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Drug arrests at Phish concerts

Aided by undercover narcotics detectives mixing with the fans of jam-band Phish, Howard County police arrested 21 concertgoers at two shows over the weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 19 on drug charges, officials said.

Police also seized three vehicles and more than $10,000 in cash.

At least four of those arrested had psilocybin mushrooms, and at least one had heroin, police said. Other concertgoers were found with marijuana and Ecstasy.

More than 30,000 fans attended the shows on Saturday and Sunday.

"Phish concerts... have historically shown increased drug activity at the venue," police said a statement.

But not necessarily violence."For the most part, this is a very peaceful group that comes out to their shows," Elizabeth Schroen, a Howard police spokeswoman, said Monday.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  June 28, 2010; 2:37 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Howard  
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Comments

Just legalise marijuana already.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 28, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

A Phish show without a drug arrest would be newsworthy.

Posted by: GP04 | June 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

So, the police spent their time arresting people who were part of "a very peaceful group." I understand that illegal activity is illegal activity but was it really worth the time/effort of using undercover narcotics agents? There had to be a better way to use those officers.

Posted by: AL2582 | June 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

>>So, the police spent their time arresting people who were part of "a very peaceful group." I understand that illegal activity is illegal activity but was it really worth the time/effort of using undercover narcotics agents? There had to be a better way to use those officers.
-------------

Nope, there isn't enough crime in Montgomery County (so many police and yuppies, that they have to go for the extremely easiest arrests.

Posted by: slydell | June 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Merriweather Post Pavilion is actually in Howard County not Montgomery County.

Posted by: AL2582 | June 28, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Nobody ever suggested cops weren't uptight, uneducated, a**holes.

Posted by: kenk3 | June 28, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

"was it really worth the time/effort of using undercover narcotics agents?"
Well, the police sezied 10 grand and 3 cars, so I'd say it was!!

Posted by: meme7 | June 28, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

That put the cops in the same league with the narco terrorists, all making money from the illegal drug trade. It's only the little people that suffer.

Posted by: vmax02rider | June 28, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

the only people that should have gotten in real trouble were the ones with large cash amounts and hard narcotics on them... really, marijuana? good job Howard County for negatively changing the lives of a bunch of "peaceful" people

Posted by: destewar | June 28, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

That last paragraph said it all. Talk about low hanging fruit, if they were so mellow why bother?

Posted by: dcdoug | June 28, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Being a narc at a Phish show is like being asked to spell "cat" in the final round of the National Spelling Bee!!!

Posted by: acesdc | June 28, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by: wordup1 | June 28, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

They should arrest more often at concerts of this type, now they need to hit up the Buffet concert goers too. Marijuana kills too, jut like alcohol, except it doesn't get the same press, got to make the distinction between dui and dwi.

Posted by: zcxnissan | June 29, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Hard hitting police work for you. Finding pot at Merriweather concert is as a easy as...wait for it... shooting phish in a barrel

Posted by: sathompsonjr | June 29, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

I want to congratulate the Howard County police for arresting those violent pot smokers! If they hadn't made those arrests, mahem would have ensued!

Since Merriweather Post Pavilion draws such a criminal element I will make sure not to go there.

Posted by: sbf845 | June 29, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Cops are the biggest cowards. Why don't they go to an inner city hood and bust the dope and pcp dealers? Cause they're cowards, that's why. Arrest the high white kids and claim some big operational victory. What B.S.! Cowards, that's what all cops are.

Posted by: SoupLine | June 29, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

LOL They take the drugs and smoke them themselves. Cops are so useless.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 29, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

And $10k split amongst 21 arrests is around $500 a person, which is a reasonable amount for someone to have who was taking a summer vacation to see a few Phish shows.
I'm against the police being allowed to keep money they take off of arrestee's. there shouldnt be a profit motive in law enforcement.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 29, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Some one said there had to be a better way for them to use their time. They are drug officers duh.....

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | June 29, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Hold on... so you're saying that a large gathering of people with "increased drug activity" can be very peaceful and non-violent?

