An RV traffic stop and positive drug sniff by a K-9 dog led to the arrest of two San Franciscans attending Burning Man on Tuesday, authorities said.
While Robert Louis Ruenzel and Lindsey Neverisky, both 31, are charged respectively with possessing methamphetamine and gamma-hydroxybutyrate, officers noted in a criminal complaint that a variety of illicit drugs were found inside each person’s backpack. They included cocaine, ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, the officers said, and containers of liquid GHB, known as the “date rape drug.”
Ruenzel told authorities he bought 30 grams of methamphetamine for $1,000 in San Francisco, while friends gave him other drugs found in his backpack, the complaint filed in Reno fedreral court said. Authorities said he added that he brought enough drugs for personal use and to share with friends while attending the international festival in the Black Rock Desert.
The digital scale officers found in his backpack, he said, was thrown in there without thought. The large quantity of small, plastic bags in the bag were to be used to transport the drugs he was sharing with friends, according to the complaint.
Neverisky, who said she had smoked methamphetamine just hours before the traffic stop, gave officers some ecstasy pills and a small bag of what she said was cocaine that she pulled out of her backpack, the complaint said.
She later said a vial of GHB was hers, according to the complaint.
Ruenzel and Neverisky were both released from custody Wednesday on their own recognizance, court records show.
They were scheduled a Sept. 24 hearing to enter their pleas and were appointed a federal, public defender.
As a condition of Ruenzel’s release, he was banned from returning to Burning Man and ordered to obtain mental health treatment. Both were prohibited from associating with “anyone or in any environment with drugs.”
Ruenzel on Thursday did not immediately return a phone call for comment. A phone number listed for Neverisky could not accept messages.
According to the complaint, a U.S. Forest Service police officer saw the RV drive by him on Lilac Road in the Black Rock Desert with bicycles on a rack blocking the license plate, a traffic violation.
The officer said the driver appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine, which caused K-9 Jacky to be summoned to the vehicle to do a “free air sniff” to its exterior, the document said.
After the drug dog alerted on several areas, officers checked the vehicle and subsequently found the drugs in the backpacks belonging to Neverisky and Ruenzel, who were passengers in the RV, according to the complaint.
Neverisky was crying during the initial police contact because she said she didn’t want to go to jail, the complaint said.
She said she had smoked meth three hours earlier because she was having “personal problems,” according to the document.
The complaint also said that citations were issued for misdemeanors associated with the incident, but it was unclear who in the RV received them.