Summer Camp drug arrests down

Matt Buedel GateHouse Media Illinois
A Peoria County Sheriff’s deputy patrols Summer Camp May 22 at Three Sisters Park. Overall arrests at the three-day music festival were down slightly from last year.

Undercover drug agents seized more than three pounds of marijuana and a rainbow of other drugs during a 2014 Summer Camp Music Festival that resulted in a dozen of the most serious drug charges — Class X felonies.

Overall arrests between the Peoria Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group and Chillicothe Police Department, however, were slightly down in a year that saw increased attendance because of favorable festival weather.

“I think we were down a little bit, but we were also down manpower. More agents and more manpower certainly would have resulted in more arrests, but I’m happy with the results,” P-MEG Director Dave Briggs said Wednesday. “Our goal isn’t to go out there and arrest everyone. We just want to keep up with the drug trafficking out there, and I think we did.”

Agents with P-MEG made 37 arrests over the course of the festival, including assisting Illinois State Police troopers with traffic stops on the first day attendees began arriving at Three Sisters Park. Of those arrests, 12 

people were booked on Class X felonies; seven on Class 1 felonies; three on Class 2 felonies; five on Class 3 felonies; and 10 on Class 4 felonies.

Agents also seized $11,762 cash, more than a pound and a half of psilocybin mushrooms, nearly half a pound of pills or powder being sold as Ecstasy, more than a thousand hits of LSD, various tanks of nitrous oxide and small amounts of cocaine and heroin.

“I think it went very well from a public safety standpoint,” said Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady. “It appeared the arrests were significant amounts of drugs, and that’s what we want to address.”

Chillicothe police made 42 arrests over the holiday weekend on the festival grounds and throughout the city, said Chief Scott Mettille. Six of those were felony controlled substance arrests, two were driving under the influence charges and the rest were ordinance violations for small amounts of marijuana or drug paraphernalia.

“There were no huge problems, and citizen complaints about the noise were actually down compared to past years,” Mettille said. “The summer campers we arrested once again were polite and courteous — they were relieved it was an ordinance violation, rather than a criminal charge going on their state criminal history.”

Mettille said his numbers, too, were down slightly from the previous year, but like P-MEG, he was down personnel for the holiday weekend.

Medical treatment at the festival more closely mirrored the increased attendance numbers, with a record number of patients treated for mostly mundane health needs, said Troy Erbentraut from the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services group.

Each year, PAEMS uses the festival as a live training exercise to set up the mobile eight-bay emergency department and home of the Region 2 Emergency Response Team. More than 450 patients crossed the threshold of the blue, climate-controlled tent with a pneumatic frame this year.

“There was a lot of wound care issues. We removed some ticks and there were cuts from glass bottles that I hadn’t seen before,” Erbentraut said.

While the strong storms the previous year brought two trauma patients for treatment after a tree limb fell on their camp, the dry, dusty conditions presented different challenges this year.

“Everyone who had asthma who bought a ticket came to see us,” Erbentraut said. “We saw a lot of respiratory issues.”