BEECH MOUNTAIN -- State agents and other law enforcement officers arrested 108 people on drug charges during a three-day music festival last weekend in the North Carolina mountain town of Beech Mountain, according to the Alcohol Law Enforcement division.
Authorities say 39 of the arrests at the Gnarnia Music Festival, held Thursday through Saturday, were for felony charges. Four arrests involved drug trafficking, according to ALE agents.
Authorities say the covert operation focused on sellers, distributors and traffickers of LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and other drugs. ALE agents also reported seizing drug paraphernalia and cash.
Joining ALE officers in the operation were the Beech Mountain and Banner Elk police departments, along with sheriffs offices from Avery and Watauga counties.
Dangerous psychedelic drugs were being sold and distributed prior to and during the event, said Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Brad Putnam. Many of the arrests were made before the festival started.
The festival, held for the first time, featured a variety of music, including electronic, jazz and folk, along with nonmusic entertainment such as circus-type events.
The four arrested on drug trafficking charges were:
• Brandon Bielen, 26, of Fayetteville, Ark., charged with trafficking nearly 64 grams of cocaine and more than 900 dosage units of ecstasy.
• Jeffrey Brown, 43, of Louisa, Va., charged with trafficking more than 100 units of LSD.
• Joseph Collins, 22, of Los Angeles, charged with trafficking more than 100 units of LSD, more than 450 units of ecstasy, and an unspecified amount of oxycodone.
• Derrick Oyster, 22, of Ocklawaha, Fla., charged with trafficking 41 grams of ecstasy.