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Increased patrols lead to more arrests at Phish concert

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Albany/HV: Increased patrols lead to more arrests at Phish concert
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Nearly 200 people were arrested during the three day Phish concert at SPAC, thanks in large part to an increased presence from local law enforcement agencies. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the arrests made over the weekend.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- “The one thing we have experienced with certain bands, and Phish being one of them, is a lot of drug activity," said Saratoga Police Lieutenant John Catone.

Nearly 70,000 fans crammed into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this past weekend to rock out to Phish. Although many fans came for the music, local law enforcement agencies made nearly 200 arrests connected to the concert. More than half of the arrests were drug violations.

While many came solely for the music, local law enforcement agencies made roughly 200 arrests attributed to the concert, with more than half for drug violations.

"Bath salts have become huge, ketamine is huge. Heroin, cocaine, always, you know, a good product," said Catone.

Even though drugs have always been an issue at certain concerts, officers said they've noticed an increase in activity over recent years.

Saratoga Police partnered with the New York State Parks Police and New York State Police to increase patrols in hopes of getting illegal narcotics off the street before they enter the venue.

"I'm not going to apologize on behalf of the police department or the way we run the narcotics unit,” Catone said. “We are absolutely trying to send a message."

In a statement released Wednesday, SPAC President Marcia White said, "While we work hand-in-hand with Live Nation, New York State Parks Police and all of our Saratoga County law enforcement partners to ensure a safe, enjoyable concert season at SPAC, people are ultimately responsible for their own behavior.”

John Huff, Live Nation's local general manager, said compared to the total number of people at the three concerts, the amount of arrests were relatively small. Huff applauded this weekend's efforts by all agencies involved.

He added while they promote each concert differently, the company has never considered not promoting a band because of concerns associated with its fan base.

"We don't dislike the band Phish or any other band, for that matter, or any other event that's held here in the city, but we're not openly going to allow people to break the law," Catone said.

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