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Crackdown in Montauk over weekend leads to arrests, summonses, tickets

East Hampton Town Police, on foot patrol, with

East Hampton Town Police, on foot patrol, with code enforcement and fire marshal officials, were a highly visible presence in Montauk shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 26, 2015. Credit: Doug Kuntz

Routine undercover investigations of Montauk bars and restaurants, and DWI checks in the hamlet over the weekend, netted six arrests as well as dozens of traffic tickets and summonses, officials said Sunday.

The investigations, conducted Friday through early Sunday morning by the New York State Liquor Authority and the East End DWI Task Force, followed promises from officials to crack down on excessive partying by summer visitors after hundreds of residents complained.

In addition to the arrests on charges of drunken driving, drug possession and possession of a forged instrument, the weekend effort resulted in 47 vehicle and traffic tickets, 31 town code summonses and five parking summonses. Alleged offenses included possession of open containers of alcohol, public urination, litter and noise.

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said Sunday that details about the establishments involved in the undercover operations and any infractions were still being processed.

"This is more about the partying atmosphere and the unsafe behavior of the patrons than it is specifically about any particular bar or restaurant," Sarlo said. "We want to create a deterrent to drunken driving, open alcohol and drunken behaviors that are affecting our residents' quality of life."

Sarlo said the "low-key" code enforcement and liquor law inspections are routinely undertaken twice a year but traffic enforcement was stepped up after the resident complaints. He said the DWI checkpoint conducted along Route 27 just west of the Old Montauk Highway split includes additional patrols this summer.

Sarlo said the DWI task force operation had been planned since April, but "we were sent some additional personnel given the current climate and volume of people on the roads in Montauk."

In addition to the East Hampton police department and the state liquor authority, other agencies involved in the weekend operations included the Suffolk County district attorney's office, the New York State Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, and police officers from Riverhead, Southampton Town, Southampton Village, Sag Harbor, Westhampton Beach, Shelter Island, Southold and East Hampton Village.

"I'm pleased with the efforts our law enforcement personnel are making," East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Sunday. "I do have a strong sense the situation is calming, from the input from the community and enforcement personnel."

Montauk residents, who said that in recent years they have had to live with drunken and disruptive behavior that is turning their once-quiet community into a party town, reached what Cantwell called their "boiling point" after a particularly rowdy July Fourth holiday weekend.

Town leaders this month authorized overtime for police, fire and code enforcement personnel, and approved other plans to help alleviate the problem.

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