NSW Police have issued a press statement expressing their disappointment after 221 Stereosonic revellers were charged with drug offences during the festival’s Sydney leg over the weekend. Police are also reporting that one man was found not breathing and was taken to hospital.
According to NSW Police, more than 830 of the approximately 81,000 punters attending the festival over Saturday and Sunday were searched during a police operation involving officers from the South West Metropolitan Region, drug-detection dogs, the Public Order and Riot Squad, Mounted Unit, and Police Transport Command.
In a press release, NSW Police say that more than 830 of the roughly 81,000 people who attended the Sydney leg of Stereosonic at Sydney Olympic Park were searched during a police operation involving drug-detection dogs. Of those more than 830 punters, 196 were found in possession of prohibited drugs, including cocaine, cannabis, MDMA, GHB and Ketamine.
Police subsequently found 196 people in possession of prohibited drugs at the festival, including MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, GHB, and Ketamine. Meanwhile, 13 were charged with supplying a prohibited drug, 169 with possession of a prohibited drug, and 14 people also received cannabis cautions.
Officers from the Police Transport Command, who were tasked with patrolling public transport to and from the event, report charging a further 38 people with possession of a prohibited drug and one with supply of a prohibited drug.
The event’s Saturday instalment saw one man charged with drug supply after he was caught with a bag containing 87 tablets of ecstasy, with police alleging the man intended to sell the tablets to festival goers.
According to a NSW Police statement, when guards asked the man if he was carrying anything illegal, he produced a plastic bag containing the tablets. Police were contacted and arrived a short time later, arresting the man and taking him to Burwood Police Station, where he was interviewed and charged with supply of a prohibited drug.
Among a reported 13 people who required medical treatment and who were subsequently taken to hospital — most with drug-related ailments — a 21-year-old man was found at the festival not breathing. Police and ambulance paramedics administered CPR and he was taken to Concord Hospital in a serious but stable condition. He has since been released.
“With more than 220 revellers being charged with drug-related incidents, and one man lucky to be alive, it is distressing that people continue to risk their lives by ingesting unknown substances,” said The South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli.
Assistant Commissioner Mennilli said that although festival goers were warned that police would be targeting illegal drug use and supply, the warning was disappointingly ignored by many. “We do not apologise for targeting illegal drugs, because they pose a very real health risk and can prove lethal,” he said.
“These operations are not about us being the fun police. They’re about us making sure revellers can have a good time in a safe, secure and drug-free environment.” The arrests come shortly after the death of Harbourlife reveller Georgina Bartter.