Nevada City Police officers and members of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force teamed up Friday to arrest an alleged drug dealer living in a transient camp on Sugar Loaf Mountain.
“There had been a rumor about drugs up there,” said Nevada City Police Chief Jim Wickham.
Nevada City purchased the 30-acre Sugar Loaf Mountain in 2011 for $450,000 to preserve it as a public space free from development and subsequently annexed the area into the city’s boundaries.
The area off Coyote Street, which has hosted a number of transient camps and which has historically been treated as a dumping ground, was scheduled to be the site of an intensive cleanup effort this morning.
After Nevada City’s no-camping ordinance — requires anyone who intends to sleep on public property to obtain a permit — took effect in January, police officers have posted signs on Sugar Loaf, notifying campers of the ordinance and its planned enforcement.
Those education efforts led to Friday’s arrest of Patrick Carter, 27.
“I’ve spent a great deal of time getting to know where the campers are,” said Nevada City Police Officer Shane Franssen, adding that he developed information on narcotics activity in the area.
“The word was (Carter) was selling meth out of his tent,” he said. “He does have a history.”
Franssen said he contacted the Narcotics Task Force last week and they worked together to draw up a game plan, with the Sheriff’s Office obtaining a search warrant for Carter.
“I knew right where his camp was on the mountain,” Franssen said. “It was a good mutual aid, with both agencies working together and getting a good arrest.”
Carter was located at his camp and allegedly was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Officers reportedly located more than 25 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of about $1,000, digital scales, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $400 in cash during the search.
According to Franssen, officers also located “quite a bit” of possibly stolen property suspected of having been traded to Carter for drugs. The seized items included numerous phones, DVD players, laptops, jewelry, sports memorabilia, collectible comic books and “lots” of individually packaged old coins, Franssen said.
While two Nevada City Police officers were surveying the area Feb. 26, they discovered a man and a woman in the act of shooting narcotics, according to dispatch and arrest logs.
“A lot of the transients up there, their daily routine involves getting drugs,” Sheriff’s Deputy John Dzioba said.
“Once they find out one of their drug dealers there has been taken out, hopefully they will move.”
Carter was booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on suspicion of being under the influence, possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. A task force spokesman said meth sales charges likely would be added. He was being held in county jail in lieu of $12,000 bail.
Staff writer Chris Rosacker contributed to this report. To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.