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Feloniously Clean
I don't think I've ever heard a more absurd tale from the War On Sense (more commonly know as the "War On Drugs"). You know that Dr. Bronner's soap?


Well, it's made with hemp, and Don Bolles, drummer of the LA punk band the Germs, reportedly got arrested for possessing it. (They don't say there's any evidence he had a soap bubble pipe and/or was cutting the Dr. Bronner's with dishwashing liquid and selling it to schoolchildren.) From

The net has been abuzz these past few days with rumors that Don Bolles, drummer of legendary LA punk bands the Germs, was arrested on drug charges for posessing hemp-derived soap.

While we're still waiting on more official confirmation, here's the bulletin making the MySpace rounds, purportedly from Bolles' recent musical collaborator Nora Keyes.
This past Wednesday night Don Bolles suffered a bizarre and unfortunate interception with the Newport Police Department. He was stopped for a broken tail light. We believe his unconventional looks and old army green van made him the victim of police profiling in this very affluent, quiet town. They searched his van. The only thing they found was a bottle of Dr Bronner’s soap. If you are a good friend of Don’s, you know this is the only cleaning agent he uses for every thing from tooth paste to laundry detergent. The police ran a drug field test on the soap and it came up positive. Dr. Bronner’s is made with hemp seed oil. Maybe this is the reason behind the arresting officer’s error.

I spoke with someone who is familiar with forensic drug tests. They said the field test is not absolutely accurate. There are two other drug tests that need to be conducted on the soap. Also, the drug they are ascertaining that Don is in possession of is unusable in a soap base. He is being charged with a felony. His bail is $25,000. He could get up to 20 years in prison. This is very serious. Through a bail bonds company it is 2,500 dollars. Currently we have roughly 1,000 dollars. He is now being held at the Orange County jail. This is not a safe place for Don. With all my heart I do believe Don is innocent. I talked to the Police yesterday at the holding facility.

Their attitude was harsh. This is truly a horrible and sad incident. I spoke with Don a number of times. He is in utter disbelief that this is happening to him. We are asking friends if they could make a contribution of 10-20 dollars or more to help get him out of jail as soon as possible so he can seek legal assistance. Please make contributions to the paypal account below. Also, if anyone knows of a lawyer that can donate their services, please contact me as soon as possible. I spoke with criminal lawyers yesterday and their fees are unbelievably high. Please repost this on your bulletin if your network of friends can help. -

Posted by aalkon at April 9, 2007 1:25 PM


I guess the good people of Newport get to waste their money on busts like this.

Posted by: doombuggy at April 9, 2007 3:16 AM

The Germs had instruments?

Posted by: Pat Patterson at April 9, 2007 4:38 AM

Oh, man. Dr. Bronner's soap -- that brings back memories. Back in college my roommate and I got all obsessed with collecting Dr. Bronner bottles after reading about it in William Poundstone's Bigger Secrets. We eventually worked up the nerve to call the number on the bottle, and sure enough, got to talk to the doctor himself with that crazy German accent. Apparently it was his home number because no matter what hour of day we called back, he would be there. I heard he died a few years back; too bad. Pick up a bottle and read that microscreed sometime. Wild stuff.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at April 9, 2007 8:13 AM

And there you have it. Newport Beach has decided that Dr. Bronner's soap label is subversive.
I'm shocked. I had no idea anyone in that town could even read.

Posted by: kanani at April 9, 2007 8:16 AM

That is the BEST soap ever!! I love the mint one. It keeps you cool in summer & works equally well for winter. It says you can use it on hair, but it makes it feel weird in the end. There is a knockoff brand that is similar, but it isn't as stong & full on minty.

Posted by: MeganNJ at April 9, 2007 8:30 AM

This sounds like a hoax to me. They searched his van? With what probable cause? They field-tested his soap? Dude, no freaking way.

Posted by: Hasan at April 9, 2007 9:26 AM

"Newport Beach has decided that Dr. Bronner's soap label is subversive. I'm shocked. I had no idea anyone in that town could even read."

Best comment ever. I live right on Newport Beach. It never fails to disappoint me.

Posted by: PurplePen at April 9, 2007 9:44 AM

This sounds like a hoax to me. They searched his van? With what probable cause? They field-tested his soap? Dude, no freaking way.

I'm with Hasan on this one. Sounds ridiculous to me, getting arrested for possessing a product they sell at Trader Joe's.

Don't like that soap, though. Maybe when camping. But every day? I'll leave that to the cruchier-than-thou's and keep using real soap.

Posted by: justin case at April 9, 2007 10:37 AM

whoops - "crunchier-than-thou's"

Posted by: justin case at April 9, 2007 10:38 AM

That guy is nuts to be sure, and if I was a cop I'd probably think he was on something, but soap, seriously? Has no one in the police department ever been to Mother's Market? I know it's really difficult to get off your duff and double-check things, and maybe they didn't bother cause they figure he's a scruffy old dude with no money and not worth the effort, but I can't wait to see the response from this. Our tax dollars, hard at work.

