CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING > FACING PROSPECT OF YEARS IN JAIL
“The actual busts have always been farces … to wake up with 15 Mounties standing around your bed after they’ve spent an hour trying to wake you up”.
That was Keith Richards’s interpretation of his drug career > as told to UK rock magazine New Musical Express > after being busted in Toronto, Canada, in February, 1977.
He and wife Anita Pallenberg’s hotel suite was raided by drug officers. She was awake, he fast asleep > and the Mounties found an ounce of heroin on the bedside table.
This is a big enough amount for Keith Richards to be charged with “possessing heroin for the purpose of trafficking” > which can carry a maximum life sentence.
The Rolling Stones were assembling in Toronto to play two nights at a small club > the El Mocambo > for additional material for live album Love You Live (1977).
The Mounties’ hotel room raid came after Pallenberg being charged > when the couple flew into Toronto airport > with possessing 10 grams of hashish and a small amount of heroin.
SEX SCANDAL > CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER’S WIFE
Seen in a dressing gown at the same hotel as the Rolling Stones and at the band’s El Mocambo gig was the wife of charismatic Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau > the modern and sexy Margaret Trudeau. [Maybe the Stones had sent her down the hallway to fill the ice bucket when she was spotted!!])
The tabloids had a field day with reports of a sexual liaison with Mick Jagger.
The scandal even resulted in the Canadian dollar dropping in value.
Later it was revealed it was guitarist Ron Wood to whom she became friendly with.
KEITH RICHARDS IN (ANOTHER) MOMENT OF TRUTH
Keith Richard’s wife Anita Pallenberg appears in court March 4 and pleads guilty to possession of heroin and hashish > fined $400.
He fronts up a few days later at Toronto’s Old City Hall Court for a brief appearance and is grabbed by the hair by a magazine photographer who calls him a “junkie bastard”.
Police add a charge of cocaine possession. Richards is on bail and with the heat on from the cops, all band members soon leave the country.
Richards and family flea to New York where he undergoes drug rehabilitation.
His court case is eventually heard in October 1978 and > with much plea bargaining going on beforehand > the trafficking charge is withdrawn and he pleads guilty to possession of heroin.
The judge says incarceration would be inappropriate because of Richard’s continuing drug treatment. The Rolling Stones guitarist is put on one year’s probation and ordered to play a special concert for the blind in Toronto.
This unusual court order came about through a blind Rolling Stones fan writing to the judge begging for leniency for her idol.
The story goes that Keith Richards had seen her after a concert and > fearing she would get run over > gave her a lift in his limo. The rest of the band joined Richards in playing the concert for the blind.