Ultra Music Festival Crime Tally: 167 Arrests, Mostly For Drugs and Gatecrashing

When Ultra Music Festival announced plans to expand to a second weekend, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff predicted an onslaught of "urinating, defecating ... throwing up" kids on "mind-altering drugs" wreaking havoc. Well, Miami police have released their crime stats from the second week of Ultra and the actual results were something less than a Mad Max dystopia.

MPD arrested 86 people last weekend, bringing the two-week Ultra total to 167 arrests. Many were narcotics related, but gatecrashers were the biggest problem, Sgt. Freddie Cruz tells Riptide.

"By and large, it went smoothly," says Cruz, a department spokesman who also oversaw a bike unit patrolling Ultra.

Although police didn't have an exact breakdown of what festival-goers were arrested for, Cruz says the majority were either drug related or folks trying to sneak into the grounds.

"We had some minor narcotics sales and usage," he says. "But the biggest problem was just people trying to break in without paying."

Considering that an estimated 300,000-plus fans made it to Ultra over the two weeks of the festival, 167 arrests isn't a gigantic figure.

Either the additional $500,000 that Ultra eventually agreed to chip in to help patrol the two-week festival made a big difference, or Sarnoff's concerns over the festival's criminal impact were overblown all along.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink