Mono Sheriff’s officers conduct “saturation patrol”, arrest 17

monosheriffFrom : Sgt. Seth Clark

Subject: Press Release, Recent Saturation Patrol Nets 17 Felony Arrests

Between Thursday, August 22nd, 2013, and Sunday, August 25th, 2013, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office  conducted a saturation patrol in various locations in the northern half of Mono County. The purpose of the enforcement was to combat people trafficking illegal narcotics through and to our communities.  With the assistance of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Bishop Police Department, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and the Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office, the patrol was successful in netting 17 felony arrests. The above mentioned agencies supplied officers and drug sniffing dogs.

The following people were arrested and booked into the Mono County jail:

On Thursday, August 22nd, 2013, Michael Stefaun, age 44, and James Wilson, age 43, of San Diego, were arrested as a results of a traffic stop for possession of cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms.

On Friday, August 23rd, 2013, Todd Buckley, age 30, and Kyle Walker, also age 30, both from Bellingham Washington, were arrested as a result from a traffic stop for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

On Friday, August 23rd 2013, Tracy Duncan, age 42, from McMinnville Oregon, was arrested for possession of a methamphetamine pipe and a used syringe.

(No picture available)

On Saturday, August 24th, 2013, Martin Robertaccio, Curtis Wood, Jeremiah Mezzel, and Luke Mezzei from Los Angeles County were arrested as a result from a traffic stop for possession of cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, LSD, and marijuana.

On Saturday, August 24th, 2013,  Paul Neadow, age 35, of Wilton Manor Florida, and Bret Gerber, age 47, of San Diego were arrested on a traffic stop for possession of  Mdma, psilocybin mushrooms, GHB, and ecstasy.

On Saturday, August 24th, 2013, San Diego residents Kristen Brewer, age 32, and Daniel Jacob, age 55, were arrested when deputies located methamphetamine and marijuana inside their vehicle.

(No pictures available)

On Saturday, August 24th, 2013, Scott Kampmeyer, age 41, of Sherman Oaks, was arrested for transporting LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, and cocaine.

On Sunday, August 25th, 2013, Jonathan Blaising, age 26, was arrested for possession of Adderall and Xanax without a prescription.

All cases have been submitted to the Mono County District Attorney’s office for filing.

Written and prepared by:

Sergeant Seth Clark

Mono County Sheriff’s Department

P.O. Box 616

Bridgeport, CA 93517

(760) 932-7549



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99 Responses to Mono Sheriff’s officers conduct “saturation patrol”, arrest 17

  1. GW August 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Funny how this saturation deal coincided with the start of Burning Man. Not too hard to spot vehicles headed there either, but does a wacky looking rig give LE reasonable cause to search? Drug dog must have hit on them?

    • Wayne Deja August 28, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      GW…..Maybe that will be their defense in court…..”But Judge……I was going to Burning Man….doesn’t that make it O.K.,and legal to transport and deal meth,pot,schrooms,Ketimine,Xanax,LSD and GHB ?….”..As far as the “probable cause”,in my older days,when I was in or around a vehicle with someone that had that type of smorgasboard of drugs with them,and inside their bodies,it usually included dangerous driving and stupid actions on the highway to warrant a traffic stop.

    • Trouble August 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      GW- good luck getting a little small town justice up here. If you try to fight and lose, they will throw the book at you.

    • Anna August 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Why do they care so much?!?!

      NO ONE. I REPEAT NO ONE on MDMA, LSD or mushrooms has any desire to hurt another human being!
      Unlike alcohol users experience raised dopamine and serotonin levels, which causes happiness, not aggression.

      SO… mind your own business and don’t stick your righteous noses into how others want to have fun. They wouldn’t want to be anywhere near you anyways.

  2. Trouble August 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    How dare all these people come up here to party. Next time just go to the bars.

  3. Dingo August 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Jeez, that’s a lot of dope for a few days work.

  4. Wayne Deja August 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Maybe it’s about time for the drug dealers to find another road to travel when passing through the Sierras’….Doesn’t look like that stretch around Lee Vining and Bridgeport is too good of an idea as of late….

  5. Jake August 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    In before all the hippies say legalize drugs because they are so good for you bla bla bla…. Good job targeting these dopers and getting them into jail where they belong. These soon to be felons have no value in our society. AND for the potheads, dont worry I dont dring alcohol or take preceription pills.

    • Wayne Deja August 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Jake….With all due respect,don’t think it’s the old-time hippies saying to legalize drugs,and benefiting from all the “medical values” of them….in their older ages now,including myself,they are the ones noticing what it does to their bodies when someone abuses drugs in earlier years…and then sees what it has done to them,and their health,later in life.

      • Badfinger August 30, 2013 at 7:51 am #

        Wayne are you saying, you used to be a Hippie during tha good ol days? What drugs did you do? 🙂

  6. DESCO August 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Next time, don’t come here at all.
    Good work, cops and dogs.

  7. Big Rick OBrien August 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Usually, the probable cause for the traffic stop is included in the story. None here…? BTW, I didn’t think the Bridgeport (Hilton) had room for THAT many guests.

    • Badfinger August 30, 2013 at 7:52 am #

      Tha Bridgeport watterloo doesn’t have that much Vacancy, Jack Colby and other Cons are already leasing those spaces 🙂

  8. Steve August 29, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    “Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” What would be good to know is how many stops were made that did not result in an arrest. How many travelers were profiled stopped in their pursuit of happiness told to get out of your car stand over there bring in the dogs. Only to then be sent on their way with the wonderful experience of the Eastern Sierra totally shattered vowing never to come back. Then posting their experience for others to read so they don’t come in the first place.

