Pozo drug bust called into question
April 21, 2010
Police arrested eight people at a concert in Pozo last Sunday on various counts of minor drug dealing, causing some to question the cost of the large undercover operation and its questionable results.
At the so-called “420 Festival” of more than 2,500 attendees, approximately 50 undercover officers were dispersed to bust suspected narcotics dealers. Officers arrested eight people who they claimed were selling drugs.
Officers arrested Daniel Holt, 27, for attempting to trade a marijuana joint for two cigarettes, Holt said. No charges were filed against Holt who was released yesterday.
Holt told CalCoastNews that the four young men who were arrested with him on Sunday were also released Tuesday with no charges being filed against any of them.
“I am livid that my tax paying dollars have been spent for this,” said Holt’s mother, Beverly Holt. “Pozo is not the kind of place where this goes on.”
Holt said that two undercover officers asked him if he had anything to sell them. After he refused to take money they asked again.
“I told them I would trade a joint for two cigarettes,” Holt said.
A few weeks ago, the San Luis Obispo Narcotics Task Force began assembling a group of law enforcement officers from the California Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, Paso Robles Police Department, San Luis Obispo Police Department, Atascadero Police Department, Pismo Beach Police Department and the Arroyo Grande Police Department to respond to information that there would be narcotic dealers at the 420 Festival held at the Pozo Saloon outside of Santa Margarita.
On Sunday, law enforcement officials set up a base at the forest station across the street from the Pozo Saloon. Along with approximately 50 undercover agents, the task force also brought two white prisoner transport vans and a mobile incident command center.
Officers arrested all but a couple of the alleged drug dealers in the parking lot adjacent to the Pozo Saloon.
Inside, the anonymity of the undercover officers was short lived. An onstage announcer warned the crowd the venue was loaded with undercover officers and asked everyone to be careful.
Following the large scale operation, the Department of Justice sent out a press release providing the names and ages of the eight people they arrested for allegedly dealing drugs.
Law enforcement officials have not responded to requests for comment.
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