Officer thought he saw drug deal - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Officer thought he saw drug deal

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Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2004 6:54 am | Updated: 4:33 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

An 18-year-old Gilbert student who died after apparently over-dosing on cocaine was in a car pulled over by an officer who thought he’d witnessed a drug transaction.

Christopher Manciet, a Mesquite High School senior, died March 31 — five days after swallowing a packet filled with cocaine.

Gilbert police initially reported Manciet ingested the cocaine in a panic after a friend was pulled over for a traffic violation on March 26.

Police reports released Friday, however, said the driver was pulled over after an officer saw a tall, thin man hand something to him as he sat parked in a Honda behind an Osco drug store near Cooper and Elliot roads.

"In my experience and training, I believed a drug transaction had just occurred," the officer wrote in his report.

After the hand-off, the officer said, the driver of the Honda left the parking lot, apparently trying to avoid his police car.

The driver of the Honda appeared nervous when he was pulled over.

The teens were let go after a car search turned up an empty plastic bag.

An hour later, the Honda’s driver and another friend called 911 when Manciet started convulsing.

Both friends initially told officers Manciet may have used cocaine, but they didn’t see him take the drug. Later, they said he had swallowed the packet. Manciet was taken off of life support five days later.

Charges will likely not be filed in the case, police Cmdr. Tim Dorn said.

"Primarily it’s because everything indicates (Manciet) took it on his own. Everything can be attributed to his own actions," Dorn said, adding there is insufficient evidence to prove a drug transaction took place.

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