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Rolling Stones Get Busted

Nabbed for drug possession in 1967, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards barely avoided jail.

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The tip-off to the bobbies allegedly came from the London tabloid News of the World, and not without reason: A week earlier, Rolling Stones leader Mick Jagger announced he was slapping the paper with a libel suit for accusing him of drug use; one way to dispel the suit would be to catch Jagger red-handed.

So on Feb. 12, 1967, police officers raided Keith Richards‘ Sussex estate, Redlands, crashing a gathering that included Jagger and his girlfriend, singer Marianne Faithfull, who was wearing a fur rug — and nothing else. Rummaging through Jagger’s jacket, cops found a vial of amphetamines. To protect Faithfull, whose pills they were, Jagger claimed them. He was charged with violating England’s Dangerous Drugs Act and later sentenced to three months in jail. Richards got one year. Ironically, the Establishment that so despised the bad-boy Stones got the singer and guitarist off the hook: In a July editorial that invoked a line by poet Alexander Pope — “Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?” — the Times of London chided the court for sentencing first-time offender Jagger to prison rather than probation. By month’s end, an appeals court quashed Richards’ conviction and tossed out Jagger’s jail sentence.