Internet InfoMedia florida spring break parties prevail through crackdown that nabs another gunman hundreds of arrests

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Police nabbed a second gunman on a Florida beach in back-to-back days, and hundreds of spring break arrests were made in Miami Beach over the first 16 days of the annual beach bash.

From March 1-16, Miami Beach made 256 spring break-related arrests, including four midnight curfew violations, police told Fox News Digital, which requested a more in-depth breakdown.

About four hours up the Florida coast, in New Smyrna Beach, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office arrested a second teenager with a firearm, a day after a 16-year-old pulled a gun on a crowded beach.

The seemingly high volume of arrests “is a reasonable number considering how many law enforcement officers are here,” said Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner, who said this has been “the calmest spring break in years.” 

FLORIDA SPRING BREAK DRAWS MASSIVE CROWDS, BEACH BOXING MATCHES TO FORT LAUDERDALE

Man arrested during spring bvreak in Miami

Police make an arrest during spring break in Miami Beach, Florida, on March 16, 2024. Crowds appeared unruly during the annual festivities in South Beach despite a tough crackdown with restrictive measures including a curfew and sky-high parking charges. (Romain Maurice/MEGA)

Miami Beach officials, in collaboration with Gov. Ron DeSantis and state police, prioritized law and order in South Beach, a phrase used repeatedly in interviews and press conferences leading up to “March madness.”

They did not want a repeat of last year’s mayhem, when two people were killed in South Florida, and law enforcement made about 500 arrests (including 230 felonies) and seized 105 guns.

FORT LAUDERDALE BRACES FOR SPRING BREAK WITH FREE ROOFIE DRINK TESTS, DUI ALTERNATIVES

Meiner told Fox News Digital that the crackdown on crime “has been successful,” with no major incidents so far.  

“We have DUI checks, license plate readers all over. We have extra ways of finding potential criminal activity, so that number (256 arrests) is right in line with what we expect, it’s actually a little lower than previous years, which is great,” the mayor said. 

“But that’s the way it should be. If people are creating criminal acts, they should be arrested, and we will charge them appropriately.”

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers are questioned by police in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

Hordes of Spring Breakers let loose on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Fort Lauderdale police officers on horseback patrol among spring breakers as they prepare for a beach cleanup on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Large crowds are expected to descend on Fort Lauderdale throughout March, as Miami Beach enacts widespread restrictions cracking down on any unruly behavior. (AJ Skuy for Fox News Digital)

Isolated weapon scares snapped an idealistic spring break setting in New Smyrna Beach, a coastal city about 15 miles south of Daytona Beach, on back-to-back days. 

On Thursday, Felixander Solis-Guzman, 16, pulled a gun on a crowded beach and ran from officers through the masses with the weapon, police said.

The wild scene was captured on bodycam video and released by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Local police made a second gun arrest the next day.

WATCH NEW SMYRNA BEACH GUN SCENE

A gun that police allegedly found in Ronny Bengochea-Chinea's car in New Smyrna Beach on Friday.

A gun that police allegedly found in Ronny Bengochea-Chinea’s car at New Smyrna Beach on Friday. (New Smyrna Beach Police Department)

Ronny Bengochea-Chinea, 18, was arrested in New Smyrna Beach on Friday after Port Orange police allegedly found a handgun, marijuana and an extended magazine in his car. 

The New Smyrna Beach Police Department released an image of the suspect’s gun in a picture on Facebook. 

FLORIDA FLOODS SPRING BREAK HOT SPOTS WITH STATE TROOPERS IN ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ CRACKDOWN ‘ON MAYHEM’ 

“We’ve warned against bringing guns and drugs to NSB,” the department said in the post. “We have a zero-tolerance stance on weapons and narcotics violations. This person’s spring break is over.”

Bengochea-Chinea was charged with carrying a concealed firearm, according to Volusia County jail records, and was held on $5,000 bond.  

But this weekend’s beach bonanza played out in Fort Lauderdale, which has become the 2024 mecca for Florida spring break.  

