Police raid rave party at Birch Hill Night Club

Staff Writer

By natalie m. vena

OLD BRIDGE — During a private party at a local night club, police made 32 arrests, including eight juvenile arrests for underage drinking and the use and sale of drug paraphernalia.

Approximately 5,000 people attended a private rave party, promoted on the Internet by One Productions, at Birch Hill Night Club on Saturday night. Rave parties are known for the use and sale of drug paraphernalia, according to authorities.

Fliers were sent up and down the East Coast promoting the event, according to Police Capt. Dennis J. Cronin. The event, which was geared toward young adults, included rock bands, tattooing services, and different types of paraphernalia for sale.

"It was like a well-organized drug dealer’s flea market," Cronin said.

Police became aware of the rave party through their intelligence units who came across the fliers.

Attendees had to pay a $35 entrance fee to attend the event.

The Middlesex County and Monmouth County Narcotics Task Force, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the State Police were positioned inside the night club while Marlboro and Old Bridge Police maintained a perimeter outside the club.

The task force units identified and removed suspects to the outside perimeter of the club where police units were waiting. Police then brought the suspects to headquarters for processing, according to authorities.

Most of the arrests were for drugs and underage drinking, according to Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Ron Kercado.

"From our prior experiences, there is a high amount of evidence of drug usage that goes along with these [rave] parties," Kercado said.

Arrests were made for possession of drugs and possession with intent to distribute drugs including ecstasy, marijuana, ketamine and PCP, according to Kercado

Several youths were also arrested for carrying knives and participating in an altercation during the event.

There were also several drug-related accidents at the event including non-fatal drug overdoses, which were treated at area hospitals, according to authorities.

One of the accidents included an individual who climbed a pillar at the party, thought he could fly, and then plunged to the concrete floor below, noted police.

The eight juveniles who were arrested at the event were issued juvenile complaints and will have to appear in Family Court, explained Kercado.

The adults arrested will have to appear at Old Bridge Municipal Court.

According to authorities, Art Stock, owner of Birch Hill, was notified by police beforehand about the rave party. Stock tried to break the contract with One Productions, but was threatened with a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Birch Hill did not return phone calls prior to press time.

Ecstasy is a man-made, hallucinogenic drug and a stimulant. It is popular in nightclubs because after taking the drug users feel a high that enables them to dance all night long without tiring, according to Cronin.

"It elevates their heart rate so high that sometimes their heart gets damaged," he said.

Ketamine, also known as Special K, is an animal tranquilizer commonly used by veterinarians. When humans ingest it, it produces a different type of euphoria, noted Cronin.