Storm Area 51 Events

Mario Rayna, center, chants with others at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51 Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, near Rachel, Nev. People gathered at the gate inspired by the "Storm Area 51" internet hoax. (AP Photo/John Locher)

HIKO, Nev. (FOX5) -- Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said only two arrests were made during the alien-themed events in Rachel and Hiko.

According to Lee, the arrests were made overnight and in the early morning on Sept. 20. A Canadian citizen was arrested in Hiko for indecent exposure, but was later released. A second, alcohol-related arrest was made and the suspect was transferred to the booking facility in Pioche.

Lee said Nevada Highway Patrol also made a couple of arrests. A rollover accident on U.S. 93 left the driver injured, and he or she was transported to Las Vegas via ambulance.

He added that the sheriff's office was expecting alcohol to be more of a concern, as well as trespassing, as events carry into the weekend.

"Vehicle traffic is starting to get heavy coming in to the area. Please use extreme caution and plan ahead for delays in travel," the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

One area of concern was Nevada Highway 373 in the Rachel area.

Vehicles that were parked or camped on both sides of the highway could cause heavy foot traffic across the highway, and the sheriff's office advised motorists to slow down and be aware of pedestrian while driving through the Rachel area.

While hosting a press conference Friday morning, Lee said the festivities had been fairly quiet overall. The number of guests who arrived in Rachel and Hiko have been manageable enough numbers for Lincoln County resources.

"I think the crowd has been good, officers have been mingling with the crowds and the crowds have been positive," he said. "So far, it's been really well."

Lee added law enforcement is expecting more visitors to arrive. As of Friday afternoon, there were about 2,000 people in Rachel and around 250 people at the Alien Research Center in Hiko. 

By about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office reported there were three more arrests and approximately 3,000 people had arrived in Rachel. 

Several thousand guests, ranging between 5 and 6,000, were expected to arrive in Lincoln County by Sept. 21. Lee said these numbers were manageable, and that the sheriff's office was still holding onto some resources until then.

Due to a smaller than expected turnout, the events in Hiko were cancelled a day early. According to one staff member, more than 1,000 guests were expected, but only a little more than 200 arrived. 

Around 3 a.m. on Sept. 20, a crowd of about 40 people surrounded the parking lot of the Alien Travel Center in Amargosa Valley. The Nye County Sheriff's Office said the crowd threatened to storm the gates of Area 51 near Rachel.

The crowd was compliant with demands from deputies and eventually the crowd dispersed, Sgt. Adam Tippettes with NCSO said. Parts of the crowd gathered at the north and south gates, but were given "heated warnings" when confronted by law enforcement.

About 150 people were at the gates in Rachel and approximately 50 people were at the gates in Ticaboo Valley, according to Lee. He said the situation was calm and mellow. One person was detained, but later released at the gate. 

By about 5 a.m., all participants "had retreated and dispersed," Tippettes said. "Everyone was compliant and peaceful."

Another, smaller group gathered at the gates of Area 51 around 3 a.m. on Sept. 22. Led by a man with a plunger, the group was made up of less than 20 people as they "charged" at the gates.

"They can't catch us all!" the man with the plunger shouted before sprinting towards the gates.

Lee said law enforcement will maintain a presence throughout the weekend at the Area 51 gates to dissuade trespassers. 

"Come, look, see what you can see, but just don't cross," he said.

When asked if Lincoln County would host events of this nature again, Lee replied the events would need to fund themselves, as the planning and coordinating was a major drain on state and county resources.

Dylan Frehner, the District Attorney for Lincoln County, said the office would seek possible legal action against Matty Roberts, the original "Storm Area 51" creator, Facebook and anyone who may have pushed the Area 51 movement.

Charges would be reviewed as they came up.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

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