Pozo drug bust called into question

April 21, 2010

By KAREN VELIE

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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18 Comments

  1. fantasticalice says:

    So, if these people make $75 an hour (ballpark figure) that was roughly a $30,000 day or around $4,285 an arrest. If Joe Public thinks this is a good use of MY tax money………….for Lord’s sake, we PAY for this. Let me see, how’s it go….bend over? We are getting screwed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Stop the “War on Drugs.” By the way, if drug smuggling turns you on, take a closer look at what the CIA is doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  3. R.Hodin says:

    50 burly mustachioed guys hanging around the parking lot trying to score. A masterpiece of subtlety!

    Good thing the crowd was warned. Somebody could have gotten hurt tripping over one or more of those officers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Vagabond says:

    Congrats to Calcoast for hitting the bandwidth limit. (hope it gets boosted soon)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

    • ccole says:

      Don’t forget that all 50 of those officers and their support staff were working on OVERTIME during this excellent display of our tax dollars at work.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. Vagabond says:

    Two cigarettes for a joint? man what kinda drugs was that kid on? must have been some pretty crappy weed, or wait, maybe it wasn’t weed at all and the cops got mad because they just got burned.
    Too bad there wasn’t a chicken fighting farm on the way there, coulda picked up some free BBQ.
    What a complete waste of taxpayer money, I hope everyone remembers this when the Sheriffs want an increase in personnel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  6. cheseburger says:

    Government employee’s making da monies, whil’d da people starving on da knees, kinda makes you wonda if you please, what the hell all of these,”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.” I guess SWAT couldn’t make it! What the hell is wrong with this lack of commitment to protect and serve, serve themselves to some more overtime, and tell me this, why don’t they drug test cops? Seems with all the stupid stuff they have pulled, that that should a definite requirement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  7. willie says:

    I can see the first mistake made bailing out the major investment banks but to see the Feds needlessly giving funds to the “already employed” state and local government doesn’t help the struggling and unemployed. Its business as usual, nothing actually changes except new BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

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