Police are shocked with the results of a drug-driving operation conducted at an Aussie boutique music festival.

Officers seized illicit drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and ice, as part of a four-day sting targeting the Strawberry Fields music festival held near Cobram last weekend.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary with an extensive lineup of local and international electronic DJs and producers, including Moodymann, Tiga, Silent Jay, Andras Fox, Leaks, and Oisima, Strawberry Fields brought a crowd of thousands to its dusty bush local, located near the Murray River, but Police are shocked with the high numbers of patrons driving under the influence to and from the event.

Officers set up road blocks around the festival, running from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th November, involving highway patrol units and sniffer dogs and say they were “disgusted” to find that nearly half of all those tested for drugs came back positive.

“Of the 124 preliminary oral fluid tests for drugs, 51 returned a positive result,” said Eastern Region Inspector David Ryan in the Victoria Police report. “This number astounds me; nearly one person out of every two returned a positive reading.” “Of the 124 preliminary oral fluid tests for drugs… nearly one person out of every two returned a positive reading.”

Insp. Ryan adds: “We are happy that we have been able to remove these drivers from the road however disappointed in how many people appear to think that it is okay to drive whilst impaired… it is obvious to us that the people attending this event have held little regard for the safety of other road users.”

In addition to the drug tests, 77 people were charged for possession of illegal substances, including cocaine, ice, and ecstasy, while two individuals were processed for drug trafficking. Police also issued 35 penalty notices for traffic related offences and charged three people for drink driving.

Our Tone Deaf reviewer hailed Strawberry Fields as “one of the best niche festival experiences Australia has to offer,” with a bill “that highlighted the scarily deep pool of homegrown talent in our music scene, with all its colourful festival-goers in an equally colourful location, it was everything the organisers hyped it up to be.”

Following the conclusion of their half-decade anniversary event, organisers thanked punters on the event’s Facebook page; “from floods, to mosquitoes, to power outages, to the mishaps that go hand in hand in with running an underground music festival in the middle of the Australian bush – you have stuck with us through it all.”

Strawberry Fields organisers strongly warn against the use of illicit substances, as outlined in the ‘A-Z Survival Guide’ on the event website, which notes, “we work closely with New South Wales Police and have an excellent relationship with them. The possession, use and sale of controlled substance is illegal and not be tolerated. As a participant in the festival you are expected to respect the law – do not bring any illegal substances to the festival site.”

Despite the stern word from organisers, the one in two positive drug test figures is the highest in the event’s history. according to officers; “this has been the third year we have policed the festival and each year our seizures have increased,” Inspector Ryan notes.

“We want the community to know that we will continue to actively target those who think it is okay to use and or possess illicit drugs.”

The presence of drugs at music festivals came under scrutiny by mainstream media once more earlier this year following the high-profile reports of deaths of festival punters linked to drug overdoses at major events both in Australia and abroad, including the death of a 23-year-old man who swallowed “three pills”, according to Police reports, at West Sydney’s Defqon.1 “hardcore” dance festival, where 14 more were hospitalised and 84 arrested on drugs charges.

News that followed closely after organisers of New York’s Electric Zoo festival cancelled the third and final day of the EDM festival after two punters died with MDMA found in their systems.

In light of the tragedies a local American news team took it upon themselves to tackle the weighty issue, but instead turned up one of the worst undercover drug report on music festivals ever.

(Image: Shaan R. Ali. Source: Strawberry Fields 2013 Gallery)