FLINT - The rave was called "Getting Lucky."
But the 130 people who attended Saturday night's party at Club What's Next were feeling anything but lucky when police officers swept in and arrested everybody early Sunday.
"A lot of the people were so stoned, they didn't even know the police were there," said a Flint sergeant who coordinated the raid and asked to be unnamed because he works undercover. "We had to convince them we were really police officers."
Seventeen people - including promoter Jell-Oh of Dancing Jell-Oh Productions - were arrested on felony drug charges and lodged in the Genesee County Jail pending formal charges, police said.
The other partygoers were cited and released for misdemeanor drug possession or frequenting a drug establishment.
The event had been promoted over the Internet for about three months and drew people from all over southern Michigan and other states, police said.
Often held in warehouses and spread by word of mouth, raves are typified by thumping music, strobe lights, disc jockeys, dancing and drugs such as Ecstasy.
The "Getting Lucky" rave had been advertised on techno-dance Web sites since January and promised a new DJ every hour from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday.
DJs including Halluci-Nate, Sparkimus Prime, White Rabbit, Captain Cheddar and California's Dj Primo were on the bill with a $10 cover charge.
Police, however, had information that the rave would feature more than just pounding bass lines and drum loops.
Two undercover officers and three civilian police agents went in under the guise of ravers and were able to buy three hits of Ecstasy, blotter acid and a psychedelic mushroom inside the club, police said.
Once the drugs were bought, police raided the club about 1:40 a.m. Sunday and found hundreds of Ecstasy pills, LSD and mushrooms, along with the so-called date-rape drug GHB and the animal tranquilizer Ketamine.
Police plan to test water bottles seized from clubgoers to see if they contain the colorless, odorless GHB.
Marijuana and cocaine also were seized from club patrons, police said.
Ecstasy is a popular drug at raves because it stimulates nerve endings, making users euphoric when they dance to the bass-heavy music.
Police said they targeted the party for the drugs - not the dancing.
"We're not against techno music and bass," said Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler.
The rave drew partygoers from Saginaw, Clarkston, St. Clair Shores and Durand, as well as DJs from Ohio.
The raid could cost Club What's Next, 2511 W. Pasadena Ave., its liquor license, officials said.
The club was fined $600 in 2001 and threatened with license suspension after the state Liquor Control Commission alleged the owner had failed to maintain appropriate records for four years and had not cooperated with investigators.
The records were ultimately turned over to the LCC, and the state opted not to suspend the license.
Club What's Next owner John Williams has not been charged in Sunday's raid, but police plan to notify the LCC of the incident and allegations that the club sold alcohol to minors at the rave. One 16-year-old was arrested, and police say most of the partygoers were in their late teens or early 20s.
The Flint Journal was unable to reach Williams on Monday.
Rave busts in Flint have been relatively rare as the parties usually are held under the police radar.
In 1999, about 80 people were arrested at a rave party in an abandoned house on W. Second Street in Flint.
Seven people in the house were charged with drug possession, and police wrote about 80 tickets for frequenting a drug house, a misdemeanor that carries up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Last weekend's investigation was conducted by Flint's Special Operations and Crime Area Target Team units, along with the Flint Area Narcotics Group and the Genesee County Sheriff's Posse.
Officials pointed to the raid as proof that Genesee County's three drug enforcement teams, sometimes considered to be competing with one another, can work together.
Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell said ravers can expect future visits from the police.
"There's no way they can keep something like this from us," he said.
March 22, 2005 - The Flint Journal (MI)
Clubgoers Say Event Cannot Be Called A Rave
By Chad Swiatecki
FLINT - What started as a night of fun ended with handcuffs and strip searches for Flint resident Nathan Boisclair and 129 other music fans.
Boisclair, who works as a disc jockey in clubs and at parties using the name Halluci-Nate, was one of 130 people arrested Sunday morning when local police raided Club What's Next, 2511 W. Pasadena Ave.
Boisclair was on the bill to DJ at the Saturday night party, billed as "Getting Lucky," but police stormed into the club at 1:40 a.m. Sunday before he had a chance to perform.
"I saw two police come in and didn't think much of it, but more and more just kept coming in until there was a crowd of them in the place yelling, 'Get against the wall! No one ... move!' " he said. "I had just had a couple drinks, and here me and all these other people are getting arrested for not doing anything but being in a club."
Police and news reports have referred to the club event as a "rave" because it was mostly advertised on the Internet and featured disc jockeys playing electronic music in shifts throughout the night. It was scheduled to end at 4 a.m. Sunday.
Whether that label actually applies - the event was held in a nightclub that has a liquor license instead of the usual rave locations such as abandoned buildings or public spaces - Boisclair and others ticketed think the raid was made to provide a high-profile bust to boost local drug enforcement efforts.
"I know they're doing their job and following orders, but you could go to any place where there are people and music and find drugs if you look hard enough," said Josh Camp, 24, of Burton, who was arrested and received a misdemeanor ticket for frequenting a known drug establishment.
"I didn't see anyone doing anything wrong, but I was just there to socialize with the DJs who I know and am friends with. ... You can't assume that everyone in a place is guilty just because of what a couple people are doing."
Camp and Boisclair said they were lined up against the club's wall, handcuffed for more than an hour, taken in groups into the club's bathrooms and strip searched by police who were looking for drugs.
Neither was among the 17 arrested on felony drug charges.
Camp, who owns the Modlife Records label that includes some electronic music artists, said he has thrown club nights similar to Getting Lucky in the past, but he tells police in advance and has never had legal problems.
Dezi Magby of Fenton, who performs as DJ Psycho but wasn't at Saturday's event, said the organizer of Getting Lucky is a former Genesee County resident who moved to West Virginia and came back for the weekend to organize it as a birthday party for a friend.
"I think he's a genuine guy, and he's a good friend of my family who came back here to do this night as a favor to someone," Magby said. "It was like the second party he's ever thrown, and my first thought when I heard about what had happened was that it was screwy. ... It's kind of a blow to the perception of electronic music in the Flint area."
Police said the event's organizer, who goes by the name Jell-Oh and had not been charged Monday, is suspected of selling Ecstasy and the animal tranquilizer Ketamine.
Anthony Carter of Flint, known as DJ Hype, said he declined an invitation to spin hip-hop music at the event but made a brief stop at the club just after midnight.
"It was wild in there with a large amount of people inside, so many that it was too crowded for me to stick around," Carter said. "I didn't see anything going on as far as people dealing drugs in the time I was there, but there was one girl who looked like she was power walking through the club.
"You could tell she was in another place."
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