New Jersey Man Is Ultra Music Festival's First Drug Death

While other major electronic music festivals have been rocked by kids overdosing on party drugs, Ultra Music Festival has remained relatively unscathed.

Until now. Officials believe that the March 24 death of a young man who was partying in Bayfront Park was a drug overdose. Medical examiners say New Jersey resident Anthony Joseph Cassano "started showing signs of erratic behavior" at Ultra Sunday night. Paramedics were called, but the 20-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital from "multiple organ failure," according to a police report.

Neither Cassano's family nor Ultra organizers could be reached for comment. Miami police and the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office are awaiting a toxicology report before determining an official cause of death, but both tell Riptide they believe a drug overdose is likely.

Ian Witlen

Cassano was visiting Miami from his hometown of Franklin Lake to attend Ultra, the EDM fest that expanded to two consecutive weekends this year. At some point during the festival's final night, Cassano began acting erratically. At 10:54 p.m., paramedics responded to a call at Bayfront Park and whisked Cassano to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

A Miami police report shows Cassano died shortly after midnight. It says his father arrived at the hospital but left before he could be interviewed.

Sgt. Freddie Cruz tells Riptide the death "appeared to be an overdose" but stresses it is still under investigation. Coroners say it might take weeks to get a full toxicology report.

Cruz says that he is unaware of any other serious suspected overdoses and that, in general, the event went smoothly. "Everything was great. We had a couple of issues of people attempting to jump the fence and get in for free, but nothing we couldn't handle."

Over Ultra's two weekends this year, police arrested 167 people, primarily for narcotics and gate-crashing. (Last year the three-day event saw 78 arrests, 45 of them for narcotics. And more than 60 people suffered injuries, many from suspected drug overdoses, but no one died.)

Cassano's death is thought to be the first linked to drugs at Ultra, which has been criticized by officials, including Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, for the prevalence of narcotics. Last year, Madonna tossed fuel on that fire by taking the stage to ask, "How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?" — a veiled reference to the drug MDMA.

Organizers point out, however, they doubled police presence this year.

 
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6 comments
german.santos777
german.santos777

im 25 now and i started taking rolls when i was 14 that shit was crazy mollys aint shit i stoped doing everything not to long ago the hole molly thing with kids now is crazy thanx to all these retarded rapers promoting this shit and people that make house music also you cant sit thare and say youve never taken any drugs what the fuck do you get out of a rave then i cant stand house music i hate it the only time it sounds good to me is when im fucked up on mollys the majority of people in ultra are rolling balls i think ultra is a complete waste of money its over rated almost 2,000 dollers for vip tickets what the fuck and reguler tickets 450 and up to 800 plus thats fucking retarded to just stand in a field makes no sense and just so you know the cops that work thare are crooked cops dirty ass miami beach cops just like the ones in space and the owners of ultra are grimey they only care about the money mostlikely the drugs confiscated go back into circulation into ultra forsure this is miami bitch drugs all day drugs all night this is miami bitch

vanessa.cortez94
vanessa.cortez94

You can't blame the event because idiots choose to use. No one is shoving the drug down your throat, or holding a fun to your head telling you to take it. All of our OWN actions have consequences. The fact that media and parents criticize the events so badly won't change a thing. With all due respect to those that have past, they made their own decisions, parents just don't know how to accept that their own child chose to do drugs. Unless you've actually been to a rave you really shouldn't speak negatively on it, all of this can and does happen at other concerts as well, most are just oblivious to it, or because it's not a rave, they don't choose to criticize it. I can't fathom the pain parents go through when losing a child, but don't waste your time criticizing and blaming everyone else, just mourn and heal, if possible, blaming everything an everyone else will not rid of the pain or make it any tolerable. Realize that please.

mvs1963
mvs1963

Why wasn't it mentioned that 80 kids were admitted to the ER at Jackson Memorial during the course of the event, or that there were 4 other kids that had overdosed the same night as Anthony. An ER doctor told Anthony's uncle that they lose 8-10 young people every year at this event and most are girls. Why doesn't your paper expose that Ultra is a breeding ground for those wishing to use Mollies or other drugs and that all you have to do is say the word, and you will find countless dealers ready to sell you their stuff? We have a responsibility to these kids and to the parents of these kids attending these events. Most parents are unaware that these events are raves where kids can accumulate several days worth of drugs in their systems while continuing to ingest more... a formula for disaster. Why isn't the American public protesting in the streets about this. Something needs to be done to spare other families from experiencing the pain of losing a child in such a senseless way.

DerekJ
DerekJ

Can I ask what the point was in running the same exact article twice in 1 week was? There was nothing new added to this article

nevesomost
nevesomost

@german.santos777 more than a half of the ultra music is trash, so most of the crowd is. i use drugs sometmes at the parties, but still can dance to my favorite house music totally sober, if it`s good. I will never need drugs for Beatles.


german.santos777
german.santos777

shut up you stupid bitch you know you take molly to you probably dont take ase mutch

 
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