Hanover police charge two, seek third for selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide

June 19, 2017

Two New York men were arrested Saturday by Hanover Township police after they and a third man allegedly sold balloons filled with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, in the parking lot of KeyBank Pavilion after a Dead & Company concert Thursday.

Julio C. Arroyo, 24, and Christophe Batista, 27, both of the Bronx, along with Carlos Ruiz, no age or address available, were initially taken into custody Thursday but initially released because of an issue with court documents. All three men returned Saturday to the pavilion lot to retrieve their vehicle and belongings. Arroyo and Batista were taken into custody. Ruiz fled from police and will be charged at a later date.

Police were called to the lot about 11:30 p.m. after security spotted three men, later identified as Arroyo, Batista and Ruiz reportedly selling the balloons. The three then got into a car and were attempting to leave the lot. When police stopped the car, they could see the three trying to hide something in the vehicle.

Arroyo, identified as the driver, reportedly had balloons in the door of the vehicle as he got out of it. Ruiz reportedly had a valve for a nitrous oxide pump on his lap and the on/off valve for the tank in his pants pocket along with marijuana and $2,399.

Police said Batiste had nothing on him. Arroyo reportedly gave police permission to search the vehicle. Officers found six nitrous oxide tanks and multiple bags of balloons.

When taken into custody Saturday, all three had debit cards, an Access card and identification. Police learned the cards were stolen from the purse of an Ambridge woman who had attended Thursday’s concert.

Arroyo and Batista were arraigned before District Judge Robert Redlinger on charges of possession and sale of a solvent, possession and sale of a solvent to release toxic vapors, possession of a controlled substance and receiving stolen property. The two are in Washington County jail on $15,000 bond. They are scheduled for a June 29 preliminary hearing before District Judge Gary Havelka.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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