Undercover sting leads to 69 arrests in Richmond

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Dirk Warner email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of concert goers were arrested during a two-day undercover sting at the National. Now, a review is underway to determine if action will be taken against the concert venue's liquor license.

The State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which set-up the operation, says it could be days, even weeks before it has an answer to that question.  Meanwhile, that undercover operation resulted in nearly 70 arrests.

The national band "Widespread Panic" played to sold out crowds at the National on Monday and Tuesday.  While concert goers were having a good time, ABC agents in pain clothes were stationed in and around the venue -- as part of "Operation Don't Panic."  The goal was 3-fold…

"To observe, enforce and protect," said ABC spokesperson, Rebecca Gettings.

Over the two-day operation, agents arrested 69 people --including 4 teenagers. Charges from the arrests range from underage possession of alcohol, to possession of ecstasy and marijuana.

31 year-old Jeremy Arthur is charged with felony hit and run, and malicious wounding. Agents say he also appeared to be inhaling a substance from a balloon.

"Our agents attempted to stop him in the parking garage. He continued in an attempt to flee. Eventually he was stopped," said Gettings.

Concert goers, like Tom Jones say stings like "Operation Don't Panic' can only make his concert experience safer.

"I try to stay out of the crowd so I don't get knocked around too much," Jones said.

ABC says the sting was based, in part, on the band.

"(We're trying) to proactively address public safety, based on police reports from across the country on previous concerts by the band Widespread Panic," said Gettings.

ABC says whether you're at a concert at the National or elsewhere--beware…An undercover agent could be in the crowd.

"When you break the law you never know who's behind you," Gettings said.

NBC12 reached out to the National for comment. We were told management had no comment.

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