The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department fully mobilized the agency’s “Super-Spreader Task Force” on New Year’s Eve to target underground parties that violated public health orders.
According to FOX 11, the operations resulted “in at least 900 people being detained, 90 arrests and/or citations, and the recovery of at least six guns.”
“I have made it clear that we will seek out and take law enforcement action against all ‘Super-Spreader’ events occurring anywhere within Los Angeles County,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “The goal of these enforcement actions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the risk to our vulnerable populations.”
Hundreds of detectives, patrol deputies, and Specialized Response Teams conducted operations at five separate locations throughout America’s most populated county, ranging from rented residences, vacant warehouses, hotels, and shuttered businesses.
FOX 11 broadcasted exclusive video of police breaking up most of the gatherings, including one reporter Bill Melugin described as “a massive house party” in the upscale beach community of Malibu.
Law enforcement warned over a loudspeaker, “this is the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. This super-spreader party is now over.” Deputies instructed partygoers to leave immediately or face a citation.
“We are actively enforcing the super-spreaders to protect against COVID,” Captain Holly Francisco told FOX 11. “Once we confirmed there was a party here, we had our super-spreader task force respond and detain the occupants.”
Melugin reported, “the party had been promoted on Instagram by a promoter known as @moe_da_plugg” who, according to LASD, had also been illegally selling guns through the social media platform. FOX reported that he had been arrested earlier in the week after LASD served a search warrant at his home, “but we’re told he was almost immediately released from jail,” Melugin said. LASD arrested the promoter again when the party was shut down.
An even larger New Year’s celebration took place at a warehouse in downtown L.A. Video from FOX showed the crowd filing out of the building. A woman who attended the event removed her face covering to scream at a deputy, who stood just feet away.
“Arrest me now, so I can bail out,” she demanded.
The outlet was also present at a third party held at a Doubletree Hotel in Pomona, about 30 miles east of L.A. The Sheriff’s department estimated 200 people were there.
“We’re going ahead and writing citations to the people that knowingly placed others in jeopardy,” said Lt. John Satterfield in an interview with FOX 11. “There was no social distancing; there were no masks. It was very unsafe and irresponsible.”
LASD said other raids took place in Hawthorne and at another location in L.A.
On New Year’s Day, the L.A. County Department of Public Health recorded 20,414 new COVID-19 cases and more than 200 deaths. Daily hospitalizations increased to 7,613.
Statewide, California reportedly had 585 COVID-19 deaths, a new single-day record. ICU bed capacity in the Southern California region remains at 0%.
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