After reading about the Pozo Saloon fiasco (“What happened in Pozo?” July 8) I don’t know whether to laugh or cry: 50 undercover cops—and all they got was a couple of DUIs, a drunk in public, four Vicodins, and a very few minor marijuana possessions! An operation that was such a bust the cops were desperately running around begging for a joint and literally forcing these young kids to take money, which they refused many times, and then took only to get the narcs who pestered them to go away.
In the end most of the felony charges will be reduced to misdemeanors. Most, if not all, of these “major” drug busts were the result of pleading, cajoling, and outright entrapment. There was no meth, no cocaine, just kids with marijuana; a flower. If there were any serious drug dealers at the concert, the presence of 50 narcs would have been obvious to them. Hard drug dealers as a rule don’t sell to someone they don’t know. What kind of intelligence was the NTF acting upon? It must be the equal in quality to the information that led us into a war with Iraq in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
A county auditor should demand an immediate detailed accounting of all expenditures of this operation, from beginning to end. And not only those for the night of the operation, but from the planning stages to courtroom. Every hour every officer logged, every gallon of gas used, every damned dime that was spent in pursuit of these dangerous marijuana crazed kids!
We are in the middle of a depression. Teachers are being laid off; medical services to the poor and uninsured are being cut; public transportation is being cut; potholes are going unfilled. I’m sure the money spent for this operation and its aftermath could have paid the salary of two teachers for a year. In this county, with its low crime rate, what is more important: cops creating elaborate busy work like this Pozo fiasco, or teachers?
If the county doesn’t demand an accounting then the Grand Jury should. This is taxpayer money and the public has a right to know how and why it was spent. Heads should roll. The Pozo operation was a failure by any standard. But nothing will happen because there is no civilian oversight of law enforcement in this county, no Internal Affairs, no one to police the police.