Washington County Sheriff: ‘Operation Phish in a Barrel’ is hoax

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Ticket holders for upcoming Phish concerts at The Pavilion at Star Lake may have recently seen a viral image circulating online of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department security plans for the shows.

Sheriff Tony Andronas posted to Facebook Thursday to clarify that the document is fake, and that his department will not be involved. Phish will perform at the Hanover Township venue July 21 and 22.

The image made the rounds on Facebook, Twitter and the Phish Reddit page this week. It uses a fake letterhead and claims to be for “internal dissemination only.”

It describes an intense operation referred to as “Phish in a Barrel,” involving the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency to set up highway checkpoints and screen concertgoers for drug possession.

The “plan” also calls for two plainclothes “teams on loan from Burgettstown.” Burgettstown does not have a police department. Hanover Township police typically provides protection during shows at The Pavilion.

“We have a working relationship with Hanover Twp. Police Department but do not assist with concerts and haven’t for several years,” Andronas wrote on Facebook.

The sheriff’s department is investigating the origins of the hoax and is working with the federal agencies the document names.


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