Thousands attended the Porter Meadow to celebrate 4/20. Photo by Dieter Holger.
Thousands attended the Porter Meadow to celebrate 4/20. Photo by Dieter Holger.

This story will continue to be updated.

Update April 21, 3:30 p.m.: Police officers arrested Castroville residents Alexander David Garcia Romero Jr., 20, and Joel Anthony Campos-Cervantes, 22, on suspicion of felony possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a concealed firearm, transportation of marijuana for sales, and possession of marijuana for sales at around 4 p.m. yesterday. Officers found more than three ounces of marijuana and a fully loaded high-capacity magazine in their vehicle Hernandez-Jason said.

Throughout the day around 25 individuals were cited for possession of marijuana, one minor cited for possession of alcohol and around 125 traffic related citations were issued said Scott Hernandez-Jason, director of news and media relations.

Over 3,000 gathered in the Porter Meadow to celebrate 4/20 — the unsanctioned marijuana smoking event. There were 70-75 police officers from all 10 UC campuses and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). A CHP helicopter circled the meadow around 4:20 p.m.

At least six arrests, over 100 traffic citations, over 200 parking citations and numerous marijuana-related citations were issued campuswide, said UCSC director of news and media relations Scott Hernandez-Jason. UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis confirmed an additional two arrests for public intoxication, one of them also resisting arrest.

Of the six arrests, three were DUIs and three were felonies. One felony is a weapons charge for having a knife and a club, and the other two were arrested on charges relating to possession of a loaded .45 caliber handgun, possession of a high capacity magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and transporting and selling marijuana, Oweis said. City on a Hill Press will update arrest details as the investigation continues.

Oweis said that though much of the police presence was in the meadow, none of the felony arrests were made there. The individual with knife and club was arrested at the lookout on Coolidge Drive and the two people charged with handgun possession was at the Village. But Oweis said “they were all here because of 4/20.”

Two people were taken into custody for “being too impaired to care for themselves,” Hernandez-Jason said. One student was transported to the hospital after bystanders notified the police.

“For the most part our presence was very well felt on this campus, but it was balanced with the fact that we were doing everything that we could to make sure people stayed safe,” Oweis said. “For us to take a gun off the street on a day like today with large crowds of people … [in general] we were successful.”

Students at the event protested the proposed construction on the Porter Meadow, campaigned for Bernie Sanders, handed out voter registrations and played music at the annual gathering.  Participants were asked to leave around 4:30 p.m.

Photo by Dieter Holger.
Photo by Dieter Holger.

For the first time, people entering through the West Entrance were subject to a UCSC Police Department (UCSC PD) and CHP DUI sobriety checkpoint. Oweis said the majority of 4/20 attendees were not UCSC affiliates.

“Not everyone gets stopped at a DUI checkpoint, but those who are stopped are provided with educational information and will have a brief conversation with the officer to check whether they are altered in any way,” Oweis said.

Photo by Dieter Holger.
Photo by Dieter Holger.

Oweis said the university paid about $100,000 on security and support staff for the event. Last year at 4/20, no arrests were made on campus and 160 parking citations were issued. This year’s security funds predominantly came out of UCSC PD’s salary fund, supplemented by supplies allocations.

Oweis said the breakdown of the $100,000 allocated for security isn’t public information as it’s part of the department’s operational plans, but noted it was close to past years’ costs.

The Student Health Center and UCSC PD sent an email to the UCSC community on April 15 that stressed the health and environmental risks of drugs, while reminding students of the recent incidents of marijuana-related crimes. The email also offered support for students and community members through Student Health Outreach and Promotion and the Employee Assistance program.

“People think that marijuana is legal on campus and it’s really not, there are a lot of sections that prohibit the use of marijuana on campus,” Oweis said. “Some education on marijuana on campus [looking forward] would be helpful. There is a lot of misinformation out there, the more we can educate our students and faculty and staff, [will] reduce some of the issues around today.”