141 arrests, 11 businesses cited during Operation Dry Spring

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SARASOTA COUNTY - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has concluded a 5-week operation designed to protect youth who might experiment with drugs and alcohol during Spring Break.

The goal of Operation Dry Spring, a statewide initiative of the Florida Sheriffs Task Force, was to prevent underage teens from purchasing and using alcohol, tobacco and synthetic drugs to protect them from the potentially harmful effects of these substances.

During Operation Dry Spring, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputies made 141 arrests for alcohol possession by a person under 21, and after conducting 75 business checks, cited 11 people for selling alcohol to minors. Marijuana was seized in three cases and one adult was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

“The safety of Sarasota County’s children, and those visiting our community, is paramount,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “What was sobering for us was the age of some of the minors cited, including one as young as 14. We hope the encounter with law enforcement emphasizes to parents that some kids are making poor decisions and need help understanding the potential health and legal consequences of their actions.”

Nearly 190,000 people under 21 visited an emergency room for injuries or conditions connected to underage drinking in 2010. In addition, more than 7,000 adverse incidents from synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice were reported in 2011 nationwide.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Florida Sheriffs Task Force, also conducted a 5-week operation aimed at protecting youth in Florida.

From March 4 to April 7, deputies targeted underage youth in possession of alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs as well as businesses selling these substances to underage youth. This operation resulted in 73 arrests including 33 arrests for underage alcohol sales.