While on a pleasant hike from the Morefield Campground a few miles into the Park on the Prater Ridge trail, I came back to my car to get in, drive out of the parking lot, and immediately saw 3 Park Ranger SUVs pull out from a side road to follow me for a couple minutes before hitting their lights and pulling me over. Surrounding me like it was an invasion, they came out and over to my window while I was in confusion as to the issue. When asked why I was pulled over, the main officer aggressively stated that it was the marijuana he saw on my seat between my legs (which of course he couldn't see from following me, but we'll get to that later). Forcefully asking me to get out of the car ( which I did) he pointed to my car seat and told me about the pot I had on my seat. As the other Rangers closed in, obviously wanting to go in for a kill on an insanely dangerous skinny pot smoker like me, that of course requires many officers to subdue, I immediately pointed out that what was on the seat were cocoa nibs. Stopped with an idiotic look, the disbelieving officer (who refused to identify himself to me, likewise with all the other officers) questioned the straightforward comment I made, which made me have to re-explain that those were cocoa nibs on my seat and that I hadn't smoked pot in 15 years. As the officers backed off, that look of embarrassed disbelief shined through in the lead officer's face. He asked me for my license, insurance and registration information (which I gave him). While running it, I wanted to take a picture of the situation. I was nearly detained by 2 of the anonymous Rangers and threatened if I were to do so, even after explaining the simple photographic errand I was doing. When the main Ranger returned to me, I asked how he knew pot was on my seat when he couldn't see such a thing from his vehicle? He explained that he saw it on my car seat in the parking lot. I responded, "You mean you went snooping in and around my car while I was hiking...?", he said "yes", and I said "and you were just snooping around my car for... fun..?" and he said "yes". I said "hmmm...that's interesting..." And so..they just did nothing for a while after that privacy invasion (I was hiking for a good couple of hours or so), as they just waited for me to finish hiking;after they identified cocoa nibs..as marijuana...Here's our tax dollars at work good citizens. Police work in our Parks at it's finest. Don't you feel safe? I sure don't. This would go right up there with police officers' fine work sitting in speed traps all day and organizing SWAT team treatment at all the peaceful rallies for peace and justice, while all but ignoring the serious neighborhood drug and violence problems that don't see the same commitment. We need a change. We need to stand up to this. To protect and serve is the motto but I seem to see less and less of that.
970-529-4465 is the Mesa Verde Park Service phone number. Let them know what you think. I've provided the only picture I was able to take-after the humiliated officers left me alone when they realized they had nothing to earn them brownie points, I took this photo of the very pot-like (lol) cocoa nibs on my seat. God Bless everyone.