Man Dies From Drugs Taken At Cow Palace Rave

DALY CITY, Calif. — A 23-year-old man who died after he apparently took tainted drugs while attending an electronic music festival in Daly City over the weekend has been identified as Anthony Mata, of Fresno.

Mata died at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, following the “etd.POP 2010” music festival Saturday night at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Daly City police Lt. Jay Morena said. An estimated 16,000 people attended the festival.

At a press conference Monday morning, Daly City police said they had assigned homicide detectives to investigate the case after Mata’s death.

Eleven other people were hospitalized after attending the festival due to apparently tainted doses of the drug Ecstasy, according to Morena. Five were listed in life-threatening condition Monday morning and the other two were in serious but stable, he said.

The victims were between 17 and 28 years old.

Medical staff at San Francisco General Hospital, where the patients were taken, said the symptoms they saw were not typically seen in patients who overdose on Ecstasy, prompting authorities to suspect the drugs may have been tainted with an unknown substance.

Symptoms included severe internal bleeding and kidney failure.

KTVU spoke with the husband of one of the victims, a 24-year old woman currently at San Francisco General.

“We wanted to go out and take a break,” explained Kevin, 25, who did not want to give his last name. “But on our way out, we were like right at the ramp, she was just on me and all of a sudden, it was like dead weight. She collapsed on me.”

Kevin said he believed it wasn’t tainted ecstasy but rather a combination of heat, dehydration, exhaustion and drugs that put his wife in the hospital.

“The same thing would have happened to me too, because we took the same thing,” said Kevin.

The two people in stable condition told police they don’t know any of the other patients, and said neither purchased their drugs at the music event, according to Morena.

Officers arrested 68 adults and five juveniles for allegedly possessing or selling drugs at the annual music festival. The event lasted from 6 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday and had an estimated attendance of 16,500 patrons.

Police also seized 800 Ecstasy tablets with a street value of $16,000, and other drugs including LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. About $5,000 in cash was also taken, officials said.

On Monday, Daly City Mayor Michael Guingona expressed frustration over what he sees as an ongoing problem at the Cow Palace.

“I don’t know if even increased security is the answer to that,” said Guingona. “I think perhaps an all out ban on that kind of activity in that area, especially that close to a residential area. It’s just not suitable for that.”

Raves are well known for rampant drug use — especially ecstasy.

One of the biggest concerns is the cavalier attitude that some party goers seem to have about accepting drugs from unknown sources.

“I was offered some and I had a drink or two in me already, so I just kind of didn’t think too much about it and just took it,” said Kevin.

The San Mateo County crime lab and doctors from the Bay Area California poison control office were testing samples of some of the ecstasy that was seized at the concert.

A representative from the San Mateo County Coroner’s office told KTVU an autopsy for the young man who died was scheduled for Tuesday. The coroner’s office will also conduct toxicology tests to determine what substances may have been in his body at the time of his death.

Last year’s electronic music event netted the arrest of 76 adults and three juveniles, as well as the seizure of 901 Ecstasy tablets, marijuana, methamphetamine and more than $5,000 in cash, officials said.