LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
By Steve Birr
Police descended on a massive marijuana party at a warehouse in Philadelphia Saturday night, seizing handguns, bulk amounts of cash and arresting 22 people.
Hundreds of smokers gathered at a warehouse at 4500 Worth Street in Philadelphia Saturday night for what was billed as the “Philly Smoke Session, Spring Fling VIP Event.” Invitations posted on Instagram advertised the party, which said the event had limited availability and would run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Police said the event amounted to a giant group of people smoking, buying and selling marijuana, reports WPVI.
An investigation into “large-scale marijuana sales” led police to the warehouse, which the city’s Department of Licences and Inspections deemed highly dangerous for such events. Authorities seized roughly 50 pounds of marijuana, $50,000 in cash, 100 pounds of THC infused edibles and four handguns. Police arrested 19 males and 3 females for their involvement in the operation.
“Approximately 175 persons were released without charges,” a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Licenses and Inspections was on location, which was a fire and safety hazard due to crowd size, use of butane torches, and presence of only one entrance/exit.”
Residents of the local neighborhood said the warehouse is a popular location for these kinds of parties and were happy the police took action to shut it down. Residents said the events would fill the area with the stench of marijuana.
Protesters gathered in front of the police station Sunday, calling the incident an unprovoked raid of an otherwise peaceful gathering. Authorities note marijuana remains illegal and point to the safety hazards such events pose to the community and to those in attendance.
“There are warehouse spaces throwing illegal parties all the time, often we are able to stop them before they start,” Karen Guss of Licenses and Inspections told WPVI. “We don’t do that because we’re not fun, we don’t do that because we’re mad because we weren’t invited. We do it because it is a potential deathtrap, very often.”
Police executed two additional search warrants at two separate locations, seizing undisclosed contraband. The investigation is ongoing.