    While getting the “bad guys” we are failing to protect the rights of the “good guys” falling further and further into a police state. That demands your papers and all to often stops you while all you are doing is your constitutional right to “Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

    Now before you all jump in remember taking rights away from some will take rights from all.

  9. sugar magnolia August 29, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    sickening. Most burners know not to drive through our cute little area with drugs because they know they will be pulled over and searched no matter how law abiding they are as they drive through town.

    I’m sick that our LEO think this type of profiling is ok. Protect and serve, these stops aren’t doing either of those, they are harassing people on their way to an event that isn’t even in our state. The drugs involved are mostly ‘non’ problem causing drugs….except the cocaine I saw mentioned.

    Wake up people, alcohol and prescription drugs cause more problems then the drugs listed above COMBINED!!!

    The only reason that these drugs are on the lists they are is because they would compete with alcohol sales too much if legal. The alcohol companies came up with refer madness and all that garbage to keep alcohol legal and other intoxicants illegal and they’ve been quite successful with it.

    I know it hard, but use your brains. Learn to question everything and think about it for yourselves, come up with your own conclusions. We have a huge problem in our country that MONEY controls everything. See Benett’s comments in B Beat today about the pharmaceutical companies as just one example.

  10. Eastern Sierra Local August 29, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    “Saturation Patrol” = police PROFILING by our local law enforcement agencies. It’s quiet curious how the dates of these arrests all occurred just as the gates of Burning Man were going to open for the week.

    I’m sure they were looking for people with trailers and bicycles with fur attached to the back, then making up some nefarious reason to the driver that “We pulled you over because you had a bicycle obscuring your license plate; how much have you had to drink today?”

    And then the Public Information officers for the CHP and the Sheriffs will espouse the virtues of how they stopped all this illegal activity in “our” communities. -comical, it’s only illegal because law enforcement agencies have spent billions of dollars to keep it that way for 50 years.

    This type of “enforcement” doesn’t make me happy, I’m ashamed of our local “police” doing this type of “enforcement.” It appalls and sickens me catch real criminals; not recreational users.


  11. Sean August 29, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Hard core dopers turn into bank robbers whe they run out of money. Keep nailing them! Great operation!

    • Pedro September 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Most hard core addicts turn into alcoholic panhandlers if they live long enough. Or turn to prescriptions. 22 million drug users and about 6 thousand bank robberies in US a year. That’s about 4 thousand drug users to rob one bank.

  12. Wayne Deja August 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    For those with the posts defending these guys actions driving HWY 395 hopped up on LSD,Xanax,coke,pot,mushrooms,etc….and thinking the Law Enforcement officers are “wrong” for pulling them over,impounding their vehicles,and hauling them off to jail…..maybe one day I’ll be helping to clean up the accident scene one of those types caused …and,hopefully,you won’t be the innocent driver…or family…involved in the wreck because of them and their actions.

    • Blind as a bat August 30, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      … And maybe one day, you’ll wake up.

    • sugar magnolia August 30, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      wayne, look at the charges filed, they were not driving under the influence of these drugs, they were in possession of them. Big difference. If someone is showing evidence of impaired driving, I fully support LEO pulling them over.

      Most people who go to burning man are professionals that you deal with on an every day basis (assuming you deal with professionals). Your doctor, governmental official, attorney, firefighters, business owners, althetic trainer…etc etc. they let their hair down once a year, travelling safely to their week long hedonistic retreat then returning to their successful everyday life’s. They aren’t drug addicts who are going to rob banks when they need their next fix…of course many who go also do not partake in drug use, legal or not.

      What our local LEO are doing is just plain wrong.

      • Benett Kessler August 30, 2013 at 11:29 am #

        I did email Mono Sheriff Ralph Obenberger regarding probable cause and whether the new inmates were held in Bridgeport. Here is his response:

        “I reviewed some of the reports (not all 17) and the ones I looked at the traffic stops were for basic traffic law violations (Speed, non-functioning lighting, missing license plate(s). etc). The searches were from either a consent given to the Deputy, K-9 alert, or probable cause on the Deputies observations on scene, etc.

        All the arrestees were housed in Bridgeport, although I believe most bailed out as my In-Custody Count this morning is only 30.”

        • Mark August 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

          Medical marijuana and the murkiness of “contraband”

          17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana for citizens with a doctor’s recommendation. As such, the Caballes “contraband” distinction fails in states such as California or Colorado where hundreds of thousands of people are legally authorized to possess and use it.

          After all, if police dogs are regularly alerting on substances that are no longer illegal, that flips the ”no privacy interest in contraband” doctrine on its head. For example, a vehicle search resulting from a drug dog alerting for marijuana in Mendocino or Boulder is unconstitutional under Caballes. The odor of marijuana can no longer be probable cause, because prior to the search it’s impossible for an officer (or a drug dog) to know whether or not the detected marijuana is contraband or not.

          While this defense might not work in federal courts — which have yet to recognize the legal standing of medical marijuana — it could be used to challenge dog searches in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

        • Pedro September 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

          Amazing how many people (guilty and innocent) will consent to searches. Make law enforcement do their job. If they have cause they do not need your consent.

      • Mark August 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

        I’ll bet lunch they didn’t arrest a single attorney 🙂

        • Pedro September 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

          My uncle was a judge on East Coast. Habitual drunk driver with judicial plates. Police would pull him over and drive his car for him.
          I lived in a town where the police were known for driving patrol cars drunk while in uniform. Had a practice of driving their buddies home also. Unfortunately colors my view, though I know most officers are upstanding.

    • Pedro September 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      Not one mention of DUI, just possession with no quantities mentioned.

