In the 1960s, the name Abe Snidanko sent chills up the spine of every hippie in Vancouver. Snidanko worked undercover with the RCMP drug squad, and busted numerous longhairs for pot and other drugs.
Snidanko’s fame went international when former Vancouverite Tommy Chong used him as the inspiration for Sgt. Stadanko, the opening track on Cheech and Chong’s 1973 comedy album Los Cochinos.
The fictional Sgt. Stadanko also appeared in the Cheech and Chong films Up in Smoke and Nice Dreams. But what the real Sgt. Snidanko thought about his fictional counterpart is unknown — he declined interviews.
Snidanko died Aug. 2 at his home in Richmond, two months shy of his 80th birthday.
“He had renal failure, heart (failure), everything just shut down,” said his son Ryan. “But he did pass away very peacefully. He was home, he didn’t want to go to the hospital. He was very stubborn that way.”
Adrian Snidanko was born in Smokey Lake, Alta., and grew up in Edmonton, where he was a Golden Gloves boxer. He joined the Mounties when he was 18 and was posted to B.C., initially in Penticton and then in Vancouver.
“He was one of the first members in the Vancouver street crew, (policing) street-level trafficking in the Downtown Eastside and around the city,” said Ryan. “Drugs were a federal jurisdiction back then, so the RCMP had jurisdiction over it.”
As Vancouver became a hippie haven and pot use spread, Snidanko worked hard to stem the tide. Psychedelic music promoter Jerry Kruz recalls that Snidanko went all out at a 1966 Steve Miller show at Kruz’s venue, the Afterthought.
“He had all the traffic stopped on (Fourth Avenue), it was like a movie scene,” said Kruz. “I came out in front and the whole street was blocked off, he had barriers at each end of the street, at Arbutus and Yew. Abe came in with a procession of cops behind him, Abe and (his cohort Const.) Brown.
“They told everybody to get up against the wall and my mother came out of the ticket booth and gave him hell in Ukrainian, which he understood.”
Ironically, the police were unable to find anyone with pot on them. But Kruz wasn’t as lucky a few months later, when Snidanko followed him to folksinger John York’s place.
“They searched us, and I had (some pot) in my vest pocket,” said Kruz. “I always carried a little baggy of dope. Don’t ask me why I was so stupid as to do that — it was what you did back then, it was a status thing more than anything. He pulled it out and said, ‘You’re busted!’ ”
Kruz wound up spending three weeks in jail, where he was introduced to heroin.
“When I came out of jail I was all strung out and I ended up on a methadone program,” he said. “Which is just bizarre, crazy. I came out in a worse state than when I went in. Isn’t that a strange twist? I’m sorry, but (jail) is a gateway.”…
Continued via… Source: Hippie nemesis Abe Snidanko dies at 79