Posted by: Christina at April 9, 2007 10:40 AM

I love the tea tree oil flavor. I use it every day.

Posted by: Lena at April 9, 2007 1:41 PM

I'm trying to get something more verifiable than an anonymous post on another board, but evidently Bolles has been released, with the Dr. Bonner's folk receiving credit for helping out.

Posted by: TE at April 9, 2007 3:57 PM

I hope it's true, TE. Felonious Soap ... I like it.

Posted by: Curtis at April 9, 2007 9:27 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 1-202-744-2671
April 10, 2007 Email:

“Germ” Wrongly Jailed Over Soap

Absurd GHB Drug Charges for Don Bolles, Drummer of the “The Germs”, Stem From a Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap Found in Van During Police Stop

ESCONDIDO, CA – The Bronner family, makers of the popular organic Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are shocked and disturbed by musician Don Bolles’ April 4th arrest for felony drug possession after police alleged an 8oz bottle of peppermint Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap tested positive for the illicit drug GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate). The notion that anyone would put GHB in a rinse-off liquid soap product is beyond belief, and the police field test used must have been flawed or tampered with. GHB, which produces euphoria and is an alleged aphrodisiac when ingested, of course has absolutely no effect in a soap product that is rinsed off the hands and body.

Mr. Bolles, drummer of the legendary punk band The Germs, was arrested following a police traffic stop and spent three and half days in various jails in Orange County before being released early Easter morning. During a consented search of Mr. Bolles vintage 1968 A-108 van, Newport Beach police found a bottle of peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap which is made with organic coconut, olive, hemp, peppermint and jojoba oils. Felony drug possession could mean 20 years in prison if convicted. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 13, 2007 at the Harbor Justice Center, 4601 Jamboree Road Newport Beach, CA at 8:30am.

“I’ve used only Dr. Bronner’s soap for 35 years,” says Mr. Bolles. “I use it for everything - bathing, washing my hair, washing my clothes - it goes everywhere I go. I’m scheduled to go to Europe to tour with The Germs this summer, but these felony charges could keep me from traveling out of the country. This whole thing could be really devastating to a 50 year old guy just trying to make a living. I told the officer ‘its soap, it smells like peppermint soap,’ but he seemed intent on arresting me.”

“It is totally outrageous that the police could be this malicious and idiotic,” says Michael Bronner, Vice-President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “This clearly is a case of profiling by the Newport Beach police of a person who doesn’t look like the people who live in that town. We are paying the cost of Mr. Bolle’s lawyer, and we demand the charges be dropped or proof from the police forensics lab of GHB contamination be immediately provided to us,” said Bronner. Adds brother David Bronner, President: “We cannot imagine anyone putting GHB, or any other drug for that matter, into a rinse-off soap product that is lathered and rinsed off the body immediately. The Newport Beach police should see how much of a buzz putting beer in their shampoo gives them, and get a grip and apologize on their hands and knees to Mr. Bolles.”

At the time of the arrest Mr. Bowles was driving his girlfriend, and fellow musician Cat Scandal to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Newport Beach. “I had heard of GHB but the police had to tell me what it was,” said Bolles. “I’m going to fight these charges.”

To arrange an interview with Don Bolles, Michael Bronner or David Bronner please contact Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.


Posted by: Adam Eidinger at April 10, 2007 11:41 AM

Quick note to Hasan,
From my experience with LA and Orange county cops, probable cause is not even a consideration for the average officer. As a teenager out there every time we were pulled over every one in the car and the car were searched. You waited sitting on the curb hands clasped behind your head and elbows on your knees while they emptied out your entire car. In their defense, they were usually looking for stuff much more harmful than hemp products, they even gave those back about 50% of the time, even if they were rolled up in little peices of paper. We were pulled over for reasons from no light above your license plate to "you just don't look like you belong". The last one was on Naples peninsula in long beach. So pulled over for a broken tail light in Newport and van searched for a member of the Germs doesn't surprise me in the least.
Oh yeah, huge Germs fan. Yes they play instruments.

Posted by: pvm at April 10, 2007 12:28 PM

Oh No! The Devil Hemp! Nevermind that it could be used as a source of ethanol without negatively impacting food prices. Some kids might smoke it and NOT get high! The horror.

I hate this country sometimes.

Posted by: Shinobi at April 10, 2007 2:42 PM

There was a GHB bust in Newport a few days ago. Seems they're on a kick. Bored cops + Weird guy = Uh-oh.

Posted by: Christina at April 10, 2007 3:20 PM

I know this is very late but I was told by a Huntington Beach policemen that the NBPD stop was set up in exactly the same place on PCH near the Santa Ana River where they have been stopping vans, cars with surfboards or McCarthy for President bumperstickers since the early 60's.

All those surfers were notorious international drug dealers and white slavers invading NB from Huntington. For a short time some people would stand on the bridge with signs warning oncoming cars about the police on the NB side of the bridge. Nice cars were never stopped even though at that time the only people that had money in Huntington were the drug dealers. Oh well!

Posted by: Pat Patterson at April 12, 2007 11:09 PM

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