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James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier, Date Rape Drug found in Blood

GHB - Suspected cause of Barrier’s death

By —— Bio and Archives--June 21, 2008

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Friends of the late James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier are now considering his untimely death a homicide based on this week’s revelation that GHB was found in his blood and urine.

Correction and clarification at bottom of column

GHB is a much more powerful and dangerous drug than cocaine, and is often used to incapacitate victims.

GHB was long suspected of being involved in the dozens of credit card extortions of patrons of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar.

Several witnesses told a Federal Grand Jury that while in the Crazy Horse, they consumed one or two beverages, and later woke up to find that they had been robbed or that their credit cards were charged thousands of dollars.

The witnesses told the grand jury that they were approached by two women in the bar, one a Russian, the other an Asian who would ask to be bought drinks. After consuming a drink, the men said they felt sleepy, and several said they passed out.

Several men testified that they woke up in the parking lot, and found that their cash was missing, or several days later found bogus charges on their credit cards.

When credit card companies were asked about the charges, the men were reportedly told that their thumb print was placed on the charge slip next to their signature. Even though the charges were challenged by the men, the thumb print caused the charges to go through.

After interviewing several persons who told exactly the same story, I wrote the following article for AmericanMafia.com.

Now it is discovered that the Crazy Horse Too’s biggest enemy, Buffalo Jim Barrier, died with GHB in his system.

However, the way this death has been handled by the Clark County Coroner and Metro Police is causing even more concern since the revelation that GHB was involved, and it was never reported.

Barrier died on Saturday, April 5. His body was discovered on Sunday, April 6. Blood and urine samples were taken by coroner Dr. Larry Simms on Monday, April. 7.

Dr. Simms held on to the samples until April 24 when he sent them to Quest Diagnostics Lab in Las Vegas.

Several days after receiving the samples, Quest discovered the GHB and stopped the test. They informed Dr. Simms that the samples should be sent to another lab located in Willow Grove, PA for further testing.

Dr. Simms refused. He then canceled all tests, and released a statement that Barrier had died only of “cocaine intoxication.”

In the meantime, Metro received a copy of the Quest report on May 14 indicating that GHB was found in Barrier’s system along with cocaine.

A woman named Lisa was identified by police as the last person to see Barrier alive on April 5. She was called in and interviewed, but her interview has not yet been released by police. She was not arrested, and her current whereabouts is unknown.

GHB is readily available and is much more powerful and lethal than street cocaine, however Metro chose to keep its presence a secret to the media and to Barrier family members. Inquirers were told only that Barrier died of a “cocaine overdose,” and that homicide was not suspected. GHB was never mentioned even though it’s a much more common killer than cocaine, and is famous for being used to incapacitate women who are about to be raped.

Barrier was very familiar with the effects of GHB after photographing the drug’s purported victims when he discovered them laying in his parking lot next to the Crazy Horse. Often when he’d call paramedics, he’d be told the incapacitated person was drugged. Police did not investigate these incidents that went on for over a decade. When called, officers would often be observed giving “high fives” to club bouncers, or would arrest the drugged victims when they came too.

Quest wrote in their report that—unless told to do otherwise—all specimens are discarded six weeks after they are received.

Dr. Simms did not instruct Quest to preserve Barrier’s blood or urine specimens, so it’s presumed Quest discarded the specimens around June 20.

Dr. Simms when asked by Barrier family members if GHB was discovered, told them GHB was not present in his system.

The toxicology reports were released to Jennifer Barrier on June 20, six weeks to the day after Quest’s report was issued, and the day the specimens were scheduled to be discarded.

An independent pathologist on Saturday, June 21 received the Quest report, and is currently analyzing the findings. After a preliminary review, the pathologist suggested that the family immediately contact noted criminal pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, and ask him to do the forensic investigation that both Dr. Simms and Metro Police have refused to conduct.

The quantity GHB found in Barrier’s blood three weeks after it was extracted was 20 mgc/mL, a small amount. But GHB is well known for how quickly it dissipates in the system, and is often not discovered after a person has fainted. Only until recent months have labs had the ability to detect it al all. In previous cases, only the FBI lab in Quantico, VA has been able to detect the substance, otherwise it usually went undetected.

The former operators of the Crazy Horse Too were suspected of being experts in the use of GHB.

The Barriers hired an independent pathologist by the name of Rexene Worrell MD of the Las Vegas Autopsy Service. Dr. Worrell accepted three thousand dollars from the Barrier daughters, but did not provide other than a verbal “He died of a cocaine overdose” explanation. She also did not supply the family with a lab report as was promised.

Why did Dr. Simms cancel the toxicology tests?

Why did Dr. Simms tell the Barriers that no GHB was discovered.

Why didn’t Dr. Simms or Dr. Worrell swab Barrier’s nasal passages to determine whether he willingly ingested cocaine?

Why didn’t police or the coroner test the contents of an empty soda can found in the motel room?

Why did coroner withhold the GHB information until blood and urine specimens were no longer available?

And why did Dr. Worrell not fulfill her agreement with the Barrier daughters?

Why did Metro Captain Randy Montandon tell the Las Vegas SUN that Barrier was “in good spirits” when he checked in, when in actuality Barrier looked as though he was about to pass out when this writer and the Barrier family were shown the video on May 31?

