News Release
January 23, 2009
Contact: SA Sarah Pullen
Public Information Officer
Phone Number: 213-621-6827

Ventura County Man Charged With Sale of "Magic Mushrooms" Consumed by Teen Later Killed on Freeway

JAN 23 -- (LOS ANGELES) A Westlake Village man was taken into federal custody this afternoon after being charged with distribution of narcotics for allegedly selling psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms to a group of young people, including a 17-year-old girl who took the “magic mushrooms” and was later fatally struck by a vehicle on the Ventura Freeway.

Steven Thomas Roman, 30, of Westlake Village, was taken into custody by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Roman had been in custody in Ventura County since his arrest in September 2008, on charges of distribution of ecstasy.

According to a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, during a gathering of a group of young people in an apartment complex in Thousand Oaks, one of the group members contacted a man and ordered a quantity of psilocybin mushrooms. The man, later identified as Roman, arrived at the complex with the mushrooms. After eating the mushrooms, a 17-year-old girl identified as V.N. began behaving in a bizarre fashion, causing friends to attempt to lock her in a room, according to the affidavit. However, V.N. escaped and was later walking naked on the Ventura Freeway in Newbury Park in the middle of the night when she was run over by a motorist.

In September 2008, Roman was arrested by investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department after he twice allegedly sold ecstasy tablets to a confidential informant. During a post-arrest interview, Roman admitted that in 2004 he had sold the psilocybin mushrooms to the group that included V.N. Roman is expected to make his initial appearance in United States District Court January 23, 2008.

Psilocybin is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain mushrooms indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. This hallucinogen produces muscle relaxation, dilation of pupils, vivid visual and auditory distortions, and emotional disturbances. However, the effects produced by consuming preparations of dried or brewed mushrooms are far less predictable and largely depend on the particular mushrooms used and the age and preservation of the extract.

The case against Roman is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, which received assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

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