Monday, November 04, 2002

Police arrest 3, ticket 445 at rave - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINAL

U.S. Customs tip leads Racine officers to hall
Last Updated: Nov. 4, 2002

Racine - Acting on a tip from U.S. Customs agents, Racine police infiltrated and then busted a rave party early Sunday, arresting three people, ticketing 445 others and confiscating various drugs, including more than 100 Ecstasy pills.

"To my knowledge, this is the biggest rave ever in Racine," Detective Lt. Robert Purdy said Sunday night. "There have been a few previous raves, but nothing nearly to the extent of this one."

Police said they received the U.S. Customs tip before the start of the rave, which was held Saturday night in the basement of Tradewinds, a tavern and banquet hall at 1518 Washington Ave.

Because of the tip authorities were able to plan the raid, Purdy said, with a "very strong, proactive law enforcement action" against drug activity typically associated with rave parties, which are underground gatherings of youths that feature techno music.

"Rave parties are not going to be part of our community and are not going to be tolerated," Purdy said.

Undercover police paid for admittance to the party, which was promoted as a "haunted house in a haunted theater," just after midnight. They were redirected by organizers to the party, where police discovered there was no haunted house at all, Purdy said.

The 25 police officers involved were able to contain the hundreds of ravers by blocking off all building exits, Purdy said.

Purdy said the "vast majority" of those attending the party were not from Racine, mostly because the rave had been promoted nationwide through fliers and the Internet. While some in attendance were from Milwaukee and Chicago, the rave attracted people from Nevada, Maryland, Missouri and Arizona, Purdy said.

Police said a 22-year-old West Allis man was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of Ecstasy; a 21-year-old Fremont man was arrested on suspicion of possession of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and drug paraphernalia; and a 21-year-old Bartlett man was arrested on possible charges of felony possession of Ecstasy with intent to deliver and felony possession and delivery of ketamine hydrochloride, an anesthetic.

The 445 party-goers were issued municipal tickets on accusations of being "patrons of a disorderly house with controlled substances," police said.

The event organizers were not among those arrested, Purdy said, but they were being questioned.

Purdy said Tradewinds staff, who rented the banquet hall to the party organizers, also were being questioned on whether they had knowledge of drug activity at the rave.

In addition to the Ecstasy, police confiscated marijuana and cocaine.


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