corrections made after the book was published (Feb. 17, 2010 update).


Apparently, people are ASSuming I missed a lot of history and are going about combining my research with all the misinformation I spent years disproving……Caldwell was not the first federal marijuana law P.O.W., Caldwell did not get busted dealing weed to Baca, Caldwell didn’t receive a $1,000 fine, etc., etc., etc….


The single source most commonly used by historians for information on the first violators sentenced under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is a Denver Post newspaper article cited as:

DENVER COURT IMPOSES FIRST U.S. MARIJUANA LAW PENALTIES, Peddler Given Four Years in Pen and $1,000 Fine and User Is Sentenced to 18 Months; Prosecutor and Police Given High Praise, Denver Post, p. 8, October 8th 1937.

According to state and federal criminal records, this historic Denver Post article is wrong in respect to some of the dates, circumstances and chain of events. This is of major importance since dozens of writers have used the reference since 1937 for various articles and books on the prohibition of marijuana.

Inaccurate case history from 1937 has since gone on to grow exponentially with each successive telling. This piece of marihuana history exemplifies the game of telegraph, where repeatedly telling a story around a circle of people distorts and exaggerates key points. Although none of the newspaper articles, government publications or criminal records are completely right, by comparing all available information, the chain of events can still be extracted from the remaining evidence. Retelling history is subject to one’s own personal perception, so many points of view and different stories are possible using what’s contained inside this report.

Consequently, to help clarify this story, preserve the remaining case history, and make future research considerably easier, the following documentation on Moses Baca and Samuel Caldwell was compiled herein. This compilation took several years and several hundred dollars to complete, making both the preservation and dissemination of this information imperative.

This documentation was compiled herein for distribution to public and private libraries, historical societies and private researchers. To utilize any of this research in future publications simply cite the title of this book, page number and other pertinent reference information. The published works contained in this compilation each start with a copy of their cover page, along with original page numbers for reference purposes. Criminal files are referenced in the beginning with an address, edited version of the communication letter and archive designations. The page numbers of this book, when followed by a “B”, indicate a copy taken from the back of a document shown on the previous page.

Any publication contained herein with copyright protection is provided to researchers for viewing purposes only. Owners of the material were kind enough to provide copyright wavers for 100 books* to make this research project possible. Please respect the rights of all published material in accordance with copyright laws.

* Originally, the plan was to publish this work on CD only, not in a book, but refusal of several newspapers to provide digital copyright waivers prevented the idea from materializing in its entirety. However, since a digital format was still required for providing researchers with quality pictures for reproduction purposes, everything that could be legally provided on CD has been scanned and arranged in the same manner as the book.


U. S. District Court, Denver, Colorado Imposes First Federal Marihuana Law Penalties


The U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado had the distinction of handing down the first[18] federal sentences under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937[38]. Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Narcotics Bureau, who was between trains[11, 30] on October 8th 1937, left the Denver depot for the express purpose[36] of witnessing the first proceedings himself. According to a Washington Times reporter, Anslinger attended the proceedings “incognito” and took “great pleasure” in listening to the severe sentences handed out by Judge J. Foster Symes[36].

Officially the Marihuana Tax Act went into effect on Friday, October 1st[13, 44], and according to federal files, Moses Baca, age 23, was charged with violating the act “on or about” Monday the 4th[95] and Samuel Caldwell, age 57, “on or about” Tuesday the 5th[105]. This is contrary to the historic accounts, typically based on the October 8th Denver Post blotter article entitled, “Denver Court Imposes First U.S. Marihuana Law Penalties”[18]. The Denver Post newspaper account of the proceedings wrongfully placed a white man from Indiana[155], Samuel Caldwell, at the top of their newspaper list of violators over Moses Baca, a Mexican-American from Trinidad Colorado[184].In addition to the Denver Post, a number of other Colorado newspapers[12, 27, 29], including national chains like the Associated Press[8-11] and United Press[33-35], distributed similar misinformation. Apparently, state and federal authorities involved with the convictions, including the chief of the narcotic bureau himself, Harry Anslinger [47,55, 65], inaccurately reported the events in an effort to sensationalize the first federal marihuana convictions. In fact, Anslinger went so far as making up a story about Baca and “gun play”[55] going on at the time of his arrest.