  13. Mark August 30, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    So if the dog smells pot and you can proove you can legally carry pot the search would be illegal.

    Police can’t detain you while they wait for the K9

    A good lawyer would have a field day with this

  14. TBone August 30, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Fish in a barrel. And our Forth Amendment rights out the window.

  15. ferdinand lopez August 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    quit whining all you dopers,keep your doped up carcasses off the highways

    • Wayne Deja August 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      ferdinand….ANOTHER story on ANOTHER one today….looks like this time outside of Big Pine……..

    • TBone August 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      …and you kids get off my lawn!

  16. Roy August 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    It sure seems to me like a lot of people reading this site support and condone drug use… Having spent 30 years in law enforcement I have no use for those that think drug laws should be ignored… I have no problems with the police arresting people driving 395 or any other road while in possession of any type of drug…

    • Mark August 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      I don’t have a problem with them arresting people driving 395 who are in possession of drugs. It’s the way they went about it that could be an issue.

      I’d recommend the Sheriff read all 17 reports, I sure would like too. If they were legit searches so be it, but it already sounds questionable just with what little I’ve read.

      Was the dog used prior to the officers having reasonable suspicion there were drugs in the vehicles?

      and I don’t condone illegal drug use.

      • True Blue September 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        You only need reasonable suspicion for the stop. You can search the drug dog around the exterior of any vehicle in a public place without cause.

    • Big Rick OBrien September 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      Roy, I don’t think most people here condone drug use…it’s just that they DON”T condone bogus searches with (highly questionable) probable cause. I personally am disgusted by drugs and those that abuse them, but those in law enforcement have to play by the rules, don’t you think ? When you have cops doing illegal searches to justify getting drugs off the street, where does it end ? AND, if a cop LIES on the stand about probable cause, WHO’S the felon then ? Just so you all know, & don’t get where I’m coming from…I HATE DRUGS.

      • Reality Check September 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

        So Big Rick, why do you suspect that the cops conducted illegal searches???

        Because the suspects said so?

        Do you have some kind of crystal ball that allows you to determine that the cops will lie on the stand pior to any trial that takes place?

        Rather than make things up, how about waiting until the facts come in?

        If the cops did anything wrong, the defense attorneys will be all over it. That is why the cops record everything during these types of operations. Video and audio recordings don’t lie.

    • Moist September 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      Roy, you have no use for us? Are you royalty? Oh, you’re a cop, people minding their own business carrying an illegal substance for their own personal usage means they are “bad guys” and therefore subhuman and no longer worthy of 4th Amendment protections.

  17. Sierra Kid August 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    “Sugar M”, not sure if you are high or still feeling the aftereffects of burningman, but after you clear up, do your research before you comment. And boy, you really touched the top of the list with your so called “professionals” ; athletic trainers, firemen, business owners, attorneys (obviously public defenders or criminal defense attorneys vs. real professional attorneys, i.e. Prosecutors).

    Nice scapegoat word “profile” you & a few others use to avoid the reality of a pefect legal traffic stop, and its actually usually “reasonable suspicion” that results in a traffic stop, not “probable cause” which usually comes afterward-do your research & know the facts before you comment & attempt to use smokescreen & fabricated statements to wine about some great Law Enforcment work that was performed by “True Professionals” who risk their lives to protect all (including you “sugar”).

    One last thing “sugar”, apparently GHB, a known “date rape drug”, is ok & a “non problem causing drug” with you, according to your above statement….do your research, if you can.

    Keep up the good work Mono County Area Law Enforcment Agencies, and I/we like the idea of having saturated patrols when the burningman event occurs to keep our towns & US 395 safer (awesome idea & why not!). Just think, of the 17 arrested, how many more dirtbag felons went undetected through our nice area on that or any other day

    • Moist September 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Just for clarification, Burning Man draws all sorts of people: from billionaire techies, to yoga teachers, to politicians, to police, college students, to retirees (a retired four star general attended this year actually.)

      For further clarification GHB is also used recreationally by individuals for their own personal enjoyment. Yes, it can be used to spike a beverage of an unsuspecting victim. As far as recreational drugs go, GHB is pretty dangerous for somebody who is using it, and extremely dangerous if alcohol is used at the same time.

  18. Terry G September 6, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I have been travelling up the 395 for almost a decade on my way to burning man, and I spend over $1000 on gasoline, food, and lodging. I have never been pulled over, and hardly ever even saw any law enforcement officers along the route in the past.

    This year officers pulled over two of my friends in our little caravan, insisted the drug sniffing dogs indicated proof of drugs, and then sent us on our way without even a ticket or citation after a search for illicit substances came up with nothing.

    It is quite obvious that the bogus traffic stop was only an excuse to run a drug sniffing dog around our vehicle, and that the officers blatantly lied when they said the dog gave a positive signal.

    I have never before felt like I lived in a police state, where my rights could be trampled upon so thoroughly by those who are sworn to “serve and protect”. I hope all the “holier than thou” posters on here get the same opportunity to experience this kind of “attention” from their local officers in the future, for no reason.

    As a result of these actions, this law abiding citizen will never again travel through your “nice” little cities, and I regret that I will no longer be able to stop at Schatt’s bakery for one of their delicious turkey sandwiches, or use the Silver City RV Park in Carson city (they are sweet, sweet people).

  19. Tina D September 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for the article. [sarcasm]
    I thoroughly agree with Terry G and my travels have been for over a decade. Those hundreds of $$ spend on MY DRUGLESS drive up and down 395 will be forever spend elsewhere. Sorry Mom & Pop businesses – I really enjoy stopping at your places. No More.
    SHAME on you officers for happiness you take in the profiling during that time.

