OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly three dozen people were arrested and 16 guns were confiscated during an operation aimed at targeting house parties in Osceola County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office carried out the busts following numerous reports of COVID-19 parties, mass gatherings that were taking place despite a push for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Operation Party Stoppers,” which took place Friday and Saturday in the area of the west corridor of the county, led to 33 arrests, according to the Sheriff’s Office. With the help of homeowners associations in the area, deputies said they were able to stop several large parties before they could happen.
Charges from the arrests included possession of cocaine, armed trafficking, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, driving with a suspended license and multiple warrant arrests, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said the overall goal of the saturation patrol was to address the house parties that have recently taken place in the region.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the parties have resulted in multiple violent incidents over the past several weeks, including shootings and one homicide.
Last month, officials with the Sheriff’s Office said they had received more than 600 noise complaints since March, with many related to what Sheriff Russ Gibson referred to as COVID-19 parties.
Gibson said for months now, “unsavory” people, including gang members, have been hosting massive parties at vacation rental homes with the intent of spreading COVID-19.