PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – For some of the people involved in this weekend’s mayhem on Panama City Beach, it won’t be their first time in a Bay County jail cell.

Panama City Beach Police say many of those arrested have prior criminal records in our area. 

“They decided they wanted to come to Panama City Beach for a weekend, well that is going to turn out to be a very extended time,” Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said. 

A total of 161 people were arrested in relation to this weekend’s rowdy events. The majority of the charges were for illegal firearms but many others were drug charges. 

“If you come here and you were arrested here before you already know we take an aggressive stance against criminal activity and you want to come and try to test us again,” Talamantez said.

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One case is Tywann Sistrunk, who was first arrested in July 2020 on battery charges. This time he was arrested on drug charges

Chief Talamantez said this weekend’s crowd coordinated a lot of their plans on social media illegally using the promotion name ‘Panamaniac’ for the so-called spring break takeover.  

“It is a trend that we are seeing that so-called promoters, they call themselves promoters, wanna host parties or gatherings at locations that are not zoned or created to host these kinds of gatherings,” Talamantez said. 

The real ‘Panamaniac’ group is an established promotion group that has been in Panama City Beach for around 30 years. Their Maniac card allows college spring breakers to attend events at Hammerhead Fred’s, Longboards, and Harpoon Harry’s.

What happened on Front Beach Road this weekend is completely separate from that traditional spring break group.

Representatives from the group released this statement responding to the incident: 

“Update on the illegal use of the Panamaniac name: the promoter Hammerhead Fred’s works with to host college spring breakers has been using the Panamaniac name for over 30 years, to put on events with several PCB businesses. In January of this year, we noticed another promoter from Alabama was planning on having a “spring break takeover” party on Panama City Beach while illegally using the name Panamaniac in his advertising. Several legal letters were sent to try and force this promoter in Alabama to stop using the name, but he continued to do so. At that time, we started working with the city and beach police to make them aware of our valid concerns with this group.

This weekend, we closed early both nights and canceled all entertainment for the upcoming week, as to have no part of what happened with the crowd.

Over the years Hammerhead Fred’s has hosted hundreds of events for spring break, Thunder Beach, Emerald Coast Cruizin’, Grand Lagoon Coalition – tacos and tequila, Mardi Gras, Cinco De Mayo, and many others. As with all of them, it is our goal to create events that are fun, safe, and enjoyable for both locals and tourists alike.

Hammerhead Fred’s does not condone or promote this type of behavior we saw this past weekend and we stand ready with law enforcement to stop these crowds from coming back to Panama City Beach.”

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Talamantez said Bay County law enforcement is aware of this fake social media group and will be keeping a close eye on it for potential future events.

Talamantez said he’s talked to State Attorney Larry Basford, he assured him that everyone who was arrested especially on gun charges will face stiff penalties.