  20. arrestee September 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    I am one of the above arrestees. I am staying anonymous to protect my case.

    First of all, the drugs listed next to my name in the above article are WRONG. There is a drug listed that I would NEVER have anything to do with, and most certainly did not have in my vehicle.

    Secondly, I never gave consent to anyone to search my car. I was informed that a drug-sniffing dog was going to circle my car from the outside, and that they did not need my consent to do that. While this was happening, I was told to stand back behind the 3rd police vehicle, where I could not see anything that was happening.

    Also, the reason I was pulled over was completely bogus. Again, I don’t want to identify myself, so I won’t get too specific, but it was for something that, even if it were true, would never warrant getting pulled over for… and on top of it, was not even true to begin with! It was something equivalent to: “we pulled you over because it looks like one of your side view mirrors is bigger than the other one.” Me: “Well, it’s not. They’re both the same size.” Police: “Ok, well, regardless, we’re now going to have this drug-sniffing dog sniff around your car.” Me: “I don’t give you permission to do that.” Police: “We don’t need your permission.”

    Citizens of Mono County, let me ask: is it typical for people who are pulled over in your county for incredibly minor reasons to be confronted by 3 police vehicles, 8 officers wearing bulletproof vests, and a drug-sniffing dog? Is that a typical response? Is that a warranted response?

    You can call this a “saturation patrol” or whatever you want, but we all know what it really is: a sting operation specifically targeting Burning Man attendees. It was painfully obvious that they were targeting anyone that looked like they were on their way to Burning Man… RVs and trailers loaded with bicycles and colorful art. When I was locked up in my holding cell with about a dozen other arrestees, every single one of us, without exception, were on our way to Burning Man, and pulled over for very minor reasons. The most popular of which seemed to be “burned out license plate light.”

    One of the Sheriff’s deputies even admitted as much to me, with the comment “Yup, they’re out there hunting burners tonight. You’re about to have a few more cellmates.” and my bail bondman told me, “I have serviced this jail for a long time, and I average about one call a month from here. Just tonight, I’ve gotten 9 calls from here!”

    This arrest will cost me thousands and maybe cost me my job. Will it prevent me from going to Burning Man? Hell no. Will it cause me and all my friends to avoid Mono County and the 395 Hwy at all costs? You better believe it. I will not spend another cent in Mono County, and I will urge everyone I know to do the same.

    • Sean September 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      So you did have drugs in your car is what you are saying. But the article lists them as the wrong ones. Why don’t you file a complaint with the media about their inaccurate reporting.

      Consent is not needed for a drug sniffing dog to walk around your car. If the dog indicates it smells drugs in your car – guess what they can search your car.

      Don’t have drugs in your car and you won’t get arrested for them. It’s really that simple.

      And yes please tell all your friends from wherever you are from not to come to Mono County with drugs in your car. Good idea.

      If you had weed and didn’t have a medical marijuana card then that’s your shortsightedness. Go get one…

      If the police did not have a solid reason to pull you over then fight the case in court and get it thrown out. But the bottom line is you had drugs in your car and got caught. So stop complaining.

      I Personally don’t see the difference between a saturation patrol versus a DUI checkpoint. So maybe you get stopped and asked a question or two. Big deal. I want the police out there doing their jobs and taking drunk people off the road and getting drugs off the streets.

    • duh September 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      “This arrest will cost me thousands and maybe cost me my job.”
      Maybe don’t do/transport drugs….just a thought.

    • Platypus September 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      Remember that you can still travel 395 through Bishop – just head out Highway 6 in Inyo before you hit Mono.

    • Jazzman September 7, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      I don’t care for the cliche “it is what it is” but in this case it’s apt. You were caught with drugs, that is a crime. The circumstances etc of how you were caught are not relevant. Unfortunately I have felt like I’ve given up some some of my rights and privacy when my vehicle is searched and the dog sniffs my tailpipe but I realize that’s the price I’m paying to keep a little bit of narcotics out of the public reach which has ruined countless lives.

      • Moist September 7, 2013 at 10:32 am #

        What has ruined more lives? The drugs, or the police enforcing drug laws on casual users? Answer that honestly. For every addict there are 10 casual users who partake a couple times a year to enhance their personal enjoyment of an evening or day.

        • Jazzman September 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

          Ok Moist, show me a casual meth user and I’ll show you a unicorn. If you choose to be in possession, you must be willing to accept the consequences. I congratulate the “casual” pot smokers for lobbying lawmakers to change the laws which would allow for the possession of small quantities to “enhance their personal enjoyment”.

          • Moist September 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

            Jazzman, nobody with an ounce of critical thinking skills could look at the real world outcomes of American drug policy and not come to the conclusion that it is doing more harm than good.

            I agree with you that Meth is a particularly terrible drug, and casual use often leads to addiction with that particular drug. However even if you put every single American, all 360 million in jail, there would still be a Meth trade.

  21. Mark September 7, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    I don’t do drugs but if I was stop in one of these “saturation patrols” I would be exercising my 1st amendment right while they were violating my 4th amendment rights.

    At which point I’m sure they would get even by planting dope in my car.

    You just can’t trust law enforcement anymore..

    Shame on Mono County!

    • Sean September 7, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      You’re complaining about law-enforcement when you should be complaining about the decisions made by the Supreme Court of the United States. And your State Gov who wrote the laws. The cops just enforce the laws. They don’t make them. And the laws allow them to do what they did.

      • Moist September 7, 2013 at 10:34 am #

        Actually, the cops don’t have to use K9 dogs at traffic stops. The cops are fully capable of using their own discretion to say “you know what, I think this is a violation of the 4th Amendment rights against unwarranted search and seizures, I want to live in a country that respects the citizens rights, and I won’t use a K9 to conduct searches that I personally view as unconstitutional.”

