The toxicology report has yet to be released in the Nicola Furlong investigation. As you may know, Ms. Furlong and her friend arrived in Tokyo from Takasaki in the afternoon of May 23, 2012 and reportedly missed their last train home at the conclusion of the Nicki Minaj concert which was held at Zepp Tokyo. The women later ended up with two men, Mr. Blackstone and an unidentified 19-year-old, in an upscale Shinjuku hotel.

Sometime approximately between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., something horribly went wrong and Ms. Furlong would end up dead. Investigators are now looking to see if Ms. Furlong and her unidentified friend were drugged the night of Ms. Furlong’s death. Latest news is that the toxicology report will be released tomorrow! Via the Irish Times online:

“Ms Furlong is believed to have gone to Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, a business and shopping hub in central Tokyo, after midnight with the man who is being questioned by police, and another friend.

“The unidentified man had been a guest at the hotel since Tuesday. Staff at the hotel front desk took a call from the man at about 4 a.m. local time informing them Ms Furlong was ill. “We called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital,” confirmed hotel spokeswoman Junko Saito. Ms. Furlong was declared dead about an hour later.

The man reportedly voluntarily went with the police and is being questioned by Shinjuku detectives.”

It was reported that Ms. Furlong and her friend could hardly walk to the taxi that took them and the two men (currently under arrest and charged with quasi-forcible indecency) to the Keio Plaza Hotel. The charge against the men was levied following an incident during the taxi ride to the hotel. The reported state of the women while heading to the taxi leads some to believe that the women were either highly intoxicated or had their drink(s) spiked with a date rape drug.

During the autopsy, Tokyo police most-likely tested Ms. Furlong for traces of the key ingredient found in the date rape drug Rohypnol, Flunitrazepam. Ms. Furlong’s friend was taken to a hospital in Tokyo for tests after being interviewed by police. It is understood that Ms. Furlong’s friend was physically unable to make a statement to police after the death of Ms. Furlong (this is what initially led Black Tokyo to wonder who reported that the two women missed the train). The inability to give a statement led to further suggestions that both young women may have been drugged. Recent reports state that the friend, who flew back to Ireland to attend Ms. Furlong’s funeral, cannot remember parts of the ordeal.

Street names for Rohypnol include “rophy”, “ruffles”, “roachies”, “roofies”, “ruffies”, “rufus,” “rufalin,” “ruff-up”, “rib”, “roach 2 (R2)”, “roche”, “rope”, “ropies”, “circles”, “circes”, “forget it”, “forget-me-pill”, “forget-me-now”, “Mexican Valium”, “Floories” and “Roofalin”.

Another drug that the Tokyo police may test for during the autospy is GHB. GHB has also been labeled as a date rape drug. Below is the background on this drug:

“Like alcohol and potent benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol (the trade name of a potent hypnotic benzodiazepine, flunitrazepam), GHB has been labeled as a date rape drug. The sodium form of GHB has an extremely salty taste but, as it is colourless and odorless, it has been described as “very easy to add to drinks” that mask the flavor.

GHB has been used in cases of drug-related sexual assault, usually when the victim is vulnerable due to intoxication with a sedative, generally alcohol. It is difficult to establish how often GHB is used to facilitate rape as it is difficult to detect in a urine sample after a day, and many victims may not recall the rape until some time after this, although GHB can be detected in hair.

Hair testing can be a useful tool in court cases and/or for the victim’s own information. Over-the-counter urine test kits only test for date rape drugs that are benzodiazepines, which GHB is not. To detect GHB in urine, the sample must be taken within 8–12 hours of GHB ingestion, and cannot be tested at home. GHB can be detected in hair for months after GHB ingestion.”

“The effects of GHB can last from 1.5 to 3 hours, or even longer if large doses have been consumed. Consuming GHB with alcohol is dangerous as it can lead to vomiting in combination with unrouseable sleep, a potentially lethal combination. In humans, GHB has been shown to inhibit the elimination rate of alcohol. This may explain the respiratory arrest that has been reported after ingestion of both drugs.” Source

The 19-year-old found in the hotel room with Ms. Furlong reportedly said, “She’s not breathing, she’s not breathing,” as he stood near Ms. Furlong when seen by hotel staff that had entered the room. It was also reported that marks were found on Ms. Furlong’s neck. Police stated that she died as a result of suffocation by cervical compression. Although some reports say that Ms. Furlong was strangled, others say she was not breathing. Here is additional information regarding GHB that if consumed, could also lead to death:

“GHB, which is sold on the Internet and at porno shops in Japan, is known to induce sleep and cause drowsiness. If taken with alcohol, it can lead to breathing problems, coma and death, according to Japan’s Health and Welfare Ministry and health experts.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency website shows the following regarding GHB:

“Street Names: Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Easy Lay, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, and Goop1

What are the different forms of GHB?

  • An odorless, colorless liquid form
  • White powder material2

How is GHB used?

