By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
July 4 didn’t mean independence for 49 Toledo and area residents arrested on alcohol and drug charges over the weekend.
They were cited as part of Operation Holiday Zero Tolerance, a crackdown on drunken drivers by the Toledo Liquor Enforcement Office.
“It was a real success, no doubt about it,” said Earl Mack, the agent in charge of enforcement operations.
The liquor enforcement agents spent the weekend in unmarked cars, rolling down area streets and highways in search of underage drinkers and other alcohol offenders. When they saw a suspicious vehicle, agents radioed to the Ohio Highway Patrol or local sheriff’s departments, who moved in to make the arrests.
By weekend’s end, 49 people had been charged with a total of 62 crimes, most first-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Seven bars and stores – six in Toledo and one in Fremont – were charged with the sale of alcohol to minors and other counts.
“We’re out there doing our best to assist in enforcement,” Mr. Mack said.
This was the liquor office’s first holiday roundup, but it plans similar efforts for Labor Day weekend and other holidays. Seventeen people died on Ohio roads over the weekend, compared with 19 last year.
While most arrests were in Toledo, 22 were in surrounding towns, including 11 in Fremont. Five of those arrests occurred Saturday, when five minors ranging in age from 12 to 17 were arrested at the Village Way Daywood Apartments, Fremont, on alcohol and drug charges. Officials said a 12-year-old boy was charged with possession of beer and marijuana.