Raftopia Event Coordinator Arrested On Charges Related to His Last Event in June

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SACRAMENTO -- At least one person was arrested at the American River Raftopia event formerly knowing as Rafting Gone Wild, and that person is one officers have had their eye on since the last rafting event back in June.

FOX40 cameras were rolling as Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies arrested the event's coordinator, 23-year-old Sammy Diaz. A warrant was put out for his arrest in June for running from park rangers.

Diaz addressed the warrant Friday, telling FOX40, "It's not something I really worry about at the moment. Now I got other stuff in my life to take care of besides something the Rangers are mad about."

The arrest didn't stop hundreds of others from enjoying the unofficial event, but because of Raftopia, Sacramento County Regional Parks banned alcohol Saturday on the American River from Hazel to Watt Avenues.

"I have three different watercraft on the river today looking for alcohol violations and they will receive citations," said Michael Doane, Chief Ranger with Sac County Regional Parks.

Voluntary alcohol check points are set up, but what rafters can bring is water. It's needed especially on this hot day.

"It's gonna be 100-plus degrees. We got two coolers, we got waters, we got Gatorades," said rafter Lem Vargas.

Park rangers, with the help of the sheriff's department, patrolled the area for rule breakers. Since the event isn't permitted Raftopia organizers aren't paying for extra resources like maintenance crews, security and port-a-potties.

"Last month, it probably took our maintenance staff probably two full days to pick up the trash these people left behind," said Doane.

Saturday's rules are strict, but rangers say it's to keep everyone safe.

The third and final Raftopia event is scheduled for August. Park rangers said the only way to shut down the event is to close the park.

When asked if they would close the park on the day of the event Doane said all options are on the table.