An elaborate undercover narcotics operation at a Maryland Burger King ended not with a bust, but with a whimper.
After spending nearly two months masquerading as a fast food employee, a Thurmont police officer was able to confiscate a mere 5 grams of marijuana and two morphine pills, The Frederick-News Post reports.
The operation, which began in August, stemmed from complaints that Burger King employees were selling drugs out of the restaurant. In an effort to address those gripes, the Thurmont Police Department turned to Officer Nicole Fair, a recent hire who they felt wouldn’t be recognized in the tight-knit community.
“In this case, we had a new officer who wasn’t well-known in Thurmont at the time,” Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler told The Frederick-News Post, explaining the scheme. “So we thought that we would put her in there in a covert operation.”
Burger King hired Fair in August without having been alerted to the police operation. The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird were both reportedly informed.
“Based upon the information we had, we felt that anonymity was necessary for the protection of the officer and the integrity of the operation,” State’s Attorney Charlie Smith told the Post.
The investigation ended last week with the arrest 23-year-old Tommy Lee Miller, who was charged with possession and distribution of marijuana, and 28-year-old Jonathan Brook Moser, who was charged with selling marijuana and morphine, according to WUSA.
The story has since gone viral on Reddit, however, where many users are questioning if it was really worth the time, effort and taxpayer money. After all, 5 grams of marijuana have a street value of around $50, and possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is only a civil offense in Maryland ― though selling it is still a felony, with a maximum jail sentence of five years. And two pills of morphine is, well, two pills of morphine.
And how did it take so long for the officer to get someone to sell her drugs, anyway?
Another Reddit user pointed out the colossal amount of resources that likely went into such a minor drug bust.
Despite criticism from the outside, some community members said they appreciated the effort.
“I’m glad they caught them because drugs are ruining a lot of people’s lives,” Herman Swope, a Burger King patron, told WUSA. “I’m glad they caught them even if they had to go undercover.”