        • sean September 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

          Why do you think cops have K9’s? For kids to pet at show-and-tell?

          K9’s do three things – Chase and bite crooks, track people, and sniff out bombs and drugs.

          If they were violating her 4th amendment rights you would be able to sue them for using the dog to sniff around your car, or your bags at the airport. But there are no such lawsuits. Why ? Because using K9’s is not a violation of your 4th amendment rights nor is it illegal, unfair, or immoral in any fashion.

          Please read the 4th amendment. You have to “expectation of privacy” or “protection from unreasonable search and seizure” to the odors coming off your body or from your car when you are in a public place.

  22. sean September 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Meant to say – “You have NO “expectation of privacy”….”

  23. Brandon September 8, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Word is out. Mono county sherrifs are doing unconstitutional searches with there new little K9. Time to roll through w a camera get a scent in the car w nothing in there to see how it goes down. Then internal affairs. Not mono count IF.

  24. True Blue September 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Brandon, there is nothing out of policy or unconstitutional about what Mono County is doing. If Law Enforcement stops you for a minor violation such as a a tail light out or no front license plate, it is a legally valid stop because it is an infraction that is listed in the vehicle code. Law Enforcement has the right to run the drug dog around the exterior of your vehicle because the courts have ruled that you have no expectation of privacy regarding odors that come out of your vehicle in a public place. If the drug dog alerts on your vehicle, this creates probable cause to search your vehicle. The courts have ruled that because vehicles are mobile, and evidence can be destroyed, no search warrant is required to search a vehicle on the road if there is probable cause.

    All “scent” is comprised of Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. This is true on everything dogs detect such as drugs, bombs, accelerants, human remains, cancer, etc. A good dog can detect these VOCs in parts per trillion. Scientists have studied scent dogs and have validated this on the Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer. In order to obtain parts per trillion results, the headspace of the air sample must be concentrated ten times using liquid nitrogen that essentially packs the sample into a small ball prior to injection into the GC/MS. Without this process, the GC/MS can only detect parts per billion. The device on the GC/MS that does this concentration is called a “cold finger”.

    If you tried to “set up” law enforcement by having only “scent” in your car by having law enforcement pull you over, then dog search, dog alert, vehicle alert, and find nothing, you still could not sue because the courts are well aware of the “residual scent” issue. Remember, that the “scent” is comprised of actual molecules in low concentrations.

    Lastly, it would be possible to place a special three stage filter in your vehicle connected to a small air pump that would collect the VOC’s from the drugs that were once in your vehicle, concentrate them in the filter then inject them into the GC/MS for analysis that would prove there were illegal drugs present in your vehicle at some time in the past.

    Time for a new plan Brandon. How about not transporting illegal drugs in your vehicle!

    • Moist September 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Regardless of what the nut cases on the Supreme Court have ruled, it is unconstitutional and you know it. The 4th Amendment is not at all ambiguous despite the efforts of the despicable and disgusting conservatives on the court to undermine American freedom:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[1]

      No drug dog can testify in court as to what they smelled. No drug dog is perfect. And every drug dog can be told to signal.

    • Moist September 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      Despite what the loons on the Supreme Court have ruled, it is unconstitutional and you f***ing know it. The 4th Amendment is not at all ambiguous despite the efforts of the despicable and disgusting conservatives on the court to undermine American freedom:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[1]

      No drug dog can testify in court as to what they smelled. No drug dog is perfect. And every drug dog can be told to signal.

      • True Blue September 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

        The courts have ruled that drug dogs are inherently reliable if they are well trained and their ongoing training records show a good record of finds. Training records and successful finds are always important. Dogs don’t lie like people.

        If the dog alerts on a car and drugs are found, how do you argue against the dog’s alert?

        The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land.

        You have the right to change the Constitution if you want. Good luck on that.

        • Mark September 13, 2013 at 11:00 am #

          Well according the the public posting on this site Mono County’s K9’s hit on plenty of vehicles where no drugs were found.

          If no drug dog is perfect it’s kinda bs they use them as reasons to violate citizens 4th amendment rights.

        • Tourbillon September 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

          The problem here is that what the Supreme Court rules in increasingly out of step with public opinion. So your choice – change the Constitution or just suck it up – is a false one. Societal collapse occurs when people don’t bother to care about “changing the Constitution”. They just stop paying attention to authority. And you know what “True Blue”? T’aint enough police or soldiers in the world to combat that.

  25. Brandon September 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Taking a dog around a car and hitting on it (supposedly). Then entering the car without permission is a illegal search. I dont drive around with drugs in my car. I am hearing all about Mono county and how they do business. Illegal entry! You are telling me all these people said sure search my car! Wrong! Everyone I have read about denied it. My friend was arrested going to BM and told me exactly how it went down and he gave ZERO consent. Thess are illegal searches and they are getting noticed and something will be done about them. How about how your Sherrif fired your newly hired deputy for No reason whatsoever just before her probation periiod was up. She used to be IF and a stellar LAPD employee. I have nothing against police and I’m not defending people carrying anything illegal but as citizens we have rights and in Mono county they are being walked on! Period…

  26. Brandon September 13, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    The news isnt mentioning all of the burners and citizens subject to searches w dogs that had absolutely nothing but were still forced to exit their vehicles and watch there belongings strewn everywhere. These are even Mono county citizens and vistors coming up to the mountain for the weekend. Not the way I want to start the weekend. I dont do drugs and I dont drive drunk but I do attend Burning Man. I usually drive my RV up and down the 395 spending hundreds each way on food, gas and one night lodging. You can bet you @#$ I wont be coming to Mono county anytime soon. There are many ways to get to BM without being harrassed. The sad thing is the citizens of Mono are the ones being hurt by the Sherrifs actions. You will not see the influx of burners next year. garuanteed.