Following Baca’s charge for marihuana on Monday and Caldwell’s arrest on Tuesday, federal grand jury indictments were issued on Thursday, October 7th[92, 93]. Both men were then brought before the court and sentenced on Friday, October 8th, 1937 after pleading guilty to violations of the Marihuana Tax Act. Leading the first federal court proceedings was Moses Baca[94,119] who received an 18-monthsentence[99] in Leavenworth Penitentiary for “possession” of “approximately one-fourth (1/4) of an ounce of marihuana”[96]. After pronouncing his sentence, Judge Symes was quoted by the Denver Post as saying, “I hope eighteen months in the penitentiary will cure you.”[18]

The same Denver Post blotter article also stated Baca had admitted that while, “Under its influence he said, he became a wild beast, and two weeks ago tried to murder his wife, the mother of his three children.”[18] According to Baca’s arrest report, dated Sunday, October 3rd, the domestic dispute in question was actually a “Drunk & Disturbance” arrest made by Denver Police 3 days before he was charged with possession of marihuana[82, 83, 147]. It was simply stated in the report that, “This man came home drunk and beat his wife” [82]. The marihuana was reportedly found during a search of Baca’s residence conducted after his drunk & disturbance arrest, revealing one-fourth ounce of marihuana[96] in his “bureau drawer”[47]. His Denver Police report states that he was fined “$60.00″[82] for the Drinking incident on Monday Oct 4th, and then on the next page[83] he is apparently turned over to federal agent Carl Walsh on Wednesday, October 6th for possession of marihuana. When Baca’s old friend, Alex Rahoutis, was interviewed years later regarding the beating attributed to marihuana, he replied, “Shit,” which he uttered whenever he doubted something a newspaper said[26]. Another relevant comment made by Alex Rahoutis was that Baca drank “Sterno”, a gelatinized ethyl alcohol based fuel used for heating food (denatured withmethylalcohol) [26]. Evidently Sterno was filtered through a piece of cloth or sliced bread to extract the alcohol for drinking purposes. The intoxicating effects caused some people to act violent or crazy, hallucinate, go blind, slip into a coma or outright die from drinking the stuff. If Baca had been drinking hard alcohol, especially canned heat, the resulting intoxication would account for his October 3rd drunk and disturbance arrest.

Following Baca’s possession case, the first dealer, Samuel R. Caldwell, received 4 years[114] in the Leavenworth Penitentiary for selling “three (3) marihuana cigarettes”[106] and being in “possession” of “approximately four (4) pounds of marihuana”[109]. The historic October 8th, 1937 Denver Post account[18] stated that Caldwell had “…admitted to selling marijuana cigarets [sic] to Baca…” , thereby suggesting



they were busted together while conducting business. This piece of history is contrary to a previous October 6th Denver Post article entitled, “U.S. Agents Arrest Man On Charge Of Selling Marijuana”[15] and Caldwell’s federal criminal files[105]. Evidently, Caldwell was actually convicted for attempting to sell three joints to “a man he met on the street”[15] named Claude Morgan[105] and possession of 4 pounds later found hidden in his Lothrop Hotel room[109]. When caught dealing to Morgan, Caldwell reportedly threw the three joints[15,106] in a trash can, providing federal narcotic agents with evidence for his arrest. Admittedly, Caldwell was the flashier of the first two arrests, with his prior federal record for violating alcohol’s prohibition[120]. Apparently, after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in December of 1933, which eventually killed the underground alcohol market, he switched from selling “whiskey”[122] to marihuana in1937 as a means of supporting himself. According to Caldwell’s friend, Alex Rahoutis, he had only been dealing a few months when he was busted by federal agents, and apparently didn’t smoke weed himself[26].

