SALT LAKE CITY — Undercover Salt Lake police officers arrested four people, including three juveniles, over the weekend at a rave party at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The organizers of the party had obtained proper permits and even had advertising on local billboards for their Naughty or Nice theme party Saturday night.

Rave parties typically involve techno music and dancing. The rave scene became synonymous about 10 to 15 years ago, however, with so-called "club drugs" such as ecstasy.

Based on complaints from parents about juveniles overdosing at previous rave parties, the city vice squad sent undercover officers into the party to make drug buys. A total of 85 ecstasy pills and small amounts of cocaine and marijuana were seized, according to investigators.

In addition to the ecstasy dealing arrests, several other misdemeanor arrests were made and at least two people were treated for drug overdoses, according to police.

"People holding parties is an option they have," Salt Lake Police Sgt. Shawn Josephson said. "However, we are concerned to make sure they are law-abiding parties."

Mike McPheters, who was walking past the Salt Palace following a family outing to Temple Square, had his own complaints about the event. McPheters said his family, including four of his grandchildren, were on a "spiritual high" after viewing the lights when they came across four separate groups of teenage girls who had "very little on."

"The grandchildren were just shocked," McPheters said. "Am I in the Bronx, or am I in Salt Lake City? It's just nothing we would ever expect. ... I just couldn't believe this was going on here."

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McPheters said it was "indecency at its peak" and called for more "responsibility from management," but Allyson Jackson, Salt Palace general manager, said the Salt Palace is a public facility that can be rented by anyone for legal activities — including raves.

"These events, and we all agree not everyone likes them ... but the fact of the matter is these events are going to take place, so why not here in a safe, dry, properly secured environment?" she said.

Jackson acknowledged that arrests were made but said she felt they were a small number when compared to 3,000-plus she said were in attendance.

"Eight, maybe 10 tickets, out of 3,200 young people," she said. "That's an amazing statistic."


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