  27. J and C October 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Wasn’t in the area during BM but last weekend very aggressive patrols on 395 north of Mammoth Lakes. Eyeballing us from opposite direction, immed turned around, flew up behind us, stayed next to us for a short distance going same speed, then moved on to the car in front of us and did the same thing. WTF? Reeks of harassment even though we weren’t stopped. We both commented how odd and a little threatening it seemed. Probably won’t vacation down Mammoth area anymore, just seems a little too aggressive for us.

  28. roomtone July 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I was pulled over there two years ago. The sheriff came up and asked to see my pot card! Not my DL, not my registration, not my insurance, MY POT CARD! We told him we don’t smoke pot. He looked perplexed and walked away! I wasn’t even sure if we could go. I just took off.

  29. karlb August 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    The whole war on drugs is shameful and ruins more lives than drugs themselves. The US has more people in prison per capita than ANY country in the world, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, you name it. Do we have worse criminals than any country?

    now Law Enforcement uses drugs arrests to finance ever greater staffing to put more people in jail who don’t belong there

  30. Brandon August 13, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Mono County residents have spoken on your overzealous sherrif and his tactics. There have been many matters brought to light about how he treats people including his own coworkers. Wrongfully firing Ingrid Braun (that worked out well for him since she is taking his job). This isnt just about burners. There have several cases of tourists driving through Mono being harrassed by law enforcement. Mono county does depend on alot of tourism approx 80% according to the Bridgeport chamber of commerce. Even the Bridgeport chamber of commerce has acknowleged that law enforcement has been harrassing tourist not just during burning man. If you as a citizen think it is ok to aggressively follow people for no reason. Pull them over. Plant evidence as in the case above. Putting a campers gun in the front seat when it was clearly in the trunk then when his attorney asks for the dash video evidence is suppresed and the case is thrown out. Burners will not be coming up through mono this year. There a several routes to get to BM, but when San Diego news media is talking about Mono’s law enforcement paractice people need to take note. That can spread to LA, Riverside etc…. Just like all the negative publicity from heckling a few burners. When Sherrif Braun comes into office ill give Mono another shot. I love the scenery and stores but its not worth being harrassed. FB is blowing up right now telling people to avoid Mono.

    • Benett Kessler August 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      I already posted this same comment before. BK

    • The Aggressive Progressive August 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Now that is a drag for the local economies now isn’t it…

  31. Brandon August 15, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Thank you Benett. I have posted this on several of your articles and I really feel bad for the businesses in Mono county. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I truly love the whole area up there but I wont go up there due to these practices. I do not drink and drive or do drugs. I do work medical at burning man and have had many friends harrassed during the event. It will happen again this year I am sure of that. I believe sheriff O’s demise started by the burning man event which shed light on a more serious problem.

    (I deleted the rest of your comment because there is just so much I will post from two anonymous people making accusations.)

    • mono county local August 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      If “Brandon” “work(s) medical” at BM perhaps he can tell us why there are NO RAPE KITS on site – considering the increasing number of rapes and the quantity of drugs being transported to BM that are often used to incapacitate a potential target I think that is a question worth asking

      • Pedro August 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

        Might also want to ask the increasing amounts of LEO why they have no rape kits at BM.

        • The Aggressive Progressive August 18, 2014 at 8:54 am #

          Well that’s easy Pedro, Law Enforcement is not out to serve the public anymore, they are out to uphold the LAW, why would they carry around a rape kit when they can carry around a fire arm, taser or all the other tools/toys they have on those vest’s..

          Seriously folks, we live in a culture of fear, the law enforcement agencies are a prime reflection of, for instance this whole Ferguson Missouri thing, Rage and Anger is a natural reaction when police forces are executing unarmed people in the streets, No it isn’t just a few bad apples, its a culture in fear of their fellow human beings… and how did we get to this point where the ones meant to protect us (law enforcement), are using old hand me down equipment meant for war over seas, to be used on the citizens who payed for the equipment in the first place (tax dollars)…

          That get’s me, we pay for this equipment (tax dollars) to be utilized protecting our soldiers overseas, and then it becomes obsolete to military, so they give these pieces of equipment to police forces, and they use it to beat down “we the people” during any type of assembly or protest that threatens the establishment or economic powers, DO YOU PEOPLE NOT SEE THAT!

          Go ahead and stay in your own context and keep thinking we don’t live in a police state, ignorance is bliss!

          • Pedro August 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm #


            With 100 or so LEO at BM it seems we could afford a mobile medical unit. But you’re right, no economic benefit to the culture of fear in that.

          • The Aggressive Progressive August 19, 2014 at 8:38 am #

            Yeah seriously, I’m sure we could afford a mobile medical unit, I personally haven’t been able to experienced BM “yet”, I’ve heard a lot about, not enough to scare me away, but if the public can organize themselves, and the public services can prioritize around the people gathering at BM, one would think if they came equipped to arrest 25 people or so, they should at least at the same time be able to save 25 people or so from whatever party goer’s can get themselves into…?…Right? or is that me in my land of utopia again?

  32. mono county local August 16, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Dear Brandon – Drive around Mono County. We don’t care. And try real hard to understand that for most people life does not revolve around a fake city in the middle of a dust choked hell hole. The businesses that are crying over burner’s pennies are not many and political decisions are not made based on how happy burner’s are going to be. I know it is probably so difficult to wrap your head around the idea that people actually have lives that have nothing to do with your precious BM but I suggest you try real hard because we have been listening to you whimper and whine for almost a year now and it has gone beyond humorous into pathetic.

