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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Spectator

Seems like a stupid governmental waste of taxpayers money based upon unfounded expectations. But what else is new? I guess this was written off as a training exercise.


azuresees

I always back LEO’s getting the bad guy, but I must say, it certainly appears that they are underachieving by going after the low hanging fruit here.


Perhaps building a case against a meth dealer is too challenging ???


On the other hand, I found it funny that a 27 year old grown man had mommy do his bidding for him…My poor son…..


standup

This is coming from the great Patricia Hedges, our wife abusing, prisoner killing, secret video recording double pension dipping sheriff. Thank God this guy will be out of the picture soon. I would bet Ian Parkingson or Ben Hall wouldn’t have set up this big waste of time frame job. “Please trade me a joint for a couple of cigarettes” after begging. What a bunch of losers who in their own mind think they are doing something positive for our community. They need to be taught like a dog to hunt for meth, not cannabis. Bad dogs!


HonestyPlanet

Millions of retirement dollars were lost by the actions of dishonest north county hard money lenders (and borrowers)….and only two arrests!!. Law enforcement likes to focus instead on the low hanging fruit… When will some real leaders recognize that there are bigger threats to our well being then celebrations like Mardi Gras, Poly Royal and now the 4:20 festival. Lot’s of effort to create criminals by jailing our youth, instead of catching the real criminals out there…. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.


BeenThereDoneThat

The local cops need to give pot a rest. As I have said in other related articles is this what we are trying to protect ourselves from? A bunch of chilled out smokers? Hell people that drink to much scare me more than someone chilled on some good smoke. They aren’t a threat.


The local cops are starting to remind me of the Stacy Keach charactor from Cheech and Chongs Nice Dreams, Sgt. Stedanko. Next they will probably be quoting Stedanko…………..


“The only way to catch a doper is when you yourself become a smoker. The surest way to make them bleed is when you bust their ass and steal their weed.” ……..Sgt Stedanko


Hey boss, Hey boss, why don’t you come down off that wall and open the door. That stuff surrrrre smells good! Lol.


Nancy

Why would law enforcement think that they were going to facilitate some large drug busts at a 420 festival? Dealers with lbs of grass for sale don’t show up at these types of outings planning to sell on the corner to strangers where they will subject themselves to massive exposure. People roll a couple of joints and bring it with them, they pass it around and share. These Narcotics Officers should have been in the business long enough to know this. Cripes they spent over 20K to catch 8 people out of a crowd of 2500 for what I bet didn’t add up to a total of an OZ of pot. I really can’t help but think that this was more about earning some over time pay and a build up of subsidies that needed to be spent before the next round of budgets. What else could it be about? Maybe one of those LEO would like to come over here and explain to us DUMB tax payers?


ososkid

Wheres the Sherriffs sense of sportsmanship? An undercover agent operating at 420 drug festival is a bit like hunting at the sat lick.


racket

Seems like silly showmanship on both sides. The attendees are flaunting their unwillingness to conform to an outdated law, and the boys in blue are demanding conformance.


It would be better if both sides picked something more positive to pee on each others’ leg about.


Cindy

Guess they needed to spend some of those Fed subsidies that the NTA lobby for in their budgets to fight all the dangerous pot heads. I wonder how they are going to justify their salaries in relation to the “narcotics” and “dangerous” drug dealers they removed from our streets on Sunday. At an average rate of $75.00 per hour X 50 LEO, I would say that this fiasco cost all us tax payers $3700++ an hour, that’s not mentioning travel time, paddy wagons and their mobile command center or the time they spent collaborating and organizing. When are they going to learn that 4:20 isn’t about a crime, maybe after November 2010 ? NTA, Please concentrate on the meth, heroin, ice and the real dangerous to us tax payers.

Thank You in advance.


willie

You are a very keen in the know gal!

Thanks for sharing.