N.C. Raves: Durham drug bust
Raves, media, and the law : Durham drug bust (6 of 9)




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Durham police officer Jack Cates went undercover at two raves in Durham, netting five arrests on drug charges. Because he often works undercover, Cates asked that his face not be shown in this photo. MORE
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Copyright ©1998 Jim Webb. All rights reserved.

Officer Cates and his partner first heard about raves in 1997, through informants and complaints from concerned parents. Cates, a member of Durham's Crime Area Target Team -- a division known for its heroin and cocaine busts -- helped organize a sting operation at two raves in October 1997. Cates, working undercover, bought drugs in a van outside a rave. Officers hidden in the rear of the van arrested the suspects.

At another rave, Cates went inside to look for dealers. "We were amazed by the amounts of drugs we saw," said Cates. "We were real surprised by the younger group of kids dealing drugs we're not used to seeing here in Durham -- designer drugs."

His partner, Officer Anthony Smith, agreed, though he didn't go inside the parties. "It's basically a drug party, that's how I would explain it," said Smith.

The five arrests, on suspects ranging from 17 to 27 years old, included multiple drug charges. Mostly seized were crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. Many of the ecstasy pills may have been laced with two or more illegal drugs, with each ingredient punishable as a separate offense.

Still, Cates doesn't consider raves a priority for future raids and undercover action. "I don't see it as an everyday problem," he says. "I see it as a problem the parents are going to have to face." TOP