A Buffalo man is being accused of selling the "Molly" that led to a death at last year's Electric Zoo. Patrick Morgan was arrested this morning under charges of narcotics distribution and narcotics conspiracy in connection to the death of 23-year-old Jeffrey Russ.
Prosecutors allege that Russ and two other individuals purchased 80 hits of Molly from Morgan with the intention of consuming and selling them at Electric Zoo. Late Friday night Russ took some of the pills after which he collapsed and had a seizure. He was treated by emergency medical technicians on Randall’s Island and ultimately taken to Harlem Hospital, where he arrived unresponsive. Russ died a few hours later from acute intoxication by the combined effect of MDMA and methylone with hyperthermia.
“As alleged, Patrick Morgan sold drugs that, far from enabling a good time, resulted in tragedy with the death of Jeffrey Russ," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "It bears repeating that every time people use drugs like “Molly” they are rolling the dice with their own lives, which is a foolish and senseless wager.”
Morgan, who is 23 years old, is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics, and one count of distributing narcotics, each of which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
“Synthetic drugs such as 'Molly' are extremely dangerous and have grown increasingly more popular at events such as music festivals," DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said. "Those who ingest it, even if for the very first time, are putting themselves at risk because they have no idea what they are putting into their bodies. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate any and all drug trafficking organizations that place lives at risk by selling these dangerous substances.”
The final day of the 2013 Electric Zoo festival was cancelled after the Molly-related deaths of Russ and 20-year-old Olivia Rotando. Several other attendees were also hospitalized for similar issues, but were later released.
Molly, or powdered MDMA, is often marketed as a purer version of Ecstasy, and can be ingested orally in powdered form. Molly aficionados prefer the powdered drug because it's ostensibly more pure than pills, but the same concerns that prompted ecstasy users to turn to testing kits now plagues Molly: No one knows what the stuff is cut with. According to a Slate investigation, much of the time the capsules being sold as Molly are laced with any number of things including aspirin, caffeine, bath salts, and methamphetamine.
Some festival-goers have begun utilizing drug testing kits available through organizations like DanceSafe and Bunk Police, allowing users to screen their stash before ingesting. However these screens are not usually readily available or supported by fests since most implement a zero tolerance drug policy.
Electric Zoo will be returning this year despite last year's day three cancellation.