Metro received the Quest report on May 14. On May 31, officers let us view the video of Barrier checking in to the motel. They knew of the GHB at that time. Why didn’t they tell us?


In my June 23, 2008, AmericanMafia.com INSIDE VEGAS column, I wrote that Cark County Coroner Dr. Larry Simms canceled further testing of blood and urine samples taken from Buffalo Jim Barrier

It was National Medical Services lab in Willow Grove, PA that canceled the tests after suggesting that further testing is required.

Quest Diagnostics in Las Vegas flagged (with a yellow high lighter and margin annotations) all GHB information recorded on three of the five pages of their Toxicology Report. Quest then sent Barrier’s blood and urine samples to National Medical Services in Willow Grove, PA for further testing.

According to the American Adademy of Family Physicians (AAFP), “Standard toxicological tests cannot detect GHB, but the National Forensic Laboratory (National Medical Services, 800-522-6671) will perform urinalysis for detection of GHB for a fee.”

After confirming the presence of GHB, National Medical Services informed Quest Lab and Dr. Simms that “This screening result indicates that further testing is required.”

Evidently, Dr. Simms did not want to expend taxpayer dollars to pay the “fee” for further testing.

According to PAUL M. GAHLINGER, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, “GHB has a rapid elimination, and the drug is cleared within four to six hours after ingestion, regardless of the dose.”

Barrier’s blood and urine samples were drawn on Monday, April 7, approximately 36 hours after his death—plenty of time for the “rapid elimination” of GHB that Barrier may have received on the night of his death.

In other words, based on Dr. Gahlinger’s opinion about “rapid elimination,” the 20 mcg/mL found in Barrer’s blood 36 hours after he died, an amount that Dr. Simms now claims is a “natural amount” present in most living humans, may have been a 20mcg/mL remnant of a much larger dose of GHB that Barrier may have received on the night of his death!

To further prove this theory, a second toxicology test was conducted on April 9 by Quest Diagnostics, this one requested by Dr. Rexene Worrell, the private pathologist hired by the Barrier family.

This test conducted 60 hours after Barrier died clearly states that “no other drugs were detected” other than cocaine.

In other words, it appears that GHB had been in the process of “rapid elimination” from the time of Barrier’s death at approximately 9 PM on Saturday, April 5, until the times his blood, urine, or brain tissue samples were tested on April 7 and April 9.

Upon receiving the initial GHB information on April 9, Dr. Simms opted to stop further testing at National Medical Services, and on April 27, released his statement that James “Buffalo Jim” barrier died of “DIALATED CARDIOMYOPATHY. A significant contributing condition is COCAINE INTOXICATION.”

Las Vegas Metro Police also received a copy of the Quest Toxicology Report on April 9 that indicated the presence of a small quantity of GHB.

Just prior to calling the news media, Dr. Simms invited members of the Barrier family to his office to meet with Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy. There, Barrier family members report that they asked Murphy if GHB had been found in their father’s body? Murphy reportedly answered with an unequivocal “No.”

When I was present at Metro Homicide Division on May 31 to view the video of Barrier checking in to the motel, Detective Mark Harding and Lt. Lew Roberts were asked if GHB was found in Barrier’s body? Both officers responded that none had been found.
During their meeting with Coroner Murphy, the Barrier family was provided with a copy of the Coroner’s Report, but Mr. Murphy failed to attach the original Quest Toxicology Report.

Jennifer Barrier waited patiently to receive the Quest Toxicology Report, as did members of the news media, but it was not forthcoming from Dr. Simms or police. After waiting patiently for six weeks, Jennifer Barrier purchased a copy on June 20.

When she visited the Coroner’s Office, fearing she would be turned down, Jennifer reportedly told the clerk that she had lost the copy sent to her and needed another. The clerk provided the information for a $15 fee.

On June 21, the media was informed—for the first time—by Ms. Barrier that GHB may have played a part in the death of her father.

Why did Dr. Simms not order further testing from National Medical Services?
Why did Coroner Michael Murphy, and police, tell the Barriers that no GHB was discovered?
Why have Metro Police not begun investigating Barrier’s death as a possible homicide?

Why did Metro Police not hold “Lisa,” the woman who admitted being in the motel room with Barrier moments before and after he died, to investigate whether she had played a part in his death?

On Monday, June 23, I was informed by a confidential source that “Lisa” (not her real name) changed her cell phone number on the day following Barrier’s death, and that for three years she had been the room mate of a stripper who was formerly employed at the Crazy Horse Too.

Steve Miller
We need to stimulate some air play for the “Ghost of Buffalo Jim.”

Let’s encourage everyone to call their favorite radio station(s) and request that the song be played.

The song is not copyrighted by choice of the artist who wishes only to be identified as “The friends of Buffalo Jim.” He did so to encourage his song being widely distributed.

If stations need to access a broadcast quality copy of the tune, the web address is right here.

Steve Miller -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Steve Miller, is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the “Most Effective Public Official” in Southern Nevada. Miller writes internationally syndicated columns on organized crime and political corruption for Rick Porrello’s AmericanMafia.com.

Older articles by Steve Miller

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