LOS ANGELES, CA — After focusing on education and voluntary compliance with the county’s coronavirus health orders, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced plans Tuesday to crackdown on illegal gatherings deemed “supe-spreading events.” The effort began with a raid on a massive “underground party” in Palmdale that ended in 158 arrests.
The Saturday night party was organized by a teenager, but more than 100 adults attended the gathering, according to the sheriff’s department. The crackdown comes on a weekend when the county reported more than 10,000 new cases daily and as Gov. Newsom placed Los Angeles County on lockdown.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he will provide details Tuesday on the weekend of the gathering held despite health restrictions against large gatherings and a statewide curfew in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The party occurred Saturday night, allegedly organized by a teen promoter who was one of the people arrested when sheriff’s deputies descended on the event.
According to Fox11, which had been tracking the 17-year-old promoter’s alleged activities and was on scene when the raid occurred, 116 adults were cited and released for various misdemeanor offenses, while seven people were booked into jail. Another 35 juveniles were also cited and released.
The arrests included three adults and two juveniles booked on suspicion of burglary, while one juvenile was arrested on a gun charge, the station reported. An “at-risk” runaway girl who was being sought by the sheriff’s department’s Human Trafficking Task Force was also found at the party, according to Fox11.
When stricter health orders were announced last week, including plans for the state’s regional stay-at-home order that took effect late Sunday night, Villanueva said his department would continue to rely on the public’s adherence to restrictions.
“Since March, we have continued to focus on education and voluntary compliance regarding health orders,” he wrote on Twitter. “Moving forward, we will additionally be conducting targeted enforcement of super-spreader events.”
The Palmdale party was considered just such an event. The sheriff is expected to discuss the party crackdown during a late-morning news conference at the Hall of Justice.
“These types of parties typically involve drugs, alcohol, weapons, minors and prostitution,” according to a sheriff’s department statement.
According to Fox11, six guns were recovered at the party, including some with illegal extended magazines. The station reported that the home used for the party was up for rent, but the party organizers were in the home illegally.
Los Angeles County and state health restrictions in place due to the coronavirus ban gatherings with people from different households. State health orders that were in place on Saturday included an overnight curfew, barring people from gathering with others between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.