Tennessee Amish Drug Case Update (& Video)

A few updates to last week’s news of an Amishman in the Ethridge, Tennessee community being caught with 25 pounds of marijuana. I also made a video on the story (below) which includes a number of the following points:

  • The Amishman in question, Chris Appleby, was a convert to the group. According to this WKRN story, he arrived about seven years ago and joined the community, and told one of the officers that “He just wanted to kind of slow down and live the slow life of the Amish community.”
  • Members of the Amish community had complained about Appleby to police, which led to them being able to gain a search warrant and then discover the marijuana. It’s not disclosed what the complaints were about (meaning it may not have been the drug activity).
  • Appleby was likely not a member of the Swartzentruber group but rather of another also very plain Amish group which split from the Swartzentrubers in this settlement about half-a-century ago, known as the “Abe Miller” church. Though they resemble Swartzentruber Amish in many ways, they apparently don’t think of themselves as Swartzentruber Amish and neither do the Swartzentruber groups (hat-tip to Jeremiah and other sources).
  • The two groups use very similar restricted levels of technology but differ in some areas, with the Abe Miller people objecting to certain courtship practices found in Swartzentruber churches and also – and this is the “funny” part here, if I can use that word – tobacco use.
  • Appleby was growing his marijuana in a greenhouse which was apparently not at all concealed. A detective described himself and his partners as “mind-boggled by how it was right there”.
  • Appleby had equipment to help dry the marijuana so it could be processed.
  • Police also seized over a dozen firearms. One of the charges he faces is related to removing or altering the serial numbers on the guns.

I discuss a number of these points and share some thoughts on the case in this video:

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    1. Larry Clarence Lewis

      Update on Tennessee Amish Drug Case

      Dear Erik, Many thanks for the update. Good work. Much appreciated. Sincerely, Larry Clarence Lewis, Canada.

    2. Jeremiah


      The Abe Miller group transitioned away from tobacco usage. As I understand, when they broke away from the Swartzentrubers, a few of the Abe Miller men smoked a little bit on the side. To transition away from tobacco, they limited their usage and always used it out of sight — to not tempt the next generation to become addicted. As far as I heard, they were successful in this regard. I heard from a Swartzentruber source to the contrary but his source of information came from a person who lived in the previous generation. It seems that Appleby came to the Amish for probably different reasons than the Abe Millers broke away from the Swartzentrubers. What adds to the complexity of the case is the question whether he was raising it for medicinal use. The gun issue certainly raises doubts and his age makes medicinal usage less likely. I guess time will tell.

    3. Aodh Mor MacRaynall

      He look like a oompa-loompa!