In recent weeks, Lancaster and Palmdale Sheriff’s Station deputies have ended two more illegal drug Rave parties, one before it even started.
Rave parties, which in many instances bring with them illegal drug use and underage drinking, potentially have an even darker side.
After receiving information from the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau (SHB) eComm Unit, the Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Task Force, AVCFI, mobilized two teams, as well as additional resources, responding to the extreme northwest area of Lancaster Station’s patrol area in the Antelope Valley a few weeks ago (8/17/13).
Sergeant Kevin Pearcy said, “The area of this party was nearly in Kern County and the 5 freeway was only a few miles away. The music could be heard from nearly five miles away.”
During the past year, LASD SHB eComm has found over 1,000 illegal drug/nozz/alcohol for minors rave parties openly advertised on social media, prior to the rave party starting. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station or area policing agency is then notified so that violence, overdoses, and driving under the influence collisions can be prevented, by stopping the illegal drug raves before they start or soon thereafter.
AVCFI Coordinator, Lieutenant Larry Gregg, said receiving this information helps him assign resources and reduce the need to respond to rave party emergencies using even more deputies who could have been handling community calls for help.
“In this incident, we not only utilized the information being provided by SHB eComm, but also a Sheriff’s Aero Bureau helicopter to help us locate the party.” Lt. Gregg said over a dozen deputies on the ground were used in ending a rave. Two of the deputies actually entered the party, providing intelligence back to responding units several miles away. “Inside the party, the undercover deputies saw what they thought to be illegal drug sales by a suspect. That person eventually fled into the desert as radio cars approached, but it does show what occurs at these parties.”
The Sheriff’s Department said it will continue to utilize innovative methods to prevent these types of criminal and dangerous events.
Approximately 200 people were at the party when Los Angeles County Sheriffs deputies arrived, but more than 800 people had responded via social media that they would be attending. Closed down early by about 11:00 pm, the Rave was expected to continue to grow in size if left unchecked.
Lt. Gregg said, ”The problem is the mob mentality that seems to take place after these folks ingest enough alcohol and drugs. I have seen bonfires, tremendous amounts of nitrous oxide, methamphetamine, molly and bath salts being used by these young adults.” He added that even the name of the party, referring to a type of drug, projects the intention of the rave to use drugs. Given they are in the desert, they then drive under the influence and endanger everyone on the road. The unsafe bonfires could result in a wildfire.
Four partygoers were cited and released at the scene on various misdemeanor charges. The property owner was warned about large unpermitted parties and advised about potential civil litigation if someone was hurt on his property during an event such as this.
The promoters of this party are known, and Lieutenant Gregg said an investigation is continuing to determine what, if any, criminal charges can be filed against them. He said, “These promoters are soliciting money for illegal, unpermitted events. They are allowing illegal use of property and drugs at these events and keep their ticket sales whether the rave goes on as planned or is shut down.”
Last week, another drug Rave Party was found on the Internet by the LASD SHB eComm Unit. Again in the Antelope Valley, this Rave Party was promoted as a “lock down” event inside an industrial warehouse (8/23/13). Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and City of Lancaster Public Safety officials contacted both the warehouse owner and the promoter of the event and the event was cancelled before it started.
Captain Patrick Nelson of Lancaster Sheriff’s Station said, “Sometimes law enforcement needs to protect people from themselves. These two events, were promoted using the name of a drug and the other as a ‘Lock In’. Both have either connotations of illegal activity or are illegal based on the manner in which they are promoted. You cannot lock the doors to these events. You are asking for disasters of epic proportions such as a fatal fire. These events, because of what they bring with them, illegal drug use and underage drinking will not be permitted in the City of Lancaster or in the County areas. Without permits these event cannot be held legally.”