Monday, January 24

France: seizure of seven tons of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas

(Belga) A record quantity of seven tonnes of nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, with a market value of 2.75 million euros, was seized in December in Seine-et-Marne, France, has the National Police announced Monday on Twitter.

Encapsulated in bottles, the gas was discovered in a hangar in Noisiel (Seine-et-Marne), added a police source, according to which this seizure is the largest ever made in France. At the end of September, following the arrest of street vendors and a first seizure of nitrous oxide cylinders weighing a total of four tonnes, the Lyon public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation by sales managers at the on the run, concealed work in an organized gang and sale of a product intended to facilitate the extraction of this gas to obtain its psychoactive effects. Entrusted to the departmental security of the DDSP of the Rhône, the investigation made it possible to put together an “international network of resale of nitrous oxide” and to identify a storage place in Seine-et-Marne, specified the police source . Two people were arrested on December 9 at Le Bourget, including the head of the network, added this source, confirming information from the newspaper Le Monde. The seizure carried out concerns 45 pallets of cylinders with a total weight of 16 tonnes, containing seven tonnes of encapsulated gas. The Lyon public prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation the next day and the two suspects were indicted and placed under arrest warrant. The investigation is continuing “in order to determine the exact extent of this trafficking and identify any possible co-perpetrators or accomplices,” the prosecution said on Monday. Over the counter, laughing gas, which can be found in the form of cartridges for whipped cream siphons or in the medical sector for anesthetic purposes, is popular with party-goers and young people, who divert its use for its euphoric effect. . The consumption of nitrous oxide presents risks such as suffocation, loss of consciousness, burns but also, in the event of repeated use and / or in high doses, severe neurological, hematological, psychiatric and cardiac disorders, warns on its website the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Addictive Behaviors. Since June 1, 2021, a law prohibits “selling and distributing” this product “in order to obtain psychoactive effects”, under penalty of a fine of 3,750 euros. (Belga)

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