Campus based “drug ring funneled over a thousand pounds of marijuana, several hundred kilograms of cocaine, and significant quantities of other drugs into these college campuses” – Fed prosecutors
Twenty-one students from fraternities at University of North Carolina and Duke University arrested for running ‘large scale drug operation’
Drug operation involved shipping cocaine and marijuana from California then selling it on campus’
Investigators reportedly discovered that people were shipping cocaine from California via the U.S. Postal Service and transporting marijuana by motor vehicle
Drugs distributed on campus through student dealers, especially targeted several fraternities
Full list of the fraternities allegedly involved, yet to be released, but reportedly include UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi
Twenty-one people have been arrested since July as part of the operation – including former and current students of Duke and UNC Chapel Hill
Suspects range in age from 22 and 35 and are all based in North Carolina – Their combined sales exceeds $1.5million worth of cocaine and marijuana
Prosecutors say they are ‘hardened drug dealers’ and that it goes further than ‘someone taking a puff of a joint at a frat house’
Many of the suspects graduated college earlier this year, before they were arrested
Francisco Ochia, 27, the alleged supplier from California, took a plea deal after his arrest in 2019
He was sentenced to 73 months imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $250,000 forfeiture judgment
Chase Poindexter, 23, who shipped in the drugs from California, for distribution to the UNC fraternities, before his arrest was working at a second hand car dealership
Twenty-one current and former students and current from colleges including UNC Chapel Hill and Duke have been arrested in what police are calling a large-scale drug operation sting through which they allegedly peddled ‘thousands of pounds’ of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs and made payments for it on Venmo.
According to the Dept. Of Justice the “drug ring funneled over a thousand pounds of marijuana, several hundred kilograms of cocaine, and significant quantities of other drugs into these college campuses. Estimates of the total drug proceeds are not presently available, but they exceeded 1.5 million dollars.”
A full list of the fraternities allegedly involved have not yet been released but they include UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi fraternities.
The two colleges are around 10 miles apart in North Carolina.
The alleged drug dealing went on between 2017 and 2020 but the investigation started in 2018 after people in a different investigation informed the police about drug dealing at UNC.
Prosecutors say they shipped the drugs from California through the USPS then distributed them in North Carolina. In total, more than $1.5million of drugs was sold.
The suspects ranging in age between 21 and 35, comprised mostly of current and former students. Some of the first arrests in the two-year long sting operation, were made in July this year.
Prosecutors said on Thursday at a press conference: ‘This is not a situation where you have single users, where you have a 19-year-old sipping a beer, where you have someone taking a puff of a joint on the back porch of a frat house. These are hardened drug dealers’.
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case ‘unfolded unlike any other case I have seen’.
No one is above the law, including college students and fraternity members at elite universities said US Attorney Martin Miller who decried the fact that the suspects all had ‘brazen’ attitudes and that the use of drugs in some of the fraternities was ‘pervasive’.
In July this year, five people were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
They are Andrew Gaddy, 24, Travis Michael Evans, 27, Dane Lamber Simon, 23, Brianha Nicole Haskel, 24 and Mariela Zavala Mendoza, aka Maria Ochoa, 25.
Since then, another eight people have been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
They list of suspects indicted in the multi-college campus drug distribution ring was expanded to include Zachre Abercrombie, 27, Amber Johnson, 24, John Holloway, 23, Devin McDonald, 23, Jason Nitsos, 24, Devon Pickering, 35, Edison Robles, 26, and Jason Xu, 23.
An additional eight people have been charged since, include Chandler Anderson, 27, Davis Bayha, 21, Kyle Beckner, 22, – who is charged with distribution of LSD – Bernard Bukowski, 24, Charles Cleveau Pointdexter aka Chase Poindexter, 23, Jackson Norria, 22, and Christopher Reyes, 26.
According to the US Attorneys Office for the Middle District of North Carolina, they shipped the drugs from the West Coast through the postal service.
Francisco Ochia, 27, is the alleged supplier from California.
He allegedly supplied 200 pounds of marijuana and two kilograms of cocaine every week to a cooperating defendant in Orange County, North Carolina, near the two prestigious colleges.
Ochia, 27, took a plea deal after his arrest in 2019. He was sentenced to 73 months imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $250,000 forfeiture judgment
He was arrested in November 2019 and took a plea deal which involved 73 months imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $250,000 forfeiture judgment.
Chase Poindexter allegedly bought from the dealer to then sell on to fraternity brothers.
He is said to have distributed cocaine among his frat brothers at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house.
‘In an interview, Poindexter admitted to purchasing cocaine, marijuana, and “molly” (MDMA) from CD2, and stated that all 22 members of his fraternity pledge class “went in” to purchase an ounce of cocaine for spring break in his sophomore year.’
David Bayha allegedly supplied cocaine, marijuana and Xanax to frat brothers at UNC Kappa Sigma.
Amber Janna Johnson allegedly dealt drugs to friends and other students at Duke University.
Jason Blake Nitsos allegedly distributed the drugs to the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at UNC. He allegedly used Venmo to pay the dealers $15,000 for the drugs between October 2017 and March 2019.
The two colleges are ten miles apart in North Carolina. The drugs were shipped first from California to the East Coast where the middle men dealers – who are cooperating with the authorities – then sold them to the fraternities, according to prosecutors
In a statement, US Attorney Miller said: ‘No one is above the law, including college students and fraternity members at elite universities.
‘This serious drug trafficking is destructive and reckless, and many lives have been ruined.
‘This investigation reveals that the fraternity culture at these universities is dangerous.
‘University administrators and national chapters cannot turn a blind eye to the impact on these students and the environment on their respective college campuses.
‘The drug culture feeds many other problems on campus and in our society.
University administrators must take a stand and put a stop to it,’ U.S. Attorney Miller said.
None of the colleges or the fraternities have commented on the case.
According to social media, Chase Poindexter – one of the alleged UNC dealers – now works at a second hand car dealership.
Many of the suspects graduated college earlier this year, before they were arrested.