After sentencing Baca and Caldwell, Judge J. Foster Symes made a nice little speech which sounded like it was actually written by Anslinger. The judge was quoted in the Denver Post as saying, “I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics-far worse than the use or [sic] morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts, just as was the case with Baca. Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. In [the] future I will impose the heaviest penalties. The government is going to enforce this new law to the letter.” Anslinger then spoke up and made a speech where he was lavish in his praise of United States Attorney Thomas J. Morrissey and Assistant District Attorney C. V. Marmaduke. He was quoted in the Denver Post as stating, “These men have shown the way to other district attorneys thruout [sic] the nation. Marijuana has become our greatest problem. Its sale and use has found its way into at least twenty-five states. Until the new law went into effect we of the narcotic division were powerless.”[18]

Ever since that fateful day, on October 8, 1937, Americans have been subjected to the federal anti-marijuana propaganda based on nothing but half-truth and lies. Like George Santayana, philosopher and historian, once said in his, ‘Reason in Common Sense’ Volume One of “The Life of Reason”, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness…Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”*

* ‘Reason in Common Sense’ Volume One of “The Life of Reason” by George Santayana, from Dover Publications, Inc., 1980, unabridged republication of the 1905 original published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Quote from page 284.



U. S. District Court, related posts

Baca-Caldwell References

Compiling a list of primary and secondary references mentioning Moses Baca or Samuel R. Caldwell that were not included in my book, largely because they contain misinformation or outright lies. Additionally, since the United Press and Associated Press covered the trial and sent it over the wire, virtually any newspaper around the country could contain an article about […]


3 comments until now

  1. Gary M. Sharp

    I want to say thank you. I read what you worked to learn. Now my brain has an additional wrinkle itself.

  2. While browsing the internet for information on the first marijuana convictions I came across a web page by Antique Andy containing information on Moses Baca under the title; “MEDICAL CANNABIS AND THE PROBLEM WITH STATISTICS”. In part it states: “Does anyone know what he died of? What exactly is Massive toxemia? I don’t know and neither it seems does anyone else.” I was wondering if this lack of information is why you did not discus what happened to Baca and Caldwell, after there federal convictions, in your U.S. District Court book?


    In all honesty I probably should have concluded my coverage of there convictions by stating what happened to both men after there release, but unfortunately I did not. At the time I was primarily interested in counteracting all the misinformation surrounding their convictions. Surprisingly, historians have lied about virtually every detail regarding Baca and Caldwell, including how they died.

    MOSES BACA — Contrary to what Andrew Garret (AKA Antique Andy) has said about Moses Baca and cancer research statistics, none of it is true. While conducting my own research I actually approached a Doctor at a local university library and asked him to read Baca’s cause of death box from his certificate and explain what it says [183]. When I handed him Baca’s death certificate he immediately said, “Overwhelming Toxemia, Bilateral Focal Abscess, Pulmonary Tuberculosis”. The doctor than went on to say that Baca died of a Pulmonary TB abscess that popped creating toxemia (Blood poisoning). I provided the death certificate information to Andy last year in hopes he would correct his web page, but he chooses instead to provide researchers with misinformation and out right lies.

    Samuel R. Caldwell — The fabricated cause of death for Caldwell came from NORML’s Annual Lawyers Convention held in Aspen,Co. on June 8, 2008. Evidently, while Kieth Stroup and Allen St. Pierre were being interviewed by a local reporter it was stated that, among other things, “Samuel Caldwell died of stomach cancer in Leavenworth prison before he could complete the term”. In reality Caldwell died 6 month after his release from Leavenworth Penitentiary of “Primary Carcinoma of the Liver” [188] from his excessive drinking.

    Ironically, it was Allen St. Pierre that I first tipped off to all the historical inaccuracies surrounding the first federal marijuana convictions. Allen was the one who suggested I publish a criminal case study book on the convictions to straighten out marijuana history. After publishing and distributing my U. S. District Court book I told Allen, who stated the “‘‘bell has largely been rung’ on Caldwell being the first federal prisoner and NORML’s removing some copy from the organization’s webpage is not likely going to score that with history.” I still find it hard to believe that Allen was the one who suggested I publish a book and than refused to acknowledge my findings. I suspect that both Allen and NORML have embraced Caldwell as the first conviction in a vain attempt to save face.

    Uncle Mike

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