Rotting marijuana that Michael Jackson's family members mistook for heroin briefly caused detectives to look for further evidence of the illegal drug in the pop star's rented residence during the frenzied 48 hours after his death, according to sources close to the investigation.
Family members told coroner's officials that they found "tar heroin" in the Holmby Hills home's master bedroom. Only Jackson and his children had access to the room, according to court records unsealed Thursday. The discovery prompted authorities to obtain a search warrant for Jackson's house for heroin, hypodermic needles, cutting agents, scales, balloons, condoms, razor blades, buyer lists, and seller lists, among other items, documents show.
But within days, police had ruled out heroin as a factor in the singer's death, sources close to the investigation said. Lab tests showed that the purported heroin was actually moldy marijuana, sources said. And, according to court records, a lengthy police interview with Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, placed another drug, the powerful anesthetic propofol, at the center of the investigation.
Law enforcement sources said that neither marijuana, cocaine nor heroin were found in Jackson's system.
The search warrant records, unsealed at the request of several media organizations, show that police seized 12 bottles of the sedative temazepam, several other prescription drugs and empty medication vials from Jackson's house the day after his June 25 death. As part of the investigation, police searched Murray's car June 29, records show. But according to the search inventory, the only items seized were a business card for an executive handling Jackson's London concerts, a contract and an envelope with miscellaneous writing.
In another warrant made public Thursday, a federal agent wrote that Jackson's longtime friend and physician Dr. Arnold Klein had self-prescribed medication 27 times during a nearly three-year period.
The allegation prompted a federal magistrate to sign off on a search last week of Mickey Fine Pharmacy, which Jackson frequently used.
State records showed that Klein had self-prescribed Vicodin, Valium, the sedative midazolam and modafinil, a drug used to improve wakefulness.
Klein's attorney, Garo B. Ghazarian, said Klein never self-prescribed any medication, but the lawyer declined to explain the drug-tracking records.
Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan contributed to this report.