Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Drug Sting Nabs 75 Students at San Diego State U.

The LA Times coverage of this bust suggested an EME connection, and it's interesting to think of possible connections between specific college frats and the hardcore drug syndicates in Mexico, who some observers believe control the country's federal government, not to mention large swathes of territory, e.g. much of Tijuana. See also Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah, which explains how the Napoli-area "System" and its leading clans have allowed semi-autonomous dealers to access nice middle-class clients like college students without visible mob strings attached.


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Story by SARA LIPKA, Chronicle of Higher Education
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A yearlong undercover drug investigation has resulted in the arrests of 75 students at San Diego State University and 21 other people accused of being involved in illegal drug sales there, university and law-enforcement officials announced on Tuesday.

Eighteen students were arrested on Tuesday, and 15 others were arrested in recent weeks, the student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, reported. The other arrests were made over the past 12 months.

During the investigation, officers have seized $100,000 worth of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy pills, hallucinogenic mushrooms, methamphetamine, and illicit prescription drugs, according to the district attorney's office for San Diego County. The officers also seized four guns, brass knuckles, and $60,000 in cash.

The university's police department started the investigation after a student died of a cocaine overdose in May 2007, the district attorney's office said in a written statement. Federal drug agents joined the investigation about five months ago. During the investigation, another student, from San Diego Mesa College, died of a drug overdose in a San Diego State fraternity house near the campus.

The officers in the investigation infiltrated seven San Diego State fraternities and made more than 130 undercover drug buys, both on and off the campus, officials quoted in news accounts and in the district attorney's statement said.

The officials said that students had coordinated the deals mainly by text messages. In one case, a member of the Theta Chi fraternity sent a mass text message to his "faithful customers," informing them of a "sale" on cocaine after a brief waiting period while he and his "associates" traveled to Las Vegas.

The university's president, Stephen L. Weber, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that faculty and staff members were not informed that the undercover investigation was being conducted on and near the campus.

"This was not a difficult decision," he said. "We needed to do something about it. We're talking about drug trafficking. That's the thing we were not prepared to turn our backs on. We had to deal with this."

San Diego State has suspended all the students who were arrested, pending due-process reviews, Mr. Weber said in a written statement on the university's Web site.

The university is also looking into whether any fraternities were involved organizationally, beyond the actions of individual members. If it finds that they were, Mr. Weber told reporters, those fraternities will be kicked out as campus organizations.

In a statement issued later in the day, the university announced that six fraternities had been placed on "interim suspension," pending hearings.

Among the students arrested were an undergraduate majoring in criminal justice and a master's candidate who was a month away from a degree in homeland security and who worked as a community-service officer under the supervision of the campus police.

In his own statement regarding the arrests, Mr. Weber called the investigation "a big step forward towards a safer environment for our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors."

"Illegal substances are inconsistent with our values and with the pursuit of our mission," he said. "Certainly today's arrests underscore the scope of the challenges universities face as we fight this major societal problem."

Copyright © 2008 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/05/2757n.htm