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This weekend, police raided 17 businesses suspected of selling nitrous oxide for use as  recreational drug. These businesses included locations in Orange County.

The raids were the result of an 18-month investigation dubbed “No Laughing Matter” by the Food and Drug Administrations Office of Criminal Investigations and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The FDA has recently focused on the illegal use of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas or nos, which is legally used by dentists for anesthesia, to pressurize whip cream canisters and to speed up drag racing cars. If ingested at high levels, nitrous oxide can cause death from lack of oxygen; it can also lead to spasms, convulsions and other health problems.

Nitrous oxide is inexpensive, and not a controlled substance, thus making it difficult for law enforcement to control its production and sale. The operations are part of a new team set up by the Sherrif’s Department over the last six months to monitor social media around the clock. The team has found many public posts that target teens and advertise alcohol and illegal drugs such as nitrous oxide.

The operation resulted in federal agents seizing 367 tanks or 36,000 pounds of nitrous oxide with a street value of $20 million, said Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.

The sale of nitrous oxide is usually on a misdemeanor, depending on the amount of drug found in the possession of the distributor.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, call an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to fight your charges and/or reduce your sentence. Call Brower & Associates, the Orange County criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights!

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