It is hard to picture a grown man posing as a high school student for three months, talking the talk, walking the walk and completing homework assignments, but that is exactly what an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agent did at Nevada Union High School.
His three month undercover drug investigation came to an end Tuesday, April 2, when ABC agents and Nevada County Sheriff's deputies descended on campus during second period and arrested six students.
During his three months on campus, the undercover ABC agent purchased marijuana, hashish and hallucinogenic mushrooms. He also made arrangements for the sale of ecstasy and prescription drugs.
"I'm sure the investigation came as a huge shock to students, staff and parents," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA is an association of 7,000 state public safety professionals, including ABC agents. "Our CSLEA members who are ABC agents are passionate about enforcing the law and keeping drugs and alcohol away from our youth. How else can you describe the dedication it took to spend three months, five days a week in a high school setting, all the while keeping up the pretense that you truly are a teenager and involved in the drug scene?"
The investigation was initiated when parents and community members expressed concern about drug use and the sales of drugs on campus. Five of the six boys arrested are 17, the sixth student arrested is 18. The charges vary from drug sales, suspicion of criminal conspiracy and transportation of a controlled substance for sale.
"I truly appreciate ABC's help in trying to keep our kids safe in our community," Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told CSLEA. The Nevada County Sheriff's Office works closely with ABC on various alcohol and drug cases. "They had an agent who fit the bill, their assistance in having a young looking agent and the resulting arrests will go a long way in giving a chilling effect to those who might want to sell drugs on campus."
While the undercover part of the operation has ended, the investigation continues and could result in more arrests.