Former mayor convicted in 1989 drug sting dies
August 27, 2008
Terry Trupp, a former South Lake Tahoe mayor who was convicted of conspiracy and money-laundering charges in connection with a cocaine sales and smuggling operation in June 1989, died Aug. 20 in Southern California after developing a staph infection, family members said. He was 65.
Trupp was convicted of federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges in his connection with “Operation Deep Snow,” which led to the arrest of 19 South Shore people, including doctors, real-estate brokers and casino employees. His then-wife, Kimberly, also was involved in the investigation.
Former South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis, who knew Trupp but didn’t work with him, offered condolences to family and close friends. Davis also said the events that unfolded in June 1989 represented “pretty dark days for the city.”
Trupp was convicted of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to defraud the government by using overseas contacts. The arrest and conviction stemmed from a 20-month money laundering and narcotics investigation involving the IRS, FBI, U.S. Customs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and state and city law enforcement. Agents seized semiautomatic guns, shotguns, ammunition, cocaine, a stack of $100 bills and $1,000 bills.
South Lake Tahoe friends recalled Trupp as a man who was well-spoken and articulate, who had made mistakes but had a “wonderful life” after getting out of prison.
Trupp later remarried and worked in sales. He lived in the California town of Crestline and visited Tahoe a few times after prison.
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“Terry was a uniquely articulate speaker and used this talent in opposition to the extreme positions taken by the CTRPA and TRPA during the 1970s and 1980s,” said South Lake Tahoe resident Jan McCarthy, a family friend. “We enjoyed his company over many Christmases, and we looked forward to seeing him every time he was in Tahoe.”
She described Trupp as a man who was contrite coming out of prison but who also felt that he was misunderstood.
“He was gun-shy about coming to Tahoe because of the way he was painted,” McCarthy said. “He would have preferred to live in Tahoe over Crestline but found a happy life there.”
During his time as mayor, Trupp pushed for and ultimately helped get the Park Avenue redevelopment project through, McCarthy said. Trupp was particularly proud of those accomplishments, she added.
“He loved coming to Tahoe and loved to see some of the projects he helped oversee the beginnings of or helped launch,” McCarthy said. “He was instrumental in fighting for redevelopment at that time.”
A memorial service will be held Saturday in Crestline.