Police arrest 3 after People’s Park drug deal

People's Park. Photo: Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería/Flickr

People’s Park. Photo: Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería/Flickr

Two men have pled guilty and a third is set to appear in court next week after police say they sold drugs to a teenage girl at People’s Park earlier this month.

According to court papers, undercover University of California police officers watched the girl meet up in the park with 43-year-old Marty Rickard at about 2 p.m. on May 8. Rickard introduced the girl to 26-year-old Justin Martin of Oakland.

The trio then walked over to a van parked at Dwight Way and Regent Street, where officers said the girl gave $20 to Martin, who gave it to a man sitting in the van’s driver’s seat, who was later identified as 54-year-old Gregory Pilling of El Cerrito.

Pilling allegedly gave marijuana to the girl, who got on a motorized red scooter and rode away. Arrest team officers stopped the girl a short distance away and recovered the marijuana. Police said the girl admitted to having bought it from the men in the van.

A search of the van led to the recovery of about 11 grams of marijuana and $147 in cash.

According to court papers, Rickard told police he had sold the girl “medicine,” which police said is a common term used for marijuana. Police said they also found him in possession of an iPhone that had been reported lost or stolen, as well as a small amount of a white substance that tested positive for methamphetamine.

Police arrested Pilling and Rickard at the scene, and sought a warrant for Martin’s arrest.

Originally, all three were charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with two felonies: furnishing marijuana to a minor over 14, and the sale or transportation of marijuana.

Pilling faced a separate felony charge for possession of marijuana for sale. And Rickard was also charged with receiving stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Pilling and Rickard pled guilty May 21 to the lesser misdemeanor charge of possession of concentrated cannabis. They are no longer in custody.

Martin is not in custody and has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 27 at 8:45 a.m. in Department 112 at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

Berkeley’s People’s Park marks its 45th anniversary (04.28.14)
Telegraph Ave. scrubbed, cleaned in beautification effort (03.25.14)
Improving Telegraph Ave. on new UC official’s ‘to-do’ list (12.17.13)

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  • Close People’s Park

    Someone should gather signatures for a referendum to shut down People’s Park and turn it into student housing.

  • bgal4

    I bet they sold product purchased as medicine from one of dispensaries.

  • ripple947

    A drug deal in People’s Park? I’m shocked, I tell ya.

  • dsd510

    The headline makes it sound like they were caught trafficking heroin, not a miniscule pot deal. They really don’t have anything better to do than go undercover and bust people for something that’s practically legal?

  • Sandy brown

    What fools these mortals be.

  • Dan

    Yes, because marijuana is wreaking havoc on our society. Give me a break, this is ridiculous

  • Woolsey

    Meth and the stolen phone? Who cares about pot, these other two items are bit more serious.

  • Guest

    Unfortunately the idiots who are permanently stuck in the 60’s, and want to keep Berkeley there too, will throw a complete sleep-deprived-toddler-level hissy fit if anything so sensible was even attempted. For example, see the idiocy that happened regarding a bit of landscaping at the stadium. “People’s” (really, illegally occupied) Park would be 10 times worse.

  • Guest

    Close Berkeley and turn it into UC

  • Guest

    Selling pot to teenagers isn’t legal in any way.

  • Bishop George Berkeley

    No, you’ve got it all wrong. Turn it into a historical park like Colonial Williamsburg. Sell tix to tourists who can watch ’60s re-enactors sell pot. Faux riots (with Reagan’s copters) every hour on the hour. Mario Savio reenactment at noon. Kriss Worthington can be executive director. We’d MAKE A KILLING!

  • Guest

    So you think teenagers should be able to buy marijuana of dubious origin from meth-addicts in a van with stolen phones?

  • Bishop George Berkeley

    Berkeleyside: for fun, get the police report once it’s available through CPRA. Count the number of cops involved. In addition to the 2 undercovers, there was an arrest team. If the undercovers were there as part of an actual People’s Park buy/bust operation, there might also have been a video team. If they were really going whole hog, then there were two video teams, an arrest team, and the undercovers were borrowed from another agency (ACSO?) so they wouldn’t be recognized. And a sergeant or two.

    Either way, look up the salaries/benefits and do a little math.

    Then realize that all of this netted…that’s right, a $20 pot sale resulting in two 11357(c) misdemeanor convictions. Three years of court probation and a $200 fine. Quite possibly less.
    Cost effective? Intelligent big picture policing?

  • Shutter

    Close UC and give us our parking spaces back.

  • bgal4

    Low level nuisance crimes such as drug dealing affect quality of life and the conditions that foster violent crime. Busting kids for vandalism is a good example of high cost enforcement for a minor crime. Do a little research into the correlation between high levels of part 2 crimes with violent crime.

  • ermahguerst

    Okay, I didn’t like the tree-sitters’ tactics, but the the trees at the stadium actually added something to the neighborhood. I was genuinely sorry to see them go. People’s Park, on the other hand, is a combination cesspool/black hole that should have been paved over 30 years ago.

  • Jerk

    Good job UC police! Way to bust those drug kingpins. Excellent use of taxes!

  • neighbor

    “Cops arrest drug dealers in People’s Park” is a news article?
    Must be a VERY slow news day.
    Hey, my neighbor’s alarm went off last night for no apparent reason. Maybe you could write an article about that.

  • Erich

    Hahahahaha, I am surprised the “evidence” made it to the locker! Whew, I would like to say that I hate to say I told you so; BUT I told ya so! :-) I remember walking to school at Willard one fine spring morning and being approached by a P.P. tenant asking if; “I need some bud?” Oh wait, that was almost half a Century ago!! I did stop for a pack of smokes at the Laundromat where the United Nations store (what’s that all about?) CIL shell is located $0.75 a pack from the vending machine. Last week I got hit up again to “need some bud bro?” I swear it was the same dude, same age, same looser as the first time it happened almost half a Century ago and EVERY time in between! Still addicted to ciggies and am the real criminal in Berkeley for that I s’pose.

  • Jesse

    This is a ridiculous news story.

  • emraguso

    We don’t write about this activity much but this one seemed notable due to its particular circumstances.