Police account of drugs bust conflicts with Keef's account

Nov 3, 2011

Met file on 1973 drugs squad raid suggests Keith Richards 'ratted out' a friend

IT WAS the turn of the Metropolitan Police Drug Squad to tell their version of one of London's most celebrated rock' n' roll drug busts yesterday when the National Archives released the file on their arrest of Rolling Stone Keith Richards in June 1973.

The story of how Detective Inspector Charles O'Hanlon, scourge of Swinging London, visited Richards's house on super-groovy Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, made a chapter in the Stones guitarist's best-selling memoir, Life. He bragged about walking away with a £250 fine because it was obvious to the judge that the police were just trying to stitch him up.

Now, reports The Guardian, the account in the Met police file "casts him in a somewhat less heroic role".

The file records that the police found on the premises not only a cornucopia of grass, cannabis resin, 'Chinese' heroin, mandrax tablets, burnt spoons, syringes and pipes, but a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, 100 rounds of ammunition, and a shotgun.

According to O'Hanlon and his boys, Richards's immediate response to the discovery of drugs was to claim that they were "down to Marshall Chess", the son of the founder of Chess Records, the legendary Chicago Blues label, who was running the Stones' own label at the time.

Richards, claim the cops, tried to rat-out his buddy on the basis that Chess had been renting the Cheyne Walk house, and that he and Pallenberg had just "crashed" for the night.

The police forensic report records that the shotgun, which could have earned mandatory jail time, was in fact a Belgian antique in poor condition, the offence with the Smith and Wesson was only failure to show a licence, and that, despite the variety, the quantities of all the drugs were small.
"The minor nature of the offences," reports the Guardian, "may perhaps explain why the rock'n'roll hero escaped on this occasion with a fine rather than a Captain Sparrow-style victory."

Oh, Keef.

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