Two people are facing charges for allegedly selling drugs to thru-hikers along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, law enforcement says.
The Macon County Sheriff’s Office said that it had arrested Bobbie Anne Drelick and Ioan Edward Craia after receiving a tip, which led officials to a van in the Rock Gap, North Carolina area. After searching the van with a drug-sniffing dog, deputies found 5.56 pounds of marijuana, 8.78 ounces of psilocybin, 8 doses of LSD, and 10 grams of THC wax resin.
Officers arrested the pair on charges including three counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver marijuana, maintaining a vehicle as a dwelling place, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Craia was also wanted in the state of Virginia for the charges of arson to a monument, breaking and entering, and grand larceny of a firearm.
While drug use isn’t uncommon along the Appalachian Trail, marijuana, LSD, and mushrooms are prohibited on federal land, which hosts a majority of the Appalachian Trail. In addition, while many states have legalized marijuana, and some notable hiking destinations like Colorado have legalized mushrooms as well, both remain illegal in North Carolina. Though the state decriminalized possession of up to 0.5 ounces of marijuana in 1977, instead levying a fine of up to $200, the amount the Drelick and Craia possessed well exceeds that amount.
In recent years, a growing party culture along the trail has also elicited complaints from some locals, businesses, and other hikers, who have pointed to what they characterize as entitlement and disrespect as reasons to limit hiker activity in some towns.
In 2016, one hiker even cataloged hiker accounts of substance use and misuse. One individual wrote: “Look no further than attending Trail Days, plenty of drug use there… I knew of people dropping acid and taking other drugs while thru-hiking.”