99 Arrests From Operation Around Okeechobee Festival



99 anticipated festival goers experienced an unexpected buzzkill when they were arrested due to drug related charges on their way into the 2017 Okeechobee Music Festival. The majority of the arrests happened within the first two days of the four-day festival.

How did this all go down? Well, this was the result of a “highway interdiction operation” situated on the main road leading to the Okeechobee Festival grounds conducted by local authorities. Sheriff Ken Mascara explained that the police would pull people over for traffic offenses, then if, “something alerts the officer involved to possible drug activity or drugs within the car then the drug sniffing dog is called to the scene.” According to the local sheriff’s department, the hodgepodge of confiscated drugs included hallucinogenic mushrooms, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, hydrocodone, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, and heroin.

This was also the first year the police department installed “amnesty boxes” at the edge of the festival before body searches were conducted. Their ideal intention is to encourage people into ‘dropping’ illegal substances or other banned items into the locked boxes prior to entering the grounds to avoid any possible consequences.

Even so, according to County Sheriff Noel Stephen, one bad egg does not spoil the bunch. “Everything seems to be going as smooth as we can get it. For this amount of people, it’s a pretty well-behaved crowd.” He also stated that arrests have dropped to approximately six per day, compared to 20 last year. “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 continued. “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.”

H/T: TC Palm