Drug War

How Special Federal Grants to Enforce Drug Laws Make America a Better Place, Bitter Irony Edition

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Well, at least no one had their home invaded or military weapons stuck in their face. This account of how justice prevailed to make sure people who gathered at the recent Lightning in a Bottle festival in Riverside County, California, didn't get away with doing a favor for a persistent stranger out to do them harm.

Account from L.A. Weekly:

Los Angeles residents who attended the Lightning in a Bottle music and arts festival (July 11-15) in Riverside County and were arrested in a sophisticated sting for passing weed and party drugs to other friendly "attendees" — actually Special Investigations Bureau cops — are raising a stink after being slapped with serious drug charges and huge bond amounts.

Several dozen guys were hauled to the Southwest County Detention Center nearTemecula after an undercover operation by SIB, a task force of the Riverside County Sheriff's Station, whose alleged nasty tactics, slurs and push for fairly extreme criminal charges have left attendees and their families crying foul.

Some of the 58 arrestees, almost all men under 30, tell L.A. Weekly their troubling experiences followed a similar arc:

The attendee is hanging out at a campsite, or near a stage, when approached by another attendee. That guy asks him for some weed, molly or cocaine — not unusual at a festival. The affable festivalgoer freely offers the drugs but the stranger surprises him, stuffing $20 to $40 in cash into the attendee's pocket or hand — or even tossing the money at him.

Then, uniformed officers materialize from nowhere — and the happy festivalgoer is arrested and jailed, where, after an unpleasant night or two or three, he faces a steep bail approaching $30,000…..

Most arrested were charged with "sales of a controlled substance" — a more serious offense than mere possession…..

Riverside Sheriff's spokesman Albert Martinez could not respond to specific allegations or arrests. He also declined to say why the Special Investigations Bureau was deployed to Lightning in a Bottle, but noted that those arrested were breaking the law.

Why might picking off these harmless low-hanging fruit be seen as a law enforcement priority? Money, natch. Federal money.

The root of this scenario may lie in the fact that in June, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department received a $175,000 grant from the federal Drug Enforcement Administrationearmarked for SIB, which carried out the sting at the festival.

According to San Jose-based lawyer Cameron Bowman, once a specialized agency like this receives such a grant, there is "a great deal of pressure within the agency to justify their existence."

In other words, to spend the money. Says Bowman, "The main way that they justify their continued existence and funding is by arrests."

The SIB was also involved in this horrible story of manufacturing a crime and ruining a life I reported back in May, about a friendless autistic kid "befriended" and busted. It's such ugly, ugly stuff.

NEXT: Diabetics in UK Suffer Rationing of Glucose-Testing Strips

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  1. Riverside County Sheriff’s Station, whose alleged nasty tactics, slurs and push for fairly extreme criminal charges have left attendees and their families crying foul

    Crying foul? How about this: stop voting statists into office, you morons!

    1. crying foul

      Yeah, in my head this sounds like a plaintive, “Hey….!”

      1. I always hear the plaintive “Hey…!” in my head in the voice of Gracie (Kim Cattrall) in Big Trouble in Little China.

    2. I don’t think they’ll ever get it.

    3. How the fuck do you know who these people voted for, if anyone? Seriously? Your fucking response is to collective guilt every single person in CA?

      1. Yes – I left CA 20 years ago. I felt like not leaving was an acceptance of the what is was becoming.

        1. I don’t care what you “felt like”. You cannot collective guilt people, it’s fucking repulsive and evil.

          1. “You cannot collective guilt people, it’s fucking repulsive and evil.”

            God you’re a stupid fucking hypocrite.

      2. My comment wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, but to everyone in the country, in general. We vote statists into office and then expect them not to act like statist. So this is what we get, and will continue to get until enough of us wake up and start voting for Liberty candidates.

        1. Who is “we”, white man? I didn’t vote for any of these scum. You cannot collective guilt me into someone else’s perfidy.

          1. I was pretty confident that you didn’t vote for any of them.

            Give it a break dude. I’m pretty sure we’re on the same side in this fight, not sure why you feel the need to do this.

            How do you know that I’m white?

            1. It’s the Lone Ranger joke. LR and Tonto look out over a hill to see thousands of Indians charging them.

              LR: Tonto, what should we do?
              Tonto: What do you mean “we”, white man?

  2. Not seeing the problem. They clearly sold drugs and were arrested. Punishment fits the crime. If they did nothing wrong, they had nothing to fear.

    Sounds like procedures were followed, and it was a good bust

    hth.

    /Law-and-Order Type +derpfee mashup

    1. Almanian! (LAOL-OCP)

    2. troll-o-meter -.01

      Smooches

      hth

    3. +1 TOTALITY OF CIRCS

  3. Entrapment: the final tool of statist scum in arresting those who engage in victim-less “crimes”.

    1. We clearly have enough laws now that everyone’s a criminal all the time.

      How you’re not in jail right now is an utter mystery to me.

      1. I swear I’ll be obedient and subservient if you will overlook my crimes…

        1. Thank you for your compliance.

  4. All of these county level DEA wannabe units are fucking terrible. Our exists on some federal funding and a lot of asset forfeiture. Like the subject of this post they mostly arrest small time dealers and college kids at the HOB. The biggest bust they ever made has gone nowhere because the actual evidence collected was little more than one mature plant and a handful of xanax.

  5. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/b…..ted-576432

    Meet Pearl Jones.

    The 85-year-old Tennessee woman was arrested Tuesday for felony drug distribution and maintaining a dwelling where drugs were being peddled.

    1. Well, she’s obviously a menace to society. I for one am happy that our benevolent overlords are protecting us from scary old grannies like this.

    2. Wow, there were a surprising number of comments criticizing that bust and stating that cops should go after murderers and rapists.

      1. murderers and rapists

        Aren’t drug pushers worse? Why do you want drug pushers in our school yards, shooting up our kids with the pot?

        1. That might improve the juvenile delinquiency problem we’ve been having by mellowing them out a bit.

  6. Somewhere, a soccer mom is crying tears of joyful gratitude.

    1. Uh oh, you’re collectivizing soccer moms, it’s time for the collectivizing witch hunt to start up again. You forgot to say ‘some soccer moms’, or maybe even name the specific soccer mom by name. It’s the new Libertarian PC way.

      1. Are you seriously going to whine for being called out for being a collectivist? Really? Maybe you shouldn’t collectively guilt people instead; you ever think of trying that?

        1. I wasn’t doing any such thing. It’s just that you took it that way, and now you’re the one whining, not me. I was just poking fun at you for doing it.

      2. Stop collectivizing libertarians!

        1. Resistance is futile.

          1. I’m sorry, all I heard when I read that was “Stop Resisting!”

        2. That’s easy. All Libertarians are anarchists who love drugs and hookers, hate roadz, and want wiminz and childins to die in the streets. And they all wear a monocle. That pretty much sums it up.

    2. These days soccer moms are at the shooting range practicing with their new concealed carry semiautos.

      Don’t believe me? Check out any of the classes.

  7. Just for laughs, somebody should ask Nancy Pelosi for her thoughts on this.

  8. What a bunch of soulless fucks.

    The cops, not the commentariat.

    1. I think the commentariat has also proven their soullessness.

    2. COLLECTIVISTS!
      Every last one of you.

  9. What a bunch of soulless fucks.

    The cops, not the commentariat.

    You apparently missed the part where somebody callously and in direct contravention of the house rules regarding civility, urged another commenter to commit suicide. Shameful, really.

  10. Wait…does “lightning in a bottle” mean what I think it does? I think they were setting people up with the wrong kind of high in mind.

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