L.A. County sheriff’s officials knew about massive Palmdale party but didn’t stop it, sources say

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva addresses the media at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 2020 about the arrest of more than 150 people at a super-spreader event in Palmdale. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva addresses the media at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 2020 about the arrest of more than 150 people at a super-spreader event in Palmdale. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday touted his agency’s bust of a “massive underground party” Saturday at a vacant Palmdale home, at which a teenage girl allegedly was rescued from sex trafficking, more than 150 revelers were arrested, and several guns were recovered.

However, according to law enforcement sources and an internal department record reviewed by The Times, commanders knew about plans for the party hours in advance and chose not to stop it from happening, despite the risk of coronavirus spread.

During a press conference, Villanueva defended the decision to let the party take place, saying doing so allowed the department to save the girl and to disrupt future illicit parties by arresting the people who had organized the event.

A spokesman for the department said sheriff’s officials were unaware the girl would be at the party and discovered her by chance after deputies arrived. Villanueva, who described the organizers as “an elusive group,” did not elaborate on how their arrests will prevent future parties from occurring.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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