Deputy’s high school drug sting nets four in Ramona
Posing as a teenager, a sheriff’s deputy learned a lot about drugs at Ramona High School — enough to lead to four arrests, three young adults and a student.
The arrests last Tuesday are the result of a yearlong undercover investigation targeting drug-dealing at Ramona High and three other area high schools. The sting resulted in arrest warrants for a total of six minors and 13 adults.
During the probe, youthful-looking deputies posed as students at Ramona, Abraxas, Mission Hills, and Poway high schools, and were able to buy narcotics at all but Abraxas High, according to sheriff’s officials. The types of illicit substances purchased included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and hydrocodone.
As a result of the investigation, dubbed “Operation A Team,” deputies and agents with the Narcotics Task Force and North County Regional Gang Task Force served the 19 arrest warrants — nine for current and former students at the four schools, and 10 to adults who allegedly sold drugs to the plainclothes personnel.
No one but Ramona Unified Superintendent Robert Graeff knew about the undercover operation until the morning of the arrests. Graeff explained the safety of the undercover deputy at Ramona High was a prime concern.
In addition to the one Ramona High female juvenile suspect arrested at the school, the following Ramona adults were arrested Tuesday morning: Skylor McGee, 20; Maxwell Gaffney, 19; and Christopher Payne, 18. The juvenile’s name is withheld because she is underage. She will be charged in juvenile court.
McGee and five other defendants accused of selling marijuana, heroin and other drugs to undercover sheriff’s deputies entered a not guilty plea in court last week to felony charges. They face between four and six years in state prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Jorge del Portillo said. Information about the other two Ramona adults arrested was not available by the time the Sentinel went to press.
In addition to disrupting narcotics sales at the campuses, the investigation “provided intelligence on larger drug suppliers in the area,” according to Sheriff Bill Gore.
“The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and NTF are pursuing these leads and will continue the investigation,” he said the day of the arrests. “The take-away from today is this — if you want to buy illegal drugs, you very well could be talking to a deputy sheriff.”
- Three Ramona adults, one minor arrested in sheriff’s high school drug sting
- McGee, five others plead not guilty to selling drugs to undercover deputies
- Sheriff arrests 7 in drug bust
- Man pleads guilty in deputy chase
- Bomb threat nets time served in jail for high school senior
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