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Officer arrests couple for selling laughing gas in downtown Athens

University of Georgia

An Athens-Clarke County police officer arrested a couple for selling laughing gas in a parking deck downtown last Thursday.

The officer noticed people standing on the corner of Clayton and North Lumpkin streets around 11:30 p.m., some holding balloons that the officer said were being held with the end closed rather than tied with a string.

The officer found the couple, a 23-year-old Atlanta man and a 25-year-old Miramar, Florida woman, nearby at the Washington Street parking deck selling balloons filled with Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

The officer said the man initially said the gas was helium, but he later admitted it was laughing gas. The officer stated he knew inhaling nitrous oxide was common. The drug is commonly used medically as anesthesia or a pain reliever.

“This is a very rare occurrence,” said police Lt. Jody Thompson about the sale of laughing gas in Athens. He credited the officer’s “watchful eye,” for noticing the suspicious activity.

The man and woman were both charged with misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug. After the couple was taken into custody, police learned that their children, ages 1, 5 and 8, were left alone in a parked car about a block away. The children were taken into custody by an employee of the State Department of Family and Children Services.