Statement From Michael Lacey on DEA Seizure

Statement from Michael Lacey, executive editor Village Voice Media

June 7, 2006

On Wednesday morning, June 7, two agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration seized a single bottle of a prescription drug, hydrocodone
generic name for Vicodin), along with a single tube of steroid gel at the
Houston Press office as part of the DEA’s probe into our reporter’s
examination of online pharmacies. Craig Malisow was also warned by another
agent that he had stepped over the line as he gathered his evidence.
Before leaving the newspaper office the federal representatives also asked
that a bottle of Xanax, purportedly en route to Malisow from Pakistan, be
turned over should it ever make an appearance.

Chip Babcock of Jackson & Walker LLP represents the newspaper and Rusty
with Rusty Hardin & Associates PC represents the writer in our ongoing
to report upon the sale of painkillers, steroids and other prescription
over the Internet.
Without underestimating the concern that opiates might fall into the hands
abusers, Malisow also reached a class of online consumers — people who
chronic pain — who feel that government regulations force them to seek out
unconventional relief.

In a stunning trifecta Malisow managed to incite all parties: online
providers, consumers and federal agents. Beyond the intrusion of federal law
enforcement agents, the reporter also became the focus of one disgruntled
source who revealed Malisow’s “secret” password online. Skullduggery ensued,
the reporter’s notes were erased, and personal e-mails were reviewed by

Only in the alternative press, thank you very much.

At Village Voice Media, we are not surprised that entrepreneurs engaged in
dispensing narcotics online might engage in unethical disclosures in the
course of a reporter’s attempt to shed light upon their business practices.
Nor are we shocked that federal agents find a reporter’s behavior as
threatening as the pill peddlers.
We simply believe that the entire shooting match — including our reporter’s
naiveté regarding his password — benefits from full disclosure as well as a
vigorous legal defense.

Read Craig Malisow’s account on the Houston Press Web site: