Dozens of partiers were arrested as sheriff’s officials busted three underground events in central Los Angeles Thursday night, deputies say.
The operation by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Super-Spreader Task Force targeted two locations in downtown L.A. and a third venue in Mid-City, where officials say a total of 137 people were arrested.
The revelers were cited for violating county health orders amid the pandemic and released, sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies additionally seized a discarded firearm, the department said.
Photos tweeted by the Sheriff’s Department show the interior of the spaces raided, including a hookah lounge filled with discarded red cups and what appears to be an office space converted to a makeshift strip club complete with a bar.
Officials said the venues were located in the 400 block of Seaton Street and 500 block of West Pico Boulevard in downtown, and in the 5600 block of Washington Boulevard in Mid-City.
The Super-Spreader Task Force has made more than 400 arrests at underground parties so far this month as the county’s hospitals buckle under the weight of a monthslong COVID-19 surge that has become increasingly dire since Thanksgiving. Another 225 arrests were announced in December.
The county’s death toll is reaching new heights, with nearly 2,000 people dying of COVID-19 in the past week alone. More than 13,000 county residents have succumbed to the illness since the pandemic began.
The Sheriff’s Department had previously said it wouldn’t be enforcing coronavirus orders. But the agency changed its stance in early December and has since vowed to help reduce the virus’ spread by targeting any large gatherings being held in violation of health orders.