The laughing gas allegedly was smuggled into the concert primarily by a loosely affiliated group known as the Philadelphia Nitrous Mafia.
The group inflates balloons with the gas and then sells them for $5 to $10. Purchasers inhale the gas contained in the balloons to experience a high which, when combined with other drugs and alcohol, becomes more euphoric than the small amount given by some dentists during procedures.
For drug groups these sales are lucrative and carry little risk.
Based on Web site reports, it costs about $100 in South Philadelphia to fill a 40-pound tank with nitrous oxide. The contents of the tank could inflate as many as 300 balloons. A quick calculation determines dealers could pocket anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 per tank.
These deals are nothing new, nor are they restricted to the Vibes.
Hartford police arrested eight people, some of whom were from Pennsylvania, and seized 18 tanks of nitrous oxide as well as inflated balloons at the Aug. 14 Phish cncert in the Comcast Theater. The individuals were charged with possession of a restricted substance and possession with intent to sell.
In Connecticut, possession of nitrous oxide for noncommercial use only carries a $1,000 fine or a maximum two-year prison term for the first offense. Federally, the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act prohibits the sale and distribution of nitrous oxide for human consumption.
“Nitrous oxide is not defined as a controlled substance but is considered a restricted substance,” said John Gadea, director of the drug control division of the state Department of Consumer Protection. “What that means is possession does not become a violation unless the use deviates from its commercial application.”
Police say a person found dead near the four-day Gathering of the Vibes concert site in Bridgeport was a 29-year-old man and his death appears to be from a medical condition.
The state medical examiner’s office will be performing an autopsy to try to determine how the man died. The body was discovered early Sunday morning in Seaside Park.
Police say they’re looking into reports that someone dumped the body and drove off.
There is a Nitrous Mafia. They are very well organized. They have a LOT of money behind them and they DO pay people off to make this happen. Yes, Nitrous Mafia has been known on more than one occasion to take things into their own hands and fuck people up. I for one saw a kid almost get killed because he tried to snatch someone’s tank. They crushed his skull bad. To this day I’m still not sure the guy survived.
Nitrous Mafia is a VERY real thing. It’s a plague and it is a problem that extends far, far, far beyond the boundaries of just GotV to sporting events, concerts and other festivals.
i know a guy who used to run a hose with a valve on it from the back of his blazer out 50 yards or so to where they would fill the balloons. one guy filling balloons, on guy on lookout with walkie talkie, one guy handling the money, one guy back at the blazer.
once the cops came around walkie talkie guy would radio guy at the car – he would disconnect the hose and shut the gate, tossing the hose away from the car. said they never lost a tank this way.
The tanks they were wholesaling were 30 pounders, so like the size of a scuba tank or a bit bigger. And they had trucks FULL of them, I sat there and watched them fill an empty truck with empty tanks and had 4 other trux with full tanx they would slip in a duffel and run back to the strip.