Utah Rave Busted Big-Time
Law enforcement officials broke up a rave party outside Salt Lake City August 20th, making 60 arrests. Details of the incident vary drastically.
According to Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darren Gilbert, officers learned the location of the event – private property in Spanish Fork Canyon – that day, and they allege promoters did not have a mass gathering permit for crowds of more than 250 people.
Undercover officers mingled with the crowd when the event began around 9:30 p.m., and witnessed the sale and consumption of cocaine, ecstacy, alcohol, methamphetamine and marijuana. They claim drugs were offered to the off-duty emergency medical personnel hired.
At 11:30 p.m, when the crowd topped 250, law enforcement – including SWAT teams and helicopters – busted up the party, with approximately 400 ravers leaving peacefully.
Various drug paraphernalia was found scattered around the area, and two DUI arrests were made as attendees were leaving. Illegal narcotics, weapons offenses, illegal consumption of alcohol, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and distribution of ecstasy were some of the other offenses.
The Sheriff’s department said it was cracking down on rave parties because of the use of drugs and underage drinking, as well as sexual assaults, firearm violations, vehicle burglaries and other violations.
That’s how law enforcement viewed it.
The promoters and party-goers tell a different story. This was no average bust, they claim. Soldiers, National Guard, SWAT teams and police jumped out of the bushes, armed with M-16s, AK-47s, nightsticks and Tasers, they told Provo’s Daily Herald. Guns were pointed at people, girls were punched in the face and attack dogs were unleashed.
The soldiers supposedly confiscated video cameras, but one videotape got away and is being passed around the Internet to support their claims.
“Knick” from the DJ trio Evol Intent blogged his take before he left Utah the next afternoon.
“This event was 100% legal,” the DJ wrote. “[The promoters] had every permit the city told them they needed. They had a 2 MILLION DOLLAR insurance policy for the event. They had licenced security guards at the gates confiscating any alcohol or drugs found upon entry (yes, they searched every car on the way in). Oh, I suppose I should mention that they arrested all the security guards for possession.”
According to the blog, the police did not have a warrant, and the owner of the land already has a lawsuit against the city for another similar occurrence. There were 700 pre-sold tickets and about 1,500 people in the crowd at the time of the bust, Knick said.
“This was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed in person. I can’t even begin to describe how surreal it was. Helicopters, assault rifles, tear gas, camouflage-wearing soldiers. Why? Was that really necessary?”
Promoter Brandon Fullmer told the Daily Herald he had obtained the mass gathering permit in question but authorities denied him a copy of it. A county official agreed to write a letter verifying it was obtained.
Lawsuits are said to be under way.