Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival makes its epic return this weekend with Bassnectar, Rüfüs Du Sol, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, and many more.
While fans ready for a good time, the police force gears up to ensure the weekend runs as smoothly and safely as possible. This year, inbound vehicle searches, K-9 units and more are part of the process, which is heavily directed towards drug dealers.
“Our focus is not to target the personal use,” Sheriff Noel Stephen said. This year, deputies are shifting focus on individuals who may intend to sell/distribute “large amounts of illegal, illicit narcotics.”
The force is also “trying to target primarily those that are preying off of our youth.”
Sheriff Noel Stephen explained, “It’s hard to protect them from themselves at this age, but we’re targeting the vendors and those others that are coming there just to manipulate and steal and rob and ruin the majority of the festival goers’ weekend.”
Of the estimated 40,000 people who make up the Okeechobee community, 95 percent of attendees are 18 to 25 years old.
The festival goes down this Thursday, March 5th – Sunday, March 8th. More info and tickets here.
Source: TC Palm | Photo via Eric Allen Photo for Okeechobee