SALT LAKE CITY (CBS SF) – The discovery on Thursday of large quantities of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on five buses carrying Northern California teenagers is making national headlines, but police in Elko, Nev. Friday said it is not the first time it has happened.

Elko police also found drugs last year on buses carrying teens to a ski trip in Salt Lake City organized by the same company involved in Thursday’s incident, police Capt. Will Leiman said.

Police stopped the five tour buses carrying about 250 teens on Thursday after receiving a tip that some teens were smoking marijuana.

The buses, organized by the company Summer Winter Action Tours, or SWAT, were traveling to Sale Lake City from Northern California for what the company website calls “the largest high school ski and snowboard trip in the nation.”

Because of the difficulties in determining who owned the drugs discovered by search dogs, and because Elko only has one juvenile lockup with a maximum capacity of 28 people, police opted to seize the illegal items and allow the buses to move on with a warning, Leiman said.

Elko police seized slightly more than a pound of marijuana, while the Elko County Sheriff’s Office seized an unknown additional quantity of drugs.

“Logistically, this was the best we could have done under the circumstances,” Leiman said, noting that the charges would have been misdemeanors at best if arrests had been made.

The ones who are most to blame, Leiman said, are the organizers of the trip, who did not appear to have taken sufficient steps to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol on the trip.

He noted that there appeared to be only two chaperones for each busload of 50 kids, and that the chaperones were mostly around 18 years old.

“This happened last year as well,” Leiman said. “Same bus line, same organizational people, and so our unhappiness is with the group that organizes this trip.”

SWAT company officials did not return phone calls about the incidents but sent an email saying that “press reports were inaccurate” and that they would be issuing a statement shortly.

“Your students (sic) safety is our number one priority and we will be doing our best to ensure your son/daughter gets home safely,” the company’s message said.

Leiman said Elko police have received numerous phone calls from parents, most of whom have been angry with the bus company.


(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. Karen says:

    Had this been a bus full of minority teens, each and everyone of them would have been arrested and charged with possesion and drug trafficking. The Chief of Police gave a poor excuse for just confiscating the drugs and sending the bus on there way as if nothing happend, not even a citation…Wow again, had this been any other race, the outcome would have been different!

    1. tn says:

      What part about the racial double standards policy don’t you understand? If you go to the “right” schools, are the “right” color, have the “right” parent(s), then you’re always “right!” And if you’re not, the “right” attorney will fix it.

  2. rocko says:

    just booked 2 seats, one for me, one for my drugs! can’t wait!!!

  3. Karen says:

    It could have been worse. They could have been smoking meth or crack or even herion. Worse yet would be the bus drivers under the influence of one of those drugs that had been entrusted for the safety of all those kids. We could be reading the obituaries instead. Who was responsible for the alcohol and damn the store clerk for being a snitch.

  4. Guapi says:

    I’m not thrilled with the police action here. It’s pretty lame. I would have at least turned the bus around and sent it (and the pre-felons) back from whence they came!

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