According to a lawsuit recently filed in the District Court of the District of Columbia, the Iowaska Church of Healing was registered as a non-profit corporation in Iowa on 9/1/2018.
The lawsuit says that the church is run by Admir Dado Kantarevic, Billy Benskin, and Merzuk Ramic. The church is located at Mr. Kantarevic’s house on 27th Street. There were 20 members of the church at one time.
The church’s teachings are about Ayahuasca. It is made from the leaves of vines and shrubs in the Amazon. These plants have strong hallucinogenic properties, which can open up the Third Eye of followers.
The third eye is a part of the human body that no one talks about in school or at home. It is protected in the center of your skull, and it has a lot of power.
The church filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS in January 2019. The IRS denied their request. But they appealed and had a conference with the IRS in April of this year to discuss it.
This year, in June, the church got a letter that they are not exempt from taxes. The letter said that their use of “Ayahuasca” is illegal. They want to sue the government because they think it’s unfair.
The church acknowledges that under the federal Controlled Substances Act, an ingredient of Ayahuasca called dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a Schedule I drug and a hallucinogenic alkaloid. The church does not have an exemption for this ingredient in religious ceremonies.
The IRS decided to take away the tax-exempt status of churches. The church says that this is not fair because it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
A church in the US wanted to drink a type of tea made from plants found in the Amazon. But it got seized by a government institution. The church filed a lawsuit to stop them from doing so.
The government said that even though the use of Ayahuasca was religious, it was still not allowed. This means that people can’t do this. But the Supreme Court said this law violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and ruled in favor of the church.
The IRS has said that the Des Moines church is a place to sell drugs.
The Iowaaka Church of Healing says that its mission is to help people heal. They use the sacred Sacrament of Ayahuasca, which comes from North and South American traditions and cultural values.
A church leader was convicted in a high-profile drug case.
The lawsuit says that Ayahuasca is tea, and it is drunk in the church’s religious ceremonies. The service also has prayers, smudging, and spiritual music. And the basis of its doctrine is from the Ayahuasca Manifesto, which talks about how Ayahuasca can be used to expand people’s consciousness.
In 2019, the church filed a request to be exempt from their law with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The church has been asking for a response from the DEA, but they have not given one. They have been asking many times, and now Senator Grassley is involved.
The IRS has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Court records tell us that Kantarevic was convicted of having illegal steroids. He was charged in December 2005 with being involved in the illegal importation of steroids for people who want to build their bodies.
Kantarevic said that he was guilty of getting more than 3,500 grams of anabolic steroids through the mail in Des Moines. He got some for himself and then sent the rest to other people.
He said that he understood the drugs came from Milos Sarcev and were paid for by Dennis James.
This is about bodybuilders. They are fighting, but they are also friends. Sarcev won twice in Yugoslavia, and James was the top competitor in the 2004 Mr. Universe contest.
Both men later said that they were sorry for doing the crime. They said they would never do it again.