Ultra Music Festival: Police Say Anthony Cassano, 20, Likely Died of Drug Overdose

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

Until now, that is. Officials now believe that the Sunday 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 on 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 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 was likely.

Officials say Cassano was visiting Miami from his hometown of Franklin Lake, New Jersey in order to attend Ultra.

At some point on Sunday night, however, Cassano began acting erratically, police say. At 10:54 p.m., paramedics responded to a call at Bayfront Park. They whisked Cassano to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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

Sergeant Freddie Cruz tells Riptide the death "appeared to be an overdose," but stressed that it was still under investigation. Coroners say it may take weeks to get a full toxicology report.

Cruz said he was unaware of any other serious suspected overdoses and that, in general, the event went smoothly.

"Everything was great," he said. "We had a couple of issues of people attempting to jump the fence and get in for free but nothing that we couldn't handle."

An Ultra spokeswoman did not return Riptide's request for comment. Nor could the Cassanos be reached by phone or email.

A funeral home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, has a website with a picture and short biography of Anthony Cassano. It says that he was a junior at Ramapo College, and loved to garden and fish. Viewings will be held the first two days of April, and Cassano will be buried on April 3 in Franklin Lakes.

The Ramapo College student newspaper also has a short article about Cassano's death, but it doesn't mention his fatal trip to Miami.

Over Ultra's two weekends this year, police arrested 167 people, primarily for narcotics and gatecrashing. (Last year, there were 78 arrests during the three-day event, 45 of them for narcotics. More than 60 people were injured last year, 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 City 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?"

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

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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28 comments
vanessa.cortez94
vanessa.cortez94

It's unfortunate that this happened, but it does at many events, not just raves, the media criticizes it but never mentions anything other than raves. Such events aren't just about drugs, unless you've been to one yourself, you shouldn't really speak on it. I can't fathom the pain parents go through when losing a child, but blaming the events and others isn't going to solve your problem, with all due respect it is the people that choose to do drugs, no one is forcing it down their throat or holding a fun to your head, it's like asking for your own fate. Raves don't support drug use and there is many DJ's who are against it and mention so during sets. When Madonna mentioned "molly" she wasn't referring to the drug, but a song, she had cleared this up the next day. And to those that don't know, event promoters have narcs during these Events at all times, and do their best to rid of those selling narcotics and even using. Unfortunately when you have over 100,000 people - it's very difficult. It's not hard to go to an event and not do drugs, whether it is all over or not, people make their own choices.

dantevida
dantevida topcommenter

It's tragic.  However, to those who support medical marijuana: go to www.pufmm.org print the petition (on one sheet, 2 sides) sign in blue ink, and mail. This will place it on the ballot for the next election. Also, volunteer if you want and donate if you can. I am a cancer survivor with a medical need. thanks

cody07civicsi
cody07civicsi

Note that it says most commonly when taking two drugs at same time that affect serotonin... read a little deeper next time instead of medlining it...this is pretty rare considering I've seen countless people on club drugs while only hearing about this one person being fatal. Never seen it at edc Orlando bonnaroo ultra day glows and other club parties. This just isn't a common thing. But that's besides the point it doesn't say club drugs do it. He could have seeked mental health help. They very commonly prescribe more than one drug that affects serotonin so that would have had the same affect. Trust me im sure I've done a lot more research than you have on MDMA that's why I'm still standing here along with hundreds of thousands of other people. Don't get me wrong I feel so bad for this kid I really do. But don't sit here and blame mdma and ultra for serotonin syndrome

esreveR.M.Backwards
esreveR.M.Backwards

Wow. This makes me really sad. Wonder if new times will cover the toxicology report.

cody07civicsi
cody07civicsi

Wow u fellas are ignorant as f***. Do your research before you speak pls it'd save me time and your embarrassment. Scientists give mollyto alot of people especially soldiers as a cure for PTSD. It had medical uses for sure no denying that. Yea some mild side effects as well, but name any pharmaceutical that doesn't. And for the dude who says ultra is lame lol there are ppl of ALL age ranges. Try respecting what others enjoy maybe you'll get respect back. Your name "camthemac89" is lame. The year 89 is lame. I could go on and on but that's all opinions. I can almost guarantee you like a song or two that's electro and you don't even know it BC your ignorant obviously. I really hate when people make blatantly ignorant comments like yours. You don't overdose on serotonin genius...serotonin is the "pleasure or happiness" chemical in your brain..club drugs do flood your brain with it but nobody has ever died from serotonin overdose why Bc your brain only produces so much at a time. That's why after feasts ppl are sad its over etc etc because there serotonin is DEPLETED ... the most common cause of death from club drugs is DEHYDRATION BC ppl dance dance dance and forget to take breaks BC they are having so much fun. "THANKS K BAIIIIIIIII"

