54 charged in having marijuana at festival

Third annual blues event drew thousands to Sandy Point park

May 23, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Fifty-four people who attended the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival last weekend had a little more reason to be blue than others in the crowd after police arrested them on charges of marijuana possession.

But they were pretty laid back about it, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

Only one put up a beef, and was charged with resisting arrest, said acting Lt. Jeffrey A. Price, who oversaw the undercover operation to sniff out illegal substances during the two-day benefit show at Sandy Point State Park.

"Ninety-nine percent were passive and cooperative," Price said.

"Most of them [when confronted by a detective] just said, `Here it is. I'm had,' " he said.

The average age of those arrested was 35, according to police.

"It's not just the young kids using drugs at concerts," Price said.

Still, he said, "I don't think [the arrests] reflect anything about the blues festival itself."

Several thousand people attended the third annual festival, with James Brown and Taj Mahal as headline acts.

Maryland Natural Resources Police asked Anne Arundel County police to repeat the undercover narcotics operation that netted 37 arrests for drug possession last year, according to Susan O'Brien, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.

"County police are trained and experienced in detecting drug use," she said.

"Maryland [park] rangers are there for event and park security and for the protection of park visitors," she said.

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