Nearly 160 people have been arrested after a “super-spreader” party in California on Saturday night.
The illegal party, which was a ticketed event, was raided in the city of Palmdale as coronavirus cases rise across the state.
The 158 people arrested were aged between 16 and 22, with many of them not wearing masks.
Firearms were seized during the raid. Pic: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff’s deputies also found six weapons at the home as well as $424 (£316) in cash.
They also rescued a 17-year-old victim of human trafficking.
Another 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a news conference on Tuesday: “Even without the health order, these actions were criminal in nature.”
The “massive underground party” took place after the sheriff had vowed to crack down on “super-spreader” events.
It took place at a vacant home in a residential neighbourhood without the owner’s knowledge.
The party had been advertised on Instagram as “Project Wet ND’ Wild”.
The property has a pool but it was not in use on Saturday night.
Tickets ranged in price from $5 (£3.70) to $15 (£11.20), with extras up to $60 (£44).
The five teenage organisers, who broke into the home, were among those arrested.
Police said they are facing burglary charges.
They also hired a videographer to film the party, officials said.
Police added they had promoted previous parties in Pomona and Ontario.
Every partygoer who attended the California event faces misdemeanour offences of trespassing and violating the pandemic health order, officials said.
The party was first reported by the US news channel KTTV Fox 11.
The channel captured the moment deputies showed up and announced “this is the LA County Sheriff’s Department, this is an unlawful gathering” over a loudspeaker.
The TV station’s footage showed a fenced-in home with dozens of partygoers lined up and sitting on the ground with their hands behind their backs.
They were given masks and blankets as officers checked their temperatures.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Paul Zarris told KTTV said: “It was what we call a super-spreader for COVID.”