I find it funny that 30,000 people (many doing drugs) can get together for two very hot days at an outdoor concert and be non-violent, but air-conditioned clubs in DC can have a couple hundred people just drinking and gunfire or stabbings occur. Perhaps it's the people, not the drugs, causing the violence? :)

Posted by: mwstevenson | June 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It was ridiculous and insulting. It was a peaceful scene, 90% well over the age of 25. Virtually no teenagers, all consenting peaceful adults having a good time. Unlike a Redskins game, I saw very few drunks, and no belligerant drunks. They had video monitoring of the crowd, and roving bands of pigs in golfcarts and bikes. For what? Nobody was bothering anyone. Just leave us alone/.

Posted by: mikelemm | June 29, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey pigs, grow a pair and go into Baltimore where the real crime is happening. Oh right, you'd rather be arresting peaceful concert goers. I say we're screwed if terrorists decide to come to Howard county.

Posted by: smitdawgg | June 29, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey pigs, grow a pair and go into Baltimore where the real crime is happening. Oh right, you'd rather be arresting peaceful concert goers. I say we're screwed if terrorists decide to come to Howard county.

Posted by: smitdawgg | June 29, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Why must every post-Phish story be about drug arrests, rather than the interesting people and great music? Because the media trades in stereotypes for jambands. It was the same with the Grateful Dead too.

The police find drugs at Phish concerts because they expect, and add personnel, to do just that. This enforcement action cost over a million dollars. Let's see if they get back that much in fines. Hint: Don't wait for that press release.

If they shook down attendees of concerts in many other genres -- including a lot of mellow babyboomer groups -- they'd have a lot of drug busts at those shows too. But they don't because twentysomething college students have far less political or economic clout than those who pull up in BMWs to see The Eagles, for example. It's just easier to shoot Phish phans in a barrel.

Posted by: StevenDolley | June 29, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"They should arrest more often at concerts of this type, now they need to hit up the Buffet concert goers too. Marijuana kills too, jut like alcohol, except it doesn't get the same press, got to make the distinction between dui and dwi."

You need to come out of your cave...One of the most idiotic statements I've ever read. Doesn't get the same press???? Why??? Probably because it never happens. Go run with the rest of the sheep. The only thing marijuana can kill is a bag of Doritos in about 30 seconds.

Posted by: MrTweezer | July 2, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I would like to pretext this comment with the fact that I am not a Phish fan, and this was actually my first experience at a Phish show.

This story makes me sad.

I was there both nights. You would be hard-pressed to find a more peaceful, considerate, well-behaved group of people anywhere in any context. As was mentioned above, the huge majority of attendees were consenting adults simply enjoying some good music at a beautiful venue.

I flew to Maryland and patronized their hotels, restaurants, stores, etc, just for this event. In fact, the majority of the people at my hotel were there just for this show.

Congratulations, Howard County. Great job slapping various felonies and misdemeanor drug convictions on a bunch of friendly, peace loving people trying to have a good time. I'm sure having difficulty getting a job for the next decade because of a drug conviction will turn them around and make them conform to your idea of how one should live their life.

I live in downtown Denver and every single weekend, I get to watch the drunks stumble out of the bars and try to start fights with each other, the trash cans, and pretty much whatever is nearby. I see them treat women with utter disrespect, brawl, yell, and just generally act like fools because of the booze. This event, my friends, was nothing like what happens every weekend in the "bar districts" of any city around this country.

It is an amazing thing to see this many people come together and be so peaceful, respectful, and kind to each other. It is the type of thing you will see in places like Telluride, Boulder, Oregon, etc. The difference is, you won't find the cops out there trying to ruin people's lives for smoking a little herb.

How about using some of that time, effort, and tax money to bust some intoxicated drivers and perhaps save some lives in the process?

Howard County seemed like a very pretty area. But, a lot of people I know who attend events like this have way too much to lose to risk getting pinched by the drug-war gestapo and would be well suited to spend their time and money elsewhere -- somewhere they can relax and enjoy the freedom to do as they wish as long as they do no harm to anyone else. The freedom this country was supposed to be founded upon.

Posted by: poproxx | July 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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