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63 Volusia County young people arrested in 'Operation Dry Spring'

It's Spring Break time, and over the past five weeks some 15,000 people were in Daytona Beach to celebrate and have fun in the sun. Whenever there's a large congregation of young people in a party atmosphere, however, law enforcement expects to find underage drinking and smoking, and probably some use of marijuana, synthetic marijuana or harder drugs.

With that in mind, the Florida Sheriff's Task Force sponsored a crackdown called "Operation Dry Spring." Coordinating with sheriff's departments in Volusia County and other likely Spring Break locations, the crackdown resulted in more than 5,000 arrests statewide during the five-week operation period. In Volusia County alone, 63 young people were arrested for underage drinking, providing alcohol to minors, illegal possession of tobacco, possession of banned synthetic drugs, or other offenses.

The agencies point out that, according to the CDC, Spring Break 2010 saw nearly 190,000 young people sent to emergency rooms for underage drinking-related injuries or illnesses. So, the goal of "Operation Dry Spring" was intended to stop "underage youth from buying and using alcohol, tobacco and various forms of synthetic drugs," said a press release from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

The press release broke down the numbers of the 63 young people arrested here:

  • 16 for underage tobacco possession
  • 15 for underage possession of alcohol
  • 8 for selling alcohol to underage people
  • 2 for possession of banned synthetic drugs
  • 3 for other offenses

Everyone wants to keep young people from being injured or sickened by alcohol. At the same time, when law enforcement runs large-scale dragnet operations, there can be some pressure to make arrests. Under that pressure, officers have been known to cut corners on civil rights. We do want our kids to be safe, but we also want their constitutional rights to be protected.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, "How Volusia deputies spent Spring Break," Katie Kustura, April 12, 2013

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