19 arrests made as Osceola deputies crack down on large house parties

4 guns seized

For months now, “unsavory” people, including gang members, have been hosting massive parties at vacation rental homes with the intent of spreading COVID-19, according to Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson.

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The effort to break up large house parties in Osceola County, some of which are being held with the intention of spreading COVID-19, is ongoing with more than a dozen arrests reported this weekend alone.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, deputies worked with homeowner associations to stop eight large parties before they even began between Friday and Saturday.

Sheriff Russ Gibson said these large parties have been happening dating back to April and usually involve Central Floridians renting properties in Osceola County to host the massive gatherings that range in size anywhere from 50 to 400 people.

[RELATED: ‘Our residents are afraid:’ Hundreds gather at Osceola parties to spread COVID-19, sheriff says | Several arrested at Osceola house parties during coronavirus pandemic]

A fatal shooting was reported at one of the parties a few months ago and other violent incidents have been reported as well.

“These are real situations, very dangerous situations and our residents are afraid, you know, and we don’t want that. And we don’t want to feel like, other than dispersing this, that we’re powerless and they just continue to happen. Osceola County can’t be listed as party central or COVID-19 party central and then -- we’re not going to do that,” Gibson said on July 17.

This weekend, the two-day saturation patrol resulted in 144 traffic stops, 74 citations, 19 arrests and four firearms confiscated.

Charges include possession of cocaine, fleeing and eluding, street racing, driving under the influence and more.

During the same two nights, deputies said they responded to 71 noise complaints.

Anyone who has information about a large gathering or needs to report a noise complaint can call the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at 407-348-2222 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).