More than 100 people were arrested in a drug sweep, and all the suspects were at a new music festival.
Investigators said they were doing drugs at the Gnarnia Festival in Beech Mountain.
State Alcohol Law Enforcement officers arrested 108 people during what they describe as a covert special operation.
“It is the closest to a police state that I've ever seen. It was ridiculous,” one person said.
That's how some people at the Beech Mountain Town Council meeting described the police presence at the festival this past weekend. The Town Council meeting was packed on Tuesday afternoon. Organizers feel like law enforcement went out of their way to target festivalgoers.
“We know we had some guest artists who were pulled over three or four times, including some of the locals, because of the type of car they were driving,” said promoter Bowie Vanling.
ALE agents said they were contacted by the town. Agents said they focused on sellers, distributors and traffickers of controlled substances like LSD, mushrooms, heroin and cocaine.
During one arrest, 900 doses of ecstasy was seized, official said.
Four of the people charged with drug trafficking are from out of state, including California and Florida.
But at the meeting Tuesday afternoon, several residents stood up in support of the festival. Town Council member Alan Holcombe said the festival helped businesses in what has been a very tough year.
“One of the biggest businesses here said that this weekend made his summer, so that is a heavy statement,” he said.
The mayor did say he'd like to invite law enforcement officers to a council meeting to learn more about the problems at the festival. No decision has been made on whether Gnarnia will be back next year.