What is It Like to Get Arrested for Drugs at Coachella?

Categories: Coachella

LP Hastings/OC Weekly
Whatchu gonna do when they come for you?

As Coachella attendees, we've all had brushes with security, whether they're frisking us down, checking our wristbands or telling us to put out our joints. Fewer of us have experienced a full-on security detention and arrest at Coachella. But for those of you who are curious what may happen if your bag of Mollys fall out of your bra during a security check or if you accidentally sell bud to an undercover, we met up with a young modern hippie, "Derek" who spilled the details of what it's like to get arrested at Coachella.

It was 2 p.m. on a Friday in 2009. Derek hadn't even made it in to the first day of the festival yet. He had returned to his campsite from going to the restroom, entirely too stoned to notice a group of plain-cloathed men rummaging through his belongings. The men noticed him first, and quickly pretended they weren't riffling through the unattended bags. The group approached Derek and said they had a report of a man of his description selling pot.

"Well it wasn't me, maybe somebody over there," Derek replied, pointing to an unspecified area away from his site. They told him he looked nervous, so they searched him anyway. The search produced a few grams of pot and one gram of cocaine.

The men (apparently undercover security) threw Derek down on his stomach and held him down, despite the fact he didn't try to run and didn't get aggressive. They cuffed him and then whisked him away on a golf cart. As they rode off toward Coachella Jail, they stopped to pick up a middle aged "hippie-looking-dude."

"Hey, I know you," Derek said. "You just tried to buy drugs from me while I was waiting by the bathroom."

"Oh hey, yeah, I did," the guy responded, apparently in cahoots with the rest of the undercovers. "Can you tell them I didn't sell you drugs?" Derek pleaded. The man confirmed for the other undercover officers that Derek had refused to sell him drugs when he asked, but to no avail--they were still carting him away to Coachella Jail.

Coachella Jail is an outdoor police area near Monroe and 51st. It looks like a make-shift work area with lots of tables and cops and undercover officers swarming about. And reportedly a collection of girls on drugs crying. "They'd made like 40 something arrests already today so it was pretty busy," Derek said. According to Derek, it's hot and they give you little water. After they interrogate and process you, they ship you off with other arrestees to Indio Jail about 3.5 miles away for the dirty work.

"Indio Jail sucks; I do not recommend spending any time there," Derek said.

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