Ca. Chamber Of Commerce Head Charged In Crack Buy

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Stebbins Dean, head of the Fresno, Ca., Chamber of Commerce for more than a decade, was arrested in Naples, Fl. and charged with trying to buy crack cocaine from an undercover police officer, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was attending a national meeting of chamber of commerce officials.

Local business leaders now say the city’s image builder, who helped launch the slogan “Fresno: Smile When You Say That!,” has so badly stained his own image that he must step down.

Naples police say they encountered the middle-aged, balding Dean loitering in a drug-infested neighborhood four miles north of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the site of the Chamber Executives Leadership Forum. When an undercover detective asked the 50-year-old Dean what he wanted, the chamber head allegedly said he was looking to buy some “80” – street slang for $80 worth of crack cocaine. After buying three pieces of crack that turned out to be fake, he was arrested. Dean says it was all a misunderstanding. He said he told the officer he needed a “cab” and not “crack.” He said he has never used illegal drugs and wasn’t trying to make a purchase.


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