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Meet The 17-Year-Old Autistic Teen That Was Tricked Into Selling Weed To An Undercover Cop

No, this isn't 21 Jump Street. This is real life.

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This is Jesse Snodgrass. A 17-year-old high school senior from Temecula, California, Jesse has autism. In 2012, he was duped into "selling" marijuana to an undercover cop, Deputy Daniel Zipperstein.

In an exclusive interview with Vice, Jesse's parents talk about their son's constant struggle to make friends. So, when Daniel (posing as a fake student) befriended Jesse, he did everything in his power to hold on to their "friendship."


During the time they knew each other, Daniel often pressured Jesse into buying drugs for him. However, when he didn't budge, Daniel completely lost interest in their friendship.

Not wanting to lose his only friend, Jesse devised a plan to go to the medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Temecula to buy Daniel $20 worth of weed. A few days later, Daniel and Jesse met at a strip mall across from their school for the exchange.

A few weeks later, Daniel managed to give Jesse another $20 for weed. However, this time, Jesse got less than half a gram of dried up flakes (an amount which would barely be enough to roll up a skinny blunt).

On December 11, 2012, Jesse’s art classroom doors busted open, and five armed officers in bulletproof vests rushed in. Jesse was arrested, and charged with two felony counts for selling drugs.

As a result, Jesse was locked up in a juvenile detention center and expelled from school. The Snodgrasses, furious with the initial court ruling, threatened to fight back.

In March of 2013, Judge Marian Tully ruled in favor of the Snodgrasses, and severely criticized the school district for setting Jesse up to fail. She ordered that Jesse be returned to school immediately.

You can watch Vice's entire report on Jesse’s story here:

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