Bernie Goetz of Subway Fame Busted on Drug Charge

Cops say he tried to sell pot to undercover officer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 2, 2013 12:41 PM CDT
Bernie Goetz of Subway Fame Busted on Drug Charge
In this Jan. 16, 1985, photo, Bernhard Goetz is escorted by police as he is taken out of criminal court in New York.   (AP Photo/Rene Perez)

Subway vigilante Bernie Goetz, who ignited a national furor over racism and gun control after he shot four panhandling youths on a train in the 1980s, has been arrested on drug charges, police said today. Goetz was nabbed in a sting operation in Union Square park yesterday afternoon for selling $30 worth of pot to an undercover officer, police said. He asked the woman if she wanted to get high, then went back to his apartment, where he has lived for decades, and returned with marijuana, authorities said. He was arrested on charges of criminal sale of marijuana.

Goetz wasn't being targeted specifically; he just happened to cross paths with the undercover officer assigned to crack down on drug dealing in the park, authorities said. The 65-year-old was in custody awaiting arraignment today and not reachable for comment. Goetz became a household name as the skinny, bespectacled white man who, on Dec. 22, 1984, rose from his seat on the No. 2 train in Manhattan and shot four black teens inside a subway car with an illegal handgun. The teens had sharpened screwdrivers and were asking him for $5. Goetz said it was self-defense and the youths intended to rob him. Goetz was cleared of attempted murder charges in 1987 and spent 250 days in jail the same year for a weapons conviction in the case. (Read more Bernie Goetz stories.)

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