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158 Arrested at Los Angeles 'Superspreader' Party

Sheriff says his department will be cracking down on such events
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2020 3:31 AM CST

(Newser) – They certainly weren't abiding by California's stay-home order: The Los Angeles sheriff's department arrested 158 people over the weekend who were attending an underground house party Saturday night into the wee hours of Sunday. Of those 158, 35 were underage, and few were wearing masks, the Guardian reports. The party was held at a vacant house in Palmdale without the owners' knowledge; the teenage organizer allegedly broke in, bringing party equipment in a U-Haul truck. An Instagram ad for the party promised exotic dancers, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Authorities say the event's organizers have held two other similar gatherings, also in empty homes.

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Such parties "typically involve drugs, alcohol, weapons, minors and prostitution" and are illegal even when the country is not in the middle of a pandemic, Sheriff Alex Villanueva says. He adds that his department will be further cracking down on such "superspreader events" rather than focusing on businesses, which are currently under restrictions related to the governor's order, KTLA reports. Villanueva estimates at least six such events take place in the county per weekend. Nine weapons were recovered during the raid, and a 17-year-old victim of human trafficking was rescued. The Los Angeles Times reports the sheriff's department was tipped off about the party in advance, but let it go on so that the "elusive" organizers could be arrested. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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