History, laws, and statistics tell us many things about the gay community. Above all, even though the U.S. has made great progress in societies acceptance and conformity, the gay community still deals with many obstacles. Should the police be an additional one?
(IJR News 10/9/2011) IJR NEWS (IJR) has had an overwhelming discussion on our own website that has involved the use of sting operations that allege to target the gay community in places where years ago, were considered sacred among gay men. The gay community is a segregated and tight knit group of people that have made great advances in their rights and presence. However, just like any discriminated group, they still endure a great deal of challenges. Certain police departments are targeting these communities by some very questionable methods which are adding to these challenges.
The California economy has been hit among the hardest in the last decade, in fact USA Today says the middle class is going through the worse decade to date. Should cities such as Laguna Beach, CA. be allocated funds to have undercover police officers buying local hotel rooms and inviting drug users to drive motor vehicles to their city?
According to their own police records, and verified by IJR staff, the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) is placing and responding to ads on internet sites, renting hotel rooms, inviting crystal methamphetamine drug users under the influence to drive their motor vehicle into their city from various areas, to make arrests and seemingly target the gay community. The police are doing this by catering to the sexual needs and desires of this often rejected group, and apparently establishing relationship like correspondence appealing to their sense of compassion and friendship.
IJR obtained copies of verified police reports whereas arrest were made after luring gay men into their city by promising sexual acts in addition to “partying” with the gay respondents. Reports obtained only showed Laguna Beach Police Department answering the placed ads on only the “Men seeking Men” sections of Craigslist. IJR questions if the LBPD puts the same and equal efforts to every group on Craigslist such as men seeking woman, woman seeking men, etc.
IJR intends to launch an in-depth investigation for this, and other apparent entrapment and profiling violations being committed in the least suspected places? We also publically ask the LBPD to make available any and all arrests of this type and to provide sufficient proof that the gay community was not targeted. In addition, is it customary for arresting police officers or even the Orange County District Attorney to charge 11351.5 H&S for sale, where 90% of the elements provided by the Health and Safety Code along with a Santa Ana Narcotics officer’s statement show are missing from the LBPD police report?
IJR spoke to a veteran Santa Ana police undercover narcotics officer (officer Brian last name withheld per his request) about undercover narcotics operations, and in particular 11.351.5 in this case, without advising him of the LBPD incident. Officer Brian told us this, “Mere possession of narcotics is a crime in California, people should know this. But possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell is an even more serious crime. Prosecutors tend to charge possession for sale when we are making arrest where narcotic activity is prevalent, and when we discover a person with enough drugs to quantify “for sale” charges, and a majority of the following factors exist:
- Large quantities of the drug, typically an ounce or more is way beyond personal use. An 8 ball or two (meaning an 1/8 of an ounce) is considered personal use much like Marijuana without a medical card.
- Packaging of the drug in separate baggies or bindles, if we find this packaging meaning mor then like two or three little bags, it is pretty convincing.
- Scales, either the buyer is really detailed oriented about their weight, or most often, scales are used for drug dealers or doctors.
- Lots of cash, especially in small denominations, if a dealer has made many sales or is about to, they either have a lot of cash or a lot of change.
- Lots of people coming to your place, and staying only a few minutes, when a narc gives up a location of a drug dealer, this type of behavior enhances the evidence needed to properly charge and convict a known drug dealer.
We also add weight for prior sales arrest and a few other things.”
We then asked officer Brian about Santa Ana’s view on undercover operations on Craigslist, “Well some police departments do them with certain grant money and so forth, most of those operations are targeted at prostitution and pandering of underage girls which is high on most every communities list of priorities, I mean “the Johns” (men paying for sex) basically get a ticket and are released, the “647B girls” (prostitutes) might go to jail for a few hours, but our real goal is to find those underage girls and arrest the people that make them do this type of stuff.”
We then asked officer Brian if Santa Ana PD would ever secure several undercover police officers, purchase a hotel room, and then invite admitted drug users with much likelihood to be under the influence of methamphetamine, to drive through the streets of Santa Ana to find the police officers room and sell the officer an “8 ball.” The Santa Ana PD veteran responded and laughed, “That sounds like a big fishing expedition to me, I don’t think that makes a lot of sense, do you? I mean the driver kills a family on the way to sell an 8 ball where he or she had no previous intention on going? Please tell me no one did this.”
IJR proceeded with the interview and dialog from this and similar instances will be released as we wait for a response from Laguna Beach PD and continue our in depth investigation on this.
It should be noted, “Party and Play” (PNP or PnP), also known as a chemical session, chem session, or simply as partying, is a phenomenon and subculture of recreational drug users who play together sexually, either one-on-one or in groups. The term is most often, but not always used by and associated with homosexuals and men who have sex with men (MSM). The drug of choice is typically methamphetamine, known as crystal orTina in the gay community.
IJR looked at many search keywords associated with Tina, PNP, and Gay drug use. All search terms indicated an overwhelmingly strong association with the gay community. IJR has numerous complaints on its posting and blog board containing similar entrapment and profiling situations, along with applying laws and targeting certain groups and not equally among others.
IJR News does not condone any use of prohibited drugs as classified by our legal system. IJR News feels that the letter of the law and the spirit of the law should be as clear as possible. With the evidence obtained and research done, there is an obvious lapse of spirit of the law in this story. This means that yes, a law was broken, but the way the arrested were lured into these seemingly safe areas, where normally they are not judged by their sexual preference (in this case Craigslist classifieds men seeking men), certainly raises concerns.
Officer Brian, told us this, “I can follow any person in the city of Santa Ana home from work and they will break many vehicle code violations, such as changing lanes without due caution, failure to signal with adequate time, not fully stopping at a stop sign, no front license plate, tinted windows, etc. and better yet, if three are committed in a row, I have the authority to take them to jail and book them on a misdemeanor. However, that is not how our legal system is meant to function, we try to operate in the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law.”
IJR thanks all of the contributing members to this panel.
“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of law, and with the colors of justice …”
– U.S. v. Jannotti, 673 F.2d 578, 614 (3d Cir. 1982
The Santa Ana POA
The Santa Ana Investigations Bureau
George Ball , IJR NEWS contributing journalist, retired narcotics investigator
contact me at http://www.IJRnews.com or
1. Definition: PNP, or party and play, is a subculture of drug use while having sex. PNP has been widely associated with gay men or men who have sex with men. Users pick a variety of “party drugs,” but most typically crystal meth. http://www.gaylife.com, wikepedia.com