The former owner of a Mission district teahouse has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute large amounts of ecstasy and LSD.
Oshan Cook, 35, of San Francisco, was one of four people who were charged in connection with an undercover U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency buy-bust operation in Oakland on April 22, 2010. He was wearing a backpack containing 630 grams of ecstasy and 39.9 grams of liquid LSD, and was described as the supplier for the others, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said.
Although Cook’s initial trial ended in mistrial, he was convicted following a retrial on Nov. 1. The decision came as a blow to Cook’s supporters, who say Cook and his former business, Om Shan Tea, provided a community service.
The teahouse doubled as a holistic healing center and a hub for tea culture, according to Cook and his supporters. Cook claims the drugs that have imprisoned him had no ties to the shop, which also hosted AA meetings and other 12-step programs for addicts.
Cook had faced a minimum of 10 years in prison in connection with the charges. He and his supporters had argued that such a sentence is too stiff for an otherwise productive citizen, calling his case another failure of the war on drugs.
An Indigogo campaign to fund Cook’s legal defense fell just short of the $25,000 goal. Supporters also followed a Facebook page in which Cook provided updates from jail.
Cook’s is the only one of the four cases to go to trial. The other three people who were arrested pleaded guilty, with two serving longer than five-year sentences and the third 18 months.