Phish fans keep ALE, police busy

Staff WriterJune 21, 2011 

— State and local police knew there would be an impressive cache of illegal drugs at the Phish concert Saturday night in Raleigh.

When the band showed up last year to play the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Raleigh police and agents with the state Alcohol Law Enforcement Division made many arrests.

So this year, police were bracing for drug and alcohol abuse among those who turned out to see the band known for its loyal followers and long jams.

Authorities got help in advance. Two weeks before the concert, they received a tip that people planned to bring drugs from out of state to sell.

"At that point we had already decided we were going to work the concert," said Bryan House, an ALE spokesman.

The ALE and Raleigh police wound up charging nearly twice as many people at the Phish concert as they did last year. House reported 77 were charged on illegal drug and alcohol violations, including 32 felony drug charges.

The charges included violations for trafficking LSD, a psychedelic drug. Other drugs seized were ecstasy, cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana and nitrous oxide.

thomasi.mcdonald@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4533

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