True Crime Books by Jason Lucky Morrow

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Two Opium Dens Busted in 1901 Raids

Home | Rediscovered Crime News | Two Opium Dens Busted in 1901 Raids

“The two visitors were so far on their way to dreamland that they did not pay any attention to the entrance of the officer.” – My favorite quote for this story.

Opium Den Raided

[Burlington, Iowa, Sept. 12, 1901]—Two sallow-complexioned Chinamen and one wreck of white humanity lined up at the police station bar yesterday to answer to charges of conducting and resorting to an opium den. M. E. Blake ay- , peered for the defendants and entered, a plea of guilty for both. They were fined and released, but Judge Gillespie promised both a much more severe punishment should either be caught a second time.

Besides the two prisoners, their pipes, lamps, scales and dope were also taken to the court room. They were all the genuine article and before the trial was over the police court room smelled like a typical Chinese laundry. [Okay, they got a little bit racist there.]

The Celestial goes by the name of Fong Sing and runs the laundry at the corner of Valley and Third streets. In the rear of the place a room is fitted up with Minks and curtains, small lamps and an abundant supply of thick, black opium. For some time the police patrolmen have had their eye on the place, but no raid was made until about midnight on the night before last.

It is understood that besides the one man caught in the place, two well-known women are also regular customers of the den [prostitutes?],but there is no positive proof, or at least the officers have not at this time enough evidence to convict the women, so they were not arrested. The place will, however, be closely watched hereafter and the next raid will, no doubt, have more serious results.

Source: The Waterloo Daily Courier, Sept. 12, 1901, page 1


(Officers of Rochester, Montana determined to Break Up Chinese Joint).

[Rochester. Mont. July 12, 1901]—Deputy Sheriff J. R. Stark of Twin Bridges at 3 o’clock this morning raided an opium den at this place (Rochester) conducted by Lee Lou.

The complaint was sworn to by another Chinamen, and when Officer Stark, armed with a warrant, broke down the door of the cabin he found, beside the proprietor, two persons inside taking a smoke. The two visitors were so far on their way to dreamland that they did not pay any attention to the entrance of the officer.

The persons found Inside were Jim Jacobs, an itinerant musician [why am I not surprised they found a nomadic musician?], and Maude Owens, a woman of the half-world of Rochester. All three were placed under arrest and will be taken to Twin Bridges for trial today. In the cabin was also found all of the accessories for smoking, and the outfit was also seized and will be used as evidence at the trial.

The Joint has been in operation about three weeks and during that time has been closely watched by the officers. It was intended to raid the place July 8 but the conditions were not favorable. The raid today was successful and the officers do not doubt but that a conviction will be secured.

Source: The Anaconda Standard, July 13, 1901, page 1

Two garden variety, turn of the century opium users in China.

Two garden variety, turn of the century opium users in China.

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