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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Pleasanton annexes 1.5 mile section of U.S. Highway 69

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

The Pleasanton City Council on a split vote approved annexing a 1.5 mile portion of U.S. Highway 69 into city limits. The areas encircled above are turnarounds about a half mile north and a half mile south of the U.S. 69 and the Sixth Street/East 1100 Road interchange. The annexation will include a quarter mile north and a quarter mile south of the turnarounds.

PLEASANTON – Following a public hearing, the Pleasanton City Council on a 3-1 split vote on Monday, Sept. 26, annexed a 1.5-mile section of U.S. Highway 69 into city limits.

City officials, including city Administrator Teresa Whitaker and Police Chief Tristan Snyder have pushed for the annexation, saying the annexation will allow the police to more effectively stop drug trafficking into the community.

Opponents, on the other hand, have said that there are plenty of drug sales going on in the city – particularly in the Casey’s parking lot – and the city doesn’t need that portion of the highway to effectively control drug trafficking.

The portion of highway annexed into city limits include three-quarters of a mile north and three-quarters of a mile south of the Sixth Street/East 1100 Road interchange.

City resident Eddie Haynes voiced his objection to the annexation, saying drug dealers were at Casey’s all the time. There is plenty of opportunity for police to catch dealers there, he said.

“I don’t know why we need to have it on the highway,” he added.

Council Member Rochelle Schreckhise, who would cast the lone vote against annexation, said the police department needed to concentrate on controlling the problem in town first, including talking to people to get more information on trafficking.

The police chief told the council that over the last two years his department has investigated 22 drug distribution cases. Half of those were in town.

When asked by Mayor Mike Frisbie how much he planned to have officers patrol on U.S. 69, Snyder said his officers would only be out there when two cars were on patrol. He also said that officers would only stop cars when it was apparent that a law was violated.

“We don’t stop cars unless they have done an infraction,” he said.

Whitaker reminded the council that over just a few short years, the number of drug cases in the city rose from four cases to 88 last year, including those apprehended at Casey’s and in town.

She said the intent of the annexation was not for police to stop law-abiding citizens on U.S. 69, it was to stop criminals. She pointed out that adding that section of highway was no different than patrolling around the city’s East Lake.

However, city resident Angelina Randall had another take on the issue. A former employee of the Junction City, Kan., police department, Randall pointed out that instances where local law enforcement officers have made stops and confiscated money or property that were not done properly.

Randall recounted an instance where the Dickinson County, Kansas, deputy made a stop that resulted in the confiscation of a transport vehicle, allegedly because a license plate holder obscured part of the tag. However, because it was carrying $165,000 in cash from Colorado-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, the money was confiscated.

Marijuana dispensaries are licensed and legal in Colorado, but not in Kansas. Dickinson County handed the case over to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas, because federal law still allows confiscation of money gotten by sales of a federally banned substance like marijuana.

Empyreal Logistics, the owner of the vehicle, filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the Dickinson County stop and a similar stop in California. In April, the U.S. Attorney’s office agreed to return the $1.1 million seized in the California case.

Randall said she was concerned that a mistake by the Pleasanton Police Department on U.S. 69 would lead to a lawsuit that could very well bankrupt the city.

Snyder said the largest amount confiscated by his department was $13,000.

Whitaker said that in the case of a seizure, the city safely keeps the money until the case is resolved.

Snyder told the council that he had training in drug interdiction, and under his direction officers with his department likely would not make that kind of mistake.

City Attorney Burton Harding said that the seizure of assets was handled differently than an arrest for drug trafficking or possession.

But Randall wasn’t convinced. She said she had seen illegal stops, and it was bound to happen no matter how experienced or educated the police were.

“I just want to make sure you guys have thought this all the way through,” she said.

Her argument, however, did not dissuade the council from approving the annexation, a measure the majority felt would help stem drug trafficking in the city.

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