Azalea Festival leads to 310 drug, alcohol charges

Wilmington, NC - WILMINGTON, NC (WMBF) - Agents with the North Carolina Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement charged 217 people on 310 drug, alcohol and other violations during Wilmington's annual Azalea Festival from April 8-10.

Officials report the cases included eight felony drug charges, 102 charges of underage possession of alcohol, 30 charges of marijuana possession, 24 charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and 35 cases of fake identification.

ALE agents also seized more than $1,000 in cash and alcohol from a local catering service for alleged unauthorized sales.

The operation was a joint effort between ALE and the Wilmington Police Department.

"The Wilmington authorities asked for our assistance to help ensure a safe atmosphere for festival attendees," said ALE Special Agent in Charge Ted Carlton.  "We plan to have more operations in the area in the coming months."

ALE sent agents from Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville and New Bern to assist. The agents also assisted the N.C. State Highway Patrol at five of their driving while intoxicated checkpoints.

The operation's focus was enforcement at ABC licensed locations throughout Wilmington and the surrounding area with a concentrated effort placed on the central business district.

Agents charged employees at five ABC licensed locations in Wilmington with the sale of alcohol to underage persons over the course of the operation:  Break Time Billiards, Reserve Food Mart, Rize Nightclub, Olive or Twist and Han Dee Hugo's No. 30.

The Rize Nightclub at 34 North Front St. was charged twice, once on Thursday night and again on Saturday night.

An employee of the Side Street Café in Oak Island was also charged with serving alcohol to a minor.  Violation reports will be submitted to the N.C. ABC Commission concerning all of these sales.

In addition, a violation report is being submitted against Mugsys Pub on 202 Princess St., Wilmington, concerning an intoxicated manager.

A & G Game Room on 1013 North 4th St. was found to be serving alcoholic beverages after hours and allowing drug use on the licensed premises and they will be reported to the ABC Commission as well.