ABC agent makes seven arrests at dance

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 1999

Except for a few arrests this weekend, ABC Agent Vince Elchos thinks underage drinking was down at this year’s balloon festival.

&uot;I don’t think it was as bad this year,&uot; Elchos said. &uot;It was definitely a problem, but not as bad as last year.&uot;

Elchos made six field arrests Saturday night while patrolling the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race’s annual street dance.

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He arrested one adult for giving alcohol to a minor, one 17-year-old for possession of alcohol, one 16-year-old for possession of beer and three other people under 21 for possession of beer.

As field arrests, the suspects were issued citations appear in court but were not taken to jail.

&uot;Most of them that had (beer or alcohol) had gotten it from someone else,&uot; Elchos said.

A seventh suspect, Kenneth Gibbs III, 20, 398 Elmsley St., Woodville was taken to jail on charges of possession of beer by a person underage and false identification.

Elchos said Gibbs was treated differently because he gave false information.

&uot;He gave me a bogus I.D. and lied and lied,&uot; Elchos said. &uot;It was mainly that he kept on lying.&uot;

And presenting false identification to an officer is a felony, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, he added.

Gibbs was released on a $868 bond.

During the 1998 balloon race, Elchos arrested eight underage drinkers for possession of beer or alcohol. A bartender was also charged with selling alcohol to a minor.

Although there was initial talk that the 1998 arrests may cause the race to loss its liquor license the agency opted against doing so, Elchos said.

And he does not expect this year’s arrest to impact the race either.

&uot;The organization itself did not get in trouble this year as they did last year,&uot; Elchos said.

They could have done more but they appeared to be diligently checking identifications, he added.

The Natchez Police Department arrested at least two people early Saturday, including James Davis Jr., 20, 12 Passman Road, for possession of beer by minors.

Otherwise Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff though the past few days went smoothly for a festival-weekend.

&uot;The problem is even on non-balloon-race weekends, we have adults that buy beer for minors,&uot; Huff said.&uot;

There were several reports of vandalism to cars and buildings Sunday on North Pearl Street and Franklin Street.

An unknown person broke windows at Deposit Guaranty National Bank on Franklin Street and damaged a urn and a sign at the Guest House on Franklin Street.

Five cars were reported vandalized. In addition to other damage, someone damaged several of the vehicles’ by walking on them, police reports said.

Huff was not surprised by the vandalism.

&uot;This happens when you have a big crowd in town,&uot;&160;Huff said. &uot;It’s been a pretty good weekend, all in all,&uot; Huff said.