  33. Brandon August 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    Mono county local it doesn’t sound like you own a motel , gas station or grocery store along 395. Yeah who cares about a few thousand burners driving through mono. I personally know there are mono county citizens worried about this issue. Maybe not the overly intelligent ones like yourself but there are. People that actually have a vested intrest in mono county and they have spoken on this issue and know that harassing burners and tourist does have a impact on their community. Especially when major cities are writing about the harrassement in between burning man events. I am in no way saying we are the all mighty powerful burning man conglomerate but from a small group of people a larger mass is taking note. Next year burners will be back and spending our pennies in your county but I really don’t expect to see you along the 395:)

  34. Wayne Deja August 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Brandon…..Let’s not get carried away here….thinking and stating as if BM tourists through these counties have a HUGE impact on the areas economy…actually little more than an area they drive through getting from point A to point B…and let’s face it,many doing so while driving impaired and/or large amounts of drugs in their possession to either use and/or distribute when they get to their destination.I don’t own a business along HWY 395,but know of some that do,and when I did a “test” with a couple of them asking if BM caused a big bump in their sales,their responce was the same….’Burning who ?”…..they didn’t even know what it was…People going to BM are much like those going to a baseball game or a concert in L.A….maybe spend some $$$ on gas if they are running low…..maybe a stop or two along the way for a cola and chips…but most all of them in a hurry to get there….and when they leave,probably either out of, or too low on money to be spending much on much of anything on the drive home…not something bringing millions of $$$$ into Mono or Inyo Counties.With the event coming up soon again,I believe at the end of August,what I personally look forward to the most will be the reports coming from LE and the Sierra Wave telling of the silly and stupid things many of these “travelers” will be doing….and/or caught with …when they get pulled over….doing something stupid in order to get pulled over in the first place….especially in that infamous area between about June Lake and Bridgeport…where it seems to be an area to obey those traffic laws unless you wanna see those pretty red,white and blue lights coming on up behind you in a hurry….seems to me,the moral of the story to those coming to BM up along HWY 395 is… safely…obey the traffic laws we ALL are expected to follow…including you..don’t speed….don’t do something stupid to get pulled over….and leave the dope at home….if you do all of the above,I doubt you’ll have much of a problem while traveling through Inyo and Mono Counties….

    • BM Economy August 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      Anyone who doesn’t think the cops here are a little zealous needs to get out of the valley more often – because they are.

      The fact that business owners are saying Burning Who? only indicates that they don’t even realize the opportunity being missed (um, like the potential to capture a 68,000 person market in one weekend, not to mention potential repeat visits). We should be encouraging Burners to come through Inyo and Mono instead of driving them permanently away.

      Finally, the “I remember back when fishin’ could feed a whole village of people, and bread cost a nickle!” attitude around here is hardly the progressive vision of the future that’s going to revitalize our economy.

      • Wayne Deja August 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

        BM Economy……Truth is….when most of us think of Burning Man,it’s not all these CEO’s and millionaires coming up from L.A. and through the Owens Valley and Mono County ready,willing and able to spend their millions in our little towns here…The picture most of us see is….well,the pictures we see of the event..usually a group of young people dancing around with no cloths on and high as a kite on a smorgasboard of illegal drugs….lots of medical attention needed for those that have overdosed at the BM site…..police presance needed to break up fights,attempted rapes, and sexual assaults..the stories we’ve all heard about the use of ecstasy and those “date-rape” drugs the guys sneak into the girls drinks….people all passed out and puking..I knew a guy that went to the event a few years ago to see what it was all about,and he said what he remembers the most from his one day “experience” was the mess left behind…and the smell…feces and toilet paper strewn about the area where the people were all gathered at and “partying”….left for others to clean up….maybe sounding like fun for some….but for me,not so much.

        • BM Economy August 19, 2014 at 8:57 am #

          I don’t dispute that crime an unfortunate externality of the event. Frankly, it would be miracle if there were zero crimes statistics associated with a spontaneous city of 60,000 people on drugs in the middle of nowhere that don’t subscribe to the rules of civilization we all agree to when we have to co-exist for longer than a labor day weekend.

          But my point is that those externalities don’t happen on 395 when they come through Mono/Inyo counties. Burners aren’t interested in selling your kids drugs, dating your daughter or ramsacking your village. They are, in fact, overprivileged, often very wealthy partiers from LA, the Bay Area and beyond, who want to stop at our gas stations, fill their RVs, buy munchies, and who might look around around and think this would be a nice place to come back on a sober vacation.

          Burning Man is an event and a destination, and isn’t one that happens here. They aren’t coming here to party. Our law enforcement took it upon themselves to look for crime, and targeted a group of people to do so. They weren’t protecting our communities from the situation described above. If Inyo/Mono Counties taxpayers have felt impacted by Burning Man in any other instance than this organized sting operation against it, please let me know.

          But in the process of targeting these people, law enforcement alienated a whole bunch of people who will come through and spend money. People who may be partying over labor day, but who hold respectful, gainful employment the rest of the time.

          And I don’t think our communities can afford to say “we don’t mind fishermen drinking and driving, but kids listening to electronic music are a threat.”

        • Rick O'Brien August 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

          Wayne…from what I’ve seen (photo’s and video) and heard, the guys are not putting date rape drugs into the GIRLS drinks…if you get my drift.

