Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FBI Joins Search For 'Missing' Nitrous Oxide

From The Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, CT

The FBI, a grand jury, and federal prosecutors have joined forces with Connecticut’s Bridgeport Police Department to investigate the whereabouts of more than 100 canisters of missing nitrous oxide that were confiscated during the ‘Gathering of the Vibes’ music festival, held in late July.

Several security guards patrolling the event (none of which were law-enforcement officers) seized over 100 gas-filled canisters and balloons from attendees who were distributing and selling the ‘restricted’ substance on-site. However, the gas has yet to be turned over to police and the FBI wants to know why. The investigation is ongoing-but allegations have surfaced that several security guards are involved and may know the whereabouts of the missing gas.

Held annually in Bridgeport, the ‘Gathering of the Vibes’ concert is a 4 day music, camping, and arts festival that showcases a wide variety of music and entertainment. This year the event “attracted at least 30,000 people during its July 22-25 run.”

Sources have revealed to police that a group known as the Philadelphia Nitrous Mafia played a significant role in the selling and distributing of “laughing-gas-laden balloons” among concertgoers; successfully smuggling the gas past security guards. The drug group apparently inflated balloons with nitrous oxide and sold them for $5 to $10; investing $100 to fill a 40-pound tank with nitrous oxide- capable of filling over 300 balloons. The FBI has opened a full investigation.

Fortunately, Connecticut State Police are strengthening efforts to combat the wide spread sale of nitrous oxide. On August 14th police officers arrested eight people and seized 18 tanks of nitrous oxide at a Phish music concert in Hartford. “While nitrous oxide is not defined as a controlled substance, it is considered a restricted substance.” Possession of the gas for noncommercial use carries a stiff $1,000 fine along with a two-year maximum prison sentence. The Federal Government prohibits the sale and/or distribution of nitrous oxide for human consumption under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.

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