21 Jump Street: Police arrest 25 students after posing as pupils for entire term

In events that echo TV series and film 21 Jump Street, officers in California posed as high school students to make the drug related arrests

25 high school students have been arrested for drug offences in the US after undercover officers infiltrated their social groups.

In events that echo the plot of 21 Jump Street, the Johnny Depp TV series and subsequent Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum film, one male and one female officer posed as teens in their second-to-last year of high school for an entire term.

Students were arrested on suspicion of selling drugs at two schools in California as a result of the operation.

Two of those arrested were over 18 while three, who were not at school when officers descended on the campus, remain at large, Riverside County sheriff’s officials said.

Over the course of the investigation, officers seized drugs including marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, hashish and various prescription pills, police said.

Lt. Paul Bennett added that most of the drug purchases were for small amounts of marijuana.

Trevor Steinrichter, 16, told The Press-Enterprise that officers walked into his history class. “Scary. I saw my friend get arrested,” he said.

Bruce Hollen, 16, added that he found it disturbing to think police were posing as students. “You think you can trust people – you just never know,” he said.

Jonathan Greenberg, superintendent of the Perris Union High School District, said he had no reservations when the Sheriff’s Department proposed the undercover operation. “It was a question of what we could do to assist them,” he said.

“This is a very well-researched programme,” he added. “The people in it are all professionals.”

Undercover police stings in high schools are not entirely out of the ordinary in the US, with the Los Angeles Police Department pioneering the tactic decades ago.

The programme was however discontinued in 2005 after Los Angeles Unified School District officials said increasingly, the students arrested were in special education and that the amounts of marijuana were often very small.

Critics of such operations say that it is unfair to target teenagers, who are often emotionally vulnerable. "Sending police and informants to entrap high-school students is sick," Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance told radio station This American Life, after details of the busts were released.

“More often than not the drug war is ruining young people's lives and doing much more harm than good,” he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence