The following is an account of what goes on at "Coachella Jail," from our sister paper, the OC Weekly.
We got the story on it from a guy we'll call Derek, who was arrested for possession of pot and cocaine in 2009. It went down like this:
It was 2 p.m. on the festival's first day that year, but Derek hadn't made it in yet. Returning to his campsite after using the bathroom, he was entirely too stoned to notice a group of plain-clothed men rummaging through his belongings. One said they had a report of a man of his description selling pot.
"Well it wasn't me," Derek replied. They told him he looked nervous, so they searched him anyway, finding a few grams of pot and one gram of cocaine.
The men -- apparently undercover security -- threw Derek down on his stomach and held him down, he says. They cuffed him and then whisked him away on a golf cart, off toward Coachella jail. On the way, they stopped to pick up a middle aged "hippie-looking-dude," Derek recalls.
"Hey, I know you," Derek said. "You just tried to buy drugs from me while I was waiting by the bathroom."
Apparently, the guy was in cahoots with the rest of the undercovers. "Can you tell them I didn't sell you drugs?" Derek pleaded. He agreed, but it did no good. The journey to the slammer continued.
Coachella jail is -- or at least, when Derek was arrested, was -- an outdoor police area near Monroe and 51st. According to Derek, it was very hot and he wasn't given much water. The jail looked like a make-shift work area with lots of tables and cops and undercover officers swarming about. And reportedly a collection of girls on drugs crying. "They'd made like 40-something arrests already that day so it was pretty busy," Derek says.
After he was interrogated and processed, he was slipped off with other arrestees to Indio jail, a few miles away.
"Indio jail sucks," he says. "I do not recommend spending any time there."
Once inside the premises, Derek was led from room to room for a while. They took his mugshot, and he was sure to smile. He landed in a cell around 4 pm. They gave him a wristband -- a different sort of wristband -- with his inmate number on it. He shared a cell with a large man laying on the floor and a German kid arrested at the festival for selling ecstasy.
Derek says the large man finally woke around 2 a.m. He proceeded to tell his fellow prisoners his story: Just before he was arrested (he didn't specify why) he stuck a ball of meth up his ass so the cops wouldn't find it.
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