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DanceSafe.org : Raves and Club Drugs in the News : US ME: Police Raid Fudafest Saturday Afternoon
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jul 2002
Source: Sun Journal, The (NC)
Copyright: 2002 The New Bern Sun Journal
Contact: peter_williams@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.newbernsunjournal.com
Fax: (252) 638-4580
Author: Gail Geraghty


Nearly 50 law enforcement officers, led by the Maine State Police Tactical Team, conducted a surprise raid Saturday afternoon at Fudafest, detaining around 400 festival-goers for two hours while Aaron Fuda's 57 McKay Road property was searched for drugs, guns and evidence of illegal activity. 

Fudafest organizer Aaron Fuda and several of his friends said Monday that the raid was an extremely frightening event for many people there, and a sizable number of people left the party after the police had gone. 

"The impression was that you could be shot," said Eric Daicy of Gray, one of the vendors at the annual party, now in its 11th year.  He said two officers stood with rifles on top of Fuda's bus.  "They were sighting their guns over the crowd.  They were aggressive, to say the least."

Seized in the raid were processed marijuana, 15 marijuana plants and psilocybin mushrooms, along with hand scales and around $2,000 in cash, according to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.  Summonses were also issued to several people for the illegal sale of alcohol, and charges against Fuda are being reviewed by the state's Attorney General's Office and the Oxford County District Attorney for allegedly allowing the sale of drugs on his property. 

The only person arrested Saturday was Christopher Chappell, 24, of Poland, who allegedly drove his van in the direction of Maine Drug Enforcement Special Agent Tony Milligan, refusing to stop.  Chappell was charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and obstructing government administration. 

MDEA agent Gerry Baril said Norway police requested his agency's help because of complaints from parents about children coming home from the festival intoxicated, and drug overdose incidents.  The tactical team was called in, he said, because of reports that a major drug dealer of Ecstasy and cocaine "was holed up behind the tire pile armed with a .357-caliber Magnum and a 9 millimeter pistol." The man was not located, he said. 

"We wanted to get in and out safely, without inciting a riot," he said, explaining the presence of the tactical team, dressed in camouflage uniforms and face paint, with full tactical battle gear.  The nearly 50 officers created a perimeter around the festival and emerged all at once from the woods, just as a puppet show protesting unjust government interference was about to begin, according Fudafest participants. 

Participating in the raid were MDEA agents; police from Norway, Paris, Livermore Falls, Jay and Bridgton; deputies from Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties; Maine State Police; the Bureau of Liquor Enforcement; Department of Probation and Parole; the Maine Warden Service; and the U.S.  Border Patrol. 

Baril said undercover agents who were at the three-day festival on Friday night were able to buy marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms. 

"They had to stand in line to purchase the mushrooms, it was that bad," Baril said.  "We're not trying to shut Fudafest down.  We're trying to stop the unlawful and wholesale distribution of unlawful drugs."

Fuda said the party atmosphere was relaxed and peaceful before the raid, and that although most people were drinking, no one appeared to be doing any hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine.  There was some hard drug use at the party last year, he said, and he let it be known that it would not be allowed this year. 

"We were having a peaceful protest," said Faryl Orlinsky, who said police broke into her van to search it.  "It made me feel like was I was raped."

Fuda said police had no right to seize his $2,000, which police allege is drug money.  He said part of the money came from an insurance settlement, and the rest was raised from the sale of buttons at the festival. 

"We've known all kinds of people here for years and years, we've never had any violence or hostility," Daicy said.  "It all came from them."

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