Feds raid 17 California businesses for nitrous oxide

Deseret News – by Tami Abdollah, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of law enforcement officers on Friday raided Southern California auto parts shops and other businesses suspected of illegally selling nitrous oxide for use as a recreational drug, in what federal authorities said was the nation’s largest such raid ever. 

Authorities served search warrants on 17 businesses and nine delivery vehicles during the simultaneous raids in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

Edward Valencia, 51, Federico Valencia, 58, and Rose Marie Cuellar, 20, were arrested on misdemeanor charges of misbranding a drug in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Valencia brothers work at Victor Welding Supply in South Los Angeles, and Cuellar is an employee of LA Rush, an auto parts store.

“I’m innocent. I haven’t done anything wrong,” Federico Valencia said as he was led out of his shop in handcuffs. “We only sell gases for cars.”

It was the second time the shop had been raided. In 2009, authorities spoke with the Valencia brothers and owner William Victor about their sales of nitrous oxide and its popular use as a party drug, according to a federal affidavit.

Victor, 65, also was named in an arrest warrant and was being sought by authorities Friday.

The raids were the result of a year-and-a-half-long joint investigation dubbed “No Laughing Matter” by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

During the operation, federal agents seized 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.


9 thoughts on “Feds raid 17 California businesses for nitrous oxide

  1. It’s the Feds who are behind this. They will be shutting down all small business now just like they did the farms producing raw milk.

  2. Dentists use nitrous oxide (aka. laughing gas) to help their patients relax enough for novacaine to take effect … like me. My body over rides novacaine with out first administering nitrous oxide.

    . . .

      1. Digger, that was intended to be a pun, hence the ‘yes’ in parentheses at the end. That was short for (yes, pun intended), I just took to shortening it to simply (yes) a while back, figuring that those who know me well enough, and had read enough of my comments would know what I meant.

        Sorry, my bad. 🙂

        1. What do ya mean #1, your not bad buddy, I just have a different way of looking at things. They took all of my sence of humor away back in the 60`s with all that MK crap I went through ya know. yep school wasn`t my strong point :). As if you guys can`t tell with my spelling and english, and punctuation and . Yea yoyr perty cool with me, eh #1. Actually #1 I was thinking of ya when I saw this one 🙂

  3. I dont understand the big deal…..Not sure how it is out west but here in the South,..you walk in with a valid drivers license and be of legal age…sign the receipt and walk out with your canister of NO. As far as I know there is no Batt/Fag or any other probing to see what you are using it for. WE ALL know its for the 71 Chevelle or the Cleveland Torino. And yeah,, there were times after a run that folks would gather around the trunk to whiff a shot of the leftovers from the bottle. BFD!!….oh,..thats right its bad for you like REAL MILK….what a bunch of F-tards.
    Wish this Matrix dream would end.

  4. This is ridiculous. No one has to buy nitrous oxide from any kind of “drug dealer.” It’s sold over the counter as “whipping gas,” and is available at most culinary supply stores.

    And if you just want a quick buzz, go to the supermarket and suck it out of the Reddi-whip cans on the shelf. (don’t turn ’em upside-down or you’ll get a mouthful of their disgusting version of whipped cream)

  5. The raiders get to keep 10% of what is confiscated.
    I wonder how much goes to the raiders home for personal use?

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