South Georgia law cracks down on underage partying - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia law cracks down on underage partying

February 5, 2007

South Georgia law officers crack down on underage drinking and partying. The Sumter County Sheriff's Office raided a teen club party where some adult activity was taking place. Drug agents found kids living it up with liquor and marijuana and it may have been going on for a while.

Folks along Lawhorn Circle in Americus say things just haven't been the same.

"It was very quiet and peaceful," said Gene Gay. Now, things are much different.

"Horns blowing, screaming and hollering," said Gay. Gene Gay says the disturbance is coming from the Sports Page on Highway 280.  The parking lot is directly behind his house.  He's called the Sheriff's office as many as six times in one night to complain.

"Everybody out here pretty much has called the Sheriff's office," said Gay. This time complaints worked.  Undercover agents went inside the Sports Page and found kids using drugs and drinking alcohol.  A short time later, about 30 members of law enforcement raided the establishment.

"We found marijuana in the pool tables, lying around on the floor," said Sgt. Prurince Dice with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. Some kids weren't even old enough to be considered teenagers.

"The ages were from ten. I'd say at least ten years of age and up. They were charging 5-dollars a head to get in the door," said Dice. And it was a party with publicity. Flyers stating 'Let's see who can get dis **** the crunkest' were posted in both middle schools and high schools in Sumter County.

It calls for different groups to come out, Northside, LAD, PG, Westside. The Sheriff's Office feels it may be gang-related.

"We just can't allow this kind of thing to happen because I know and I think the public knows that there's going to be a tragedy if this type of thing continues," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith. Some juveniles were found wearing red and blue bandannas and scarves in their pockets and on their wrists. Sergeant Prurince Dice says it's to represent the neighborhoods or gangs they're from.

"We got gangs from Leslie, Desoto, the Northside which is in Americus, the Plains, Georgia gang," said Dice. Those groups under one building could end up leading to more trouble. And Sumter County officials say they've had trouble in the past at the Sports Page. We went knocking for answers tonight but we were unsuccessful. However, the Sheriff's Office says they'll continue a close watch.

"We will definitely be keeping a close eye on that place and other places that have such parties as these," said Dice. Neighbors aren't complaining about that.  They hope it helps to right some wrongs.

"Very wrong to me. It shouldn't have been going on," said Glenn Cox. And Gene Gay has new hopes for his neighborhood.

"I hope they close permanently. That's what I'm hoping," said Gay. He thinks it will allow him to have a good night's sleep and bring things back to what he considers normal.

Three juveniles, ages 15,16, and 17 were arrested and charged with underage consumption of alcohol.  That's a fine and probation. Two adults were also arrested in the raid. Charges are pending against the hostess of the party, a woman in her 20's. She could be charged with contributing to delinquence of a minor.

The Sheriff's Office says the owner of the Sports Page, Bill Brown could also be charged. His alcohol license was revoked so he was NOT serving alcohol. The teens got it another way.  

Brown rents the establishment out for $300 a night.  The Sheriff's office says he told them he's in another part of the building when parties take place and he shouldn't be responsible for what goes on.  But investigators say he should be responsible for what goes on in his establishment.

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