NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police arrested 10 people over the weekend allegedly selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide.
It happened around Bridgestone Arena where there was a Phish concert. Officers noticed people selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide for $10 each.
Nitrous oxide is more commonly referred to as laughing gas, like something you might get at your dentist’s office.
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When News 2 informed a Florida mother visiting Nashville about the crimes, she was shocked.
“Irresponsible. Stupid,” the mother said.
According to police, the 10 people arrested are from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, New York, Georgia, and New Jersey. Only one was from Tennessee, an Ashland City man.
According to multiple arrest affidavits, when police approached, some people were laughing standing right next to people getting ill.
One man was busted with more than $500 in his pocket.
Police confiscated 20 canisters reportedly filled with nitrous oxide gas, as well as three vehicles.
“Oh 100%, I would be furious with my kids if they did something like that,” the Florida mom, named Jenny, said.
Jenny’s friend Leslie, is a mother from Minnesota. “Disheartening, and concerning,” said Leslie. “You have no clue what’s going on out here.”
Ben Statham is a substance abuse counselor with Nashville Treatment Solutions. He told News 2, buying drugs like nitrous oxide off the streets from people you have never met is a recipe for disaster.
“It’s a window to open up to lead them on another path to destruction. Even though it may be a temporary feeling, it is not heroin, it is not fentanyl, it is something that could potentially shut down their system,” said Statham. “Anything could happen, say they are in downtown Nashville and they are hitting these balloons and nitrous and they pass out and they get robbed, or god forbid a female gets assaulted. It just opens the door to a lifestyle they don’t see coming. Or they like it and it opens their mind to them wanting to do harder drugs.”
The one suspect arrested on felony charges is 35-year-old Justin Wiseman of Ashland City. Cheatham County officials told News 2, he has a prior arrest this year for evading arrest and reckless endangerment.