  • Usually ingested in a liquid mixture; most commonly mixed with alcohol

Who uses GHB?

  • GHB has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and “raves.”
  • Body builders sometimes use GHB for its alleged anabolic effects.

How does GHB get to the United States?

  • Because the drug is easy to synthesize and manufacture, local operators usually handle distribution.3

How much does GHB cost?

  • GHB is usually sold by the capful, and sells for $5 to $25 per cap.4

What are some consequences of GHB use?

  • In lower doses, GHB causes drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbances.
  • At higher dosages, unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression, and coma can occur.
  • Overdoses usually require emergency room treatment, including intensive care for respiratory depression and coma. As of November 2000, DEA documented 71 GHB-related deaths.
  • GHB has been used in the commission of sexual assaults because it renders the victim incapable of resisting, and may cause memory problems that could complicate case prosecution.5” 

So what are some likely items to be found in the Furlong toxicology report if a drug is detected? Rohypnol, Flunitrazepam, GHB or none of the three presented. The media’s immediate fixation on a date rape drug led me to think about the environment the four young adults were in after the concert. That environment, Shibuya, is one of Tokyo’s many party spots.

As Black Tokyo previously posted:

“Reportedly, the women went to a club in Shibuya and most-likely prior to that had something to eat. Since the women liked hip-hop (they attended a Nicki Minaj concert), they may have visited Club 99 Gas Panic or Club HarlemClub Asia played Rock – Psychedelic – Grunge the night Ms. Furlong and friend were in town, Womb offered drum & bass (this may have been scheduled for Thursday) and Club Pure, now called Xanadu, is only open on the weekends has the same rules of operation, Hip Hop and RnB all night with an all-you-can-drink being one of the attractions was closed.”

photo credit: tim whitman, stars & stripes

The club(s) the group reported visited could be key to the investigation since one item the police will focus on is whether a date rape drug will be detected in women’s system. If there is a drug or drugs found in Ms. Furlong’s and her friend’s system, the next query (relating to the drug) would be how it was ingested.  Was it slipped in a drink without their knowledge? Consumed socially? Other? Now you are probably asking where Black Tokyo is going with this, right? Well, if a drug is detected in the system, how did it get there? Was it purchased in Shibuya? Not a far-fetched possibility! As with illegal drugs, legal drugs used in the Japan club scene are not always safe:

“Earlier this decade, “magic” mushrooms and GHB, the infamous date-rape drug, were among many stimulants and depressants readily available in Tokyo’s party districts.

Some of the names are Spice, Foxy Methoxy and Zohai. Another is Salvia divinorum, also known as “Sally D” and “Magic Mint,” a widely popular drug among youths that’s also still legal in most U.S. states.

“Sally D,” an herb found in Mexico, causes hallucinations, changes in perception, and other psychological and physical effects. In large doses, it can lead to unconsciousness and short-term memory loss.”

How easily can Americans get them?

“As easy as you can buy anything,” said special agent Joe Hathaway, a Drug Enforcement Administration liaison officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

And when it comes to synthetics, he added, buyers shouldn’t confuse “legal” on the package with “safe.”

“It’s like any other drugs. They’re dangerous, mind-altering substances that can have a very bad effect on people,” he said. “Often, the problem is you don’t know what you’re getting. That can lead to overdoses.”

Source: Stars & Stripes

In the 2009 Stars & Stripes report it was noted that GHB was readily available but has been driven underground:

“There was an alphabet soup of drugs sold openly on the streets,” Hathaway said. “Now, mushrooms and GHB have been banned. It’s not as bad now as it was a couple of years ago.”

That’s because a 2006 amendment to Japan’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Law helped authorities crack down on head shops and sidewalk vendors who sell the drugs, he said. But the “legal highs” can still be found, and new synthetics continue to surface on the streets.

“Passage of the law just drove it underground,” Hathaway said. “Sure, it’s not as openly available as in the past. But it’s around.””

Source: Stars & Stripes

Additionally, it was reported by an unnamed source that:

 “…before Furlong and XO (her friend) left the club – AND BEFORE THE OTHER GIRL GOT REALLY DRUNK – the two of them went outside with a white guy. When the women returned they were suddenly “DRUNK” or in an intoxicated or high state.””

There have been reports and warnings of drink spiking since 2009:

“The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in Roppongi-area bars.  Most reports indicate that the victim unknowingly drinks a beverage that has been secretly mixed with a drug that renders the victim unconscious or stuporous for several hours, during which time large charges are fraudulently billed to the victim, sums of money are charged to the victim’s credit card, or the card is stolen.  Victims sometimes regain consciousness in the bar or club, while at other times the victim awakens on the street.  Assaults on Americans have also been reported in connection with drink-spiking.” Source

What if the statement about the young women leaving and returning “suddenly drunk or in a high state.” turns out to be true in the course of the investigation? It does not detract from the fact the young Ms. Furlong lost her life shortly after the concert. It does, however, lead one to wonder if Rohypnol, Flunitrazepam or GHB is listed in the Furlong toxicology report or if traces of the drug are found in Ms. Furlong’s friend’s system, could there be more than what has been reported? Could either Rohypnol or GHB been ingested in another form? Does it mean that the two men currently under arrest for quasi-forcible indecency spiked the women’s drinks as currently assumed? Again, this does not explain how Ms. Furlong ended up on the floor in a hotel unconscious and later pronounced dead, but it does leave other questions unanswered. The most important part is to establish how Ms. Furlong died. If it is determined that someone is responsible, let justice run its course and punish that person!

