Drug Arrests Mark Concert By Phish

August 19, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

As the officer in charge of a Howard County police detail at Merriweather Post Pavilion concerts, Capt. John McKissick says that "different bands draw different kinds of crowds."

In the case of Phish, often compared to the Grateful Dead, some in the crowd of 20,000 were doing drugs Saturday night, when police made 31 drug-related arrests - the most of any concert in recent memory, McKissick said Tuesday.

Four out-of-state men were arrested and charged with drug possession, intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia, police said. Their recreational vehicle, which contained drugs and $12,000, was seized, police say.

"People were able to drive up to the door like it was a retail establishment," McKissick said.

In addition to those arrests, police made 20 arrests for drug possession, three arrests for drug possession with intent to distribute, two arrests for second-degree assault of a police officer while resisting arrest and two arrests for trespassing.

Despite the arrests, McKissick and Audrey Schaefer, a publicist for I.M.P., which operates Merriweather Post Pavilion as well as the 9:30 Club in Washington, characterized the show as tame.

Scott Hauser, who was at the show, called the presence of some 75 police officers "laughable" and "overly aggressive." In an e-mail to The Sun, he said a friend was pulled from his truck and charged with assault after a verbal altercation with an undercover officer, and saw another person ordered to stop selling water. "If you see someone selling drugs, arrest them," Hauser wrote. "If you see someone having a good time or selling water so they can go to the next show, let them be."

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