On Friday of last week, Mono Narcotic officers arrested six people for allegedly trading Mammoth Mountain ski vouchers for a variety of drugs.
Using the internet classified ads, the Reno/Tahoe Craigslist, MONET officers put out the word that they would trade vouchers to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for drugs. The ad read that the poster had ski passes to get rid of before the end of the season and that they would trade the passes for 420, a slang term for marijuana. The vouchers were the family and friends vouchers for ski area employees and were offered in a fair value trade with the Ski Areas knowledge, according to MONET Agent Paul Robles.
Some people who responded to the ad didn’t know what the 420 meant and simply wanted to buy lift tickets, but others were in contact with officers by text message, e-mail and phone over the course of the week before the actual meetings scheduled for Friday.
While this type of sting is routinely used on stolen property and sex crime cases, Robles explained that MONET officers had never tried a sting operation quite like this before. We would have loved to get no responses, he says.
That’s not how it turned out, however. The sting worked and six people were arrested, some at gunpoint. Officers say that they seized about 1 pound of marijuana, ounce of cocaine, Ecstasy tablets, and a variety of prescription medications.
Since we posted the story on the internet, Sierrawave has received numerous comments on this sting operation that ranged from support of the police efforts to condemnation of the sting, to legal advice.
Four readers called the sting operation a waste of tax payer dollars. Another reader claimed that they knew four of the people arrested in this sting operation, saying these are not “drug dealers, rapist, child molest., etc. These are working class people that answered an ad on Craigslist to “BUY” the lift vouchers. This reader, a Washington resident says that they will never visit Mammoth again.
Other readers were concerned that the crime was created by the police, in other words, if there were no ad, these people would not have brought the narcotics to Mammoth. Another reader says that marijuana is a staple in the diet of ski area employees nationwide. This reader called the stings a disgrace to our community.
There were also readers who felt the police had done a good job. One says, I guess the police should just let drugs run rampant in our town Others write, we don’t need that druggy element in our town, and keep your drugs in Orange County.
Some readers debate the larger national policy and the war on drugs, but with widespread prohibition of recreational drugs still in place, one reader says, last time I checked, selling narcotics was a real crime.