Nicola Furlong - Source: Facebook and the Independent.ie

With that said, some people have accused Black Tokyo of trying to punch holes in the Furlong story. Collectively, the BT team is only trying to fill the gaps. For example, we know that there is a reason why the concerts start early and end early at Zepp Tokyo, so people can catch the train home! We also know that after parties in Tokyo can typically start after midnight since the artist and crew return to the hotel to prep for the next event and due to many Tokyo clubs closing at 5 or 6 a.m., just in time for party-goers to catch the first train home. If Ms. Furlong’s friend could not give a statement to the police, who stated that the women missed the train? The young women’s parents? Ms. Furlong’s boyfriend? Ms. Furlong’s friend’s boyfriend? The police? It is a simple and honest question especially in light of some in the media stating the women were pushed, carried or forced in the taxi. That insinuates kidnapping. A drugging , kidnapping, rape, and murder of a white woman by two Black men. I should add, “from the “notorious South Central L.A.,” as reported in some newspapers. You get the picture! We do too! We are standing by to see how the investigation runs its course and what the toxicology reports will reveal.

As always, Black Tokyo will continue in its attempt to provide you with the rest of the story. If nothing else, we hope that the background on life in Japan from a different perspective will help the reader sort through the myriad of information being presented not only in this case but on Japan. Here is the latest from family members of one of the men currently in custody, James “King Tight” Blackston who, although often pictured, has not been charged with murder as mistakenly or intentionally mentioned in various news reports:

[Via the Sunday World Irish Crime] “THE family of one of two American men accused of murdering Irish student Nicola Furlong in a Tokyo hotel yesterday insisted he is innocent. A relative of dancer James Blackston (23), who would only identify herself as his aunt, told the Sunday World: “He couldn’t possibly have done what they are saying.

“He worked his heart out to get out of the ghetto and make a life for himself in the entertainment industry. He doesn’t have a nasty or evil bone in his body.”

Blackston’s aunt added: “We have called the office of our local senator and we want the US Government to bring him home so he can be tried here. But we’ve been told that is almost an impossibility.

“We don’t have the money for even one of us to fly out to Japan to be by his side. It’s a nightmare and we have no way of finding out what is happening to James.”

Blackston’s sister Ericka also defended him on Twitter, writing: “I want everyone to know her [Nicola’s] family is in our prayers. My brother King Tight is innocent.”

Blackston is believed to have been renting an apartment in LA’s trendy Los Feliz – fifteen miles but a world removed from crimeridden Watts in the city’s notorious South Central area where he grew up.

A neighbour said: “He was one of the few kids who kept away from the street gangs and was only interested in bettering himself. It’s
hard to believe he could have killed anyone.”

Pretty Nicola (21) was found strangled in Blackston’s hotel in Tokyo, where he was working as a backing dancer for Japanese singer Ai Carina Uemura, the morning after she and her friend Sarah Maher attended a Nicki Minaj concert in the city.

Witnesses report having seen them bundled into a taxi by Blackston and a 19-year-old musician following the show. Police believe
they may have later been drugged.

However, a friend of Blackston’s, musician Larry Perry, went on Twitter to deny he was the 19-year-old in the hotel room with Nicola. @larrytheclown claimed: “I just know James and it’s obvious someone tried to frame me as the other guy.”

Questioned by Irish journalists online, he replied: “Are you really tryna interview me over twitter about a crime! James is my best
friend and I kno the meida twistin the story.”

He said of Blackston: “James is not aggressive off the dance floor I know that and that’s it. Can’t wait till the truth is out! Media is false.”

Earlier claims that Blackston and the 19-year-old had been performing at the Minaj concert were denied by the star herself, who said on Twitter: “We do NOT know the men in custody. My dancers had nothing to do with this tragedy. No-one in my entourage was arrested or questioned. They all flew home from Japan.”

Nicki added that she was “saddened to learn one of my precious fans has been found murdered in Japan. My love and prayers are
with the family of Nicola Furlong”.” Source

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The following BT’ers contributed to the Nicola Furlong investigation: @blacktokyo, @onmugen @starrwulfe @ogPegasus303

Have inquiries? Feel free to contact “investigation@blacktokyo.com” regarding the Nicola Furlong case.

#RIPNicola – Black Tokyo sends its condolences to the Furlong family.