Chronic trouble

Amid personal turbulence, local medi-pot advocate key to indictment of San Francisco police

Daisy Bram and husband Jayme Walsh with their children, Zeus and Thor.

Daisy Bram and husband Jayme Walsh with their children, Zeus and Thor.


The day Daisy Bram completed her 120-day sentence in Butte County Jail for charges related to a 2011 raid of her Oroville home’s marijuana garden, news broke of her role as a key witness in a federal investigation into corruption within the San Francisco Police Department.

On Saturday (March 1), the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that two current San Francisco police officers and one former officer allegedly enlisted Bram and her husband, Jayme Walsh, to sell several pounds of marijuana they had seized as evidence. In a federal indictment, the trio of officers has been charged with drug conspiracy, theft from a government program and civil rights violations.

Bram and Walsh are quite familiar with the media spotlight. Back in 2011, Butte County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested them on charges of cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and child endangerment. The couple’s two young sons were taken by Butte County’s Children’s Services Division.

As Bram fought to regain custody of her children, she became a poster child for medi-pot advocacy groups. An audio recording of the arrest in which Bram hysterically shrieks “My babies! They took my babies! What is he going to eat? He’s only 3 weeks old!” went viral, and her story became a rallying point for those who believed the family was unjustly separated. Indeed, many of Bram’s supporters maintained that the child-endangerment charges she faced were essentially for breastfeeding while using medical marijuana.

However, Butte County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Greeson said that the living situation encountered by Butte County Sheriff’s deputies during the 2011 raid was “certainly not appropriate for raising a 15-month-old and a 28-day-old.”

Greeson painted a stark picture of child endangerment and hinted at the possibility that Bram may face similar charges related to a case in Tehama County last year.

Bram’s trouble in Butte County stems from a routine Butte County Sheriff’s Office marijuana-garden compliance check at her and Walsh’s home in Oroville in the fall of 2011, Greeson said. The couple provided one doctor’s recommendation for about 96 plants, which prompted a search warrant three weeks later by the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force.

Greeson noted a series of potentially dangerous circumstances for the couple’s children. “There was a grocery bag inside of a cabinet in the bathroom that had a whole mess of hypodermic syringes and several spoons,” he said. (Test results determined the residue on the spoons was heroin; Greeson couldn’t use the spoons as evidence because the residue was not a “usable” amount.)

Walsh was also allegedly processing marijuana into concentrated cannabis, or “honey oil,” in the house. “There were razor blades and broken glassware from that process in an area where the older child could reach them. They were also trimming marijuana in the kitchen area, so there was marijuana material available to the older child,” Gresson said.

Though Bram and Walsh have maintained that the marijuana garden was for their own medicinal purposes—a key point for many of their supporters—evidence suggests otherwise, Greeson said. “Walsh’s cell phone showed a couple different sales-related texts, included selling clones to someone in Chico and pound- and ounce-level transactions from the year before.”

After making bail and regaining custody of sons Zeus and Thor—and having a third child—the couple moved to Tehama County and seemingly did it all over again, Greeson said, pointing out that they failed to “notify the court like they were supposed to” before making the move.

As they settled into their rental home in January, a utility worker who came to the property reported to Child Protective Services that the parents seemed to be under the influence during his visit, and that the children were running around in the winter cold without proper clothing.

CPS of Tehama County launched an investigation and realized there was a connection to Butte County. “Again, they found needles and another large marijuana grow,” Greeson said. The needles in the home were unused, but text messages on Walsh’s phone indicate he had been illegally reselling his prescription morphine pills.

The children were taken into custody again and drug-tested. “In the Butte County case, the oldest child’s hair tested positive for marijuana,” said Greeson, adding that could just indicate the child was in close proximity to someone smoking cannabis. In the Tehama County case, however, one child tested positive for THC—the active compound in marijuana—while another tested positive for both THC and opiates. “So, there’s a concern that there’re things going on here other than the marijuana.”

Due to a technicality, Greeson said, all charges were dismissed by Tehama County Superior Court and there is no active criminal case against either Bram or Walsh in that county. In Bram’s case, however, the district attorney there has the option to refile charges.

On Dec. 17, a Butte County Supe-rior Court jury convicted Bram of felony cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale and a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. She was sentenced to serve 120 days in Butte County Jail—she was released early due to space constraints—and four years of probation upon her release. Walsh’s trial is set for May 5, when he will face charges of felony possession of ammunition, manufacturing concentrated cannabis, and cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.

The San Francisco Chronicle story describes how, in 2008, Bram and Walsh “were strung out on heroin and living in a single-room-occupancy hotel” in San Francisco’s Mission District. When the couple went to police to report a menacing drug dealer, they agreed to become police informants and accepted a deal in which they would sell marijuana seized by Mission Station officers and take 25 percent of the profits.

Both Bram and Walsh were arrested separately while trying to sell the pot in Golden Gate Park; Walsh was freed with no charges, while Bram pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, spent five days in jail and was released.

In 2010, Bram filed reports of the officers’ misconduct with San Francisco’s Office of Citizen Complaints and the FBI, but got nowhere. In early 2011, a public defender revealed a series of surveillance videos from a single-room occupancy hotel room showing police—including one of the officers who struck the deal with Bram and Walsh—taking property that was never accounted for. A federal investigation was launched, resulting in the recent indictment of the three officers.

In the Chronicle story, Bram said that she believes her and Walsh’s trouble with law enforcement in Butte and Tehama counties is tied to the federal investigation. “This is a law enforcement campaign to discredit us,” she said.

But Greeson brushed that suggestion aside. “It wasn’t until [sheriff’s deputies] began their investigation that they became aware of possible federal involvement,” he said.

The CN&R was unable to contact Bram for this story as of press time.