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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Supplier Of “Molly” That Resulted In A Death At Electric Zoo Concert

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), New York Division, announced today that PATRICK MORGAN was arrested this morning in Buffalo, NY on narcotics distribution and narcotics conspiracy charges. MORGAN is expected to be presented later today in the Western District of New York before United States Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Patrick Morgan sold drugs that, far from enabling a good time, resulted in tragedy with the death of Jeffrey Russ. It bears repeating that every time people use drugs like “Molly” they are rolling the dice with their own lives, which is a foolish and senseless wager.”

DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Synthetic drugs such as ‘Molly’ are extremely dangerous and have grown increasingly more popular at events such as music festivals. Those who ingest it, even if for the very first time, are putting themselves at risk because they have no idea what they are putting into their bodies. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate any and all drug trafficking organizations that place lives at risk by selling these dangerous substances.”

The following allegations are based on the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court:

In early August 2013, PATRICK MORGAN sold pills commonly called “Molly,” which contained 4-methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA) and 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone), to three individuals (the “Three Individuals”), including Jeffrey Russ, for their use at an electronic music concert in Buffalo, New York.

In mid-August 2013, the Three Individuals pooled their money in order to buy additional Molly pills from MORGAN. The Three Individuals intended to consume and distribute these Molly pills at the Electric Zoo music festival. Electric Zoo was a three-day, outdoor electronic music festival on Randall’s Island, New York, scheduled to be held from August 30, 2013 through September 1, 2013. Attendance at Electric Zoo was estimated to be over 130,000 people.

In mid-August 2013, MORGAN sold one of the Three Individuals approximately 80 Molly pills that MORGAN was told the Three Individuals intended to consume and distribute at Electric Zoo.

On August 30, 2013, the Three Individuals, including Jeffrey Russ, attended Electric Zoo and consumed some of the Molly pills that were purchased from MORGAN. Toward the end of the concert on August 30, 2013, Russ collapsed and had a seizure. Russ was treated by emergency medical technicians on Randall’s Island and ultimately taken to Harlem Hospital. When Russ arrived at Harlem Hospital, he was unresponsive. On August 31, 2013, at approximately 3:21 a.m., Russ died at Harlem Hospital from acute intoxication by the combined effect of MDMA and methylone with hyperthermia.

MORGAN, 23, of Buffalo, New York, is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics, and one count of distributing narcotics, each of which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Naftalis of the Narcotics Unit is in charge of the prosecution.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. v. Patrick Morgan Complaint

Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 14-217