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250+ teens caught with drugs on ski trip, none arrested


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds of California teens on their way to Utah for a ski trip were caught Tuesday with more than just their snow gear. All sorts of drugs were found on their buses - but no one was arrested. In fact the group was allowed to continue on their trip to Utah.

But Elko police say they just don't have the room to hold more than 250 kids on misdemeanor drug charges.

Marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol and pipes are just some of what Elko police confiscated from over 250 California teens looking for a good time in Utah.

"There were five tour buses, full of young people anywhere between the ages of 15 to 20 and they were on their way to SLC for a ski trip," said Chief Don Zumwalt

The unchaperoned ski group stopped in Elko, Nevada for dinner. While parked at a Maverick gas station, patrons of the store noticed some of the teens smoking drugs. Fast forward a half hour or so and dozens of teens are turning over a ridiculous amount of drugs to police.

250+ teens caught with drugs on ski trip, none arrested

"We had consent to board the bus and kids brought out loads and loads of contraband on their own and let us take it and destroy it," said Chief Zumwalt.

Elko police say no one teen had enough drugs on him or herself to warrant a felony drug charge. Because Elko's juvenile detention center only holds about 30 kids - it wasn't feasible to arrest and hold everyone on misdemeanor charges.

"We could have stopped and got search warrants, searched every bag, and we would have still be writing search warrants a week later because it takes so much time to do that," Zumwalt said.

So the teens were allowed to continue to Utah for their week long ski trip. That's not the end of the story, however.

Elko police say they're now investigating the bus company, Divine Transportation, and the independent tour group, Summer Winter Action Tours, who put the trip together.

Police say if something like this happens again, not only will the drivers be arrested for endangering teens and transporting drugs across state lines - but the buses will be seized.

"We're going to look into the group and see who sponsors it and see who is responsible for it and then have a little conversation with them, because this happened last year as well," Zumwalt said. Elko police tell us that after last year's bust the parents of some of the teens on that trip sued the bus company, and the company that arranged the trip for negligence.

Divine Transportation did not return any phone calls.

Email: spark@ksl.com

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