Largest seizure of laughing gas ever in Europe was made in Spain

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laughing gas

The Guardia Civil has seized no less than 21,000 litres of laughing gas during an operation in Alhaurín el Grande in the southern Spanish province of Málaga. It is the largest quantity ever intercepted by authorities in Europe.

Five people have been arrested in the context of the “OZAL” operation. They were all involved in the illegal transport and distribution of nitrous oxide (nitrous oxide or N2O) in entertainment venues in the province of Málaga. The operation began in February when officers were informed of a group of people engaged in illegal activities in an industrial warehouse in the “La Rosa” industrial estate in Alhaurín el Grande.

Investigations and seizures

The research showed that many rental cars came to the warehouse, especially at night, to avoid being noticed. The vehicles were loaded with bottles of nitrous oxide. These were then distributed to entertainment venues on the coast of Málaga province for use at parties. To evade the police, the suspects used a reconnaissance vehicle to warn of possible police checks and thus ensure the transport of the goods.

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During the warehouse search, 21,302 litres of nitrous oxide in various types of bottles and metal cartridges were seized. According to CadenaSER, it appears to be the largest seizure of this substance in Europe. Five people of different nationalities were arrested for a crime against public health. One of the detainees already had several previous records for similar crimes.

What is laughing gas?

Nitrous oxide is gas with a slightly sweet taste and odour and with analgesic and dissociative properties. It is used in the medical world as a short-acting painkiller and anesthetic, for example by dentists and in ambulances. In the food industry it is used as a propellant for whipped cream sprayers. It can also increase engine power in internal combustion engines. Recreational use of nitrous oxide produces a short, strong buzz that lasts about 1 to 5 minutes. It gives a feeling of near-loss of consciousness and can lead to lightness of breath, reduced pain perception, muscle relaxation, and sometimes hallucinations. The possession and sale of nitrous oxide for recreational use is prohibited. Excessive and frequent use can cause nerve damage and symptoms of loss or paralysis.


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