    • sugar magnolia August 20, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      You hit the nail on the head Wayne….that’s the problem exactly….burners are coming through the area knowing they need to follow the law exactly. They drive the speed limit, have all their proper lights working, don’t have tinted windows etc etc etc., YET, they get pulled over anyway.

      That is my problem with the saturation patrol, they targeted a certain type of person and made up reasons to pull them over. If they are speeding through and get pulled over and their car reeks of pot, then they’re fair game.

      Pulling people over for made up reasons (which has been documented MC LEO do) and then having a drug dog sniff their vehicle based on nothing is not OK.

      Any LEO group who thinks the end justifies the means is a group we do not want policing us. No american should argue that point.

      • BM Economy August 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

        @Sugar Magnolia – Exactly on point, thank you.

        And then through these targeted operations, we have people actively campaigning against visiting our area. It’s an anti-marketing campaign. Yes, our business should be concerned.

        As a quick and final follow-up, my back of the napkin calculation is as follows:

        If 10% of people going to Burning Man come up 395, that’s 6,000 people, approximately.

        Nearly 100% of them will have to stop for gas in either Inyo or Mono County because it’s a pretty long drive from Pearsonville to the Nevada border.

        If we assume 4 people per car, and $50.00 per tank of gas @ $4.00/gal (which are pretty conservative assumptions…no RVs, for instance), and we assume they don’t stop to buy anything else, that equals $300,000 of taxable revenue our communities didn’t have to invest anything to receive, we just didn’t have to profile a group of people coming through. I could suggest we think of ways to double that number, but I won’t push my luck.

        Finally, I thought it was timely that Burning Man is featured in this months issue of the favorite western lifestyle magazine of suburbans moms and housewives everywhere – Sunset Magazine.

        That’s how dangerous and illegal everyone else in the country thinks this activity is – it’s featured in a supermarket, check-out magazine for moms.

  35. mono county local August 18, 2014 at 6:03 am #

    Brandon, How nice that you “personally” know some Mono County citizens. I do too. All but one of them don’t care if the burners come through here or not. But really – people were breaking the law, they got caught and then they whine about how “wronged” they were. It doesn’t make any difference to me if you are a “burner” or anything else – if you are a big enough boy to take the risk of transporting illegal drugs (or a gun in another case) you had better be big enough to take the consequences as well. The burners (and others) sound to me like a bunch of babies who need to have their diapers changed. And thank you for recognizing my intelligence – your envy is duly noted.

    • The Aggressive Progressive August 18, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      It’s a good thing where “breaking the law” doesn’t mean what it use to, people today are aware how the “law” sometimes is behind in aligning with emerging information and superior idea’s that might question the foundation of it’s identity… I mean when certain types of marriage between two humans is against the “law”, or certain plants or beneficial activities to our ecosystems are against the “law”, it really makes me wonder who or what idea the “law” is serving.

  36. It's the Burning Man economy, stupid. August 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Any business owners not up in arms about the significant amount of cash and repeat visits we could get from Burning Man is grossly misinformed.

    Do people do drugs at Burning Man? Sure! Like some of the richest people in the world. People like the CEOs of Google and Facebook:

    Boy! I’d hate to have those criminals come here!

    But I guess the ones driving up 395 could mostly be deadbeat drug addicts, except the average income of Burning Man attendees is over $80,000:

    And Reno expects to rake in about $35,000,000.00 this year from the festival (Man! I am trippin’ on all those zeros!)

    Because, you see, Burning Man is hella expensive. Drug addicts and criminals can do drugs in the desert for free any time….

    Thanks for keeping our communities safe…from tourists with money.

    • It's the Burning Man economy, stupid. August 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Or heaven forbid we have art or culture come through here!

      Officer, arrest those wealthy CEOs and artists, before they inspire our children! Oh won’t somebody please think of the children!

      • Tony Cumia August 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        the wealthy you keep referring to dont drive…they fly a chopper to Reno, if they even know what burned ou man is……usually they are to concerend w/ making money.. just saying

        • BM Economy August 19, 2014 at 8:32 am #

          Which would be true, except my personal experience to the contrary. If you haven’t been, I don’t think you really know what you are talking about.

          • BM Economy August 19, 2014 at 9:00 am #

            Also, I assume anyone chartering a helicopter to Reno has a good idea of where he is going and it probably isn’t to the bright lights of the biggest little city in the world.

  37. Trouble August 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    I’ll vote for the next candidate that declares the war on drugs is over. Are people really so blind not to see that the declared war on drugs is really war declared on our own people? It’s not right. Treat it like alcohol and cut the bull. I haven’t done a illegal drug in over twenty years, but I don’t think people should be locked up unless they harm others. Maybe doesn’t count!

  38. Brandon August 19, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    To all of the people of mono effected by the craziness going on I am truly sorry and sympathetic. To the rest bullying people on the highway and businesses in your community. Well January will be a new year for sure. Things will go back to the way they were. Burners aka junkies, rejecks, welfare recipients( all the same right?) will spend there pennies at the gas stations, Bridgeport inn, and at the other stores, motels along the way. We may even travel up again on the off season like we used to and tell our friends how wonderful our trip was. And they will tell and invite there friends……. Burners love mono county. Mono county hasn’t liked burners since 2012. 341 burners screened. 17 arrested. That’s 324 that had a dog Tera sniff through their car during a DUI check point. Bottom line. Sheriff O has had a 89% increase in arrests from the previous sheriff. What the hell does that tell you. 89%? Trampling on 395 rights!!!!!!!

  39. Bob August 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    I’m avoiding Mono County and haven’t had a post make it to this blog in a week.

    I think the Eastern Sierra has thrown the 1st amendment out the window with the 4th and the 5th.


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