Boston police on Friday arrested two men on charges of dealing the same type of drug suspected in the death of a college student at the House of Blues and in two deaths at a New York City music festival, police said.
Officers from the department’s drug control unit arrested Daniel Milisi, 29, of South Boston, and Joseph Doolin, 36, of Quincy, after arranging to meet the men to buy the popular club drug MDMA, known by the street name Molly, according to a statement from Boston police.
Both men were charged with possession with intent to distribute drugs and with conspiracy to violate drug laws, police said.
A police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mail asking whether Milisi and Doolin were believed to be connected to the MDMA responsible for a recent series of overdoses.
Police suspect MDMA was responsible for the Aug. 28 death of 19-year-old Brittany Flannigan, a native of Derry, N.H., after an electronic music concert at Boston’s House of Blues and for the non-fatal overdoses of another woman and a man at the concert.
Then, from the night of Aug. 31 into the early morning of Sept. 1, two people died in New York of suspected MDMA overdoses after being rushed to hospitals from the Electric Zoo Music Festival. New York police identified them as Olivia Rotondo, 20, of North Providence, R.I., and Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y.
That same night, two men survived apparent MDMA overdoses at a concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in the South Boston Seaport, a State Police spokesman said.
The spate of overdoses has raised concerns that what is being sold as Molly — supposedly a pure form of MDMA — is actually a potentially lethal combination of that drug and other substances, such as amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine.
As part of an ongoing online drug investigation, police said, officers arranged to meet a man who identified himself as “Dan” near the Whiskey Priest, a bar in the South Boston Seaport area, at 7:15 p.m. Friday and pay an undisclosed sum for 1.5 grams of MDMA.
Officers watched Friday night as two men in a silver Chevrolet pick-up truck parked outside the bar and Milisi exited the passenger side, walked to the bar, and peered repeatedly into the windows while speaking on his cell phone, police said.
Milisi then stepped into the bar and made a call asking the buyer to come inside and find him, police said. Officers approached the man and identified themselves, at which time Milisi tried to put a small plastic bag into his mouth, police said, but officers grabbed his arm and the bag dropped to the floor.
Police said the bag contained a white crystalline substance believed to be MDMA.
Outside the bar, officers found Doolin in the driver’s seat of the Chevy and told him Milisi had been arrested, police said.
Doolin told the officers he had no drugs on his body or in the truck, police said, but officers conducting a pat-down found a bag containing a few Suboxone pills and a single Percocet. Both drugs are powerful prescription opioids.
Milisi and Doolin are set to be arraigned at South Boston District court on Monday, police said.