Col­lege drug raid nets 75 stu­dents; probe started af­ter over­dose

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

An ex­ten­sive un­der­cover fed­eral drug in­ves­ti­ga­tion ended May 6 with the ar­rest of 96 per­sons, in­clud­ing 75 stu­dents, on the San Diego State Univer­sity cam­pus on charges they sold or pur­chased co­caine, mar­i­juana and Ec­stasy.

Ralph W. Par­tridge, spe­cial agent in charge of the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s San Diego field di­vi­sion, said the probe be­gan in May 2007 when a SDSU stu­dent was found dead of a drug over­dose in her bed­room.

SDSU po­lice be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion known as Op­er­a­tion Sud­den Fall when un­der­cover of­fi­cers de­ter­mined stu­dents and non-stu­dents were heav­ily in­volved in sell­ing drugs for profit on and off cam­pus. DEA agents in­fil­trated sev­eral stu­dent drug dis­tri­bu­tion cells and more than 130 drug pur­chases and seizures were made dur­ing the five-month op­er­a­tion.

“This in­ves­ti­ga­tion spot­lights two tragedies. The tragic drug over­dose deaths of two col­lege stu­dents and se­condly, the shat­tered fu­tures of those stu­dents who choose to con­tinue to en­gage in the il­licit sale and us­age of a myr­iad of con­trolled sub­stances,” Mr. Par­tridge said. “A drug-free learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for our chil­dren should be the norm, not the ex­cep­tion.”

As a re­sult of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne in Wash­ing­ton said 75 SDSU stu­dents and 21 non-stu­dents have been ar­rested for var- ious of­fenses rang­ing from pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana and co­caine to sales of co­caine.

Mr. Payne said one stu­dent who was ar­rested and ac­cused of be­ing a drug dealer was a month from get­ting his mas­ter’s de­gree in home­land se­cu­rity and also worked as a stu­dent Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Of­fi­cer on cam­pus, re­port­ing to cam­pus po­lice.

An­other stu­dent who was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with pos­ses­sion of 500 grams of co­caine and two guns was a crim­i­nal jus­tice ma­jor, he said.

Dur­ing the un­der­cover op­er­a­tion, a sec­ond fa­tal drug over­dose oc­curred Feb. 26 when a 22-yearold Mesa Col­lege stu­dent died from an ac­ci­den­tal co­caine over­dose in a SDSU fra­ter­nity house.

“This op­er­a­tion shows how ac­ces­si­ble and per­va­sive il­le­gal drugs con­tinue to be on our col­lege cam­puses, and how com­mon it is for stu­dents to be sell­ing to other stu­dents,” said San Diego County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Bon­nie M. Du­ma­nis. “It’s un­for­tu­nate that it took the ac­ci­den­tal co­caine over­dose of a stu­dent to re­fo­cus at­ten­tion on the prob­lem.”

Mr. Payne said DEA agents and SDSU po­lice in­fil­trated seven cam­pus fra­ter­ni­ties and found that in some cases, most mem­bers were aware of the or­ga­nized drug deal­ing oc­cur­ring out of the fra­ter­nity houses. He said un­der­cover agents pur­chased co­caine from fra­ter­nity mem­bers and con­firmed that a hi­er­ar­chy ex­isted for sell­ing drugs for money.

He said that in one in­stance, a mem­ber of the Theta Chi fra­ter­nity sent out a mass text mes­sage to his “faith­ful cus­tomers” that he and his “as­so­ciates” would be trav­el­ing to Las Ve­gas for the week­end and would not be able to com­plete co­caine sales dur­ing that time. He noted they were hav­ing a “sale” on co­caine and listed the re­duced prices.

Ev­i­dence seized in­cludes 4 pounds of co­caine, 50 pounds of mar­i­juana, 48 hy­dro­ponic mar­i­juana plants, 350 Ec­stasy pills, psilo­cy­bin (mush­rooms), 30 vials of hash oil, metham­phetamine, var­i­ous il­licit pre­scrip­tion drugs, one shot­gun, three semi­au­to­matic pis­tols, three sets of brass knuck­les and $60,000 in cash.

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