Busted at Burning man? See Nevada Laws & Penalties
UPDATE DISCUSSION ON BURNING MAN POLICE PRESENCE: http://burners.me/2013/09/07/business-insider-comments-on-police-presence-at-burning-man-2013
The freedom-loving hippie “burners” attending the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nev. this week may believe they’re communing in a happy cocoon with no laws.
In reality, undercover federal agents from all over the West are swarming the “temporary community” as they do every year and busting people for doing or selling drugs, local attorney and former cop Arnold Brock tells Business Insider. These agents do whatever they can to fit in at the 50,000-person festival, which Brock called a “unique event” that’s kind of like Woodstock.
Drone’s eye view of Burning Man 2013
“Last year we had an undercover agent dressed up as catwoman,” Brock says. “They will do whatever they do to … ferret out what they are considering criminal activity.”
Brock has an entire page on his website devoted to the “Burning-Man Related Arrests” that can happen to out-of-towners attending the festival. The festival goers might have their guard down and could be easy targets.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for undercover agents to go have a little fun and work a limited geographic area,” Brock says. “And that is exactly what they do.”
In some cases, Brock says, federal agents will even follow vehicles involved in larger drug deals from out of state and bust them once they arrive at Burning Man. Last year, 350 people were arrested there, according to the Reno Gazette.
Some burners have accused the cops of being overzealous in recent years. Festival attendees have complained about undercover female agents explicitly asking male burners for drugs as well as drug dogs brazenly roaming the camps, the Associated Press reported back in 2010.
Federal officials, however, said Burning Man needs to be policed.
“I don’t want my guys to be party poopers, but we have a job to do,” Mark Pirtle, special agent in charge for the Bureau of Land Management, told the AP. “[Festival goers] are not bad people, but they like to use drugs.“
VIDEO UPDATE: Reno news KRNV Ask Joe: How many crimes occur at Burning Man ?
Patty Gordon wrote in saying she has heard there are many serious crimes committed at Burning Man and she wants to know if that’s true ?
Patty, Pershing County is considered the lead law enforcement agency when it comes to Burning Man. I checked with Sheriff Machado in Pershing County. He did not have complete numbers but I did a get partial list. There are 50 investigative cases which are now open and being investigated. Machado says the crimes reported at burning man this year included open and gross lewdness, twelve sexual assaults, battery and various property crimes and DUI. A total of 15 people were taken to jail. Keep in mind there are more than 60,000 people up there for burning man, but there clearly are crimes being committed during the festival. Again the sheriff’s department is still compiling all of the numbers and we’ll follow up when they have complete list
2013 Burning Man Tyranny on the Playa
Tyranny on the playa An estimated 68,000 people are anticipated to stream into the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nev. for Burning Man beginning Sunday, and federal and state law enforcement agencies for the event said this year they are implementing a new integration to ensure the public’s safety.
“We have integrated resources and manpower out of need and because the population has grown,” Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado said. “The population is to the point now that it’s imperative that we work together to manage this event.”
In previous years, each sector of law enforcement covered thier own agency jurisdictions and relied on the resources they brought out for the event.
In addition to sharing resources this year, there will be one law enforcement command post in Black Rock City stationed near Burning Man’s Black Rock Ranger’s station and each vehicle will have a state officer and a federal officer to ensure they can respond to any incident at the event.
2013 The Man burns!
Know your rights at burning man!
2012 Burn video
Golden Lips of Silence – Playa Police
“We knew that we needed to take an internal look at this operation and we knew that integration was a key component of that,” the Bureau of Land Management Special Agent-In-Charge Dan Love said.
Love said they will staff 102 officers total for the event between the PCSO and the BLM. He said for every shift, 64 officers will be on duty on the playa and will rotate in overlapping shifts every 12 hours. Overall, he said, it’s a ratio of 1 officer to every 1,000 participants. Continue reading