This past weekend’s Okeechobee Music Festival was a hit with a majority of the patrons, but at least 99 didn’t make it home when the festival ended because they ended up in jail. The people were arrested as part of a “highway interdiction operation” around the festival.
“To have 99, it far exceeded anything we had anticipated,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara on Monday.
The drugs found included “hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana, Ecstasy, cocaine, synthetic marijuana, LSD, hydrocodone and heroin.”
In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, investigators with the Port St. Lucie Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and federal agencies participated, sheriff’s officials said.
“As is with every interdiction, they are pulled over for traffic offenses, something alerts the officer involved to possible drug activity or drugs within the car and then the drug sniffing dog is called to the scene,” Mascara said in explaining the initiative.
According to Mascara, these types of operations usually yield around 20 arrests. “I think the arrests surpassed what we thought they would ever be,” he said.
Over 40,000 people attended this year’s festival, making the arrest percentage of attendees around 0.25%. The exact quantities of each type of drug found was not revealed.
Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen tells a different story.
“Everything seems to be going as smooth as we can get it,” Stephen said. “For this amount of people, it’s a pretty well-behaved crowd.”
Despite drawing 6,000 more people than last year, the vast majority of attendees have been “respectful” and arrests at the festival have plummeted, according to the Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office.
Arrests have dropped to about six per day, compared to 20 last year, he said.
“I’d say 98 percent of our attendance is 18- to 23-year-old college kids, and they’re just here to have a good time,” Stephen said. “We have an occasional thief. We have an occasional fight, but it’s very, very seldom with this many people, probably 99.9 percent are just having a good time.”
via TC Palm