A task force that cracks down on underage drinking has made its biggest bust ever following the arrest of 51 people at a house party in Olympia.
Located at 712 Percival Street NW, the house party came to the attention of authorities late Oct. 24 after a neighbor called 911 with a noise complaint.
Target Zero Thurston County’s Party Intervention Patrol reports that more than 100 people packed the house shoulder to shoulder. Many of the partygoers were current and former students at The Evergreen State College, according to a news release.
The party was a fundraiser for Books to Prisoners: Olympia, an all-volunteer organization that sends free used books to prisoners. The event had six live music acts on the bill, and with a $5 cover charge at the door, all proceeds were slated for the charity, according to a Facebook page for the event. A post on the page said the event netted $206 and several books for Books to Prisoners.
The patrol reports that 51 total arrests were made, including the party’s host as well as another partygoer who allegedly obstructed the investigation. The 49 underage drinkers at the party were taken to the Public Health and Social Services office in Olympia, where each met one-on-one with a chemical dependency professional.
This particular bust was conducted by members of the Washington State Patrol, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, Tenino Police Department and Olympia Police Department. The task force collaborates with law enforcement agencies to reduce traffic injuries and death related to alcohol consumption.
“This was the largest party we’ve ever busted by far,” said Jerry Noviello, Target Zero program manager. “The purpose of this project is to reduce impaired driving, particularly by young people. It makes the youth in the community aware that law enforcement is going to stop underage drinking parties.”
Noviello told The Olympian that most of the patrol’s busts have originated from complaints filed by neighbors over loud noise. He said participating police agencies also refer to maps that show areas that have historically generated complaints over parties.
“We’re hoping to do more of these patrols throughout the year,” Noviello said.
In June, the Party Intervention Patrol busted an underage drinking party in Yelm that led to 35 total arrests.