Annual rave under fire after death

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Officials are questioning a massive annual rave at the Cow Palace that has a history of attracting younger crowds and drug dealers after a man died there over the weekend.

Anthony Mata, 23, of Santa Clara died at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, and five others remained in critical condition Monday from what health and police officials say could be a tainted batch of Ecstasy sold at the etd.POP 2010 music festival Saturday in Daly City.

Mata was one of 11 people hospitalized with similar symptoms following the event.

“Eleven? From the same place? That means they’re really young … and it’s certainly not the first time police have known about big drug sales there,” San Francisco Department of Public Health spokeswoman Eileen Shields said Monday. “Selling drugs is one thing. You put things in drugs that kills them, that’s another.”

At this year’s event, Daly City police arrested 68 adults and five youths on suspicion of possessing or selling drugs and seized 800 Ecstasy pills and other drugs, including LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Last year, 76 adults and three youths were arrested and 901 Ecstasy pills were seized.

The event — thrown by an Oakland company for people 16 and older at the venue that holds more than 16,000 people — was sold out Saturday, with tickets ranging from $40 to $1,000.

Event organizers were not available for comment Monday.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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