“Meet me at da bowling alley,” the teen instructed another person Sunday afternoon via text message.
The message had nothing to do with bowling.
“Hey i’m here and i have it wit me,” the teen texted a few minutes later.
“It” was a quarter-ounce of marijuana, and the person he thought he’d made a drug deal with was Early police Sgt. Shawn Dibrell.
Dibrell, assisted by sheriff’s narcotics detective Carlyle Gover, arrested Jose Sandoval, 17, on a charge of delivery of marijuana over 1/4 ounce under 5 pounds after finding the teen sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked pickup, according to Dibrell and Brown County Jail records.
Dibrell said the drug deal had its beginnings in a traffic stop another Early officer made at 2:46 that morning.
Officer Steven Means stopped a vehicle on a traffic violation and noticed that driver Brian Gober Jr.’s hands were shaking and his voice was “trembly,” Means’ report states.
Other officers — John Mills, Johnny Brown and his drug dog, Tessa, and Dibrell — arrived. Tessa alerted on the vehicle, and officers found marijuana, Means’ report states.
Mills, who had been working DWI enforcement on a STEP grant, arrested Gober, 18, of Early, on charges of possession of marijuana under 2 ounces and driving under the influence of drugs, jail records state.
Means arrested the vehicle’s other occupant, Robert Daniels, also an 18-year-old Early resident, on a charge of possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, jail records state.
Dibrell searched one of the teen’s cell phones and found text messages relating to the sale of marijuana. “We learned that the marijuana found was supplied by a person named Jose,” Dibrell said.
“I started text messaging back and forth, making arrangements to buy marijuana from him.”
Dibrell said he began text messaging the person named “Jose” at 5 a.m. Sunday, and received a reply around noon. The person offered to sell an ounce for $75, and arrangements were made for a meeting at the bowling alley, Dibrell said.
He said he enlisted Gover’s help, and the two found Sandoval and removed the teen from his vehicle at gunpoint.
“He was shaking,” Dibrell said. “He wasn’t sure what was going on. At one point, it dawned on him he was making transactions with the police. Basically he knew the game was up. I told him I had all the text messages saved to my phone.”
The suspect had a “quarter-bag” which he had planned to sell for the cost of an ounce, Dibrell said.