Teen Falls In Love With Undercover Cop In Marijuana Sting, Gets Arrested

Boy Meets Girl. Girl Arrests Boy.

During an undercover marijuana sting at a South Florida school, a teenage boy began to fall for someone he thought was just another teenage girl.

But the boy's crush turned out to be an undercover police officer, who would later have him arrested for selling her marijuana she asked him to obtain for her.

The story featured on "This American Life" on Feb. 10 led listeners through the secret operation that involved 18-year-old Justin Laboy, an honor student at Park Vista Community High School in Palm Beach, Fla., and a 25-year-old woman posing as a high school senior.

The operation resulted in a total of 31 arrests in three different Florida schools.

Now, Laboy is is enduring the consequences of his actions, including a felony charge that bars him from joining the military, something he wanted to do.

The teen is not the first to be caught in an undercover sting, nor the case the first to raise questions about tactics used in undercover police actions.

In Brooklyn, New York, a 19-year-old student was charged with receiving stolen property after buying an iPhone from an undercover police officer in December.

The New York Police Department set up the operation to target people buying and selling stolen electronics, NBC New York reported. The sting led to 141 arrests, with Robert Tester among them.

But Tester said he was tricked into purchasing the phone after the undercover officer told him he needed money to feed his daughter for Christmas.

Police defend the arrest, but Tester is planning on filing a civil counter-suit against NYPD, according to the report.

In January, police arrested ten students at a Texas high school for selling prescription drugs and marijuana.

After the school district reached out to the police about the problem, an officer went undercover as a student, the Houston Chronicle reported.

But Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance and a HuffPost blogger, questions whether these tactics are doing more harm than good in the war against drugs:

How do these cops look themselves in the mirror? Seducing 18-year-olds to fall in love or pretending to be friends and then tricking them into procuring small amounts of marijuana so they can charge them with felonies is beyond slimy and diametrically opposed to the officers' charge to "serve and protect."

What do you think? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.

For more on Justin Laboy's story, listen to the full interview at ThisAmericanLife.org.

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