Man accused of selling nitrous oxide during concert at UCF arena
By Anika Myers Palm, Orlando Sentinel
10:43 a.m. EDT, April 6, 2011
There were balloon rides for sale at University of Central Florida during Tuesday night's Furthur concert, but they weren't the kind that offered breathtaking horizon views – at least not legally.
When a UCF police officer arrived at a parking garage near UCF Arena about 11:39 p.m., the officer heard the sound of gas escaping in short bursts from a tank and then heard someone yelling "Balloon rides here," according to an arrest affidavit.
When the officer looked over a wall in the parking garage, the officer saw 43-year-old Amado Nilo Gomez of Pompano Beach filling a white balloon from a green tank. The officer then took Gomez into custody shortly after Gomez handed the balloon to an unidentified person.
Gomez waived his Miranda rights and admitted that he had been selling balloons of nitrous oxide for $5 each, according to the arrest report.
He was charged with unlawful distribution of nitrous oxide and taken to the Orange County jail.
Nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas" or just "nitrous," provides a short-term euphoric feeling to users. It is also commonly used as an anesthetic in dentist's offices.
Furthur is a rock band that includes Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, former members of the famed band the Grateful Dead. For many years, some "Deadheads" – faithful Grateful Dead fans – indulged in nitrous from balloons during that band's concerts, according to news reports.
The last time someone was arrested at UCF for distributing nitrous oxide was in 1995, according to UCF Police Sgt. Troy Williamson. That was after a concert by Phish, a band also popular with Deadheads.
Gomez is being held at the Orange County jail on $1,000 bond. He currently has a detainer because of an active warrant related to a child support payment of $750 in Miami-Dade County.
He also is out on bond from South Florida on charges of insurance fraud and organized scheme to defraud, according to the jail.