A Weekend `Rave' in Coconut Grove 

A Weekend `Rave' in Coconut Grove 
Posted by FoM on September 21, 1999 at 07:07:53 PT
By Ana Acle & Curtis Morgan
Source: Miami Herald
It took until the morning after the bleary morning after to assess the fallout of a dusk-to-dawn weekend dance ``rave'' that drew some 15,000 to Coconut Grove: 
A North Miami man named Bjorn Hans Di Maio, 23, lay dead Monday of an overdose in the swanky Mayfair House hotel, his $225-a-night suite littered with a small pharmacy -- cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, Xanax, laughing gas, an animal tranquilizer known as Special-K and bottles of booze. Two unconscious friends, from Hollywood and Pembroke Pines, clung to life. Miami police reported eight other people rushed to the hospital for drug treatment, more than 30 arrests for drugs, and two for disorderly drunkenness. Some 130 other ravers also were stopped for everything from throwing up in the street to breaking into cars. The Coconut Grove Convention Center -- scene of the 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday Zen Festival, billed as North America's largest electronica music concert -- was a mess. Cleanup crews mopped up human waste in all its forms from floors and walls. The aftermath outraged Jim McDonough, Gov. Jeb Bush's drug policy coordinator. ``Rave clubs are out of control in Florida,'' he said. ``We're leading the nation with this outrageous behavior.'' In the last few years, Florida has recorded a handful of deaths and numerous hospitalizations from overdoses at rave clubs and concerts, which feature all-night dancing to a pulsating mix of techno music and laser lights. The rave scene's increasing death toll also has raised the concern of parents and authorities nationwide. Richard Wilson, general counsel for the promoter, Plantation-based Zen Fest, defended security and scoffed at the idea that that the rave scene had a drug problem any worse than society at large. ``Is anyone suggesting that if we didn't have raves, we would not have drugs and we would not have kids using drugs? Kids are buying drugs in junior high school.'' But the company did issue its own prophetic caution in its Internet site advertising the concert: ``Unfortunately, there have been several drug overdoses at events throughout the state, resulting in the loss of life for some and debilitating circumstances for others. This is a very serious problem. Our scene is about unity through music, not drugs. If you are abusing drugs: WAKE UP!'' While the vast majority attending abided, some apparently ignored that appeal, including four men and one woman who retired to the Mayfair's Room 338, the Cypress Suite. Shortly before 11 a.m. Monday, someone in the room called 911 to report that Di Maio, 14333 Memorial Hwy., North Miami, had stopped breathing. Emergency workers pronounced him dead.2 others unconscious Two others were unconscious: John Anthony Paone, 25, whose last known address was 2205 Cleveland St., Hollywood, and Minet Fernandez-Moris, 23, of 200 SW 85th St., Pembroke Pines. Paone was listed in ``extremely critical condition'' at Mercy Hospital. Fernandez-Moris, originally in critical condition, had improved to stable by Monday evening. Family members at the hospital, clearly upset, refused to comment. Neighbors were shocked to hear that the clean-cut Paone, who regularly trimmed the family lawn, had overdosed. ``He's a nice young man,'' said neighbor Tom Huffman, 50. ``Very polite.'' Fernandez-Moris, however, had learned the hard lessons of drugs. Her mother's boyfriend overdosed and died on Christmas Day 1998, neighbors said. Two others who stayed in the room were found stumbling dazed in the hotel corridors. Police arrested one, Elwin Martinez, 23, of 280 NW 130th St., Miami-Dade, on possession of cocaine. The group began the weekend at the Zen Fest, where an estimated 15,000 ravers paid from $30 to $45 to enjoy 12 hours of dancing and music, headlined by the top electronica group The Chemical Brothers. Most went home Sunday morning. Others, including the five friends, hit other round-the-clock parties thrown along with the fest, including one at The Chili Pepper in Coconut Grove. Police closed that party at 8 a.m. Monday and told 300 patrons to go home. While there have been drug arrests at other rave events, many have gone off with little trouble, including previous Zen Fests, which have been thrown statewide for six years. In March, a large rave in Miami Beach caused little trouble. Security at the Grove event also appeared to be tight. Almost everything in most attendees' pockets was confiscated, including cigarettes, candy, lip balm and anything drugs could be smuggled in.Strict patrols Wilson, Zen Fest's attorney, said the promoters spent ``a fortune on both internal security and security from the police department. That event was very strictly patrolled. What would the government have us do? Should we strip-search every kid that comes in?'' Still, some who attended said a few ravers were clearly under the influence of more than music. Police spokesman Angel Calzadilla echoed concern about the ``dangerous'' concerts where he said heavy drugs were common: ``I'm alarmed and the city of Miami Police Department is alarmed. This man paid for it with his life.'' The biggest problem, authorities say, is the emerging danger of ``polyabuse.'' ``Undercover guys call it a `drug soup,' '' said McDonough, the state drug czar. ``Young people are very inventive in their ways to mix drugs. Unfortunately, their inventiveness can and does result in deaths.'' McDonough said at least five overdose deaths have been associated with rave clubs this year alone. Among previous deaths: Marcus Sapp, a 21-year-old from DeLand, died in 1997 after attending a Zen Festival in Auburndale that drew 22,000 people. Sapp, friends told police, took Ecstasy, smoked pot and drank alcohol at the fest. Then they drove to Kissimmee, checked into a hotel and took heroin. Last March, 19-year-old Jerry Costello of Homosassa died in his sleep after partying at a Tampa club. Medical examiners found amphetamines, marijuana and heroin in his body. After a second teen's death and several overdoses, the Tampa City Council began cracking down on the clubs. Deaths have been recorded nationwide as well. In California, where raves have evolved into huge parties drawing thousands -- often in remote desert locations -- there has been a mix of overdoses and accidents, including two dancers who plunged from high rocks. McDonough said the Coconut Grove death would spark increased regulation. ``You will see things happening on this front soon,'' he said. It's a threat ravers feared has been coming. Zen Fest's Internet page warned about the ramifications of drug abuse: ``Become aware of what you are doing to yourself and our culture. You damage not only yourself, but jeopardize the entire movement. If this problem isn't solved, there will soon be no more scene for anybody.'' Herald staff writers Ivonne Perez, David Green and Michael Hamersly and Herald research editor Elisabeth Donovan contributed to this report.Posted at 11:21 p.m. EDT Monday, September 20, 1999 Copyright 1999 Miami Herald 
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Comment #1 posted by Rebeca Lau on January 24, 2000 at 13:53:57 PT
absolutlye ridiculous
This article is absolutely ridiculous, this man did pay for hiss life but out of his own desire. Be smart if you are going to use drugs do not use a large array of uppers and downers all at the same time, that is a sure recipe for suicide.
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