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Police arrest 2, cite 86 at parties

Mary Kate Malone and Maddie Hanna | Monday, September 4, 2006

In the first major bust this fall, police arrested two Notre Dame students and cited 86 others at Turtle Creek Apartments Friday night after receiving an anonymous complaint about a party advertised on the Internet, police said Sunday.

The two-apartment raid – which began at 1655 Turtle Creek at 11:30 p.m. and ended at 1705 Turtle Creek at 2:30 a.m. – resulted in 96 tickets, including two custodial arrests, said Officer R. Swallow of the Indiana State Excise police.

Excise officers were not patrolling the apartment complex, Swallow said, but received an anonymous complaint about a party at 1655 “listed on MySpace under events and also under people’s blogs.”

That complaint prompted an investigation led initially by two undercover Excise police officers, who were later joined by more Excise, St. Joseph County and Walkerton police officers – a total of 13 to 14 officers, Swallow said.

Both custodial arrests were made at 1655, Swallow said. Excise arrested Maureen Conway, 19, for “minor consuming and false informing.”

Conway was not carrying identification, Swallow said, and did not reveal her identity to police.

Conway declined to comment Sunday.

St. Joseph County police made the second custodial arrest, Swallow said. He did not know the name or the reason for arrest.

St. Joseph County police spokesperson Jaimee Thirion did not return Observer phone calls Sunday.

Swallow said the officers issued 58 tickets to 54 individuals at 1655 for minor in consumption, possession of false identification and inducing a minor to consume alcoholic beverages.

After Excise received the anonymous complaint about the party at 1655 Turtle Creek, Swallow and another undercover Excise officer entered the apartment at 11 p.m.

During this initial check, about 90 people were present, Swallow said.

“You could see the inside of the apartment when coming in – the entire back [of the apartment] was full, people were spilling out,” Swallow said.

He and the other officer left “to meet up with other officers,” including officers from both St. Joseph County and Walkerton police forces.

Officers returned to Turtle Creek at “probably 11:30” p.m., Swallow said. Two undercover officers again entered 1655, he said, while other officers waited nearby.

“We just wanted to make sure the party was still going on, so that’s why the officers were sent to the premise,” Swallow said. “They called back to say the party was dying because the keg was emptied, but there were still young-appearing subjects consuming alcohol.”

At this point, Swallow said, officers went to the front and back of the apartment – which he estimated now had 60 people, all Notre Dame students except “maybe one or two” – and began to check IDs and issue tickets.

Of the three leasers present – the fourth is a Notre Dame cheerleader who was at the Georgia Tech game, Swallow said – the two who are 21 received tickets for inducing minors, and the third received a ticket for minor in consumption.

Officers then went to 1705 and issued 38 tickets to 34 people, who, “to my knowledge,” Swallow said, were all Notre Dame students.

Like at 1655, the tickets issued to students at 1705 were for minor in consumption and possession of false identification. Police ticketed the apartment’s resident – who is 21 – for inducing a minor to consume alcoholic beverages as well as possession of marijuana, Swallow said.

No custodial arrests were made at 1705, he said.

“All of the residents both at the first and second apartment were cooperative,” Swallow said.

The raid, he said, was not part of a larger surveillance effort by Excise to target Turtle Creek.

“This was the first time our agency has worked Turtle Creek this year,” Swallow said. “I don’t know if we plan on doing this [in the future].”

The Excise police are an arm of the Indiana state police. They are charged with enforcing state alcohol and liquor laws and are “specialists” in that field, said Capt. Phil Trent, South Bend police public information officer.

“If there’s multiple people [cited] it’s Indiana State Excise police calling the shots,” Trent said.