By Steve Elliott
It's usually best not to text the sheriff with a marijuana purchase request. That may seem obvious, but a Helena, Montana teen sent a text message last week looking for pot -- and instead of contacting the dealer, he hit a wrong humber and accidentally sent the message to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.
"Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?" the text read.
At first, the sheriff thought somebody was just messing with him, but then he realized it was a real request from a cannabis consumer, reports Alana Listoe at the Helena Independent Record.
"I'm thinking, 'Hey, this is odd,' " Dutton said. "I was looking around to see if there was someone outside my window playing a prank."
So he played along. "How much are we talking?" Dutton texted back to the teen.
The sender said he was close to the dealer's house, so Sheriff Dutton got the Missouri River Drug Task Force on the line. A detective posing as the dealer agreed to meet the sender at a business at the north end of town a 6 p.m. last Wednesday, Dutton said.
Inside the business, the detective saw two male juveniles with an adult male. Making sure it was the right pothead, the detective called the number three times, according to Dutton.
Then the detective called the teens over and showed them his badget.
The young boys turned white and their knees began to wobble, according to the sheriff.
When the group went outside to, well, hash out the issue, one of the teens actually passed out from fright.
"Was it divine intervention or just bad luck?" Sheriff Dutton said.
The adult male with the two young men turned out to be the father of one of the teens.
"He was a big, military-looking guy and he wasn't happy," Dutton said.
The drug detective got both of the teens' parents involved, and ended up deciding not to issue any citations.
"When the detective saw there were parents that wanted to be involved he took the right action and I'm really proud of the deputy," Sheriff Dutton said.
"Trying to buy drugs is a crime, but it's probably worse that they had to face their parents," Dutton said.