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Police Crackdown at Mass. Concert Part of Effort to Control Underage Drinking

Posted in Underage Drinking

Authorities detained 342 people at a concert in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as part of a planned response to crack down on underage drinking.

The sold-out concert featuring singer Kenny Chesney drew nearly 56,000 people. Of those, Foxborough police arrested 92 people and State Police arrested 23 people, most for underage drinking or trespassing. The others, most of whom were detained for rowdy behavior or being drunk, were released. reports that the show of force—there were more than 250 state and local police deployed at the New England Country Music Festival—resulted in what some law enforcement officials said was the largest number of arrests at Gillette Stadium in years.

“Clearly, at least in the last 10 years, this was the most arrests we’ve seen after an event at the stadium,” said David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office. There was such a long line for arraignments at Wrentham District Court that many of the hearings were pushed back until tomorrow.

The crackdown at Saturday’s show came after police faced similar problems at last year’s concert where two women, Alexa Latteo, 19, of Mansfield, and Debra Davis, 20, of Milton, died when their car struck a tree off Route 1 in Wrentham. At last year’s concert, authorities detained 76 people and some of them faced minor-in-possession charges.

Foxborough Police Chief Edward T. O’Leary said the mass arrests were necessary as a check on the rowdiness during last year’s event. “It was necessary for the safety of the fans that didn’t get drunk,” he said. “In 2007, we had significant violence in the parking lot of the surrounding area for people without tickets, and we wanted to avoid that this year.”

He added: “Underage alcohol use is a significant problem in suburban communities. It’s believed that the two underage people who crashed and died last year were using alcohol.”