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Drug Raid on Party Boat Catches 1,000 Revelers by Surprise

Federal Drug Control Service officials arrested eight revelers after boarding the Rio-1 riverboat, pictured, while it was hosting a psychedelic party.

A surprise raid on a Moscow River party boat over the weekend resulted in the arrests of eight people suspected of belonging to a ring trafficking in designer drugs.

The operation, code-named Ark, saw agents with the Federal Drug Control Service descend on the giant Rio-1 riverboat while it was hosting a horror-film-themed psychedelic party Saturday night, the agency said.

More than a thousand young people, many between the ages of 18 and 25, were on board after paying an admission fee of 2,500 rubles ($80) each, the agency said.

“Taken by surprise, clients dropped drugs on the floor, on bar counters, in the toilets, on the dance floor and over the side of the ship,” the agency said in a statement.

“But they failed to destroy all the evidence, and anti-drug officers found and confiscated a wide range of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, cannabis and LSD,” it said. “More than 50 packets of narcotics were found on the dance floor alone.”

The authorities detained more than 70 revelers suspected of being under the influence of drugs and sent them to a hospital for examination.

It was not immediately clear what charges, if any, had been filed against the eight suspects.

The Federal Drug Control Service, which carried out the raid with the assistance of the police, the Emergency Situations Ministry and the Health and Social Development Ministry, indicated that measures would be taken to curb the use of illegal drugs on riverboats.

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