NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — At least three people accused of selling nitrous oxide balloons in downtown Nashville were taken into custody overnight, officials said.
According to the first affidavit, citizens alerted members of the Metro Nashville Police Department on Friday, Oct. 6 about individuals selling nitrous oxide balloons for inhalation.
At approximately 11:31 p.m., police reportedly observed a man — identified by officials as Raasheem Queen — filling balloons from a metal container out of a blue cart in the 500 block of Demonbreun Street.
The court document states the officers saw Queen exchanging the balloons for money; those who purchased the merchandise were then seen inhaling from the balloons.
Authorities approached Queen and started to take him into custody. As officers were putting on the handcuffs, Queen ran toward 6th Avenue, but he was apprehended shortly afterward, per the affidavit.
Queen allegedly told police that he was selling the balloons for $5 each. During a search, officers found two metal cylinders labeled “Nitrous Oxide,” a large quantity of unfilled balloons and $520 in cash, according to the arrest report.
The second arrest took place near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Demonbreun Street, according to officials.
In this incident, an officer who was working for the Entertainment District Unit saw individuals buying balloons from a man and then huffing the balloons at approximately 11:31 p.m., the affidavit states.
Per the arrest report, the officer was able to take the man — identified as Mervin Brown — into custody without incident.
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The final arrest happened in the area of Rep. John Lewis Way toward Demonbreun Street. According to the affidavit, at approximately 11:35 p.m., authorities were patrolling the area as other officers responded to the initial call involving an individual selling nitrous oxide balloons.
While on patrol, police said they observed a woman — identified as Rhonda Cain — filling up balloons from a canister, which was located inside a black wagon. She was allegedly seen handing off balloons to various individuals.
As officers approached Cain, she released a balloon from her hand and removed her other hand from the tank’s nozzle, the court document states.
The arrest report said Cain tried to disassociate herself from the nitrous oxide canister, but she was eventually taken into custody.
The affidavits say all three suspects — Queen, Brown, and Cain — were charged with felony sale or delivery of “any tube or other container of glue, paint, gasoline, aerosol, chlorofluorocarbon gas or any other substance containing a solvent having the property of releasing toxic vapors or fumes,” adding that each suspect “had reasonable cause to suspect that the product sold or offered for sale, or delivered or given away, would be used for the purpose of causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, elation, dizziness, excitement, stupefaction, paralysis, or the dulling of the brain or nervous system, or disturbing or distorting of the audio or visual processes.”