Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rave in Oxford Twp. ends with 55 arrests

By Lindsay Whitehurst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD TOWNSHIP - Law enforcement officers who broke up a weekend rave party arrested 55 people, 10 on felony counts, and seized a variety of illegal drugs.

Four undercover agents entered the party, held inside a barn on 6901 Stillwell-Beckett Road amid an "ocean of tents" on the surrounding two acres of farmland, about 9 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Techno music was on the speakers. Glow lights decorated the party, which began at 3 p.m. and had attracted about 200 attendees in their late teens and mid-20s, according to Oxford Township Police Chief Preston Schrock. Police didn't know yet whether those arrested were college students.

The officers made five drug purchases in 20 minutes, ranging from animal tranquilizers to hallucinogenic mushrooms.

After obtaining a search warrant, 32 uniformed officers from several state and local agencies broke up the party at 11:30 p.m. Officers also seized marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth and other illicit drugs, police said.

Six felony arrests were made for drug trafficking, two for weapons charges, one for possession of speed and one for a charge of tampering with evidence. One of the weapons seized was a sawed-off shotgun, which carries federal charges.

Twenty-three misdemeanor arrests were made for drug possession, and 10 for possession of drug paraphernalia.

The investigation began April 9, when officers found a flier advertising the party at a different location.

By monitoring a Web site listed on the flier, the department followed the party to its new location, known as Grandfather's Barn, which was announced 48 hours before the gathering.

Schrock said that rave parties, in which people gather for hours of music, dancing and often drugs, are not common in this rural Butler County area.

"This is the first one we're aware of in this area. Hopefully, it's the last," Schrock said.

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