City Desk

Cops Sell D.C. Residents Fake Marijuana

D.C. Cops Sell Fake Marijuana in Sting

If you have a certain Adams Morgan-area pot delivery guy on speed dial and you haven't been able to get through lately, stop calling—and count yourself lucky you didn't get busted.

A police source tells City Desk vice officers recently served a warrant on an alleged drug dealer's house in the 3rd District, after interrupting a street buy. Besides finding weed at the guy's place, they found a cell phone that rang "every 90 seconds." "He was making deliveries," says the source, "like he was a pizza delivery guy." So the cops decided to start answering the phone, executing what they later referred to in court papers as an "undercover reverse drug buy."

The vice squad began taking pot orders and making deliveries to residences and meet-up spots around the city, eventually arresting about 20 people. Those busted, says the source, were very diverse demographically, ranging from professionals to college kids. (The sting is now over.)

Reviewing records, City Desk found that on July 20, 11  people were cited for an attempt to possess marijuana. Another person was cited for the same charge on July 23. Since the police source could not say how long the sting had been going, it's possible there were more District residents caught in the trap. Court papers related to the ruse reveal that cops showed up and sold callers "counterfeit marijuana." Following the hand-off, they gave a signal for an arrest team to swoop in.

But despite all that elaborate police work, no one's going to jail—or facing any consequences—as a result. Everyone was "no-papered," meaning the charges were dropped before trial. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office, William Miller, says via e-mail that to the best of his knowledge "we did not prosecute any of the cases resulting from this investigation." Miller says he can't say why: "We typically do not comment on the reasons behind these decisions."

The end result, though, only underscores the disparity in the way D.C. handles pot smoking. Recently, Washington City Paper reported on statistics showing African American pot smokers are arrested about eight times as often as white pot smokers in the District. The explanation, experts say, has to do with where police try to make busts. In this case, though, police tracked potheads all across the city and ended up with a diverse haul that included a George Washington University grad student. And the prosecutors didn't bother with the cases. One former D.C. prosecutor says that generally, when it comes to marijuana cases, authorities aren't interested in going after "end users."  If that's the case, no one seems to have told the cops—who must have expended a chunk of resources on their sting.

Whether authorities should bother making any arrests for pot, of course, is subject to some debate; after all, D.C. recently approved medical marijuana, and California is voting this fall on whether to legalize the drug altogether. But if the law makes weed illegal, and it's going to be enforced, it ought to be enforced against everyone, no matter who they are, where they live or how they buy. It's still not clear that's what happens in the District.

Photo by Torben Bjørn Hansen via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

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Comments

  1. #1

    If I understand correctly, the police did a marijuana sting and there were no arrests made, only citations?

    Interesting!

  2. #2

    NO PAPER ALL THE WHITE FOLKS WHILE THEY KEEP YOUNG BLACK BOYS ON THE DAILY DOCKET.

    WHAT KIND OF SHIT IS THAT!

  3. #3

    @noodlez Some bullshit, that's what kind of shit that is. Not that anyone should be on the docket for simple possession of a plant...

  4. #4

    They need to save there time on this and concentrate on the guns in the district.

  5. #5

    If all those people were no-papered, did they get their money back?

  6. #6

    If the busts took place east of the river (Ward 7 and 8), all those folks would have hauled in big time!!! If it's all white, it's all right!!!

  7. #7

    All the trendy white folks caught and NO ARREST, come on!

  8. #8

    @ noodlez..

    BAMMA SHIT!
    Now all you lilly white mofukkas and YOU Tom Coons who frequent WCP threads go back and revisit that article/blog referenced here and read the disparaging, hypocritical and most times SELF HATING, bait and switch garbage posted by you bitch n*ggaz!!!!

    Interesting!!

    They should'a lokked your nasty ass up RICKY "MANSPUNK" MANGUS BEEFLUVA'!!!

  9. #9

    calm down. this is not a race issue.

  10. #10

    From the linked article:
    "What’s clear from studying the stats and the arrest patterns is that who gets busted on marijuana charges basically comes down to where police are putting patrols, serving papers or making traffic stops—and who they’re stopping. Smoke a joint in the privacy of your Chevy Chase home, and the chances of a cop showing up to cuff you for it are practically zero. Spark a blunt while strolling down the street in Ivy City, though, and an officer who’s already in the area may well spot you."

    In my experience as an officer, it's true that black folks and white folks smoke weed differently. White folks generally smoke indoors and away from the public. If you're smoking in the privacy of your own home, you're generally not going to get busted. Black folks get busted because they smoke on the street, playgrounds, alleyways, driving their cars, etc. and end up getting busted.

  11. #11

    Alright I'm sure that people on the other side of the river are more targeted....but what this article does not say is that the way the DC officers approached this "sting" (way to get a cell phone) is that it was basic entrapment. But great use of taxpayer dollars....

  12. #12

    @Don't Ask

    I'm black and I will agree to that statement. Black folks for some reason love to be outside and bring the trouble to their doorstep. This goes for everything including weed. Now hypothecially speaking if i smoked i would do it in my own house, and away instead of bringing attention to my own house.

  13. #13

    This is fascinating, fr all kinds of reasons. The discriminatory willingness to resign potential prosecution here reminds me of David Cole's "No Equal Justice," which is a great read and further draws out the unfortunate reality that we enforce drug penalties only against relatively powerless groups. Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" is also excellent.

  14. #14

    $113 billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S. and because of the prohibition *all* of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. According to the ONDCP, two-thirds of the Mexican drug cartel's money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., and they protect this cash flow by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering thousands of innocent people.

    Instead of preventing people from smoking, the prohibition creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand - this is where the cartels get the incentive and ability to pay their hitmen.

    If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so now, but if we can't then we need to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match.

    One way or the other we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate two-thirds of their income - no business can withstand that!

  15. #15

    And the identity of this dealer is a secret or something? Where is the police report of this arrest? Why no link? Why isn't there public information available to us?

  16. #16

    They probably caught to many non-colored people. Not worth their effort.

  17. #17

    Another interesting thing to note is that statistically, about 3 times more white people smoke than blacks, yet their arrest rates are always so much higher than whites.

    Racism has to do with it is my guess as well. Or just discrimination towards people in certain areas.

    I wonder why no one was prosecuted. They never actually possessed any marijuana, just some fake stuff, so I wonder how they could really charge them? Maybe that's why they didn't. And the fact that it'd make the PD look really bad in the eyes of the public. Thank god you discovered this.

  18. #18

    No arrests were made. Why? Because the cops had no marijuana to give the customers, so obviously the customers couldn't be busted on possession.

  19. #19

    ASDF

    you calm your ass down, it's always about race!

  20. #20

    "If it's all white, it's all right!!!"

    While the black folk be doin' the killin, they're the one's who'll be behind bars chillin'.

  21. #21

    If a private, personal choice about consumption of an herb is going to be against the law, the criminals must be prosecuted and brought to justice - that is, the scum who created the law and the thugs who enforced it. Just say no to victimless "crimes" kids - the victim always ends up being the person on the business end of the police baton.

  22. Bobby D. Washington II
    #22

    I may not know the book, but I belive that the cops couldn't do anything because "it's Fake"....The judge said that is an "undercover reverse drug buy", but wheres the drugs??

    Plus if they did arrest the people who tried to buy, they could easly in "THE COURT OF LAW" say wheres the Lab test to prove that it was drugs....

    Negative result equals a luagh in their face..

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