• Riverside Sheriff's deputies in California attempted an undercover drug sting last week.
  • The operation was botched, and the suspect jetted off after buying 60 pounds of meth.
  • The department is actively investigating where the suspect, and drugs, ended up.

Police in Riverside, California, sold 60 pounds of methamphetamine in a failed "reverse buy" drug sting operation that saw the suspect speed away with the illicit product.

The Desert Sun first reported that Riverside County Sheriff's deputies arranged the drug deal last Thursday. According to a press release from the department, undercover investigators met the suspect to seal the deal, with the goal of identifying "narcotics traffickers."

But following the transaction, the suspect sped away with the drugs.

In the press release, the department said that they had identified a local suspect who wanted to purchase bulk quantities of the drug. The officers sold the drugs to the suspect and then attempted to stop the suspect, per the release, leading to a high-speed pursuit.

"Due to the high speeds and suspect's disregard for public safety, deputies lost sight of the vehicle," the department said in the release.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2022, the street price of mid-grade meth is $2,500 to $3,500 per lb. The suspect in Riverside jetted off with somewhere between $148,000 and $208,000 worth of the drug, per that calculation.

Michael Lujan, a retired captain with the department who lost a recent election for Sheriff, told the Los Angeles Times, that "reverse buy" operations like this one typically require more surveillance and "guardrails" to ensure someone doesn't flee the scene.

"Why would you let someone get in their vehicle, I don't know," Lujan told the Times. "It is pretty embarrassing. It's unfortunate because now we have additional narcotics out on the street."

The department said that the investigation into the suspect is ongoing.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department did not immediately return Insider's request for more information.

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