Monday, August 03, 2009

Drug Raid On Church of Universal Love and Music Leads to 22 Arrests

In Fayette County, Pennsylvania on Saturday, the County Drug Taskforce arrested 22 people in a raid on the Church of Universal Love and Music. Yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the raid took place during a 3-day music festival attended by around 800 people. Earlier this year, the church entered a settlement in a suit brought by it under RLUIPA challenging the county's denial of zoning permission for it to use property in an agricultural area for religious concerts. Under the settlement the Church may host up to 12 event per year, with a maximum crowd of 1,500 at each. The county claimed that the organization was actually operating as a music business rather than as a church. (See prior posting.)

UPDATE: Monday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a more detailed story, indicating that 23 people were arraigned overnight Saturday as a result of the raid. It reports that the raid "resulted in ... the seizure of enough marijuana, hash brownies, hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD, laughing gas and drug paraphernalia to pack two storage trailers with a capacity of about 3,000 pounds."