camthemac89
camthemac89

Ultra is so freaking lame, all those little kids. No thanks. Oh and 99% chance he died of seratonin overdose. Thanks K baiiiiii

sheepleroom
sheepleroom

lol@Madonna trying to sound like she's down... she's such an embarrassment. Yeah, a bunch of 50 year old gayz and 14 year old kids will be hitting Molly... she's so irrelevant

Kristofer Jesus Castellar
Kristofer Jesus Castellar

I.had a changw of oppinion about ultra, from hating it, to accepting it as a brothle to empower women to rub on my genitalia most of the time for free .... But wait, miami chicks do that all year round anyway lol

Danny Quinones
Danny Quinones

Woah idk about cesspool.. I had fun, and I didn't need extra stuff to enjoy the festival lol

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

You would think something like this would've come out immediately after the show...

David Castaneda
David Castaneda

I'm sure more things happen at Ultra... Don't know why they acting like nothing happen.

RoscoeParrish
RoscoeParrish

Maybe if the police arrested people for crossing the street and blinking in order to pump up the arrest statistics like they do on Memorial Day, this wouldnt have happened. 

voltrade
voltrade

been to ultra several times before, but now mostly go to pool parties and club events to avoid all the under 21 kids acting a mess. it's unfortunate people think they have to do all these drugs to enjoy the good music. gives edm a bad name. doesn't help either with stupid songs like "molly" clearly embracing it.

esreveR.M.Backwards
esreveR.M.Backwards

@cody07civicsi o.O wow. I had hoped you would do more then just look for holes in the link I posted. I had hoped you would look up the term and read about how incorrect you really are. "You don't overdose on serotonin genius." is wrong because there is something called "Serotonin syndrome". No fingers were of blame were pointed anywhere. I cannot and will not ever blame Ultra for the actions of the individual. I will however blame MDMA for Serotonin Syndrome as MDMA causes the brain to release massive amounts of serotonin and dopamine. 

Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that may occur following therapeutic drug use, inadvertent interactions between drug(s), >>>overdose of particular drug(s), or the recreational use of certain drug(s).<<<< 

On the serious tip, please if anyone here decids to do substances like this.. Learn about and always test what you obtain before you try it. Stay knowledgeable, Stay awaire, Stay safe. 

mvs1963
mvs1963

It seems like Miami newspapers don't interview ER doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. If they did, they would find that 80 kids were admitted over the course of the festival and that Anthony wasn't the only incident. Why is it that a kid has to die before parents find out how freely drugs are flowing at these events? Why isn't the blatant drug use at these events covered by the media ? 

RoscoeParrish
RoscoeParrish

@David Castaneda because the new times gets paid and thats whats important

jgcamp99
jgcamp99

@RoscoeParrish To a certain extent the police can't do enough or what they do end up doing is criticized. This was a case of a 20 year old kid who came down to party too hard. This isn't on anyone but a 20 year old that overdosed. That's if the drugs theory here holds up as reported in MNT. When you consider that 100's of thousands attended and the extent of drug abuse that occurred, I figure the police let the game of life play out, they didn't call the equivalent of a foul on the last shot of the game, that way the players determine the outcome, not a judgment whistle and call. Unfortunate this one had to die, but like anything all of us can't be saved. I figure with the rampant drug abuse over the weekends of Ultra, police were lenient in drug enforcement at the park. to be arrested you'd have to be a complete tool.

CarlosSpic
CarlosSpic

@Carlos Moises Servellon Burn in hell faggot, I'll piss all over your dead mother and scalp your dumbass then shit down your throat. Cocksucker.

MexicanKiller
MexicanKiller

@Carlos Moises Servellon  Shut the fuck up you spic lowlife mexican cocksucker. Go mow my fucking law you fat shit. 

RoscoeParrish
RoscoeParrish

@jgcamp99 no doubt.  The New Times is very quick to jump all over the arrest statistics and declare that its all clean fun while glossing over the obvious elephant in the room which is massive unreported drug use.  But hey, as long as the fake arrest numbers keep the european sponsorship money coming in thats whats important.  That, and making sure black people dont come here for memorial day

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