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

A spring breaker runs from the surf holding a volleyball in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers cheer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

The city historically hasn’t seen the level of crime and mayhem compared to Miami Beach, and that continues to hold true this year, despite the influx of guests. 

Fort Lauderdale police made 13 arrests from March 1-17, which involved two spring breakers (both for disorderly conduct), eight locals and three non-spring breakers, police spokesperson Casey Liening told Fox News Digital. 

In comparison, there were eight arrests during spring break 2023. 

FLORIDA SPRING BREAK HAS FAMILY BEACH TOWNS BRACING FOR CROWDS AS MIAMI BEACH CRACKS DOWN

“As a part of FLPD’s proactive approach to spring break, we have maintained an increased police presence along Fort Lauderdale Beach and in our downtown entertainment district throughout the month of March,” Liening said. 

“This year, we are experiencing larger crowds than in years past and as a result, we have had isolated incidents, such as disturbances and fights. Our officers have immediately responded to and dispersed the crowds involved in these incidents without issue.”

Fort Lauderdale police officers disperse Spring Breakers to prepare for a beach cleanup

Fort Lauderdale police officers patrol among spring breakers as they prepare for a beach cleanup on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Large crowds are expected to descend on Fort Lauderdale throughout March, as Miami Beach enacts widespread restrictions cracking down on any unruly behavior. (AJ Skuy for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers congregate aside an ATV in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Let the good times roll

The isolated gun scares in the northern part of the state, and arrests in Miami Beach did not prevent fun-seeking co-eds from enjoying their weekend getaway. 

Photos and videos from Fort Lauderdale, which welcomed the party, showed the typical lazy lounging on the beach, dips in the water, boozing along beachfront bars and a buzzing nightlife. 

The city felt more like the epicenter of spring break than South Florida. 

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers lounge on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy bar time in Florida

A spring breaker waves from the bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

This past weekend, which coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, and this upcoming weekend are historically the busiest spring break weekends in Florida, and when crime is most likely to occur, officials said. 

Last week, Fort Lauderdale officials said it was busier than usual for an opening weekend, but called it a “success” with little spring break-related crime. 

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Liening said larger-than-normal crowds were expected this year because of Miami Beach’s crackdown, but so far it’s gone smoothly.  

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis was not available to comment Monday.

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring break congregate in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers perform cheerleading feats in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

This week, the city was packed with green alcohol-chugging co-eds decked out in green bikinis and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Kephene Wash, who visited from Tampa, told local10.com that their planned excursion to South Florida moved about 30 miles north to Fort Lauderdale because of Miami Beach’s guidelines. 

“They broke up with us, so we had to slide down to Fort Lauderdale,” Wash told the local news outlet. 

There are designated drinking areas near the Fort Lauderdale beachfront hotels, and police introduced tests – that look like credit cards – that can test for drugs in drinks as added protection. 

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers walk along the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers play chicken fight in the ocean in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

State’s ‘unprecedented’ pre-emptive strike

DeSantis said earlier this month that over 140 state troopers, along with various other state resources, had been dispatched to South Florida as part of an “unprecedented” pre-emptive strike against spring break crime. 

The plan was to send 60 state troopers to reinforce communities throughout South Florida, with a high concentration in Miami Beach, according to the governor. 

Sixty more state troopers were mobilizing in additional hot spots like Daytona Beach and Panama City Beach, and 24 quick-response troopers were deploying to Bay, Volusia, Broward and Miami-Dade counties for immediate incidents.

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers congregate at an ATV in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

A spring breaker kicks a soccer ball on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Robert O’Neil for Fox News Digital)

Spring breakers enjoy the beach in Florida

Spring breakers are lined up by an ice-cream truck in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 16, 2024. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

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“This is really unprecedented,” DeSantis said during a March 5 press conference. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen the state come in this forward-leaning going into a season like this.

“With all things considered, I think that we’re good and prepared as we’ve ever been throughout my time in the state of Florida,” he said.

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