Spring break 2022: 161 arrested, 75 guns seized in Panama City Beach crackdown

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Law enforcement agencies arrested more than 160 people and confiscated dozens of guns last weekend as revelers flocked to Florida’s Panama City Beach for spring break, authorities said.

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In a Facebook post Monday, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said it and several other agencies – including the Panama City Beach Police Department, Panama City Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission – strengthened patrols “during what some social media groups were calling ‘PCB takeover.’” Crowds gathered over the weekend for “house parties, spontaneous parties in parking lots and concerts,” the post read.

March 28, 2022 The Bay County Sheriff’s Office responded to numerous incidents on Panama City Beach this past weekend...

Posted by Bay County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 28, 2022

According to The Associated Press, Sheriff Tommy Ford said 161 people – including 78 from Alabama – were booked into the county jail and 75 guns were seized during the crackdown.

“Each one of these 75 illegal firearms represents a violent armed encounter with law enforcement,” Ford said in a news conference Monday. “This weekend could have very well resulted in tragedy of a law enforcement loss of life, a citizen’s loss of life and even a bad guy’s loss of life.”

In one incident, officials detained six people after a 21-year-old from Alabama suffered a gunshot wound to the foot, WJHG reported.

“We will not tolerate this criminal activity,” Ford said in a statement posted to Facebook. “These are behaviors that we as a community have fought before, won and moved on to become a premier family destination. To anyone coming to Panama City Beach to commit criminal acts with an intent to ‘take over’ our beach, we will continue the good fight and dedicate whatever resources necessary to keep Bay County safe. We are united with the support of our elected officials and our community for the resources we need.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.