High school drug sting yields several arrests in Hanford

FRESNO, Calif.

A Hanford Police Officer in his 20s was posing as a high school student at Hanford West starting back in November. Officers ended the operation earlier than expected after someone thought they recognized him. In the end, detectives arrested 10 students for dealing marijuana and a whole list of prescription drugs, on campus.

News spread fast on the Hanford West High School campus that an undercover officer had been posing as a student, helping the department net 10 arrests of student drug dealers.

In a photo given to Action News by the Hanford Sentinel -- shows officers arresting one of the students Wednesday morning. Nine of the students were from Hanford West -- the other attends Hanford High School.

Hanford Police say the undercover officer made thirteen drug transactions with ten different dealers in less than three weeks.

Hanford Police Chief Carlos Mestas added, "The undercover officer attended classes mingled with students learned who was buying and using drugs at the school and where we could locate the dealers."

Chief Mestas says students were selling marijuana and different kinds of prescription drugs, which he says are the most dangerous. "It's like putting a gun to your head and not knowing if a round is in the chamber because you don't know the effect is going to be especially if you start mixing the drugs."

Police launched the sting after receiving complaints from parents and school officials about drug dealing on campus. Only a handful of officers knew about the operation and only one school official -- the superintendent.

One parent who didn't want to be identified says he is glad police took action. "Very good I like that because I have a daughter here and I don't want her messing with any kind of drugs at all."

Police say stings like this one are highly effective in stopping drug use. While some students agree -- others fear it will break the trust between officers and students.

Taylor Ketchum said, "Definitely not going -- people aren't going to respect cops."

Seth Kurtz said, "I wouldn't say it's more a problem here than it is anywhere else just teenagers in general."

Of the ten students arrested, three are 18-years-old, which means they could face more serious charges. Hanford Police plan to conduct more undercover operations at other schools in the city.

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