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At Least 8 Arrested During SF '4/20' Celebration

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A person in possession of a gun was arrested Sunday evening at an unofficial marijuana event held annually on April 20 and attended by thousands of people in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a police spokeswoman

A citizen reported to police that they saw someone armed with a gun near the Golden Gate Park carousel. Officers detained four people and found one of them in possession of a firearm, San Francisco police Officer
Danielle Newman said.

The incident remains under investigation and one person remains in custody, Newman said.

Police and attendees were also on alert this evening after someone reported hearing gunshots. Newman said officers investigated the claim, but found no evidence of a shooting. Nonetheless, some attendees allegedly fled
from the area in fear.

Shortly after 4:20 p.m., Newman said that the crowds of marijuana smokers who gathered in the area known as Hippie Hill on the eastern end of Golden Gate Park had just finished "their big smoke-off."

San Francisco police officers patrolling the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Hippie Hill and Sharon Meadow areas today are issuing hundreds of advisements to citizens for infractions such as carrying open containers
of alcohol, Newman said.

Between eight and 10 people attending the event were arrested and are facing felony charges, however Newman did not disclose the nature of the arrests.

Newman said police are on the lookout tonight for people driving under the influence of narcotics.

According to Newman, new grants have been issued to the police department for DUI enforcement and officers will be stopping drivers suspected of being under the influence.

Police are reminding attendees of the marijuana festival that driving under the influence of narcotics, including marijuana, is illegal, Newman said.

Field sobriety tests will be conducted for those drivers suspected of being under the influence. If someone fails a field sobriety test but passes a Breathalyzer test, they will still be arrested and a warrant to test
their blood for narcotics will be sought, according to the police spokeswoman.

Anyone who is arrested "for driving under the influence of narcotics will face all the same charges as if they were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol," Newman said.

Penalties may include an arrest, fines, a suspended license, as well as increased insurance rates, according to Newman.

If someone refuses an officer's request to submit to a chemical test the Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to suspend the driver's license for one year.

At the Golden Gate Park celebration in 2013, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said there were no reports of serious crime.

The major issue last year was that about 15,000 people attending the event left behind a mess that cost more than $10,000 to clean up, according to a city parks official.

San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is spearheading the cleanup following the event with the assistance of the Department of Public Works, Newman said.

Those participating in the marijuana celebration are asked to leave the park by 10 p.m., adhere to park rules and remember to "pack it in, pack it out."

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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