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‘Drug war insurgent’ Barry Cooper flees U.S. claiming death threats

Published: April 22, 2013
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Barry Cooper


Details of the Coopers’ flight have long been known to family friends, but Barry chose to keep it quiet due to the threat of prosecution in Texas, where Candi is still engaged in a custody battle with her ex-husband over their son. “We fled for two reasons,” Cooper said. “One, because I believe the police were determined to kill me or put me in prison; and two, because we felt very unsafe after Zach was taken by his father because the police set us up and raided us for our activism.”

Cooper’s home just outside of Austin, Texas was raided by Williamson County police on March 3, 2010, days after Cooper confronted the chief of police in Liberty Hill with a video purporting to show one of his officers stealing money otherwise meant for the evidence locker. The video was a sequel to Cooper’s prior stunt in Odessa, where he duped police into raiding a fake marijuana grow house rigged with cameras and sound recorders.

Both stunts drew criminal charges, too: each a single count of making a false report to a peace officer, a Class B misdemeanor with up to a year in jail attached to it. Although Cooper was at one point facing up to two years in prison, the charge from Odessa -- which actually brought the Texas Rangers to the Coopers’ doorstep to arrest his wife -- was ultimately dropped. On the same charge in Williamson County, prosecutors offered Cooper a deal. To avoid possible jail time, Cooper pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $500 in court costs, but he never sent the money and a warrant for his arrest remains open in Texas to this day.


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