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It's expected that the fourth annual Bonnaroo music festival that runs Friday through Sunday will bring in more than 90,000-plus attendees. That will provide an economic boost to Coffee County, where the concerts take place, but it also presents a challenge to its local law enforcement officials.
At Bonnaroo III last summer, two people died from drug overdoses. Authorities arrested 27 people and cited 132 others for offenses. Almost all of those were drug-related.
Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves told Gannett New Service that his office will aim to make more arrests this year. They will be concentrating more specifically on dangerous drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, psychedelic mushrooms, prescription painkillers, heroin and LSD.
They also will go after the drug dealers themselves at Bonnaroo. If the suppliers are cut off, the festival-goers obviously won't be able to obtain more drugs once they are there.
The music festival promoters say that a private security team will be assigned to drug enforcement within the festival's perimeters. They also say on-site medical procedures have been updated, not only to deal with possible drug overdoses but also other medical emergencies in a more effective way than in the past.
No one is naive. It's well known that one of the attractions of these kinds of multiple-day, popular music festivals is the flow and use of drugs throughout the proceedings.
But law enforcement cannot turn a blind eye to illegal conduct, especially when it can lead to death, as it did at last year's festival.
If those who attend Bonnaroo want to get "high," let it be on listening to the musical performances, rather than in using illegal substances.
There were more arrests this year at Bonnaroo and the Tennessee taxman took in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The search continues for more drugs out on the highways.
If you believe it, this year's drug take from Bonnaroo was more than last year.
Coffee County Sheriff's deputies and state troopers have been working all weekend.
Those arrested on drug charges were brought through court and the highway patrol is still stopping people leaving town from Bonnaroo.
The people who were arrested were in court Monday. Some were released and allowed to go home. Others will be held until they can get their bond made and state police are out on the highways. Anyone headed home - north, south, east or west may be stopped.
The number of people arrested was up this year. Many of the arrests were related to illegal drugs.
The Coffee County Sheriff's department says that 80 people were arrested for drug possession, 300 were issued citations or misdemeanors and 180 citations were given for possession of illegal drugs. Bonnaroo officials estimate 80,000 people attended the weekend music festival, down from 90,000 last year.